Watch the garden grow at I.C. library

The City Plaza Children’s Garden was planted in 2012 as part of the Iowa City Public Library’s Children’s Day events. This downtown garden is the result of collaboration between New Pioneer Co-op and the city of Iowa City. Scott Koepke, education and outreach coordinator for New Pioneer Food Co-op’s Soilmates program, and Rachael Carlson, who works with the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature organization, planted the garden with the help of children who attended Children’s Day.

Debbie Dunn, a library assistant in the Children’s Services Department, was also involved in organizing this effort. The Iowa City Public Library sees the garden as another hands-on opportunity to educate children about where their food comes from and how things grow.

Table To Table was the recipient of the harvested produce from the Children’s Garden on the Ped Mall. Table To Table provides food for 26 organizations, including the Johnson County Crisis Center. Find more at

Koepke wrote this garden update Friday for the library’s website:

“Despite the later-than-normal start this season, growth has exploded. We’ve harvested kale, cucumbers, basil, and lettuce for Table to Table. The beets and cabbage aren’t far behind. It has been so fun to see the addition of new friends this year: okra, flax, peanut, parsley, kohlrabi, black bean, eggplant and the aforementioned beets and cabbage.

“When the okra begins producing flowers (soon!), don’t forget to check out their color: one of nature’s most perfect, beautiful pale yellows you’ve ever seen, with pollinator bees flitting about from bud to bud. And the natural trellis of cucumbers climbing sunflowers continues to bring smiles from thousands of passers-by throughout the summer.”


Scott Koepke will teach preschoolers about organic gardening, growing their own food and composting. Kids also will learn about saving seeds; some of the lettuce growing in the garden this year is from plants let go to seed last year.

What: Preschool Storytime: Children’s Garden Special with Scott Koepke

When: 10:30 to 11 a.m. Thursday

Where: Iowa City Public Library, 123 S. Linn St., Iowa CityCost: Free

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