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One goal for Bloomfield: 100 percent energy independence

Of the many lessons learned from the 2016 presidential election, this one cannot be ignored: Americans across the political spectrum are demanding an economic system that better distributes wealth and opportunity. With that demand ringing loud and clear, the next question becomes, “But how?” Local investment in and ownership of renewable energy is a partial answer to that question, especially for rural communities.

Consider these points:

Field navigators are trained to help people understand the basics of health insurance

“What in the world is a field navigator?” This is a question my family and friends asked me in October 2013, and I still get this question from people in my life and from those I encounter on a weekly basis. “Oh, you help people get insurance,” they say. Well, yes that’s part of what I do. However, there’s so much more.

Across the United States there are individuals called “assisters.” Community Action of Nebraska (CAN) applied for and received a federal grant that was disbursed to its agencies to employ assisters called “navigators.” I am employed with Northeast Nebraska Community Action Partnership, Inc. (NENCAP), and use the title “field navigator” in the work I do across Northeast Nebraska.

For Brookings, sustainability is more than a buzzword

For the community of Brookings, S.D., sustainability is more than a buzzword touting efforts to be green. Guided by the Brookings Sustainability Council, the community has adopted a holistic perspective and plan of action toward sustainability.

Together with the members of the council, the city of Brookings recognizes that true sustainability rests in balancing of the economic, environmental and social equity needs of the community today while also keeping these same needs in sight for the residents of tomorrow.

Community engagement is key in clean energy development

When a room fills with 30 people, many driving more than an hour to be there on a beautiful fall evening in the midst of football playoffs, one can assume there is an important matter at hand. This was the case during a recent community energy conversation hosted by the Center for Rural Affairs in Valentine, Neb. On the table was the opportunity for open and candid conversation surrounding the energy future of the county and the state.

Bringing harvest into the classroom

Iowa farmers are in the midst of harvest season, but many are pausing to share the fruits of their labor with local kids. October is Farm to School Month, and activities and events around the state are educating students about eating healthy foods.

Ellen Walsh Rosemann, who owns Farm Table Procurement and Delivery in Harlan, a food hub that distributes and transports food grown around Iowa to schools, said that when kids know where their food comes from, they are more likely to become better educated as consumers.

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