Priority Food System Development Projects Selected for 2016-2018

After a year of local food system evaluation, Dubuque Eats Well (DEW) has selected five priority projects to advance in 2016-2018. The priority projects were selected through the Agricultural Urbanism Toolkit -a strategic food system development process facilitated by Iowa State University Community Design Lab.  Learn more about The Agricultural Urbanism Toolkit Here.

Project groups are now convening monthly to further develop & roll out projects. Click on the links below to learn more:

  • Bee Branch Orchard Design
  • Farm to School Capacity Building & Outreach
  • Farm to Institution Evaluation & Promotion
  • Sinsinawa Mound Cooperative Farm
  • Double Up Food Bucks Promotion & Capacity Building

To get involved with a project group contact ISU Design Fellow Courtney Long at

Upper Bee Branch Food Forest

The Bee Branch Creek Restoration Project involves replacing almost one-mile of storm sewer in downtown Dubuque with a creek and floodplain to allow stormwater to move through the area without flooding properties nearby. Included in the City’s design for the upper portion of the Bee Branch is a small public orchard nestled within 2,300-feet of landscaping and green space.

The goal of the Bee Branch Food Forest Project Team is to partner with the City to foster community engagement around the food forest.  This includes the design of consistent and engaging educational signage and programming.  The team will also research best practices for volunteer engagement, educational programs, and curriculum that can be utilized in the food forest.

See how the public orchard fits into the Upper Bee Branch Creek Restoration project design in the video below:

Farm to School Capacity Building & Outreach

Farm to School is about more than including local food in school lunch.  It’s also about integrating food and farm education into the classroom through experiential learning: school gardens, taste tests, farm field trips, hands-on cooking activities and more.

The goal of the Farm to School project team is to raise awareness of the benefits of farm to school activities by championing local teachers taking small steps to get informed, get involved, and take action to advance farm to school in the Dubuque area. The group is also focused on increasing understanding and awareness of various resources and best practices for integrating farm to school policies and programs into area schools and classrooms.

Farm to Institution

Each year institutions including universities, hospitals, and grocery stores spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on food. What would the impact be if those institutions committed a portion of those dollars to buying from local farmers?
The goal of the Farm to Institution Project Team is to understand the potential for institutional local purchases and quantify the benefits of institutional purchases if made at the local level. Additionally, this team will help connect and develop a network between producers, aggregators and institutional buyers through events and meetings to understand the current constraints and potential possibilities for increasing our local purchases at the institutional level.

Sinsinawa Mound Cooperative Farm

The Sinsinawa Dominicans are a community of women that have been rooted in Southwest Wisconsin’s rural landscape since 1847. Just 10 minutes from downtown Dubuque, The Sinsinawa Motherhouse and Conference Center are located on 450 acres of woodlands, wetlands, prairie, and farmland which the sisters wish to steward in a manner that is complementary to the land and useful as farmland. To this end, the Dominican Sisters have begun working in partnership with individuals, groups and partners in Iowa and Wisconsin to develop plans for a cooperative farm to provide access to land and tools for socially disadvantaged beginning farmers.

The Cooperative Farm Project Team is dedicated to assisting Sinsinawa in its vision to create a concept design for the 12 acres of vegetable and 20 acres of grazing land and structures related to the master plan developed for the cooperative farm.  In addition, the team will work together to find best practices for beginning farmer programs in Wisconsin and Iowa in both grazing, vegetable production, and conservation practices. The team will also help develop strategic partnerships and recruitment for mentors and mentees to farm on-site at Sinsinawa.

Double Up Food Bucks Promotion & Capacity Building

Double Up Food Bucks (DUFB) is a healthy food incentives program that matches every SNAP dollar spent at Farmers’ Market with an additional $1 for fresh fruits & vegetables.  Successfully piloted in over 140 communities nationwide, In 2016, Dubuque Farmers’ Market joined 5 other markets and Iowa Healthiest State Initiative to pilot the first Iowa DUFB program. The goal of the Double Up Food Bucks project group is to increase awareness and support of the program among potential participants and supporters.
This will also include the development of a “kit of parts” that articulates the process and steps Dubuque has gone through for a successful program.  This can be used as a transferable tool for communities who seek to utilize the Double Up Bucks program in the future.




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