DES MOINES, Iowa – Central Iowa Shelter and Services, located at 1420 Mulberry St., debuts its growing dome Thursday after months of testing its gardening potential and a lot of help from the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute.
With labor and material donations from DuPont Pioneer, CISS constructed a 30-foot diameter growing dome, equipped with newly-installed microgreen beds, to grow fresh produce year-round, as well as host nutrition education and basic greenhouse management training for its clients. The fresh produce is used in the CISS kitchen, giving its clients fresher, healthier food. In the future, CISS says its hope is to sell excess produce to high-end restaurants in Des Moines, using the profits to benefit the sustainability of the greenhouse program.
The center’s Community Kitchen program has provided homeless and extremely low-income individuals better food choices, and employed homeless adults in the process. CISS says the greenhouse helps the organization become truly sustainable: its clients get a paying-job and job experience by helping maintain the garden, the fresh food is used in the center’s kitchen, and extra food will be sold to help benefit the program’s cost.
The Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute Class of 2015 has several small groups working on community projects throughout Des Moines this year. One group chose to help the CISS growing dome reach its full potential by constructing the microgreen beds with the help and resources of DuPont Pioneer. Microgreens have a relatively short growth cycle and a high revenue margin, meaning the growing dome can produce more fresh food and make a higher profit off what it does sell in a shorter amount of time.
“We were very pleased to be selected by the GDMLI Class of 2015 as one of the projects this year,” said Tony Timm, Executive Director of CISS. “Their efforts to help identify ways CISS can continue to become more sustainable will have a lasting impact on the organization for years to come. We would like to thank the class members that worked on the project and DuPont Pioneer for their support in helping this portion of our programming become a reality.”
Tours of the growing dome will begin at 3 p.m. Thursday, with an official ribbon cutting at 4 p.m.