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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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CONVIVIUM URBAN FARMSTEAD. Using the Latin word for "feast," this non-profit on Jackson Street in 2017 used the greenhouses once belonging to HOPPER'S GREENHOUSE to create a community around food--growing preparing, preserving and enjoying. (1)

The converted greenhouses of ELMER'S GREENHOUSE contained a coffee shop, event center, educational space for hands-on classes and a training kitchen for cooking classes. There were also extensive outside garden areas. The facility was powered by 100 solar panels and heated by a geothermal system. (2)

In October, 2018 MERCY MEDICAL CENTER and Convivium hosted "Convivium Urban Farmstead for Growing a Healthy Community." Attending the event were forty students from MARSHALL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL. Rotating through stations, the students learned about cooking, healthy food and drinks, and gardening. Working in the teaching kitchen, students prepared spaghetti and then took their creations able to feed a family of four home with them. They also received a cookbook of healthy food choices they could make themselves. (3)

In 2019 Convivium received the largest grant--$4,890--for its Pacific Islander Health Project on which it partners with the CRESCENT COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTER from the Food Policy Council. The project helps members of the MARSHALLESE community in Dubuque who are at high risk for diabetes improve their diet. Participants took lessons in nutrition and cooking using healthy recipes designed for families with $4 per day to spend on food. Participants who complete all four classes received a free membership in the Dubuque Urban Farm's community-supported agricultural partnership. They received regular shipments of fresh, local fruits and vegetables to use in their recipes. The Council also awarded $890 to Convivium for supplies, seeds and seed starting for garden education. (4)

On September 10, 2020 Convivium held its first "take n' bake" casserole pickup. The project was aimed at helping families struggling with unemployment or other financial hardships caused by the PANDEMIC. On the first day, ten free casseroles were distributed between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. and fifty more between 3:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. The program was schedules to continue for ten Thursdays and the last week on Wednesday. Earlier in the year, Convivium worked with Project Rooted to assemble and handout free lunches to children after schools closed in March. In September the organization worked with ST. STEPHEN'S FOOD BANK to distribute food and dairy boxes twice per month. While Convivium secured financial aid to serve the meals, it asked recipients to complete a demographic waiver to assist in receiving support to maintain the meal program. (5)



1. 365ink Magazine. February 23-March 8, 2017, p. 19

2. Ibid.

3. Hinga, Allie, "Feeding the Mind," Telegraph Herald, October 20, 2018, p. 2

4. Fisher, Benjamin, "Food Policy Council Awards Grants," Telegraph Herald, July 29, 2019, p. 3A

5. Mehl, Annie, "Local Food Producer Helps Feed Families," Telegraph Herald, September 11, 2020, p. 1A