About 1000 Friends of Iowa

Who We Are

1000 Friends of Iowa is a statewide nonprofit organization founded in 1998 and based in Des Moines, Iowa.

1000 Friends of Iowa is the only group in the state focused solely on promoting responsible land use and sustainability in community, state, and federal development decisions. We seek to prevent poorly-planned land use decisions and sprawl through citizen engagement and education about sustainable development. We encourage land use planning that protects farmland and natural areas, and ensures livable communities through implementation of smart growth principles.

Why the name 1000 Friends of Iowa?

The first 1000 Friends group was founded in Oregon, 1000 Friends of Oregon. Since then, almost a dozen 1000 Friends groups have been founded across the US to work on land use and community development issues. The name implies that if 1000 people donated $100 per year, our work would be more economically sustainable.

Although we are not officially affiliated with the other 1000 Friends groups, we work with many organizations across the country that are members of Smart Growth America.


The mission of 1000 Friends of Iowa is to unite Iowans in efforts to:

  • Protect farmland and natural areas
  • Revitalizes our neighborhoods, towns and cities, and
  • Improve quality of life for future generations


Our vision is of a sustainable Iowa where appreciation, preservation, and celebration of the unique qualities of productive soils, dwindling natural areas and culture of the heartland are at the center of all land use and economic decisions.



People United for Responsible Land Use