2023 Grant Recipients

Johnson County received 126 applications for the $100,000 available for this grant cycle. After careful review, scoring, and consideration, the Food Policy Council and Local Foods Staff, with approval from the Board of Supervisors, selected the following farms, food businesses, and nonprofits to receive Community Food and Farm Grant funding:

El Azul, located in North Liberty, is being awarded $10,000 to purchase equipment to process, store, and display local produce and meat at their new Latino market.

IC Compassion, located in Iowa City, is being awarded $15,000 for the Global Food Project to purchase supplies, equipment, and infrastructure to increase production capacity, specifically for gardeners that will be growing for sale next year and in the future.

Williams Topsoil, located in Solon, is being awarded $15,000 to purchase supplies, equipment, and infrastructure to increase their capacity to raise and sell chickens and increase the amount of meat produced locally.

Poimen Bosko Foods, located in Tiffin, is being awarded $15,000 to build or purchase a mobile kitchen/food trailer and equipment to expand their business and increase the amount of meals produced locally.

Center for Worker Justice, located in Iowa City, is being awarded $5,000 to host educational workshops for immigrant entrepreneurs seeking to start or expand their food or farm businesses.

Echollective Farm, located in Mechanicsville, is being awarded $15,000 for infrastructure and equipment to increase their capacity to harvest and store local foods, expand the number of weeks of food production and sales, and to fund professional development opportunities for farm workers.

Nam and Anna’s Garden, located in Iowa City, is being awarded $8,500 to construct greenhouse infrastructure to extend the number of weeks that they can grow and sell food and to increase access to ethnic/Asian fruits and vegetables.

Over the Moon Farm and Flowers, located in Coggon, is being awarded $14,000 to purchase equipment and infrastructure to increase their capacity to raise and produce culturally significant Pekin duck.

Simon Bwayo, located in Iowa City, is being awarded $2,500 to purchase tilling equipment to increase his production capacity.


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Johnson County created the Community Food and Farm Grant in response to COVID-19’s impacts on our local food system. Funding comes from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The Johnson County Board of Supervisors allocated $200,000 to support local food initiatives to increase food security. Up to $100,000 is available for this grant cycle.

The pandemic impacted small farms, small food businesses, and households, affecting how food is grown, sold, and accessed. The following impacts show a need to both increase access to fresh food and support the small farms and food businesses who feed our community.

Impact on Small Farms
  • Increased costs
  • Loss of market channels
  • Lack of labor force
  • Lacked access to capital, resources, and risk management tools before COVID-19 which made impacts worse
Impact on Small Food Businesses
  • Periods of shutdown
  • Decreased revenue
  • Increased costs
Impact on Households
  • Increased food insecurity due to income loss and the closure of sites where residents eat each day
  • Low-income households more at risk of food insecurity 


Grant Overview


Foodshed: a region where there is a flow of food from where it is grown to where it is eaten. There are food and farm businesses found in East Central Iowa and nearby counties who produce food that feeds Johnson County residents. These businesses are all a part of the Johnson County foodshed.

Community-based food: food produced locally for human consumption that celebrates culture, is grown or raised in a way that increases the health of environmental resources, and is place-based. 

Sliding Scale: costs for products or services are varied and dependent on the customer’s ability to pay, often determined through annual income and/or total wealth.


Increase community-based food production, processing, and distribution capacity to strengthen food security in Johnson County, IA.

Funding Range

Applicants can request $1,000 - $25,000. Smaller amounts than requested may be awarded.

Funding Goals

Projects must address at least two of the following goals:

  • Goal 1:  Farm and food businesses grow, process, preserve, or cook more food in the Johnson County foodshed 
  • Goal 2:  Farm and food businesses expand sales, markets, and/or jobs through education, professional or peer support services, and/or worker benefits
  • Goal 3: Low-income communities have more opportunities to access community-based food through free food distribution sites, deliveries, community gardens, and/or income-based payment options


Farms, food businesses, nonprofits, and individuals who produce, process, or distribute community-based food in Johnson County, IA OR enable these activities are eligible.

