For more than 10 years community members in Dubuque have been coming together to foster healthy local food systems through collaboration.

The following is a brief history of the Local Food Working Group – Dubuque Eats Well, and the Iowa Regional Food Systems Working Group, a statewide network coordinating local food system development projects across Iowa.


The Iowa Regional Food Systems Working Group, a statewide network for Iowans working to build a more resilient food system was established, engaging 15 regional food groups covering 90 Iowa Counties.


Healthy Local Foods identified as Sustainable Dubuque Community Priority 

During the 2006 City Council goal-setting process, Mayor Buol proposed and received full support from his council colleagues to focus on sustainability as a City top priority. The “Sustainable Dubuque Task Force,” was then established to define 12 key principles to guide the community’s path to a more sustainable future. In 2008 Healthy Local Foods was identified as one of the 12 key principles, recognizing “the benefits of wholesome food from local producers, distributors, farms, gardens and hunters.”


City of Dubuque Hires Sustainability Coordinator


Statewide Local Food & Farm Program Established

The Local Food and Farm Program was established in Iowa in August 2011 as part of the Local Food and Farm Initiative to empower farmers and food entrepreneurs to provide for strong local food economies that promote self-sufficiency and job growth in the agricultural sector and allied sectors of the economy. Read More 

2012 – 2013

Part Time Regional Food Coordinator Hired for Dubuque

In September 2012, a part-time temporary Regional Food Coordinator was hired for the first time to serve Dubuque, Jackson, Deleware and Jones Counties with support from Dubuque County ISU Extension & Outreach and Limestone Bluffs RC&D. The Dubuque Eats Well Local Food Group was formed, and monthly stakeholder meetings were held to share information between various local food stakeholers in the area.

The Regional Food Systems Working Group began tracking the local food activities of various groups thorughout the state as well as the Economic Impacts of Local Foods across the state.


Dubuque selected to participate in Agricultural Urbanism Toolkit.  In 2015, the Downtown Farmers’ Market partnered with various non-profits to increase access to healthy local foods for all residents. Customers can use SNAP benefits to pay for produce through EBT transactions, receive free rides on the Jule public transit when traveling to and from market, and can participate in market tours and cooking demonstrations to learn about healthy lifestyle choices


Through the Agricultural Urbanism Toolkit process, five priority projects were selected as focus areas for 2017-2018 including: Double Up Food Bucks, Farm-to-Institution, Farm-to-School, Edible Forest Design for the Bee Branch, and Collaborative Farm design for Sinsinawa Mound.