388: Jess Mazour on Building a Resilient Food System.

Reinforcing local food and ag in the heartland of America.

Jess is a Farm & Environment Organizer for Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (CCI), a 5,000-member non-profit. She organizes with local communities to develops statewide strategies to stop corporate factory farms from building.  In 2013-2015 Jess worked with a 10-state coalition of farm and ranch groups to develop a new narrative around Food and Ag Justice. Jess also built a citizen lobby team at the Iowa Statehouse to lobby for policies that build a food and ag system that works for farmers, eaters, workers, and the environment.

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At home Jess is a beginning urban farmer in Des Moines selling heirloom plants, local produce, and other homemade/homegrown goods at a local farmers market.

In This Podcast:

There can be no doubt that Jess Mazour is dedicated to building a better food system – and she is doing it for those that grow food, those that eat it, and to protect the communities and environment that surround farms.  Her passion is strong and is a resource for families and farmers in Iowa as she helps educate and empower the “little guys” to work together to benefit the whole community.


Listen in and learn about:


  • Why she is so focused on making a change in the food system
  • Growing up in rural Iowa and how this community is so connected to Farming
  • Starting up with Citizens for Community Improvement
  • What is wrong in the food system
  • How hog farming is affecting the community
  • How small town are being affected by the new model of farming
  • Why Iowa is losing 5 tons of soil a year
  • The problem with manure from the factory farms
  • Looking for a just solution that connects to our values
  • Food should nourish our bodies and souls
  • 500 ranchers, farmers, workers and eaters submitted their most important values
  • The compilation document that summarized their points
  • Taking the power back to the community
  • Three strategies on how people can make a difference
  • What the word “narrative” means

As well as:

  • Her failure – When she was ready to give up growing tomatoes
  • Her success – Her career at Citizens for Community Improvement
  • Her drive – Watching people recognize their power
  • An Epic Moment – The time she helped fight off a huge pork slaughterhouse despite a City Council approval
  • Her advice – Get Involved

Jess’s Podcast recommendations:

Democracy Now Podcast with Amy Goodwin and Juan Gonzales

How to reach Jess: 

Website: www.iowacci.org

Email: jess@iowacci.org



To learn more about more about Growing Your Own Food
visit IWantToGarden.com

And to see the I’m an Urban Farmer line
visit ImAnUrbanFarmer.com

Note: You can also find these books mentioned above at one of our favorite local independent bookstores and know that you are supporting a small business.

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