Social + Cultural Vibrancy includes 31 recommendations across 7 sub-categories: Food, Empowerment, Arts and Culture, Preservation, Safety, Health, and Recreation. The bar chart below highlights the status of the 31 recommendations. Scroll down to the Recommendation Tracker for details. Status information reflects the community's work toward each recommendation.

Recommendation Highlight - Through partnerships with the Multicultural Family Center, senior citizen organizations/providers, the city’s educational system, and local universities, explore ways to expand how residents think about “culture” and “arts” to include new and emerging forms and expressions. - C3d

Click the image to learn about the MFC STEP Program's Storm Drain Mural Project.

- Data will be updated bi-annually to align with Council Reports -

Recommendation tracker

Social + Cultural Vibrancy: 31 recommendations

Social + Cultural Vibrancy

• At Risk  • Off Track  On Track  • Achieved



Increase institutional use of local foods - 3.1.1
Support food production spaces, Community-Supported Agriculture - 3.1.2
Network with other “food cities” - 3.1.3
Integrate healthy food and education in recreational programming - 3.1.4
Consider food access as an element of City transit systems - 3.1.5
Harvest local solid waste for compost - 3.1.6
Support front yard food gardening - 3.1.7 *


Colleges, institutions - consider purchasing from more than one contracted vendor to increase local purchasing. 3.1.1 - Coordinator: Brittany Demezier,

► Status: On Track

  • K-12 Schools: Dubuque’s schools purchase more local products in the fall when there is a greater range of items available.  Centralized kitchens, large quantity needs, and budget constraints pose challenges to purchasing and preparing locally sourced foods.  Food hubs and larger area producers have been able to supply the quantity needed on a seasonal basis.  Several resources, publications, and planning tools have been made available to schools to assist in planning for local purchases.
  • Colleges: Colleges prefer to use local products for special events and activities, as well as for a few daily offerings like salad greens, cheese, milk, and other dairy products. Select colleges use local fruit, vegetables, and meat products on a seasonal basis.
  • Hospitals: The desire for "track and trace" transparency makes sole-sourcing, which takes on that responsibility, more appealing for these institutions.
  • State of Iowa and USDA grants are making local food sourcing for schools and childcare centers more accessible. (June 2022)


Support food production spaces & establishment of Community Supported Agriculture; make City land available for food production. 3.1.2 - Coordinator: Cori Burbach,

► Status: On Track

  • Community Development Block Grant funds are being used to support the construction of aquaponic systems to act as community gardens in low-moderate income neighborhoods on vacant lots, helping to bring fresh, healthy foods  to food deserts.  As well, CDBG funds are being utilized to create edible gardening for programming at Lincoln School. (July 2022)
    • The City earmarked nearly $100,000 of Community Development Block Grant funds to support local organizations to develop hydroponic food systems, which grow plants without the use of soil. (July 2022)
      • The City of Dubuque received a $300,000 grant to increase food accessibility through hydroponic and indoor production.
  • Valentine Park's Community Garden were developed in 2022 to provide vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers to area residents. (July 2022)
  • The Dubuque Rescue Mission operates on City of Dubuque land, with greenhouse, gardens and education. (July 2022)
  • St. Luke's Methodists mini-community gardens at their parking lot encourages passerbys to sample new and interesting healthy foods.
  • The volunteer-led Salvation Army garden provides over 1000 pounds of produce annually for the mobile food pantry and for use at senior living facilities. (June 2022)
  • Convivium Urban Farmstead's pivot during the COVID-19 pandemic, to ensure good use of garden produce. Partnering with Project Rooted after schools shut down helped feed school children at a time in need.  Their Community Casserole program, produces and distributes free, healthy vegetable, grain and protein-based casseroles to local residents in need, and has given away over 20,000 casseroles since it started in 2020. (June 2022)
  • Convivium is planning expansion at 2900 Central Avenue with a new commercial kitchen, to support the Community Casserole Program, classes and a community kitchen, which supports popups for restaurants and entrepreneurs needing intermittent access to the kitchen. (October 2021)
  • As most farmers market vendors are from Wisconsin and Illinois, the recent developments in Dubuque County with the county government and Sustainable Iowa Land Trust investment in food producing farms will positively impact local food production. (June 2022)


Communicate with other “food cities” to share ideas as this (C1b) develops in Dubuque. 3.1.3 - Coordinator: Gina Bell,

► Status: On Track


Recreation programming can have cooking classes addressing social (food insecurity/cost), educational (enhanced learning) and cultural (inclusion, communication) needs. 3.1.4 - Coordinator: Umaru Balde,

► Status: On Track

  • Multicultural Family Center cooking classes and educational events use food as a way to engage and educate.
  • The Pacific Islander Health Project continues a variety of educational programs to bring healthy foods to our Marshallese population in Dubuque, including the use of fresh herbs and vegetables. (August 2021)
  • Cooking and gardening classes through Convivium Urban Farmstead help educate the community about sustainable and healthy approaches to feeding families.
    • Convivium is expanding at 2900 Central Avenue with a new commercial kitchen, to support the Community Casserole Program, classes and a community kitchen, which supports popups for restaurants and entrepreneurs needing intermittent access to the kitchen. (June 2022)
  • Project Rooted rose to the occasion through the pandemic by meeting needs to feed children safe at home with healthy, free meals. The collaboration also brought together farm-to-table dinners where participants learned about the farmers and systems behind local, fresh and healthy foods. (June 2022)
  • Collaboration of administration and parents at Lincoln School are planning for reconfiguration of the outdoor space to create healthy food and plant/soil lifecycle lessons for students. Creation of raised gardens and planting of perennial fruits will provide classes with learning opportunities and the school options to outreach to the neighborhood with workshops or plant-share opportunities. Community Development Block Funds are being sought for the support of the project and other playground enhancements. (June 2022)


Consider food access as an objective of the City's transit systems. 3.1.5 - Coordinator: Ryan Knuckey,

► Status: On Track

  • The Food Resource Guides, coordinated through the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque, help with safe management of Little Free Food Pantries and provide citizens with information related to location and transportation services. (May 2022)
  • The City's Transit system serves Dubuque’s food deserts to provide some access to points at or within a block of:
    • major and specialty food stores such as three HyVees, Fareway, Aldi and Natural Grocers, and
    • at the summer and winter Farmers Markets, respectively downtown and at the the Kennedy Mall.


Evaluate whether local solid waste can begin to incorporate a compost component, similar to Des Moines, that would provide a source of compost for local gardens & production. 3.1.6 - Coordinator: Ken Miller,

► Status: On Track

  • Dubuque Metropolitan Area Solid Waste Agency (DMASWA) has established community compost bunkers, providing up to a cubic yard of USCC STA Certified compost at no cost to residents at the Landfill and the City of Dubuque Municipal Service Center. In addition, larger quantities of compost are available for purchase at the landfill compost facility. Agreements for additional small quantity bunkers with other municipalities/public entities in Dubuque County have been established with the cities of Cascade. (June 2022)


Consider an active policy supporting front yard food gardening. 3.1.7 * - Coordinator: Mary Rose Corrigan,

► Status: On Track

  • Food gardens in front yards are allowed per city code.
  • The City of Dubuque expanded the Unified Development Code in June 2021 to define community gardens and list them as a permitted use in all Residential districts, including Office Residential (OR).
  • Demonstration of free public gardens at St. Luke's Methodist Church and Convivium Urban Farmstead help educate the public with active engagement of utilizing new spaces for food production. (June 2022)
Arts + Culture