Increasing access to fresh fruits and vegetables in Iowa's communities.
The Community Food Security (CFS) VISTA Project in Iowa is part of the Local Food Program, organized by the University of Northern Iowa's Center for Energy and Environmental Education. The CFS VISTA Project in Iowa falls under the Local Food Program's food access branch. Since its founding in 2015, the CFS VISTA Project in Iowa has grown to encompass five sub-sites across the state of Iowa.
The CFS VISTA Project in Iowa 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 Community Food Security (CFS) VISTA Project in Iowa 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 CFS VISTA Project in Iowa was the result of an idea sprouted by University of Northern Iowa (UNI) students in Cedar Falls, Iowa. They planned to run a mobile produce stand, and as the year went on, it was concluded that, in order for the project to continue, additional help was needed. Thus, the CFS VISTA Project in Iowa was created.
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. Before long, in addition to VISTA members serving at the CEEE, members were also located at Feed Iowa First in Cedar Rapids, 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, the CFS VISTA Project in 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.