  • Projects must impact residents of Johnson County, IA
  • Projects must include food product(s) grown or raised in the Johnson County foodshed
  • Project entities must receive less than $1 million in gross income annually (sales, grants, and/or donations)

Eligible Costs

Projects could include but are not limited to: 

  • Equipment and supplies for growing, processing, and distributing food
  • Creation of new food distribution sites
  • Neighborhood projects that help people grow or access food
  • Help with business plans, marketing, grants, food license applications
  • Business support (administrative fees, legal, education, transportation, and childcare costs)
  • Adding income-based payment options to your business (SNAP/EBT or sliding scale)
  • Business mentorships

Ineligible Costs

  • Individual or personal use only gardens
  • Bulk food purchases 
    • Funding is available for bulk food purchases through the Local Food Purchasing Assistance and Local Food for Schools programs. We encourage you to partner with organizations leading these programs. Please visit the website https://iowalfpa.org/ for more information.
  • Other costs may be found ineligible due to American Rescue Plan Act guidelines.


Johnson County encourages participation from communities who have been denied equitable access to fresh food and/or capital needed to start and sustain thriving farms and food businesses. This includes Black, Indigenous, multiracial, and other people of color, people who are LGBTQIA+, female identifying people, and people with disabilities. 

This lack of access has caused more severe economic impacts related to COVID-19. These communities best know how to address their needs, and we want to support their leadership and ownership across the food system.


All grantees will be expected to provide information for ARPA reporting and program evaluation. Reporting expectations include: 

  • Allow site visit for grant reviewers and the Board of Supervisors if requested
  • Contribute 1-2 photos or videos for Johnson County media
  • Collect data and share information on the grant’s impact and expenditures


Award announcement and other deadlines may change. Eligible applicants will be informed of all changes.

  • Application Deadline: Friday, October 28, 2022 at 4:30 PM 
  • Announcement of Awards: February 2023
  • Deadline to Spend Funds: December 31, 2023


Application Information

Applications are available in English, Spanish, Arabic, and French. If you need the application translated into an additional language, please email [email protected] Applications were open from September 28, 2022 to October 28, 2022 at 4:30 PM. The application window is now closed. 

1. Start Your Application 

To start an online application, create an account with an email address in Johnson County’s online portal.

To begin an application, click here.

2. Resume Your Application.  

You can access saved and submitted applications in the online portal using this link.

3. Review Your Application.

After submitting an application, you will receive an email confirming your submission. If you notice errors in your application, please contact [email protected] Do not submit multiple applications.

4. Check Your Email

You will receive updates on your application on the email that you provide. Grant reviewers may also contact your email to request more information to assist with their review.

Application Clinics

Come to a clinic to learn more, ask questions, and receive help.

Center for Workers Justice | 1556 S 1st Ave #C, Iowa City, IA 52240

  • Tuesday, October 11, 2:00-4:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday, October 12, 5:00-7:00 p.m.
  • Spanish and Arabic interpretation available.

IC Compassion | 1035 Wade St., Iowa City, IA 52240

  • Tuesday, October 18, 6:00-8:00 p.m.
  • French and Spanish Interpretation available.

Application Evaluation 

Johnson County anticipates funding a maximum of 10 applicants. This maximum number of applicants will allow Johnson County Local Foods Staff to work one on one with grantees and provide the level of support needed for this grant cycle.

All applications will be reviewed and scored by Johnson County staff and a committee of members from the Johnson County Food Policy Council. Scores will be used to create a final funding recommendation from the Council and from staff. The funding recommendation will be presented to the Board of Supervisors for approval.

 Applications will be scored based on the following criteria:

  • Grant Goals Alignment
  • Project Impact
  • Project Readiness 


If you have questions, need assistance with the application, or need translation or interpretation services, please contact Johnson County Local Foods Staff at [email protected] or 319-688-5840.