Des Moines non-profit rooted in refugees is blossoming for underserved community

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DES MOINES, Iowa — For ten years a local non-profit’s work has been rooted in refugees and immigrants. For the communities they serve it has blossomed into a half a million dollars. “I’m really humbled to be a part of something like this that is now growing into a bigger movement and to start doing more work and work on a food system that isn’t serving everybody equally,” said Zachary Couture, the land and production supervisor for Lutheran Services in Iowa’s Global Greens program.

Global Greens in Des Moines helps immigrant and refugee families who have an interest in agriculture. Their weekly open-air markets in the spring and summer in the Drake Neighborhood serve traditional American produce but also hard to find farm grown foods refugees grew up eating in their native countries.

This season produced $375,000 in sales at that market. Those numbers along with other markets they participate in bumped them over the $500,000 mark. Couture says those are dollars that go directly to the growers. It is an immediate impact for communities that are often underserved. “The money just goes straight to the farmers which is great so they are serving their communities. A lot of those sales are going to eastern African communities like Burundi, Kenya, Congo, people from Bhutan, people from all over the world. Now people who have immigrated here are buying food they can’t get in grocery stores,” said Couture.

The 2022 market season begins May 14th. To join Global Greens or to donate money or land for farming just visit www.lsiowa.org/globalgreens

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