Sun. Apr 14th, 2024

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird and local business leaders on Monday announced Lincoln’s master plan for the future of local food.

Officials say food systems are just as important as water or transportation, so they need a plan for the future to make farmers and businesses more resilient.

“Lincoln’s new Local Food System Plan will position our community to reap the benefits of a thriving local food system,” Gaylor Baird said. “Supporting local farmers, expanding markets, creating jobs, increasing food security, improving health outcomes, reducing carbon emissions, and instilling a sense of pride in our community.”

The plan has four goals: Invest in local food production, increase access to healthy food, promote environmentally friendly farming practices, and reduce food waste.

The mayor said some of the funding for these goals will come from federal sources.

Megan McGuffey of Community Crops, which encourages people to grow their own food, said these practices will help the city deal with food scarcity while weathering the effects of climate change.

“Even in the agricultural powerhouse of Nebraska, over 90% of the food we eat every day comes from outside the state,” she said. “We can secure Lincoln and Lancaster County’s future by planning for a better and more localized food system today.”

By 2035, Lincoln hopes to double the number of farmable acres in Lancaster County, triple the number of institutions that source local food, triple community gardens in the county, and decrease the number of people who have low access to healthy food by 50%.

Charuth Vanbeuzekom, co-owner of Shadow Brook Farm, says it’s been in business for over 20 years, growing vegetables and processing cheese, yogurt, and other dairy products out of goat milk.

She said buying locally is fresher and better for the environment because it reduces the amount of travel that products go through.

Vanbeuzekom said most of her farm’s products are sold at farmers markets and local grocery stores.

“I think we all need to think a little smaller, and into our local food community,” she said.

She also gave a shoutout to her customers, who she said are the ones who keep local businesses afloat.

And for “anyone that eats,” Vanbeuzekom had a message: “Think about shopping local and supporting local farms.”

The Local Food System Plan is scheduled to be considered by the planning commission on Aug. 23 before being voted on by city council on Sept. 18.

Both those meetings will include time for public comment.


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