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Community Food Center

St. John's United Church of Christ (UCC) was founded in 1891 as a member of the German Evangelical Synod of North America. The original 24 x 40 foot church was located on Marshall St. between 14th and 15th streets. It was later moved to the corner of 15th and Marshall streets where the present church is located and the first church building was sold.

In 2017, St John’s UCC, located at 1501 Marshall Street, began renting space to Grow It Forward. The church believed in Grow It Forward’s mission to connect a community through healthy food and health education, allowing Grow It Forward to build a shared-use commercial kitchen on site for food processors to establish their food businesses and also to start a new winter farmers market featuring 20 farmers and food producers.


When St John’s UCC and First Reformed UCC voted to merge into one congregation and use the facility on Waldo Blvd. a decision had to be made what to do with the Marshall Street property. The congregation wanted to preserve its history and legacy and assure that it was not abandoning its neighbors—the facility is located in a USDA designated food desert. 


Grow It Forward was the natural way to keep St John’s legacy alive. In August 2019 the property and facilities of St John’s were given to Grow It Forward. Not only that but the merged UCC’s believed in Grow It Forward so much they gifted $10,000 to start a capital improvement fund so the building would not be a burden. Years ago St John’s, being a German congregation, hosted meals for the German workers at Mirro Factory creating a social center around food.  For many years the neighborhood was blessed with block parties, bake sales, and dinners hosted by St. John’s. Pastor Matt Sauer shared, “The legacy of St John’s as a neighborhood community center is secure with Grow It Forward”.

Community Food Center Supporters

Grow It Forward is grateful to our many supporters who allow the facility to not only be a home for our organization, but to serve as a community center in Manitowoc. Your generous support allows Grow It Forward to live its mission. We thank you!

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