CEDAR RAPIDS – Hope has been growing in the northwest Cedar Rapids Time Check neighborhood that was ravaged by floods nearly five years ago.

Scott Koepke of Soilmates talks to students at the Matthew 25 Urban Farm. (photo/Matthew 25)

Scott Koepke of Soilmates talks to students at the Matthew 25 Urban Farm. (photo/Matthew 25)

Matthew 25 began planting seeds for the idea of an urban farm shortly after  floodwaters receded and now the 2-acre gardens near Ellis Boulevard and F Avenue NW have become a source for locally grown produce for the neighborhood and beyond.

Touted as Iowa’s only urban farm, the non-profit plans a new initiative this year with educational tours, said the group’s Matt Mayer.

The farm uses sustainable methods of agriculture that include composting and water conservation. Farm tours will give youths an opportunity to learn about agriculture and environmental stewardship.

Children will learn about plant life cycles, healthy soil and more during the one-hour sessions.

Here is more about the Matthew 25 Urban Farm and information about the tours:

The farm connects people with small-scale farming, teaches them about growing and cooking their own food and builds community via active and fulfilling labor.

Through its Local Food Education in Schools program, Matthew 25 provides hands-on education and learning activities that build community among classmates and empower students to make meaningful and long-term contributions to their own health and to their community through gardening.

Educational Tour Information: Fun tours are offered Monday through Friday 9:30-10:30 am and 1:30-2:30 pm. Groups must have a minimum of ten participants with at least two adults in attendance and one adult per 10 children for a tour.
Fees: $3 per person.

Arrangements may be made for other tour times not listed. Tours last about one hour.

The learning objectives of farm tours include:

 Children will be able to correctly order the life cycle of a plant
 Children will be able to identify a plant from its appearance in the growing bed
 Children will be able to identify gardening tools and its use
 Children will be able to determine what creates healthy soil, differentiate soil types, and recognize compost.

Tours of the Urban Farm will include:
 History of the urban farm
 Fun hands-on activities teaching children about plant life cycles, seeds, and soil
 Seasonal games and crafts
 Take-home learning activities
 Follow-up class activities

For more information, see www.hub25.org  To arrange a tour, contact Matt Mayer at the Matthew 25 Ministry Hub, 225 K Ave. NW Suite G, Cedar Rapids, IA 52405 or call (319)-362-2214.