Changing The Way We Look At Food
Rainbow Roots Farm, located 5 miles north of beautiful Iowa City, serves vegetables, fruit, and mushrooms to the community through a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture- box of veggies every week for the growing season) membership. Iowa is ranked number 5 in the nation for number of organic farms and leads the nation in the production of several organic crops. Iowa City has a lot of potential to become the states hub for organic farming due to its ample diversity and a progressive population resulting from the University of Iowa being nuzzled right downtown. Rainbow Roots Farm will take pride in being heavily involved in the community by reaching out to the highly ranked public schools and working with children to help teach them about where their veggies are coming from and providing healthy afterschool snacks.
Rainbow Roots Farm will keep everything close to home; from buying seeds, potting soil, and tools from local, family owned or non-profit businesses in the community to not selling outside of a 50 mile radius.
The primary goal is to grow nutritious vegetables and educate the community about organics. The secondary goal is to practice regenerative farming and leave the land better than what it was previously. This will be done by sequestering carbon, fertilizing naturally, and attracting and homing lots of native pollinators and other species.
By leasing land the first couple of years, it will allow Rainbow Roots Farm to build finances while finding the perfect place to call a forever home.
Values: Providing healthy foods, education, community gathering, and having a regenerative commitment to the land are the most important things that Rainbow Roots Farm can offer.
Mission: Rainbow Roots Farm will provide an opportunity for people to be more involved in where and how their food is grown. We will, together, look toward a future of more sustainable living in more ways than farming. This includes less household waste, water use, carbon emissions, and eating less damaging food for our bodies.
Corbin Scholz (she/her)
Corbin grew up in Iowa City and attended the University of Iowa where she graduated on the pre-medical track with a Bachelor of Science in Human Physiology and a minor in Spanish.
A few months before graduation, Corbin was at a coffee shop, trying to get the motivation to study for her Human Pathophysiology exam, when she came across an article online about bees and other pollinators. How they are going extinct due to herbicides, pesticides, and human industrialization. Why does that matter? So, the search went on. Corbin learned bees are vital for the growth of most of our plants, including trees! This led to GMOs, soil health, regenerative agriculture, and then to organic farming. This sparked an interest that has never been touched before.
Corbin found an Organic Farm School in Washington state. She attended the 8 month long intensive program in 2018 where she learned a solid base of information a young farmer needs to know- tractor operation, greenhouse management, livestock care, transplanting and seeding, business planning, marketing, administrative duties, etc.
In November 2018, Corbin moved back to Iowa City where she settled down and started her own organic farm to give back to the community that has given her so much growing up.
Corbin is on the board of the Sustainable Iowa Land Trust (SILT), the board of the Women, Food, and Ag Network (WFAN), the President of the Eastern Iowa Young Farmers Coalition, and the women's soccer coach at City High School in Iowa City.
Gina Payne (she/they)
Gina Payne is thrilled to be part of the field crew at Rainbow Roots! She was born and raised in Iowa City and graduated form West High School in 2013. Ever in search of a new adventure, they decided to move to New York City for college. While at Barnard College, she studied neuroscience and Spanish while still managing to fully immerse herself in art, music, feminism, and philosophy. Throughout college, they also spent their summers working as a counselor at Concordia Language Villages’ Spanish immersion summer camp outside of Bemidji, MN.
After graduating from college, she continued on up the east coast, taking a position at Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA. It was during this time that they rediscovered their love for the natural world after four years in the man-made monstrosity that is New York. While living in Massachusetts, she spent as much time as possible exploring the beaches and forests of Cape Cod with her rescue pup, Bea. However, spending all day inside in a lab proved a bit too isolating for this social bean, and it became clear that a change was in order.
She decided to head out on a major cross country road trip to visit national parks and friends and family scattered across the country. Ultimately, they spent nearly four months on the road, skipping across the country between loved ones and park lands of all kinds, primarily backcountry camping for free on federally managed lands. This experience helped solidify her desire to live in community with the natural world around her.
Ultimately, Gina ended up settling down back in her hometown of Iowa City and is currently working towards a masters in mental health counselling at the University of Iowa. After some unfulfilling work in food service during the pandemic, this opportunity to work on Rainbow Roots could not have come at a more fortuitous time! Indeed, they have found engaging in the production of food at every step unbelievably rewarding and, ultimately, healing. This work has even had prominent impact on how she foresees engaging in mental health counseling down the line, as it has spurred a desire to work nature therapy and horticulture therapy into her future practice. They would love to one day provide mental health services for young queer people and to somehow incorporate engagement with the natural world as part of the counseling process.
Brooke Sarrazin (she/her)
After graduating from City High School in 2018, Brooke spent her first few months as a high school graduate traveling in southeast Asia on a gap year program. This trip really fueled her love for travel and sparked a new love for food systems. During her travels, she completed a capstone project on food availability in each country she went to based on climate, class status, and colonial history. The culmination of her research was put into a cookbook with her favorite recipes from each country, and the historical significance behind each one.
Upon returning to her hometown, she began attending the University of Iowa in 2019 as a Geography major, and intends to graduate in December of 2022. She also works as the marketing assistant at the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature nonprofit.
