Locally sourced, farm to table meals begin with the fresh produce grown at the Country Life Center farm. "The wide variety and high quality of produce is amazing." Volunteers work alongside staff to plant, cultivate, and harvest produce; help at special events; maintain the facilities; and serve on the board of directors. "We had so much fun at last night’s class!" –Cooking Class student "…thank you for the wonderful day at the Wallace House...such an amazing atmosphere. The food was delicious, the service impeccable, and the readings well done." –Hearts & Homes Historic Tea customer WCI’s Garden for Good provided nearly 9,000 pounds of fresh produce for the Food Bank of Iowa and DMARC in 2019. "Customer service warm and friendly; the environment and location is historically significant..."

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.

Locally-Sourced Dining

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

Wallace House Location:

Country Life Center Location:

For more information about The Wallace Centers of Iowa including programs, events, tours, or rental events, please contact us: