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Global Food Project connects newly arrived and established Iowa City and Johnson County residents through garden plots located at the Johnson County Historic Poor Farm. We use sustainable practices, provide gardening assistance and resources, and help to build and expand communities. We create a safe, nurturing, and inclusive environment at our gardens for sharing life experiences, building trust between cultures, and embracing the diversity of our fellow Iowans.

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Global Food Project was founded in 2016 by a group of folks seeking to make a more inclusive and interconnected Iowa City. They thought that different communities coming together to grow food would be one way to achieve this. The program was established at the Johnson County Historic Poor Farm with the goal of bringing together the different communities in the area, both new and established. In 2020, the program came under the wing of IC Compassion but the gardens were put on hiatus for that season due to Covid-19. In January 2021, a Program Manager was hired and worked to re-establish the garden program. That year 20 families gardened on 35 plots. Every year since we have increased the number of gardens but have been unable to keep pace with the ever-increasing demand for gardens.

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After two successful seasons under IC Compassion, we continue to grow. In 2023 we will have 55 families on 92 family plots, as well as six returning growers who will be growing for sale on 1/10 acre market plots. We have worked hard on updating our infrastructure by adding a larger and more permanent shelter for storing equipment and providing a space out of the elements; a greenhouse that will allow us to grow more starts and extend our season; a seed saving initiative to explore growing difficult to find African and Latin American crops; and an electric fence to protect the crops of the market growers from the deer and raccoons. The market plot growers will be selling their produce through a variety of avenues including the South District Diversity Market, Field to Family, and a pilot market at the Johnson County Historic Poor Farm.



Although we increase the number of plots we offer every year, the increase in interest continues to outpace us. We plan to continue to update our infrastructure and search for more land to accommodate this demand in the future. As more families choose to scale up with a market plot, we also plan to help those gardeners find larger plots of land in the area to grow more food in the future and help them transition smoothly to becoming independent food farmers in the area. Just as plants want to find a way to grow, so does Global Food Project.



Our gardens are located at the Johnson County Historic Poor Farm

4811 Melrose Ave, Iowa City, IA 52246

You can help grow the Global Food Project.
We appreciate your generosity.
Select "Global Food Project" on our donation page.

2023 Sponsors

Block Supporters

  • Hills Bank

  • MidAmerican Energy

  • Resilient and Sustainable Future for Iowa city

Plot Supporters

  • Iowa City Landscaping

  • Silk House Publishing

  • Amel Ali

  • Marty Monick

  • Mean Mike's Hot Sauce

  • Friends' Collective

  • Swander Woman Productions

  • Trumpet Blossom

  • Field to Family

  • James Investment Group

  • Mike Carberry

  • Calyx Creek

  • Terra Products

  • Laura Bergus

  • Jessica Yoder and Sarah Bigley, Lepic Kroeger Realtors

  • Agape Café

  • ICAD & Iowa City Area Business Partnership

  • Brandi Radcliffe, Realtor

  • Bob Bruskewitz

Partners and Donors

Many thanks to our past, present and future donors, partners & friends

  • Johnson County Board of Supervisors

  • Iowa Valley RC&D

  • Astig Planning

  • Center for Worker Justice

  • Grow Johnson County

  • Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship

  • Beautiful Land Products

  • Community Foundation of Johnson County

  • Calico Farms

  • Quality Care

  • Filaree Garlic Farm

  • Seed Savers Exchange

  • High Mowing Seeds

  • Johnny's Select Seeds

  • 5224GOOD

  • Public Space One

  • FilmScene

  • GreenState Credit Union

  • Theisen's

  • Ceres Trust

  • Johnson County Community Food and Farm Program

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