Johnson County is a unique region in Iowa where the rural landscape meets our urban centers in many dynamic ways. We are a brilliant mix of talent, experience, and culture. We sit on some of the richest, most fertile soil on earth and our deep agricultural history continues to define us. We identify the wealth of food our region is capable of producing and understand the need for community-based food systems.

The Johnson County Board of Supervisors and staff are committed to building a thriving local food system -- where farmers prosper, businesses succeed, and everyone has access to clean, healthy, delicious food.

What is the Food System?

The food system is defined as the chain of activities connecting food production, processing, distribution, marketing, transportation, access, consumption and waste management.

Local Foods in Johnson County

In the fall of 2015, the Johnson County Board of Supervisors created a new position - The Local Foods and Planning Specialist - as part of the Planning, Development and Sustainability department. In 2018, the Local Foods Coordinator position was moved to the Board of Supervisors Office. The Local Foods Coordinator works closely with the Johnson County Board of Supervisors, county planners and community partners to increase local food production and access in Johnson County. 

By creating this position, Johnson County is acknowledging the importance local foods have in our county, and that by developing a community-based food system, we are supporting all sectors of our environment - from public health to conservation.

Why Local Foods and the County?

The food system has significant, daily impacts on the residents of Johnson County in terms of the environment, the local economy, employment, the transportation system, public health and waste. Everyone eats, therefore everyone is engaged in the food system.  

In Johnson County we see the need to localize our food system - and we are working to create a healthy, intact system that lessens resource inputs, promotes worker's rights and preserves the natural environment. The advancement of our local food system will enhance rural and urban economic development, increase access to healthy, clean food and build equity in our community.


Ilsa DeWald, Local Foods Coordinator

Email: [email protected] 

Phone: 319-688-5840       


Johnson County Administration Building 
Board of Supervisors Office
913 S. Dubuque Street 
Iowa City, IA 52240