The Real Deal Farm to School at a Nebraska farm

Three years ago, family farmers Robert and Kristine Bernt of Clear Creek Organic Farm weren’t sure what to make of farm to school. They were part of a gathering of food producers, rural organizations and food advocates who joined the Center of Rural Affairs at a fire hall in Ord, Neb., to discuss farm to school efforts happening in the region. And they, along with others around the table, were concerned that the perceived complexities of selling local products to school cafeterias would limit farm to school activities in the state.

But thanks to the dedication of numerous farm to school champions like those gathered that day in the fire hall, these concerns have significantly diminished.

Making Nebraska’s food system more resilient in the face of an uncertain climate

Ask anyone if they’ve noticed weather patterns becoming increasingly erratic over the last 20 years and the answer is usually a resounding “yes!”

Extreme precipitation events, prolonged periods of drought, and scorching summer temperatures are all on the rise in the United States and worldwide. In the Great Plains region, droughts, floods and rising temperatures are already cutting crop yields. These erratic weather patterns are projected to reduce agricultural yields and livestock productivity even further as we move into the next 40 years.

Gardens keep Santee Sioux traditions alive

About two hours west of Sioux City, Iowa, we dropped by the Santee Sioux Reservation to tag along with LeAnn Red Owl while she visits gardens throughout the community.

In the summer of 2016, LeAnn was one of the Center for Rural Affairs community food specialists who worked alongside members of the Santee Sioux and Omaha Tribes to improve access to fresh, nutritious food grown in their own communities, often in their own backyards.

Celebrate National Farm to School Month in October

Sadly, many school aged children do not know where their food comes from. In fact neither do many adults. According to a survey commissioned by the U.S Farmers and Ranchers Alliance, 72% of consumers know nothing or very little about farming or ranching.
But Farm to School Programs are trying to change that. Thirty million kids eat school lunch every day. More than 42,000 schools participate nationwide in Farm to School initiatives reaching an estimated 23.6 million children.