Food Insecurity in Johnson County

Thursday, January 14, 2021 - 7:00pm to 8:00pm

As of five years ago, about 14% of Johnson County residents were considered food insecure, meaning that they had limited or uncertain access to certain and nutritious food. After nearly a year of COVID-19 affecting employment and housing, those numbers are much greater. In this conversation, Obermann Center Director Teresa Mangum will talk with panelists about how food insecurity is experienced by UI students, children, and families in our local schools and others who are grappling with this urgent issue. Panelists will share the myriad and sometimes unforeseen impacts of food insecurity on individuals, including impacts on mental health and cognitive development. Finally, we’ll discuss ways that we can all contribute to the well-being of our community.


  • Patrick Brady, PhD candidate in Community and Behavioral Health, is working with the Iowa Department of Public Health and the Iowa Food Bank Association to evaluate how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted older Iowans' ability to get enough food and to develop recommendations to better meet the needs of food insecure older Iowans.
  • Katharine Broton, Assistant Professor, Educational Policy & Leadership, examines the role of poverty and inequality in higher education. She is the author of Food Insecurity on Campus: Action and Intervention (2020).
  • Joan VandenBerg, Youth and Family Development Coordinator for the Iowa City Community School District.
  • Sarah Witry, Visiting Assistant Professor in the UI School of Social Work and recent Director of Services at CommUnity, where she oversaw the Crisis Intervention and Food Bank departments and led COVID-19 initiatives, including a collaborative county-wide food delivery program.

This virtual event is free and open to all.

Co-sponsored by the Iowa City Public Library and the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact Erin Hackathorn in advance at or (319) 335-4034.



Food Insecurity Resources and Opportunities: