Serving Rural and Urban Communities
Inspired by the Wallace family legacy, The Wallace Centers of Iowa provides a variety of programs and services to build awareness of local food, sustainable agriculture, and civility. WCI serves both urban and rural communities with locations at the Henry A. Wallace Country Life Center in rural Orient and the Wallace House in Des Moines. Program activities include:
Produce Production and Distribution
More than 40 varieties of fruits and vegetables are grown on about 10 acres of gardens and orchard at the Country Life Center. The produce is used in WCI’s two on-site kitchens, distributed to wholesale markets and grown for food-insecure Iowans through Garden for Good, a partnership with the Food Bank of Iowa, Eat Greater Des Moines and DMARC.
Seasonal Farm to Table Thursdays feature farm-fresh ingredients in changing menus at the Wallace House in Des Moines. Occasional Know Your Farmer dinners connect local farmers to diners and puts the spotlight on their specialty product. During the summer and fall, produce is transformed into brick-oven Pizza on the Prairie at the Country Life Center.
Community-Building & Educational Programs
- Hearts & Homes Historic Teas share household tips and issues of the day from the women’s section of the historic Wallaces’ Farmer farm journal.
- Cooking Classes inspire cooks to use fresh, locally produced ingredients and expand their tastes.
- Garden Workshops offer advice from local and regional experts to both new and experienced gardeners.
- Cooking Classes for kids educates students about critical food issues such as food safety and nutrition with hands-on experiences and team building.
Food Production Processes & Activities
- Shared Use Kitchen at the Mickle Center in Des Moines allows chefs, bakers, and food entrepreneurs to rent commercial kitchen space on an as-need basis.
- Our Abundance line of preserved food products turns excess produce into apple butter, two kinds of tomato compote and flavored salts.
Special Events, Agri-Tourism Programs, Site Tours, & Artifacts
WCI hosts occasional special events such as the “Gal”-entine’s Brunch, Valentine’s Dinner, Spring Quilt Show and dinner theater performances. The Prairie Art Exhibit and Festival celebrates the 9 acre prairie at the Country Life Center. On-site group tours are available by appointment. Information about the achievements of Wallace family members is offered to the public through on-site displays of family artifacts.
Winner of the 2011 Better Together Award from the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines