Innovative Linn County Resiliency Hub Planned at Fillmore Building
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, located at the County-owned Fillmore building at 520 11th St. NW in Cedar Rapids, will focus on providing access to essential resources, which is especially critical in times of crisis. The LCRH will also have value year-round by 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, the LCRH will be an innovative space capable of bringing people and resources together.
First Steps: Access to Local Food
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 is being 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. Produce from the urban farm will be distributed to food pantries and food insecure families and individuals. The Linn County Board of Supervisors is providing use of this County-owned land at no cost to FIF.
Future Plans & Impact
Future plans for the LCRH site include solar-charging stations and free public Wi-Fi. The LCRH will grow by layering sustainable community services on the infrastructure at the Fillmore building. By promoting healthy local food systems through the urban farm and public access to events, such as gardening classes, more people will be able to grow foods locally and buy foods locally, which ultimately reduces our impact on the planet because we can access foods closer to home. This means less greenhouse gas emissions from transporting foods and fewer chemicals from growing foods. Community participation in agriculture will help create access to local foods and increase interest in the local food system.
By demonstrating the value of a model like this, the hope is to encourage development of similar resiliency hubs in other parts of the city and county. Feed Iowa First’s mission to reduce food insecurity by growing food and farmers is well-matched to expand this work.