Wading Pool Garden Project

University of Dubuque Daycare Wading PoolMission: To provide an opportunity for children and adults to grow some of their own food and to instill an interest in eating nutritious food

Goal: Self-sufficiency, community pride, promote healthier lifestyles. Participants will receive garden materials and will be mentored by a garden guide throughout the season.

Click here to download the Wading Pool Gardens 2016 Brochure in English

Click here to download the Wading Pool Gardens 2016 Brochure in Spanish

Location: Various locations throughout the city of Dubuque

Hosting Organization: St.Luke’s United Methodist Church, 1199 Main St., Dubuque, Iowa 52001


  • Mary Purdy- mary_purdy@hotmail.com,
  • Jennifer Crow- jjcrow24@aol.com, or
  • Jerelyn O’Connor- 563-589-4326 or by email.


Price: Free when selected as a recipient. If selected, participants will receive pool, soil mixture, and seeds free of cost.

Eligibility: Recipients are selected based on economic need, opportunities to teach and potential to maintain the pool garden site

Garden Specs:  Each garden consists of a 60 inch plastic wading pool, soil materials, seeds, plants and a trowel located at the recipient’s residence. The recipient is responsible for care, watering and maintenance of the pool garden, which can be used for several years

wading pool garden2.wading pool garden

Special events: Wading Pool Garden Fair for all participants and garden mentors


When should I get in touch if I’m interested in gardening or volunteering?

Interested gardeners should watch for publicity brochures in mid-March through mid-April in sites throughout the city. Contact information will be on the brochure. Interested volunteers should send a message via the Facebook page or call 563-590-5313

Where does the food go?

Each gardener/s uses the produce as they desire for their own consumption or to share.

How was the garden started?

The idea for a wading pool garden project originated with a St. Luke’s parishioner who viewed the concept on www.technologyforthepoor.com. It was adopted as a community-wide outreach ministry for St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in 2011.

Did you receive a grant/s?

If so, from where? The project has been funded by various grants and individual donations.

How is this project supported (Sponsors/Funding organizations)?:

St. Luke’s United Methodist Church sponsors the garden with support  through grants from the United Methodist Church, The Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque, The Virgil and Norma Denlinger Family Foundation and the Neighborhood Small Grant Program as well as private donations and collaborative help from community partners.

How many people are actively involved in the success of the garden currently?

There are approximately 70 gardens actively used by individual, family or group home and homeless shelter residents, students, children and their teachers or care providers, parishioners in churches and employees and staff at Jule Transit Center and E B Lyons Interpretive Center. Beyond gardeners there are many volunteers and community partners who support the success of this wading pool garden project.

Do you or would you like to host school groups, youth, or other groups at the garden?

This is not a centralized community garden so is not conducive to hosting groups. However, any group interested in educational presentations about this form of gardening is welcome to make contact.

What’s needed? Any resources? Volunteers? Leadership? Supplies? Creative work? Community connections?

Donations of funds and volunteer help is always needed and welcomed.


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Dubuque Eats Well

Contributing to community resiliency and wellness by fostering communication and connections in our Tri-State food system

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