In her free time, Brooke loves to read, do yoga, create new recipes with the yummy veg from Rainbow Roots, and she is currently building out a 2020 Dodge Ram Promaster to be her home, complete with solar panels, a small kitchenette, and a compost toilet!
In the future Brooke hopes to find a job as a yoga teacher as she completed her 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training Certification in March. She also hopes to continue to use her studies in college to further her knowledge in alleviating food insecurity, supporting local farms, and encouraging healthy diets that are sustainable for the environment (she's been vegan since 2017!)
Kami Schmitt (she/her)
Kami grew up in nearby Solon and graduated in 2009. She has spent the last number of years as a "professional dabbler" - exploring a number of different job interests and skill sets in fields such as biotech, insurance sales, and making surfboards, until she found her wheelhouse in the craft beer industry. Kami lived in South Carolina for the better part of her 20s working as an event coordinator and bartender in a craft beer and select wine store, which afforded her the opportunity to plug into the local foods scene. It was working on her first couple farms in Greenville that drove home the significance of having her hands in supporting and bettering her local community, bringing her home to find Rainbow Roots Farm!
When Kami moved back to Iowa at the end of 2018 she started bartending at George's in downtown Iowa City, as well as working in her two sisters' coffee shop in their hometown. She also spends a good amount of time working property management and home remodeling projects in Cedar Rapids. Kami found Rainbow Roots in 2020, working as a volunteer through the better part of the pandemic - recognizing the great need for clean, community oriented, locally sourced foods.
In what down time she finds, Kami loves learning, physically engaging outdoor activities, talking to strangers, and playing music. She has re-enrolled at the University of Iowa for the fall to continue dabbling, while further developing her interests in sustainability and event management. More than any one end goal, Kami hopes to continue uplifting and building her community; while also embodying the positivity she feels the world is in most radical need of.
Kierra Zapf (she/her)
Kierra was born and raised in Iowa City. She grew up dancing, taking photos, and spending as much time in the outdoors as possible. After graduating from City High School in 2015, Kierra moved to Vail, Colorado where she spent one year as a photographer and the next two years as a certified snowboard instructor. Kierra’s passion and love for operating in nature and working with people expanded during her 3 years in Colorado. It was during this time she found a sense of community and drive. Though her love for the mountains was immense, she was feeling called back to her roots in beautiful Iowa City, Iowa. Grateful for her time in Vail, she packed up and moved back home. Being close to family and surrounded by people of the midwest was exactly what she needed. Since Kierra’s return, she's received her esthetician license and has devoted her free time to wellbeing through yoga, meditation, and healthy eating. Kierra knew it was a sign when she heard that Corbin was hiring her first round of employees at Rainbow Roots Farm. Not only did she love and support everything that Corbin’s farm stands for but felt drawn to work side by side with her childhood friend. Kierra is excited to be a part of a loving community that agriculture has to offer and continue to find new ways to give back and connect to the city that she loves most.
Ethan Hipsher (he/him)
My name is Ethan, I’m 25. Im from new Sharon IA, but currently live in North Liberty. I’m a graphic designer and currently working on two different farms. I’m very outdoorsy so I’m really into camping, hiking, and kayaking. You can find me skateboarding in the summer and snowboarding in the winter. My favorite thing is hang with friends and enjoying an ice cold beer. My future goal is to take my design skills on the road. I wanna explore the country and do van life for a while with my dog.
Breakfast & Nubby
Breakfast and Nubby are two Duroc/Berkshire mix pigs who were saved from slaughter in Washington State. Corbin purchased these ladies for "hanging weight" from a farm and then traveled 38 hours home to Iowa. The pigs have three jobs with Rainbow Roots Farm. The first is to use their noses to till up the ground to reduce tractor use and fertilize when they defecate. The second job is to eat all the veggie scraps, which the farm produces by the hundreds of pounds.
The pigs will also allow the public to meet what they eat and hopefully educate people, in a state where there are more pigs than people, of the environmental and health impacts of eating meat. They will show you how smart they truly are and will roll over for belly rubs for everyone!
Nina is the farm dog! She is 9 years old but still as spry as a puppy. Nina is a pit bull and was adopted from the Cedar Rapids Animal Shelter in 2013. Her job on the farm is to chase rabbits and greet people who come get their veg from the farm. She enjoys air-conditioning and long naps on comfy couches or beds.
Meeko, Roger, & Miso
Meeko (left), Roger (middle), and Miso (right) are the farm cats!
Meeko came to us from Kami, our employee, who lives in an apartment. She was cooped up and sad, so what better life than on a farm?!
Roger came from Witty Kitties in Shueyville. A non-profit animal shelter that helps cats with feline HIV get adopted. Roger is the SWEETEST cat you'll ever meet. 10/10 good boy.
Miso was part of the Iowa City Animal Shelter's Barn Cat Program. He came to the farm in the spring of 2020 and ran away immediately. He was very scared of humans. Roger befriended him and brought him home after we definitely thought we wouldn't see him every again. Now Miso sleeps in bed with us and is a very social, soft, and loving boy!