Community Food

Food is a central part of all of our lives. Where our food comes from matters - for our health, for the vitality of our communities, for our wallets, and for the environment.

We work with rural communities to build healthy, sustainable, local food systems. Our goal is to create food production and distribution systems that provide affordable fresh food for all, protect the environment, and keep money circulating in the local economy.

Community food systems take many forms, but they all have the same purpose: to connect the local people who grow and make food with the local people who eat it. At the Center for Rural Affairs, we work on several different ways to connect farmers and consumers. 

Community Food Notes

 

Greenhouse to Cafeteria

Center for Rural Affairs launched the Greenhouse to Cafeteria program in 2015 after finding that many schools in Nebraska had greenhouses, but only used those greenhouses for starting perennials or growing holiday plants. Some were even empty - a missed opportunity for Nebraska’s kids.

The program assists schools in teaching valuable lessons as the kids to start, tend, and harvest plants. Greenhouses transform into edible organic gardens that provide food for the school cafeteria, educate students about where food comes from, and teach entrepreneurial skills.

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Growing Healthy Food Systems

This issue brief anchors a project to create a food policy council for Nebraska. It is intended to get you thinking about the opportunities and challenges to be faced in developing food policy councils. The data is Nebraska-specific, but you can use the structure and ideas to tackle the same quest in your location.

Good food policy and effective coordination between our food system’s stakeholders will produce strong farms, a resilient food economy, and a healthy future for all residents - whether in Nebraska or your location. Together, we can build a better food system. 

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There’s a buzz about Outhouse Honey Farm

Along a gravel road on the Omaha Reservation is a white house surrounded by gardens and fruit trees.

On one side of the property is an aging outhouse – the namesake of the small operation, Outhouse Honey Farm.

Bees in the outhouse

Four years ago, owner Lowell Osborne noted something peculiar.

“On the side of the outhouse, there were a whole lot of bees going in and out of that big hole,” he said. “I looked, and it was just full of bees in there.”

Local food served on school lunch trays nationwide

October is National Farm to School Month, a time to recognize the importance of improving child nutrition, supporting local economies, and educating communities about the origins of their food.

In 2016, the Center for Rural Affairs joined more than 220 organizations nationwide to promote farm to school throughout October. This year marks the seventh year for National Farm to School Month, designated by Congress to bring awareness to the growing importance of these programs in child nutrition, local economies, and education.