Smith honored with Bob Steffen Pioneer Award

Farm and Food

Sandra Renner, Farm and Community director,, 402.687.2100 ext. 1009; or Rhea Landholm, brand marketing and communications manager,, 402.687.2100 ext 1025

LYONS, NEBRASKA – The Center for Rural Affairs has chosen Sarah Smith, of Lincoln, to receive the 2020 Bob Steffen Pioneer Award.

The Bob Steffen Pioneer Award is bestowed by the Center each year to a person or persons who work with the Center to make extraordinary contributions in building community engagement within their own communities. People who receive this award provide a model for innovation, stewardship, or community development.

“Sarah has worked tirelessly on advancing farm to school efforts in the state since 2013,” said Sandra Renner, Farm and Community director with the Center for Rural Affairs. “Today, because of Sarah, multi-organizational farm to school leadership exists in Nebraska.”

The award winner’s work began when she created a pilot program at the Center to launch farm to school in Nebraska. She currently is the fresh fruit and vegetable and local foods consultant at the Nebraska Department of Education and works in partnership with the National Farm to School Network.

Smith is a member of the Nebraska Food Council steering committee, and was pivotal in organizing a task force to conduct a legislative interim study on farm to school.

“In addition, Sarah has continued to inspire other organizations to conduct farm to school work by offering guidance and communication on what is happening at the national level and strengthening programs at the state level,” Renner said. “Sarah’s efforts have solidified events such as Nebraska Thursdays and Harvest of the Month as well as led to Nebraska victories in the 2019 and 2020 Mountain Plains Crunch Offs.”

Smith is working in partnership with Nebraska Extension and other organizations, such as the Center, to expand the state farm to school network.

No award ceremony will be held this year due to the pandemic.

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