Siouxland Residents share Prestigious Sustainable Agriculture Award - Dalia Mier and Adriana Dungan Receive Bob Steffen Pioneer Award

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Kathie Starkweather,, phone: (402) 617-7946; or John Crabtree,, phone: (402) 687-2103 ext. 1010; or Adriana Dungan,, (402) 494-7067
Kearney, NE – Yesterday, on the eve of the Center for Rural Affairs’ 5th Annual MarketPlace entrepreneurship conference in Kearney, Dalia Mier and Adriana Dungan were honored for their integrity, leadership and their extraordinary efforts to help establish the Siouxland Community Garden Project in South Sioux City. They were both presented with the Center for Rural Affairs’ Bob Steffen Pioneer award.
The Bob Steffen Pioneer Award is awarded by the Center for Rural Affairs’ Rural Opportunities and Stewardship Program each year to a person or persons who make an extraordinary contribution to the work of the program and provide a model for innovation, stewardship or community development. Bob Steffen was a pioneer in sustainable agriculture, organic farming, and biodynamics and helped found the Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society and was a founding member of the Center for Rural Affairs Board of Directors. The Sierra Club, Audubon Society and Nebraska Wildlife Federation recognized Bob for his service to the environment. And as the Farm Superintendent at Boys Town near Omaha for over 30 years, he influenced thousands of young men with his agriculture programs.

“It’s likely that the community garden project would not have had a successful first year if not for the efforts of these two women,” commented Kathie Starkweather, Rural Opportunities and Stewardship Program Director at the Center for Rural Affairs. “This project has not only provided healthy, organically grown food to gardeners, their families, and local markets and restaurants, it is a true community development project that has captured the attention and support of local leaders and gardeners across Siouxland.”

According to Starkweather, Mier and Dungan are both natives of Mexico who have made great contributions to the South Sioux City community and to the success of the Center for Rural Affairs’ Siouxland Community Garden Project.

Dalia is a physician by training and a strong advocate for nutrition and health care. She formed a senior citizen’s group in South Sioux City, and previously, Los Angeles, and influenced the members to begin wellness programs. She led the Happy Hearts Club when the Center for Rural Affairs launched the community garden project, and she embraced the project as her own and as a club focus. She moved to Dubuque, IA in March but continued to return to South Sioux City for garden activities and to regularly assist with translations of materials and with calling people to participate in the gardening and training activities.

Starkweather explained further that Dungan is well known in Siouxland as the former Center for Rural Affairs’ REAP Hispanic Business Center director for six years, before she left REAP in June 2010. During Adriana’s tenure, the REAP Hispanic Business Center assisted over 1,000 Hispanic entrepreneurs through small business counseling, training and loans. Her contacts within the Hispanic communities in Columbus, Norfolk and South Sioux City were crucial for initiating the Center’s community garden work. She continued to recruit participants for the gardens and the project planning committee this summer despite suffering a serious illness.

“It's an honor to receive this award, it's like a dream come true,” said Dungan. “My whole life I wanted to do great things and help others and now I'm so proud to be part of this great organization and the great things that the Center for Rural Affairs is doing.”

For a picture of Adriana Dungan, visit:
Andriana Dungan and Jaun SandovalAndriana Dungan and Jaun Sandoval on Flickr Dungan 2.JPG

For pictures of Dalia Mier, visit:
Dalia MierDalia Mier on Flickr
Dalia MierDalia Mier on Flickr
(Pictures courtesy of Center for Rural Affairs)