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Recent posts by Sandra Renner

Biting into food access

By addressing key issues in food, farm, small business, and community-level and institutional policy, there is potential to identify strengths, changes needed, and gaps in the food system.

Good food policy and effective coordination between food system stakeholders will produce strong farms, open new or existing markets that are difficult to access, cultivate a resilient food economy, and preserve a healthy future for all rural Americans.

Biting into food access

In Nebraska, more than $4.4 billion is spent annually on food, and 90 percent of that food comes from outside of the state.

When we spend food dollars outside of the state, that weakens our local economy and limits local access points. We rely on other areas of the country, the strength of their food systems and local economies, and the availability of their natural resources to provide us with food. The idea that we are “feeding the world” ignores the unsustainability of our current food system.

Biting Into Food Access: A View of Nebraska’s Food System

In Nebraska, more than $4.4 billion is spent annually on food and 90 percent of that comes from outside of the state. Nebraska’s food system is reliant on other areas of the country, the strength of their food systems and local economies, and the availability of their natural resources to feed its population. 

By addressing key issues in food, farm, small business, and community-level and institutional policy, there is potential to identify strengths, changes needed, and gaps in the food system. Good food policy and effective coordination between food system stakeholders will produce strong farms, open new or existing markets that are difficult to access, cultivate a resilient food economy, and preserve a healthy future for all Nebraskans. 

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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.

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