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L/O/G/O Local and Regional Food Systems in Nebraska: Successes, Challenges and Sustainability.

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Presentation on theme: "L/O/G/O Local and Regional Food Systems in Nebraska: Successes, Challenges and Sustainability."— Presentation transcript:

1 L/O/G/O Local and Regional Food Systems in Nebraska: Successes, Challenges and Sustainability

2 Local and Regional Food Systems in Nebraska: Successes, Challenges and Barriers Acknowledgements This project was made possible by the generous support of: The North Central Regional Center for Rural Development The Federal State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP) of the Agricultural Marketing Service of the United States Department of Agriculture. This is a joint project of the University of Nebraska- Lincoln and the Center for Rural Affairs

3 Introductory Welcome Chuck Francis, PI, University of Nebraska – Lincoln Rural entrepreneurship and community development are high on the agenda of UNL outreach programs Research on local foods and adding value to products on farm and in rural communities is essential Urban and peri-urban food production and marketing direct provide valuable sources of income for farmers UNL is proud to partner with Center for Rural Affairs in this project on local and regional food systems

4 The Project

5 What are We Trying to Learn? This project is part of a long-term effort to develop local and regional food systems in rural Nebraska communities in a state that focuses agriculture on row crops. Nebraskans spend $4.4 billion on food each year, yet only 10 % stays in the state (Crossroads Resource Center, 2010). The long-term questions are: How do we get more locally grown food to Nebraskans; how do we keep more of our food dollars in Nebraska and the local economy; and how are food systems being funded and sustained?

6 How do we Get There? In order to get answers to these questions we developed and administered surveys, held focus groups, held in-depth interviews, developed case studies, and identified best practices. We needed to learn: –Are there any food system efforts in place and how long have they been sustained? –What are the barriers/opportunities/interest in participating in local and regional food systems? –What do successful systems have in common – or what are the best practices that lead to funding and sustainability?

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8 Local Food Systems in Nebraska: Successes, Challenges and Barriers Project Methodology Survey – 2,500 surveys sent out electronically; 375 surveys returned from consumers, producers, institutions Followed up with phone calls where needed and administered survey over the phone Focus Groups – 7 focus groups were held to learn additional information from the surveys (two were Spanish speaking groups), 80 participants total, representing all parts and diversity of the state Interviews and case studies – 10 in-depth interviews that resulted incase studies of those deeply involved in local and regional food throughout Nebraska

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10 Interviews/Case Studies of Successful Components of Food Systems Shannon Moncure, Nebraska Food Coop Linda Truscott, Norris Public Schools Dr. John Skretta, Norris Public Schools Lanette Stec, Columbus Erin Frank, Lincoln

11 Local Food Systems in Nebraska: Successes, Challenges and Barriers Interview/Case Study Subjects Dr. Ron Rosati, Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture, Curtis Caleb Pollard, Scratchtown Brewery, Ord Natalie Kingston, Public Health Solutions District Health Department, Crete Cindy Grauerholz, Hershey Harold Stone, Davenport

12 What We Learned We found the overarching issues that have held development of regional food systems back in Nebraska: Lack of leadership Capacity/time/consistent supply (scale up now or to meet demand?) Communication between producers/consumers/institutions Infrastructure: equipment, transportation, processing, distribution Funding/capital – start-up and expansion

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14 How People/Organizations are Funding their Work Contributors to food systems include farmers. They: Participate in Farm to School Programs – several case studies pointed out that while not a stand alone source of income, diversifying their customer base was important. Farm to School participation allowed them to plan and have a secure, consistent, source of income. Tap urban markets due to growing community support. Nebraska Food Cooperative has done a very good job of this. The foundation they have built by growing this increasing customer base has allowed them to now reach out to rural towns. Expanded institutional sales and CSA’s

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16 Best Practices We learned that there were several things consistent among the interviewees in terms of creating a piece of a regional food system and sustaining it over time. Community involvement Marketing Involving other local growers or local food

17 How is the work being funded? We found that there were three key funding strategies: Out of their own pocket – individually, as a cooperative, or with partners Grants – this primarily were schools who received grants or government funding of some sort to purchase local food Community supported - the work in Curtis, Nebraska; purchase “shares”

18 Evaluation of Funding/Sustainability Everyone we interviewed had been doing this work for at least 2 years. Schools and the Nebraska Food Cooperative are organizations who have been involved in this work the longest. The schools are either getting federal dollars from grants for DOD programs to fund their local food purchases, or they have written it into their budgets. Nebraska Food Cooperative derives most of their funding from the business plan they developed.

19 Next Steps in Nebraska From what we learned we were able to develop a Regional Food System Working Group We were able to work with state senators to get legislation introduced in this session We were able to raise awareness and prominence of the issue throughout the state

20 Reports Center for Rural Affairs has reports from this project available: Local and Regional Food System Report – Survey and Focus Groups (CFRA/UNL project) ns/ne-food-systems-report.pdf

21 Contacts/Project Partners Chuck Francis, Ph.D., University of Nebraska, , Jon Bailey, , Kathie Starkweather,

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23 Questions ?


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