Community CROPS

April 23, 2012

I chose to do a project  for my class, Environmental Leadership, on Community CROPS. I really admire what farmers and gardeners do, along with the patience and work ethic that goes into their labor of love. Down the road, when I get burnt out of living in a concrete jungle, I’d like to own my own land and have a garden.

Community CROPS is a non-profit organization in Lincoln that provides a Growing Farmers Program,Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), Community Gardens, Youth Programs, and Workshops.

Growing Farmers Program:  training, technical assistance and land access to beginning, immigrant and limited-resource farmers.

CSA:  Before the season begins, you buy a share in the harvest. Then we grow a variety of vegetables and provide you weekly with whatever is in season!

Community Gardens:  Gardens are spread throughout the city to accommodate our participants. Gardeners come from many different backgrounds and together they beautify our city while growing food for themselves.

Youth Program: They offer a wide variety of opportunities for young people to connect with growing, cooking and eating healthy vegetables.

Workshops: Classes and workshops are offered throughout the year on gardening and farming topics, cooking, and sustainable living.

Community CROPS has some outstanding programs and most of them wouldn’t exist without volunteers. Please check out their website, www.community crops.org for more information on how you can get involved.

I decided to focus my attention with the Growing Farmers Program. The 3 year programs consists of workshops and summer classes teaching aspiring farmers the basics of creating a sustainable farm business operations along with marketing. After the program, graduates can join a  land-based training program at Sunset Community Farm. A majority of these farmers are refugees creating new opportunities for themselves and their families.

According to their website: Participants grow a wide range of vegetables, as well as raise chickens and bees. These beginning farmers sell at the CROPS stall at the Old Cheney Road Farmers’ Market each Sunday, through the CROPS CROPS Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, through the on-line Nebraska Food Cooperative, and to many local grocery stores and restaurants.

Sunset Farms is located 10 minutes southwest of Lincoln on SW 40th and F St.  I got the chance spend some time at Sunset Farms, tour the gardens, meet a couple farmers, and speak with the Growing Farmers Training Program Manager, Warren Kittler. In the video below Warren gives information about the program.

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