Iowa Homeless Youth Center’s Rooftop Garden

A donation of $25,000 was made in 2020 to the Iowa Homeless Youth Centers’ Rooftop Gardens program. The program will serve transition-age youth who are at-risk or currently experiencing homelessness, providing employment opportunities, access to healthy locally grown foods and nutrition education.

Goals of the program are:

Break the cycle of poverty by providing guided work experience and a living stipend
Improve access to healthy food and meet the nutritional needs for low-income and homeless youth
Develop a self-sufficient entrepreneurial project that creates a partnership with our nonprofit organization, retailers and consumers in the community

Currently under development, the IHYC Rooftop Gardens will be located on the roof of the IHYC Youth Opportunity Center. The program will include a combination of hydroponic farms (inside of a year-round functioning greenhouse), raised beds and vertical growing techniques.

A program coordinator will supervise 12 youth apprentices annually, who will operate the growing, harvesting and packaging of the produce. The finished product will be distributed to local grocery stores, markets and other retailers to sell to consumers. After construction and initial operating expenses, the IHYC Rooftop Gardens will be a self-sufficient program.

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