A food system includes production, processing, distribution, consumption, and waste management. Much like a watershed, it exists whether or not people are aware of it and it doesn’t fit into neat political districts. Our team works to help the social, environmental, and economic features of our food systems to be more equitable, more local, and more sustainable.
Grow: Johnson County
Grow: Johnson County is a hunger-relief and educational farm program based out of Iowa City, IA, designed to improve healthy food access for our area’s most vulnerable residents as well as equip aspiring growers with land-based food production experience. The program utilizes four acres of county-owned land to grow and donate an array of fruits and vegetables highest in demand at local hunger-relief agencies and provide an array of hands-on food production opportunities for community members of all ages and abilities. In 2017, its second growing season, Grow produced 28,500 pounds of food that was freely distributed to 13 local agencies. In 2018, Grow plans to grow and distribute over 40,000 pounds of food to 15 local agencies as well as provide gardening outreach to 2,000 individuals. LEARN MORE
Local Food Procurement for Area Schools
This program provides one-on-one assistance to area schools. It includes procurement facilitation between farmers and schools, recipe development, delivery logistics, and student engagement events. We manage the statewide Farm to School Toolkit resource for K-12 schools who are committed to sourcing food locally.
Iowa Food Hub Managers Working Group
The Food Hub Managers Working brings actively engaged food hub managers together in quarterly meetings, addresses current operating and start‐up challenges and emerging needs for food hub businesses and determines the long term role of a statewide food hub manager’s network in leveraging new funds, creating new opportunities and new partners, and supporting the sustainability of food hubs in Iowa.
LEARN MORE ABOUT A RECENT COLLABORATION
USDA Group GAP in Iowa
Group GAP is a new model of on-farm, food safety certification that reduces the cost to each individual farm, increases retailers’ confidence in growers’ product, and provides more resources to farms. As partners Iowa Food Hub, ISU Extension Region 4 and Iowa Valley RC&D help Eastern Iowa growers take advantage of this program.