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 food-insecure Iowans through Garden for Good, a partnership with the Food Bank of Iowa.
Seasonal Farm to Table Thursdays feature farm-fresh ingredients in changing menus at the Wallace House in Des Moines. 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.
- Culinary Classes inspire cooks to use fresh, locally produced ingredients and expand their tastes.
- Civility and Leadership Dialogue Lunches facilitate conversation about leadership traits and skills with community members and local experts.
- 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.
- Dialogue Dinners gather concerned citizens around the table for discussion about current issues in our community.
Food Production Processes & Activities
These entrepreneurial programs share practical advice and methods for other producers:
- 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.
- Small Farm Field and Business Apprenticeships bridge the gap between a typical internship and independent farming with practical experience managing a medium-sized organic produce production garden.
Agri-Tourism Programs, Historic Tours, & Archives
Information about the achievements of Wallace family members is offered to groups, students, authors, researchers, and the public. The Prairie Art Exhibit and Festival celebrates the 9 acre prairie at the Country Life Center.
Winner of the 2011 Better Together Award from the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines