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Recent posts by Sandra Renner

Placing local food on school lunch trays

Engaged communities and connections with farmers are helping make school lunches even better in rural communities. Across the country, kids are reaping the benefits and heading back to school with local foods on their plates.

Initiatives are being implemented throughout the U.S. In one state, “Nebraska Thursdays” urges participating schools to serve a locally-sourced meal in their cafeterias on the first Thursday of each month. Sourcing local products encourages fresh and healthy meals in the school cafeteria; educates students about agriculture; and boosts the area’s economy.

Initiative places local food on school lunch trays

Engaged communities and connections with farmers are helping make school lunches even better in rural communities. Our kids are reaping the benefits and heading back to school with local foods on their plates through a new initiative from the Center for Rural Affairs and Nebraska Department of Education-Nutrition Services.

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.

Fire enhances native plant community in prairie lands

I wanted to learn more about the practice of prescribed burn (sometimes referred to as controlled burn) as it relates to our work with women farmer and landowner learning circles.

So, I caught up with Karen Rathje, a learning circle participant from our series.

Karen owns land in Nance County, and read about the conservation learning circle for women farmers and landowners in the paper. She cash rents her ground – the original plot has been owned by her family for 104 years.

Value-Added Producer Grant funds available

At Robinette Farms, funds from the Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program help pay for processing, marketing, distribution, and sales of pasture-raised chickens, eggs, and microgreens.

This year, $18 million in funding is available through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) VAPG program. Paper applications are due Jan. 31, 2018, and electronic applications through www.grants.gov are due Jan. 24.

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