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Recent posts by Justin Carter

Stories of rural resiliency: livestock producers take processing into their own hands

Growing up, Dusty VanRenan and Amanda Meier knew a thing or two about processing their own livestock.

Amanda’s family raised cattle, sheep, hogs, and horses near Union, Nebraska, while Dusty’s family had poultry, hogs, goats, horses, and cattle near Hyannis, Nebraska. For each, it was tradition not only to responsibly care for their animals but also to process them into a quality product. Today, they both use that passion and knowledge to find new economic opportunities and assist their rural neighbors and communities.

Farm to School Enriches Our Community

Due to COVID-19, local foods have become a buzzword. More farmers are utilizing direct to consumer marketing strategies to reach customers through online sales, community-supported agriculture (CSAs), and farmers markets. Is there room for schools in these markets? Farm to School can be concentrated in the procurement of local foods for the cafeteria as well as in outdoor and agriculture education programs.

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From Greenhouse to Cafeteria: A Toolkit for Creating and Revamping Greenhouse Programs in Nebraska Schools

The Center for Rural Affairs is working with schools across the state of Nebraska to revamp greenhouse programs.

While school greenhouses can be utilized in a variety of ways, our goal is the cultivation of nutritious produce that can be returned to the study body, bringing the greenhouse into the cafeteria. Fresh fruits and vegetables served on the lunch trays of our students only adds to our agriculture heritage. Greenhouses can serve as knowledge centers helping to instruct the next generation on where their food comes from and how they can be the next to grow it. By providing healthy meals and a rich agriculture education, we grow the sustainability of our communities and their food systems.

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Bring responsible food choices into schools

Each day, 29 million students participate in the national school lunch program. The Nebraska Food Council is urging Congress to reauthorize the Child Nutrition Act, with inclusion of the Farm to School Act and Kids Eat Local Act, to bring responsible food choices into schools.

Last spring, Congress signaled an attempt to build a new Child Nutrition Act. This legislation is traditionally revised every five years and, while most program authorizations are permanent or extended through annual appropriations, a new Child Nutrition Act has not been reauthorized since 2010.

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