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Transamerica wins award for Time Check 'urban farm'

Project intended to encourage residents to be self-sufficient

Three employees of Transamerica in Cedar Rapids work in September on a playground that was constructed in the Time Check neighborhood, along with the Iowa?s first ?urban farm.? The company, with about 3,500 employees in Cedar Rapids, will receive a U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation award for its work in partnership with Matthew 25, a local non-profit ministry. (Transamerica photo)
Three employees of Transamerica in Cedar Rapids work in September on a playground that was constructed in the Time Check neighborhood, along with the Iowa?s first ?urban farm.? The company, with about 3,500 employees in Cedar Rapids, will receive a U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation award for its work in partnership with Matthew 25, a local non-profit ministry. (Transamerica photo)

Transamerica will receive a national award Friday evening for the creation of Iowa’s first “urban farm” and playground in the Time Check neighborhood of Cedar Rapids.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation will recognize Transamerica, which has more than 3,500 employees in Cedar Rapids, with a  2013 corporate citizenship award in the category of Best Community Improvement Program.

Transamerica worked in partnership with local not-for-profit Matthew 25 to remove 1.5 acres of overgrown vegetation to prepare the area for planting and construction of a playground by Transamerica employees.

Approximately 120 Transamerica employees from Cedar Rapids and elsewhere participated in creating the “urban farm,” which produced 3,500 pounds of food in its first year for neighborhood residents.

More than 1,200 homes in the Time Check neighborhood were destroyed by the June 2008 flood and new development has been limited. The creation of the urban farm is intended to encourage residents to become self-sufficient and gain a greater understanding of the relation of a good diet to long-term health.

The integration of playground facilities further encourages youth to play and exercise, and along with other area residents, to take part in the planting and harvesting of vegetables and fruits.

"I am incredibly proud of the men and women of Transamerica who took on this initiative to transform this prominent space in Cedar Rapids," said Mark Mullin, Transamerica president and CEO.

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