THE WALLACE CENTERS OF IOWA: sustainable food & civility initiatives

Who We Are

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 Sales

More than 40 varieties of fruits and vegetables are grown on about eight acres of gardens and orchard at the Country Life Center and distributed to local consumers, wholesale markets, and Prairie Harvest Community Supported Agriculture subscribers.

Locally-Sourced Dining

WCI’s fruits and vegetables are transformed into lunch and dinner nearly year-round on Fridays at The Gathering Table at the Country Life Center. Seasonal Farm to Table dining features farm-fresh ingredients in changing menus at the Wallace House in Des Moines and in partnership with the Hoyt Sherman Place performing arts 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.
  • Team Building Cooking classes help to build communication and productivity in the workplace.
  • Seeds of Civility blog encourages civility in daily life by sharing research, tips, and expert advice about civility practices.

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.
  • One Step at a Time helps emerging food entrepreneurs develop, test, process, package and market local food products to retail outlets.
  • 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 to groups, students, authors, researchers, and the public for reports, articles, books, historical exhibits, and general interest.

Winner of the 2011 Better Together Award from the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines

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

Diane Weiland
President and CEO

Ann Taylor
Vice-President, Marketing & Development

Deborah Boyer
Civility Programs Coordinator

Lisa Swanson
Program Assistant/Gift Shop Manager

Katie Porter
Chef/Food Programs Manager

Amy Sivadge
Chef at the Country Life Center

Mosa Shayan
Farm Programs Manager

Andy Boone
Farm Programs Manager

Lissa Kleven
Volunteer Coordinator



756 16th Street, Des Moines, IA 50314
2773 290th Street, Orient, IA 50858
Ph: 515.243.7063 (DM)
Ph: 641.337.5019 (Orient)