Community Food News

Strong regional food systems keep wealth within communities, help students see future

Food and economic security in rural communities is directly related to community development. In many rural areas, food purchased at grocery stores is imported, and dollars spent for this food ultimately end up out of state.

For example, in our home state of Nebraska, our staff found residents spend nearly $5 billion annually on food. Approximately 90 percent of that money leaves the state, as reported in a 2015 Center for Rural Affairs white paper.

From the desk of the Executive Director: Food security takes root in Native communities

Six years ago, three members of our staff started meeting with representatives of the Santee Sioux Nation in Northeast Nebraska. The conversation centered on building food security for tribal members. 

In-depth conversation and careful planning helped everyone who came to the table build trust with one another. Through dialogue, it became clear there was an opportunity to collaborate with local community members.

Cultural connection to food has been lost

Prior to European colonization efforts, the Santee Sioux people in northeast Nebraska were a “food sovereign” nation – they existed in a closed loop system in which they provided for themselves, by their own efforts, from their own land, and without dependence on outside governments and systems. By producing and preserving their own food, the people ensured they had access to abundant sources of healthy food year round.

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