Center for Rural Affairs January & February 2024 Newsletter

Small Towns
Farm and Food
Click to download file.

Editor's note

For the holidays, I purchased a Thanksgiving Bounty Box (pounds and pounds of fresh veggies) from One Farm Market in Logan, Iowa. During the past year, our local foods work has accelerated in southwest Iowa and, with family ties to Logan, I was especially interested in One Farm Market.

Owner Danelle Meyer has been featured in one of our case studies on innovative local foods access and she was a speaker at our first-ever Southwest Iowa Local Foods Summit in early November.

Purchasing a vegetable box gave me a good excuse to visit One Farm Market. The Market started as a temporary farmers market booth in a vacant storefront in Logan. Now, Danelle has a year-round local foods store offering her own produce along with vegetables, fruits, and herbs from other growers. She has shelves, coolers, and displays of meats, dairy, eggs, honey, seasonings, pasta, granola, and even locally-roasted coffee.

Danelle is a great example of how one person can make a difference in local foods in their community. You can read more about her on our website—just search for One Farm Market.

By the way, the fresh sweet potatoes and red potatoes were a hit during our family gathering. I ate through the greens for lunches, and I’m cooking up the butternut squash for a nice winter soup. Even got some dried herbs that I’m excited to use.

-Rhea Landholm

In this edition

  • Farmer accepts fellowship, finds conservation and herbal healing go hand-in-hand: From a passion project to healing therapy, Sara Brubacher’s interest in plants, food, and farming has evolved over the past few years. Now, she’s using her knowledge to run her own herbal clinic, Starflower Botanicals.

  • Organizations across the country unite to support rural small businesses: Last month, Congress extended the 2018 farm bill for one year as part of a broader funding bill to keep the government open through early next year. The move gives lawmakers until September 2024 to craft a new bill.

  • Big dreams of boxing rings come true for Scottsbluff business owners: For years, Rene Marquez dreamed of owning his own gym. He longed for a big garage or any sort of space where he could exercise and run a boxing program. With 20 years of fighting experience and a work history at fitness centers and of teaching boxing classes to kids, he was ready to have a place on his own.

  • Classen Land & Cattle grows business with Value-Added Producer Grant: Jordan Classen and her husband, Travis, are both native Nebraskans with a passion for farming. They recently started their own farming operation, with Travis raising their cattle and Jordan managing their beef processing, marketing, and sales. Starting a small business like theirs and keeping it running can be difficult, especially in the beginning.

  • Minnesota project expands access to energy efficiency programs: As Minnesota works toward 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040, a new goal set by the legislature in 2023, one southeastern Minnesota nonprofit organization is taking advantage of expanded clean energy funding initiatives to support its mission.

  • Grant re-opens for Nebraska meat processors: The capacity of Nebraska’s small meat processors continues to improve and expand thanks in part to grants issued through the Independent Processor Assistance Program (IPAP). In 2022, $10 million was allocated to the program as part of the state’s allotment of funds from the American Rescue Plan Act.

  • From the desk of the executive director: federal legislation offers new pathway for clean energy: One of the inaugural projects of the Center for Rural Affairs was the Small Farm Energy Project. A three-year research and demonstration project working with 48 farms in Cedar County, Nebraska, the Small Farm Energy Project sought to demonstrate that the adoption of alternative energy technologies by small family farms can make positive contributions to their incomes. To make a three-year story short, it worked.