December 27, 2022
DES MOINES, Iowa — The Wellmark Foundation has notified seven organizations in Iowa and South Dakota that they will receive Matching Assets to Community Health (MATCH) grant funds. These projects, each playing a role in ending food insecurity, will help enhance local food production and build capacity for healthy food consumption.
“Each project included here has the potential to make a positive, long-term impact on the overall health and well-being of their community that will enhance the quality of life for generations to come,” said Laura Jackson, executive vice president, health equity, access and improvement for Wellmark and Wellmark Foundation board chair. “We’re excited to see the planning, focus and community engagement within each of the selected applications.”
The organizations and projects selected to receive a 2022 MATCH Grant from the more than $310,000 include:
- City of Atlantic
- CommUnity Crisis Services
- Dalla Terra Ranch Foundation
- Des Moines Area Religious Council
- Eat Greater Des Moines
- Makoce Agriculture Development
- Youth & Family Services, Inc.
Mollett Park Community Garden Expansion (Atlantic, Iowa)
The Mollette Park Community Garden Expansion will increase access to healthy foods by expanding available edible landscaping and community gardens, and building new raised garden beds. In addition, educational signage will be installed regarding the benefits of growing, harvesting and consuming fresh produce. A shared produce stand will be installed for all community members to use.
Improving Food Security: CommUnity Mobile Pantry Vehicle (Iowa City, Iowa)
CommUnity Crisis Services distributes healthy foods to more than 45,000 Johnson County residents. The purchase of “The Farmers’ Truck” will create a mobile pantry aiding in distribution of food, and provide refrigeration services for additional foods such as diary and meat. In addition, a mobile pantry will ease the physical requirements of volunteers.
Improving Farm Efficiency to Expand Impact (Earlham, Iowa)
Supporting the needs of refugee and immigrant farmers, the Dalla Terra Ranch Foundation provides individuals with three to five acres of land for up to five years, along with business development support. Dalla Terra Ranch Foundation will improve roads, pathways and transportation options to improve efficiency for farmers. New water access and creation of additional fields will allow more farmers to participate, expanding access to local sources of fresh produce.
DMARC-ket Southside Food Pantry & Healthier New Year Project (Des Moines, Iowa)
The Des Moines Area Religious Council will purchase two freezers to support the Southside Food Pantry allowing for additional produce and meat storage and increased shelf life of healthy foods. The Healthier New Year Project will provide food boxes containing fresh produce during the off-season when produce is more expensive. The boxes, which will support five partner pantries and two mobile units, will also contain a healthy recipe card.
Healthy Food Access for Healthier Habits (Des Moines, Iowa)
This healthy food project will allow for the purchase of a refrigerated cargo van that will double the number of deliveries made each day and increase the capacity to partners and organizations with limited staff or resources for transportation. In addition, this project will increase cold food storage capacity and the opportunities to work with local farmers and growers to safely collect, store and deliver fresh, healthy foods.
Regenerative Poultry Production on the Pine Ridge Reservation (Porcupine, South Dakota)
Makoce Agriculture Development will provide education, materials and hands-on training to aspiring farm families and producers of all ages. This project also aims to increase community involvement through education on the local food system, poultry production and business opportunities to create a larger food system.
Fullerton Farm Production Project (Rapid City, South Dakota)
This project will allow for planning and procurement of safe, fresh produce from Fullerton Farm and other local producers by Youth & Family Services (YFS) kitchens that provide meals for YFS participants. New farm infrastructure and personnel will be put in place. In addition, hands-on gardening education programming will be created for children and families.
The grant funds are contingent upon the organizations securing the required dollar-for-dollar match. To ensure community support for these projects, organizations have until March 1 to secure their matching funds.
“The Wellmark Foundation recognizes sustainable changes take time and we are pleased to continue to offer these grant opportunities to support the overall health and well-being of local communities,” said Jackson.
Since its inception in 1991, The Wellmark Foundation has awarded more than $63 million in grant and special project funding to initiatives that positively impact the well-being of Iowans and South Dakotans.
See what previous Wellmark Foundation MATCH grant recipients have worked on.