Iowa Refugee Farming Program Gets Federal Funding Boost

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A program that helps refugees in Iowa become farmers is growing, thanks in part to a federal funding boost.

Organizers with Des Moines-based Lutheran Services in Iowa will use a new $24,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to offer training to refugees about food safety, organic production and crop planning.

The program, known as Global Greens, launched in 2011 by providing refugees with community garden plots near their neighborhoods around Des Moines. It later expanded by offering a training farm in West Des Moines. There’s now an aim for more independence and improving production.

The grant expands beyond previous USDA awards for the program. It solidifies a year long effort to evolve the program from one that only offers some community garden plots to one that also provides intense training to help participants start businesses.

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