Fields of Hope Near Polk City Involves FFA Chapter

Steve Johnson, Field Specialist - Farm & Ag Business Management, Central Area

Problem Statement:

It is often difficult to involve youth in Extension agricultural projects.  That has not been the findings for the Fields of Hope Project near Polk City.  The 3rd year of crop production and fund raising was completed in 2007 with active involvement from the 60 members of the North Polk FFA Chapter.

Programmatic Response:

The Fields of Hope Project is one of 49 Foods Resource Bank (FRB) growing projects statewide.  The project began in 2005 when several local mission-minded farmers worked with rural and urban churches, community organizations and individuals in the Des Moines and Ames areas in an effort to combat world hunger.  Local agribusinesses donate seed and crop protection chemicals and funds are raised to cover the costs of land and other crop related expenses.  The North Polk FFA Chapter took a major role with the project in 2006 by producing and selling sweet corn, decorative Indian corn, pumpkins and gourds.

Each October with the conclusion of harvest a special harvest celebration is conducted and the public invited to attend.  Combine rides and a free lunch are complimented with the North Polk FFAs Petting Zoo for children and adults in attendance to better connect to rural lifestyles. 


In 2007, the Fields of Hope raised an additional $16,000, bringing the total contributions from this project to the Foods Resource Bank to over $47,000.  Of this amount, $39,000 was targeted for rural communities in Western Guatemala. These proceeds will be used to purchase food supplies, seeds and tools for farm families that can be used to initiate hunger elimination and long-term food security programs for 2,800 members in a mountainous rural community.


124- Next Generation of Agriculturists

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