Community Food

Food is a central part of all of our lives. Where our food comes from matters - for our health, for the vitality of our communities, for our wallets, and for the environment.

We work with rural communities to build healthy, sustainable, local food systems. Our goal is to create food production and distribution systems that provide affordable fresh food for all, protect the environment, and keep money circulating in the local economy.

Community food systems take many forms, but they all have the same purpose: to connect the local people who grow and make food with the local people who eat it. At the Center for Rural Affairs, we work on several different ways to connect farmers and consumers. 

Community Food Notes

 

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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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.

8 tips to make farmers markets successful

Are you a part of your local farmers market, as a customer, vendor, manager, cheerleader, or funder? Markets carry great tradition, and whatever your current or future role is, here are some tips and experiences from managers and staff, for National Farmers Market Week, Aug. 2 to 8.

1. Markets need to be dependable and well-advertised—day of week, time of market, and location should be established, well-known, and consistent.

Open for business: farmers markets taking precautions to keep you safe

Rural farmers markets play an important social and cultural role in addition to helping connect food providers and consumers. This spring, we’ve had the chance to talk one on one with dozens of market managers across the state of Nebraska. Our goal has been to gather insight that will help drive the content and format of upcoming trainings and a toolkit we are helping put together for rural market managers.