LYONS, NEBRASKA – A Nebraska school greenhouse demonstrating excellence in food production and exemplary education will receive the second Greenhouse to Cafeteria Award early next year, presented by the Center for Rural Affairs, in collaboration with Nebraska FFA.
Applicants are judged on categories including diversity and quantity of produce grown, water and input management, student involvement, community involvement, and more.
Nebraska schools can now apply, and must submit an application to be considered for the award; found at cfra.org/greenhouse-cafeteria. The deadline is 5 p.m. CST, on Jan. 27, 2023.
In 2019, the Center began providing technical assistance to school greenhouse programs and is seeking to grow food production in agriculture education throughout Nebraska.
“Our goal is to spread resources and knowledge on food cultivation throughout the state and to showcase schools who are excelling in this area,” said Justin Carter, project associate with the Center. “We want to see greenhouse grown foods supplying cafeterias and to help students discover new opportunities in specialty crop production.”
While the Center strives to assist schools, staff recognizes existing programs already supply fresh food to Nebraska school lunchrooms.
“With this award, we hope to lift up these schools to show their achievements and offer an example of outstanding production education,” Carter said. “Down the road, we would like to encourage mentorship and collaboration between schools to multiply greenhouse programs across the state.”
In 2021, Nebraska Christian Schools was chosen as the first Greenhouse to Cafeteria award winner. The school was chosen based on exemplary student leadership in the greenhouse as well as unique community partnerships with local farms and nonprofits. The runner up was Litchfield Public Schools.
In 2023, the award will be presented at the state FFA convention. Winners will be provided a financial award to procure equipment or supplies for programs, as well as the Greenhouse to Cafeteria trophy.