Java John's owner, Mary Klimesh, tells customers about the artwork hanging throughout her business. (Submitted photo)
Java John's owner, Mary Klimesh, tells customers about the artwork hanging throughout her business. (Submitted photo)
Java John’s coffee shop and the Rubaiyat Restaurant have had a change of scenery in their businesses with the installation of artwork provided by Northeast Iowa RC&D.  

Photographer Jessica Rilling of Cedar Rapids was hired by the RC&D to capture images of local foods, local producers and farmers markets from around Northeast Iowa.

Rilling’s photos were used to create a series of large scale prints and other promotional materials designed by the Northeast Iowa RC&D.
“This artwork gets people to ‘think Spring’ and excites them for the upcoming farmers market season, Mary Klimesh (owner of Java John’s) said. “It’s not that far away.”

“Jessica’s photos give our customers the chance to see the face behind the local food we serve,” said Kim Bonnett of the Rubaiyat Restaurant -- a business that features local art and whose menu features local produce and meats.  

Rilling visited twenty eastern Iowa farms over the course of the 2013 growing season. Her goal was to capture the character of eastern Iowa’s local food growers, show the high quality of their products and help local food consumers understand where the food they buy at local farmers markets originates.  

She noted, “I found myself driven to capture honest images that would help connect people to the producers. It was unbelievable to think that these things – the families, the land, the beautiful and complex rhythm of ethical farming – could somehow be separated from our food culture.”
More of these farmers’ market images will be featured in other businesses around Decorah and across Northeast Iowa as farmers market season draws nearer.

“Our organization focuses on enriching the region through our natural resources and our goal for this project mirrors that,” said Amanda Streeper, RC&D Program Manager, “We think Northeast Iowa does farmers markets best. These images will help us create a cohesive regional marketing campaign for farmers markets to help all the farmers markets across our seven county region.”  

Streeper noted that a series of greeting cards has also been created from Rilling’s photos. These greeting cards will be available for purchase at area businesses including the Oneota Food Coop, Winneshiek County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau and the Driftless Area Wetlands Centre in Marquette.

All the proceeds from the sale of these cards will further promote the local food producers and their farmers markets.  

This project was a collaborative effort led by the Iowa League of Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) Councils and individual RC&D organizations across Iowa, including Northeast Iowa RC&D.