Sprout, the Des Moines Urban Youth Garden, will host “Growing Up: Food for Thought” from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Thursday, April 16, in the Paul Morrison Room at The Knapp Center at Drake University. Sodexo Foundation is sponsoring this event for children and families from the First Christian Church Boys and Girls Club program through a Global Youth Service Day grant. Participants will learn about healthy snack options from a Sodexo dietician, prepare food with a Sodexo chef, and plant seeds for the Sprout Garden to be harvested later this summer. A Sodexo-donated meal of pulled chicken sandwiches, steamed green beans, and fruit salad prepared by the children from Boys and Girls Club will be provided. This event is aimed at addressing food insecurity in the Drake Neighborhood and promoting wellness education. Employees from Sodexo Dining Services will volunteer to teach the families about healthy, affordable food options and prepare the provided meal.
Sodexo has also engaged fully with Next Course, the Drake food recovery network program that has recovered over 1,471 pounds of food since its founding in August 2014. The recovered food is distributed to shelters and agencies in the Des Moines community three times per week with the help of Drake student volunteers and Laura Leben, the student coordinator.
About Sprout: Des Moines Urban Youth Garden
Sprout: Des Moines Urban Youth Garden was founded in 2013 through generosity of Drake University, Boys and Girls Club of Central Iowa, and the State Farm Youth Advisory Board. The garden is located at 25th and Forest Avenue, serving as an environmental educational tool, urban gardening resources, and health food access point for students in the Drake neighborhood. It features an outdoor classroom, raised garden beds, fruit trees, native Iowa plants, and multilingual signage. Sprout is significant for the neighborhoods surrounding Drake because 97 percent of students K-12 qualify for free or reduced lunches and can access fresh produce from Sprout. Any student who learns or volunteers in the garden is able to take fresh produce home when available. Twice per week, weather permitting, students from the Boys and Girls Club plant, grow, and learn in the garden, with curriculum facilitated by the Drake student coordinator, Bryce Dorff. Sprout aims to create community by bringing groups together to promote access to health food and environmental education.
For more information about this event, Sprout Garden, or Next Course, please contact the Office of Community Engagement and Service-Learning at 515-271-2767.