Iowa’s Resource Conservation & Development (RC&D) programs do an incredible amount of work in expanding the market for local foods, growing economic development, spotlighting the state’s Scenic Byways and more.

Read on for news from the Iowa Valley RC&D about further strengthening local foods initiatives through a new hire, as well as an upcoming program for farmers market managers:

Jake Kundert

Iowa Valley RC&D is pleased to announce that Jake Kundert of Solon, Iowa has been hired as their new Local Foods Associate.

Together with Food System Director Jason Grimm, Kundert will work at a local and regional level to advance the Iowa Valley RC&D’s Regional Food System Initiative. Kundert will be leading the expansion of Iowa Kitchen Connect (a project that matches food entrepreneurs to kitchen space first launched in Iowa City) to four Iowa communities including Des Moines and Dubuque. He will also be supporting the Linn County Food Systems Council, assisting with production for the Grow: Johnson County initiative, and contributing to the Lettuce Grow Markets Toolkit for Iowa’s farmers market managers.

Kundert has a Masters in Public Health from the University of Iowa and brings expertise in community engagement, marketing, research, and small-scale vegetable farming on both the Iowa landscape and abroad.

Iowa Valley Resource Conservation & Development is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit serving a six-county region in East Central Iowa (Benton, Iowa, Johnson, Linn, Poweshiek, Tama Counties and the Meskwaki Nation). The RC&D helps strengthen the area food system, assists local communities to grow their economies, fosters protection and enhancement of natural resources, and works to develop awareness for art, history, and culture in the region.

With the recent snowfall in Iowa it’s easy to forget that the summer farmers market season is only six weeks away. Farmers market managers are busy signing up their vendors and finalizing logistics for their markets. Many, if not most, of these market managers are volunteers, not paid staff, and finding time for professional development can be difficult. Two Eastern Iowa nonprofits are encouraging market managers, paid staff or not, to participate in this March 30th area training.

Jason Grimm and one of the family’s dogs are shown at the family farm near Williamsburg. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

Iowa Valley RC&D (Amana) and Northeast Iowa RC&D (Postville) are hosting a free Lettuce Grow Markets Training Event for farmers market managers Thursday, March 30th at the Williamsburg Public Library. Focus for this training will be on federal and state food assistance programs that benefit seniors, women, infants and children and community members who use the SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). Participants will learn how best to assist vendors, accept credit and debit cards, and how to successfully share program details with customers. Market coordinators from the Iowa City Farmers Market and the Winneshiek Farmers Market will be speaking about the programs and their effectiveness.

Iowa Valley RC&D Food System Director Jason Grimm and Northeast Iowa RC&D Regional Farmers Market Coordinator Josh Dansdill are hosting the training which will also be broadcast statewide for managers who want to participate remotely.

Lettuce Grow Markets Training for Farmers Market Managers
Thursday, March 30th  2 pm – 4 pm

Williamsburg Public Library
300 West State Street, Williamsburg, Iowa 52361

For details and to register visit the Iowa Valley RC&D ( or Northeast Iowa RC&D ( websites. Market managers can attend the training at the Williamsburg Public Library or attend remotely by registering online at to participate.