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Sprout Garden

Sprout Learning Garden and Food Forest at Drake University is located on 30th and Carpenter. Sprout serves as an environmental education tool, urban gardening resource, and healthy food access point for k-12 urban youth, college students, and community members. Sprout is an organic garden and uses no fertilizers. The space features an outdoor classroom for 30 adults or 50 children, theme-based raised beds, fruit trees, native Iowa plants, and more. Sprout is significant for the neighborhoods surrounding Drake because 97% of students K-12 qualify for free or reduced lunches, so fresh fruit and produce from Sprout are important for the students in this neighborhood. 

Thank you for your interest in the Sprout Garden at Drake University! Be sure to follow us on Instagram @Drakesprout, like us on Facebook and visit our Wordpress page for gardening tips and recipes.

1300 30th Street., Des Moines, IA 50311. (Corner of 30th and Carpenter Streets). 

In 2012, the Sprout Garden was established when a Drake Environmental Science and Policy Capstone class wrote and received a grant from the State Farm Youth Advisory Board. The garden was established on Forest Ave. and moved to its current location in 2020.

Partnering with Des Moines Youth
The major strategic partner in the project is the Boys and Girls Club of Central Iowa. Twice a week students from the Burt Boys & Girls Club plant, grow, and learn in the garden. This fosters interaction between Drake students, the BGCCI, and the surrounding community by bringing different groups of students together in the garden. For example, Drake students volunteer to help teach the environmental curriculum to the BGCCI students, which not only increases environmental learning for all parties but also fosters a sense of community. Sprout has also partnered with the local Girl Scouts and other youth-serving organizations.  

Get Involved!
Sprout is always looking for ways to increase student and community involvement; if you are interested in volunteering with Sprout, bringing a class or group to the garden for educational purposes, etc., please contact

Volunteer opportunities include helping with maintenance of the garden such as weeding, watering, harvesting, planting; or helping with youth programming in the garden.

Anyone who volunteers or participates in the garden is welcome to take home produce. Surplus produce is placed in the Free Little Pantry, located adjacent to the Sprout Garden or donated to local community fridges and pantries. Produce and non-perishable items are available for all - take what you need, leave what you can! Visit the Little Pantries Facebook page for more information. 

Composting at the Garden
Drake students living in the residence halls can drop off their produce scraps, coffee and tea grounds, and moldy bread to the compost containers in their residence hall. Volunteers collect and deliver the compost to the garden each week. Once it goes through the compost process, it will be used to fertilize the garden beds. Thank you to Drake Environmental Action League (DEAL) for their partnership! Drake faculty and staff can also drop off their compost at the garden.

Food Forest (In Progress!!)
The Drake Food Forest is a half-acre permaculture expansion to Sprout. The Food Forest ecosystem serves as an outdoor learning lab focused on sustainable urban agriculture and provides another community access point to healthy and fresh foods. The Food Forest was designed by: Jeff Reiland, Owner of Abundant Design, LLC. For more information and to see a diagram, please visit our Sprout Word Press.

Land Acknowledgement: 
Sprout Garden is on the traditional, ancestral, unceded land of the Báxoǰe (Bah Kho-je) or Ioway, Sauk (Sac), and Meskwaki (Fox) peoples - Drake Land Acknowledgment

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