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  • Writer's pictureWill Kapp

World Cultures Uniting Local Communities

Hello! My name is Will Kapp and I am the new manager of the Global Food Project and the newest employee of IC Compassion. I am a newcomer to both, but am looking forward to the opportunity to continue developing the Global Food Project (GFP) into a program that can serve the community for many years. I was raised in Iowa City and have a firm belief that our community has so much to offer and gain by opening up to everyone who is here.

For those unfamiliar with the program, the Global Food Project is a community garden program that operates at the Johnson County Historic Poor Farm, located just west of Hwy. 218 on Melrose Ave. GFP connects new immigrant and refugee families with established Iowans by providing plots where people can grow food for themselves and their families while connecting with other local families. In addition to garden plots, GFP hosts community events and workshops about growing food in Iowa, as it is most likely a very different environment than many of the families are used to!

I grew up in Iowa City and graduated from City High in 2004. After high school I spent nearly a decade travelling, spending roughly half my time working on vegetable farms in Iowa, Minnesota and Washington while working in schools as a paraeducator. After settling back in Iowa City, I pursued a BA in English and a teaching license at the University of Iowa and spent three years teaching 8th grade Language Arts at Northwest Junior High in Coralville. Along the way, I also had a child with my partner Elizabeth.

One of my main goals with this newly created position is to help people understand the richness of our community. During my time at Northwest, I had the opportunity to experience the diversity that the area has to offer. Unfortunately, my experience is fairly uncommon in our community. I have spoken with so many people who are surprised to find out that there are such large populations of folks from across the world living in the Iowa City area. This is because many portions of the community who have been here for generations have little daily interaction with the local immigrant community.

The Global Food Project is in a unique position to provide an opportunity for community building between immigrant populations and the community at large. Families that represent different communities in the Iowa City area are able to work in neighboring plots, sharing food and gardening traditions as well as their experiences. In a post-Covid future, we hope to once again host community events at the Poor Farm to highlight the diverse food traditions of the families that are growing with the Global Food Project.

I can’t wait to get to know all of you in the IC Compassion community. Please reach out to me at with any questions and let me know if you know someone who would be a good fit for a garden plot. It doesn’t look like it now, but spring is just around the corner!

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