Sen. Cory Booker returns to eastern Iowa after ‘a decisive moment’ for his campaign

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Climate Change Forum with Cory Booker

Groundswell Cafe, 201 3rd Ave SW, Cedar Rapids — Monday, Oct. 7 at 5:30 p.m.

A conversation with Cory Booker

Iowa Memorial Union — Monday, Oct. 7 at 7:30 p.m.

Sen. Cory Booker on Political Party Live! podcast in Iowa City. June 8, 2019. — Zak Neumann/Little Village

Sen. Cory Booker is returning to Cedar Rapids and Iowa City on Monday. The New Jersey senator’s campaign for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination gained a new lease on life at the end of last month, when it reached a fundraising goal of $1.7 million, Booker announced on Sept. 21.

Booker described reaching that goal as “a decisive moment for our campaign,” and his campaign manager told reporters the senator would drop out of the race if the goal wasn’t met.

Booker’s stops in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City are part of a four-day tour of the state.

At 5:30 p.m., Booker will be at the Groundswell Cafe in Cedar Rapids for a climate change forum with State Sen. Rob Hogg. Groundswell is also celebrating its first anniversary on Monday. The cafe was opened by Matthew 25 last October.

The nonprofit Matthew 25 works on issues related to healthy food access, housing and education on the west side of Cedar Rapids. In 2012, Matthew 25 opened Cultivate Hope Urban Farm near downtown Cedar Rapids. It was the first urban farm in the state. Booker will tour the farm before the event at the cafe.

Six years after starting the farm on land that was otherwise unusable after the 2008 flood, Matthew 25 opened a farmers market to sell the fruits and vegetables produced on the farm at prices affordable to people who often don’t have access to fresh produce. A year later, it opened the Groundswell Cafe, the first pay-it-forward cafe in Iowa. Patrons are encouraged to round up their bills to cover the cost of meals for those who can’t afford them.

“Since opening, Groundswell Café has collected more than $19,000 for the pay-it-forward fund and served just over $18,000 in pay-it-forward meals,” Matthew 25 said in a press release last week. Most of the offerings at the cafe are vegetable-based, and there are many vegan options available. Booker is the first major party presidential candidate to be a vegan.

Following the climate forum in Cedar Rapids, the senator will head to Iowa City for what is being called “A conversation with Cory Booker.” The conversation will be held at the Iowa Memorial Union, and begins at 7:30 p.m.

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