Map of Johnson County Poor Farm Future Plans
Official Logo Art of Johnson County Iowa

The New Century Farm includes expansion of the current non-profit, local food production with upgrades to the historic building area to provide better public access. Installation of three major trails throughout the site that connect to Iowa City’s Hunter’s Run Park, changes to the land use that allow for smaller plots to be leased to beginning farmers, a new farm facility that will provide training to farmers, and a housing development.

‚ÄčThe New Century Farm

In 2016, the Johnson County Board of Supervisors hired HBK Engineering and Iowa Valley RC&D to conduct a Master Planning process that would provide a 10 year vision for the site. Completed in November of 2017, the Master Plan engaged local residents and professionals, and analyzed spatial data to create concepts that aligned with the Supervisors’ criteria, the site must include:

  • Conservation
  • Education
  • Historic Preservation
  • Housing
  • Local Foods
  • Recreation/Trails

The New Century Farm was selected as a marker of Johnson County’s commitment to preserving history, educating the public, providing recreation areas, and training beginning farmers. 2018 marks the first year in which those changes will be seen and we are very excited to share them with you!

Year One

The Historic Poor Farm has been farmed by a private entity for the past few decades and starting in 2015, the County leased 2? acres of land to GROW: Johnson County to begin growing food to donate to local food pantries in the area. In 2016, the Iowa Global Food Project began leasing ~4 acres of land to provide garden spaces for immigrant communities to grow food from their native countries.
Starting this year, the Historic Poor Farm will begin upgrading the West Barn to ensure it’s stability and extend it’s life as a gathering space for future open-air events. There will also be an entrance sign built to mark the northwest entrance for visitors and volunteers. Changes to the land will begin soon as a large pollinator habitat will be established later in the year. All of these changes are documented in the Phase Two report of the Master Plan.

Welcome sign to the Johnson County Historic Poor Farm