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 - Partner to encourage new forms of culture and art - C3d

Click the image to learn about Dubuque's "Solidarity" mural.

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

Recommendation tracker

Social + Cultural Vibrancy: 31 recommendations


Needs Resources  Getting Started  Underway  Complete/Ongoing



Increase institutional use of local foods - C1a
Support food production spaces, Community-Supported Agriculture - C1b
Network with other “food cities” - C1c
Integrate healthy food and education in recreational programming - C1d
Consider food access as an element of City transit systems - C1e
Harvest local solid waste for compost - C1f
Support front yard food gardening - C1g *


Colleges, institutions - consider purchasing from more than one contracted vendor to increase local purchasing. C1a - Coordinator: Brittany Demezier,

► Status: Project Underway

  • 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.


Support food production spaces & establishment of Community Supported Agriculture; make City land available for food production. C1b - Coordinator: Cori Burbach,

► Status: Project Underway

  • 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. (June 2021)
  • Valentine Park's Community Garden will provide vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers to area residents. (February 2021)
  • City of Dubuque continues to allow Dubuque Rescue Mission use of City-owned land for greenhouse, gardens and education. (June 2021)
  • St. Luke's Methodists mini-community gardens at their parking lot encourages passerbys to sample new and interesting healthy foods.
  • The Mighty River Food Collective is a group of area farmers seeking to strengthen local economy and create new market channels for local farmers; foster community food system resilience; and promote connection, transparency, and story-sharing between people eating food and growing food.
  • 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. (June 2021)
  • 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)


Communicate with other “food cities” to share ideas as this (C1b) develops in Dubuque. C1c - Coordinator: Gina Bell,

► Status: Completed/Ongoing

  • The Growing Sustainable Communities Conference continues to be an ideal venue for both sharing and learning from other communities with best practices. (May 2022)
  • The Food Resource Guides, coordinated through the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque, are great models for other communities to utilize to increase access to local, affordable and healthy foods. (May 2022)


Recreation programming can have cooking classes addressing social (food insecurity/cost), educational (enhanced learning) and cultural (inclusion, communication) needs. C1d - Coordinator: Dan Kroger,

► Status: Getting Started

  • 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.
  • The Rooted Table, of Project Rooted, is drawing awareness of local, accessible foods through community farm-to-table dinners where participants learn more about the farmers and systems behind local, fresh and healthy foods. (September 2021)
  • 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. (August 2021)
  • 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)


Consider food access as an objective of the City's transit systems. C1e - Coordinator: Russ Stecklein,

► Status: Project Underway

  • The Food Resource Guides, coordinated through the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque, help with safe management of Little Free Panties, 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 with 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. C1f - Coordinator: Ken Miller,

► Status: Complete/Ongoing

  • Dubuque Metropolitan Solid Waste Agency (DMSWA) has established community compost bunkers, providing up to a cubic yard at no cost to residents at the solid waste energy and 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 are also being pursued. (August 2021)


Consider an active policy supporting front yard food gardening. C1g * - Coordinator: Mary Rose Corrigan,

► Status: Complete/Ongoing

  • Food gardens in front yards are allowed per city code.
  • The City of Dubuque expanded the Unified Development Code to define community gardens and list them as a permitted use in all Residential districts, including Office Residential (OR).  (June 2021)
  • 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 2021)
Arts + Culture