Linn County is creating the first-ever Linn County Resiliency Hub (LCRH) focused on providing access to three initial critical resources: electricity, actionable information, and local and nutritious food. The derecho storm event of August 2020 revealed the vital need to provide critical resources, especially in extreme times of crises. Linn County seeks to provide a model for other municipalities to create hubs of their own.
“The LCRH will focus on providing essential resources, access to which are imperative in times of crisis. But, this LCRH will also have value year-round - providing a space where the local community can access critical resources on a regular basis. Through trusted community partnerships, invested and caring donors, and County leadership, we can build an innovative space capable of bringing people and resources together,” said Linn County Sustainability Manager Tamara Marcus.
The first steps in developing this innovative hub focused on creating the infrastructure to provide access to local and nutritious food. Through local partnerships with non-profit organizations such as Feed Iowa First (FIF), the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and the Salvation Army, an urban farm and community garden structure will be developed to improve access to nutritious, locally-grown, culturally-relevant, and organic produce. FIF has committed to developing the urban farming plots which will be managed by the NAACP Cedar Rapids Climate and Environment Committee.
“By creating points of community resiliency like the garden at the Fillmore Building, we’re able to help people in need and share skills that benefit all communities,” explained garden site ambassador Ayla Boylen.
Future plans for the LCRH site include solar-charging stations and free public WIFI. By demonstrating the value of a model like this, the hope is to encourage more development of similar hubs in other parts of the city and county. Feed Iowa First’s mission to alleviate food insecurity by growing food and farmers is well suited to further this work.
“We are really excited to get into the soil at the site, and dually excited about the potential for expansion in the future,” Oswood said. “It is a well situated location to entice community participation in agriculture and we’re really looking forward to seeing the growth not only of local foods, but of interest in the local food system.”
To learn more about ongoing sustainability efforts in Linn County, visit https://www.linncounty.org/1521/Sustainability.