Healthy Farms Healthy Kids Nebraska

Project Overview

Project Type: Youth Educator
Funds awarded in 2012: $2,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2013
Region: North Central
State: Nebraska
Project Manager:
William Powers
Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society


Not commodity specific


  • Education and Training: youth education

    Proposal abstract:

    PROJECT DESCRIPTION The Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society- NSAS provides sustainable agriculture information and networking opportunities through events including an annual Healthy Farms Conference as well as farm tours, field days, and sustainable events/workshops. Healthy Farms Healthy Kids will involve a conference with speakers and presenters geared for youth up to age 18. Some of our speakers will be previous SARE Youth Grant recipients. We will also have the participants take part in the Arbor Day Tree Adventure at the conference location. The Arbor Day Tree Adventure provides information about planting and caring for trees, their work with Rain Forest Rescue and Tree City USA programs, as well as interactive exhibits, sensory experiences, scenic vistas, and the Exploratory Tree House. We will also show the films Fresh and The Greenhorns. The project will begin at our annual Healthy Farms conference February 10th and 11th, 2012. In the summer of 2012 we will plan and coordinate the farm tour(s). The farm tour will involve visiting a working sustainable family farm and seeing the varying aspects of that farm. These will include a pasture walk, value-added opportunities, internship programs, butter and cheese making, organics, agri-tourism and more. Healthy Farms Healthy Kids Nebraska will involve scheduling a full slate of speakers and presenters geared for youth. These will include hands-on demonstrations, how-to sessions, youth-led sessions, and the Arbor Day Farm Tree Adventure. The programming will cover sustainable agriculture including: Value-Added and Direct Marketing, Holistic/Systems Approaches to Farming and Ranching, Beneficial Insects, Poultry and Small-Scale Livestock Production, Organic Agriculture and Local Foods. The programming will carry over from the conference into the summer. We will have sessions led by youth who received funding from the SARE Youth Grant Program. Other sessions will include; Sherri Clark from Open Harvest on local foods and how we are what we eat; Jeannie Holt from Community CROPS on the history of root vegetables and their benefits; Kristyn Harms from Norris High School FFA and their use of Greenhouses and Farm to School; Nancy Williams from No More Empty Pots and their Urban Ag program; Marion Ellis from the University of Nebraska on native pollinators. There would also be opportunities for additional speakers as they are made aware of the project. We will also show the films Fresh and The Greenhorns, to showcase the various opportunities in both rural and urban Nebraska in sustainable agriculture. From, FRESH celebrates the farmers, thinkers and business people across America who are re-inventing our food system. Forging healthier, sustainable alternatives, they offer a practical vision for a future of our food and our planet. From, The Greenhorns documentary film explores the lives of America's young farming community - its spirit, practices, and needs. It is the filmmaker's hope that by broadcasting the stories and voices of these young farmers, we can build the case for those considering a career in agriculture - to embolden them, to entice them, and to recruit them into farming. We will host a series of pasture walks and field days at a few area farms utilizing sustainable and organic practices. The first farm we will visit is Common Good Farm where participants will engage in: pastured poultry and pastured hog production; rotational grazing; workings of a farm certified both organic and biodynamic; organic certification primer. The second farm we will visit is Branched Oak Farm where participants will engage in: a pasture walk to see an organic dairy as well as proper rotation cycles in a grass-fed system, an artisan cheese making course, a butter making course, organic certification basics, holistic management including how to prepare and administer natural remedies (in place of chemicals) for cow/calf ailments as well as how to run your farm to reduce infections and harmful bacteria etc., participate in the local food economy via direct marketing and/or the areas farmer’s market. At the conclusion of the project we will do post-surveys, and the analysis of that. This will allow us to gauge the effectiveness of the project, as well as notes for improving the project after the conclusion of the original. WHAT STUDENTS WILL LEARN Since 1976 NSAS has promoted agriculture and food systems that build healthy land, people, communities and quality of life, for present and future generations! We recognize the essential relationship between healthy local agriculture and a strong local food system; a relationship that benefits from food grown and processed locally. This adds quality and security, as well as social and ecological responsibility and benefits to our communities. It is this understanding that motivates NSAS's work to strengthen and enhance these systems together. We feel that through our sustainable agriculture youth program we can strengthen and enhance farming as a viable career option in Nebraska. As part of the conference youth will participate in both keynote’s address. Our first keynote will be Fred Kirschenmann, a longtime advocate of sustainable agriculture. Our second keynote will be Tom Field who will discuss entrepreneurship. We believe participants will specifically learn; basic organics, rotational grazing, vegetable production, urban agriculture opportunities, conservation, native pollinators and more! We aim to teach youth participants how to increase the possibilities for economic prosperity while also maintaining social and environmental integrity in a family farm operation. Sessions on direct marketing, organic agriculture, and value-added among others will expand possibilities for youth. EXPECTED IMPACT ON STUDENTS AND COMMUNITY? Our aim with this project is to increase the capacity and opportunity for youth to participate in agriculture in Nebraska, with a specific yet flexible focus in that agriculture, on sustainability. In NSAS we provide numerous opportunities for farmers, youth, and others interested in farming to participate in workshops and events throughout the state. We do this by providing scholarships to attend such events with the only stipulation that once the event is complete they take the information back to their communities and share the information so as to create a community of practice within these parameters. We have found farmers learn best through networking and sharing best (and not so “best” practices). Our project will involve community leaders from FFA, 4-H, and area community centers. A healthy and sustainable community must foster growth in systems that ensure viability and sustainability. Programs and projects that are created to encompass youth benefit the community as a whole by providing resources and interest in establishing and maintaining the community via the youth directed programs. Investing in youth programming is investing in the long-term viability and integrity of these communities. RESOURCES FOR PROJECT Healthy Farms, Healthy Kids Nebraska will bring together leaders throughout the state. We will have several area farms participate as well as: Buy Fresh Buy Local Nebraska, Slow Food Nebraska, University of Nebraska Extension, University of Nebraska Organic Project, among others. Sessions will include; Sherri Clark from Open Harvest on local foods and how we are what we eat; Jeannie Holt from Community CROPS on the history of root vegetables and their benefits; Kristyn Harms from Norris High School FFA and their use of Greenhouses and Farm to School; Nancy Williams from No More Empty Pots and their Urban Ag program; Marion Ellis from the University of Nebraska on native pollinators. Heather Austin is the Nature Interpreter Tour Coordinator at Arbor Day Farm and will coordinate the Tree Adventure. Doug and Krista Dittman from Branched Oak Farm, and Ruth Chantry and Evertt Lundquist from Common Good Farm will lead the tours and pasture walks on their farms. We will use the movies Fresh and The Greenhorns at the youth program at the conference. Resources such as books, films, magazines, etc. will be provided by the individuals presenting either at the conference or the subsequent farm tours. OUTREACH EFFORTS The results of the project will be shared at the NSAS annual conference in 2013. We also will participate in the Center for Rural Affairs Market Place (Nebraska), the Nebraska Ag-Tourism Conference and the Governor’s Agriculture Conference in 2013. We will document the project from start to finish with the use of video cameras and photography. They will be posted on the NSAS website, as well as other online publications such as blogs, social media sites and resources sharing sites. A report will also be published in the Bi-monthly NSAS newsletter, and University of Nebraska – Lincoln extension publications. We would also utilize social media to interact with youth as well as to promote the project. This would include creating an interactive Facebook page that would sync with a YouTube channel showcasing the project, it’s participants, and sustainable agriculture.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.