Increasing access to fresh fruits and vegetables in Iowa's communities.
Nourish Iowa VISTA Project is part of the University of Northern Iowa's Center for Energy and Environmental Education's Local Food Program. The Nourish Iowa VISTA Project focuses on food access initiatives. Since its founding in 2015, the Nourish Iowa VISTA Project has grown to encompass seven sub-sites across the state of Iowa.
The Nourish Iowa VISTA Project currently offers one VISTA Leader position, thirteen year long VISTA member positions, and nine Summer Associate positions. Our capacity building projects incorporate land access, transportation, and financial support as integral to abundant food access and each person's opportunity to choose the foods they eat.
The Nourish Iowa VISTA Project was started by the University of Northern Iowa's Center for Energy & Environmental Education (CEEE) Director, Kamyar Enshayan, in 2015. The project is a part of the Center's Local Food Program. At its conception, the Nourish Iowa was the result of an idea sprouted by University of Northern Iowa (UNI) students in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Students planned to run a mobile produce stand and as the work began, it was concluded that in order for the project to continue additional help was needed. Nourish Iowa was created to build capacity for this and other community initiatives to increase access to local food.
In the fall of 2015, there were just two VISTA members. They continued to build upon the work of the UNI students, turning the mobile produce stand into what would become today's Greens to Go Produce Stand, now run by We Arose Co-op in Waterloo, Iowa. Initial first projects also included the creation of a garden program at Peoples Free Community Health Clinic and building upon the garden program at the Northeast Iowa Food Bank, both in Waterloo, Iowa.
Now, seven years after its beginning, the CFS VISTA Project in Iowa has grown significantly. Expanding in sites, year long VISTA member and Summer Associate positions, and staff. Nourish Iowa is flourishing as members and organizations continue to work towards an Iowan future with a more just food system.
We are working to increase food access for all Iowans, especially those who experience food insecurity, and believe in abundant, accessible, equitable food and land access.
We envision a more just and equitable food future, in which all Iowans have bountiful access to culturally-relevant, locally grown and produced food.