Nebraska Community Food Network
At a time when farmers see profit margins vanishing with little hope of long-term profitability, consumers are increasingly interested in buying safe, high-quality, environmentally friendly food products. The time is right to bring farmers and consumers together to create a community food network that rewards farmers and businesses with good profits and consumers with easy access to healthy, high-quality food. This project will provide the key elements needed to develop a regional food system in southeast Nebraska that will be a model for other communities.
1) To establish and support a network of farmers, business owners, consumers, and other participants in the food system to create local infrastructure for marketing sustainable agricultural products,
2) To develop, test, and evaluate a model for marketing and distributing local foods,
3) To build public awareness of the environmental, economic, and social benefits of regional food systems.
The Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society will organize and facilitate quarterly meetings of the network. Members will spend the first year planning their business and building relationships with potential customers. They will address marketing issues such as quality, pricing, direct marketing relationships, storage, and liability. The network will assess the current food system in southeast Nebraska and identify the most promising markets to pursue. Consumer members of the Sierra Club will survey the key restaurants, institutions, and grocery stores to learn if they offer sustainable, regionally grown food.
The network will hire a marketing coordinator who will build a database of interested customers. The coordinator will develop a shopping list of food available through the network. Customers will order from that list. The network will offer fresh produce, meat, eggs, whole grain products, and other foods in season. During year one, the network will pilot this marketing system for four weeks. During year two, the network will offer weekly deliveries for a 24-week season.
This project will train members of the network to promote sustainable agriculture and food systems to the public. The network will create and implement a media plan. Farm tours will provide peer education for farmers and consumers. The projects will publish a marketing directory, a web site, and a summary of project findings.
Farm tours will reach at least 100 people with the information about growing for marketing and eating regionally. Participating farmers will present project findings to at least 100 people at the NSAS Healthy Farms Conference. 500 copies of the marketing directory will be distributed to consumers and food purchasers. Project coverage in the NSAS and Sierra Club newsletters will reach at least 800 readers. Media coverage of this project will reach at least 10,000 people, and 200 copies of the summary report will be distributed to individuals and organizations.
55884 885 Road
Hartington, NE 68739
Office Phone: 4027962636