Cedar Valley Grows

Creating a sustainable network of shared community and school gardens in the Cedar Valley


If you’re just getting started check out the How to Start a Garden page, and be sure to access our Community Garden Start-Up Guide intended to help neighborhood groups and organizations in Iowa along the path to starting and sustaining a community garden.
Below find practical information you need to set up and maintain your community garden. The following includes details, contacts, and links for information regarding Water Access, Mulch, Tillage, Compost, Education, Seed Savers, GrantsCommunity resources.
Tilling the new Food Bank Garden in Waterloo.
Water Access
  • Fee required for set up.
  • For meter setup, call (319) 232-6280 (allow them one day’s notice).
Cedar Falls​
  • Fee required for set up.
  • ​For meter setup, call (319) 232-6280.
  • Contact Waterloo Forestry at Waterloo Leisure Services to learn about mulch deliveries and mulch pickup sites in Waterloo. Contact: Todd Derifield (todd.derifield@waterloo-ia.org; 319-291-4370).
Cedar Falls
Evansdale/Raymond/Elk Run Heights
  • Available for free self-pickup only at city yard waste dump (1225 River Forest Rd by Deerwood Park).
  • Hours: Mon. 7am-7pm; Tue.-Fri. 7am-4pm; Weekends 10am-7pm.
Cedar Valley
  • Call Ray Bellows (319-493-0599 or 319-296-1369). Offers sod removal and tiller rental for a fee.
  • Free for Waterloo residents. Available for self-pickup only.
  • Pick up at 3506 Easton Rd., or call City Hall for more locations (319- 291-4327).
Cedar Falls

Cedar Valley
  • Starbucks offers free bags of coffee grounds.
Garden Classes: The Healthy Cedar Valley Coalition is offering Spring Gardening Classes. For a full listing of the classes, click here
Master Gardeners: This program provides gardening trainings to volunteers who share a love of gardening, an enthusiasm for learning and a commitment to helping others. In exchange for training, Master Gardeners share their time and knowledge in approved projects within their local communities. Visit the Master Gardeners website for more information, and check out the Master Gardeners fall brochure for classes offered in Black Hawk County in 2014.
ISU Extension and Outreach: To find answers to your gardening questions or find resources about gardening, visit the ​Black ​Hawk ​County Extension website, or contact Consumer Horticulturist Bryan Foster (fosterbd@iastate.edu; 319-433-2516).
Cedar Falls Seed Library: The mission of the Cedar Falls Seed Library is to promote gardening, heirloom seed/plant cultivation, and seed saving and sharing. Located in the Cedar Falls Public Library, the seed library provides programs about gardening and seed saving/storing and lends seeds to patrons who will work to collect the seeds at harvest time and return them to the seed library to share with others. Preregistration required. We work to connect with other community organizations including the Cedar Falls Farmers Market, Cedar Falls Community Gardens, Blue Zones, UNI's Center for Energy and Environmental Education, and the Iowa Master Gardeners. Follow Cedar Falls Seed Library on Facebook​​ or contact Andrew McCormick (cfseedlib@gmail.com) for more information.​​
Seed Savers: The Seed Savers mission is to conserve and promote America's culturally diverse but endangered garden and food crop heritage for future generations by collecting, growing, and sharing heirloom seeds and plants. Learn about their Herman’s Garden Seed Donation Program. Some community gardens are eligible for free seeds. Visit the Seed Savers website to learn more.
Cedar Valley Grows: Apply as an organization to start a community garden. Winning applicants receive free tillage for three years and some free seeds and tools to help begin a garden. Click here to learn more about Cedar Valley Grows' Request for Applications (RFAs).
Hy-Vee Garden Grants: One Step Community Garden Grants may be awarded to organizations whose core focus teaches those in need about health and nutrition through the process of planting, tending and harvesting their own fruits and vegetables. View Hy-Vee grant application.
FoodCorps School Garden Grants: FoodCorps wants to support your school garden! Visit the FoodCorps website to learn about grant opportunities.
Fiskars Garden Grants: Since its inception, Fiskars’ Project Orange Thumb has provided over $1.3 million to 140 community groups and helped to complete fourteen garden makeovers in the U.S. and Canada. Learn more about our grants and garden makeovers, or apply for your own grant or makeover. Visit the Fiskars Project Orange Thumb website to learn more.
Community Gardening Toolkit: A resource for planning, enhancing and sustaining your community gardening project, this set of tools will take you from idea to action in 10 steps that include talking with friends and neighbors, finding and evaluating garden sites, drafting lease agreements, developing a site plan and more. Click to view the Community Garden Toolkit.
Buy Fresh, Buy Local: Community gardens are part of a larger food system. The Buy Fresh, Buy Local campaign provides a comprehensive set of marketing tools designed to help food growers and processors who direct market to consumers, restaurants, grocery stores, and institutions. To learn more about where local foods can be purchased check out the Buy Fresh, Buy Local Food Guide.
Farmers Markets: Check out your local farmers market (Cedar Valley area)! View 2014 market times, locations, and contact information.
Cultivate Iowa: Whether you're a seasoned gardener or it's your first time planting, Cultivate Iowa encourages you to donate extra produce to a local food pantry to support your community.
Community Garden Map: Click here to view all community gardens in the area. Cedar Valley Grows created this map to help gardeners connect and support each other.