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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To all the women out there who want to start a business, don’t discredit yourself. Resources are available. You’re going to have to take risks just like any other business owner/entrepreneur, but the rewards are in itself in making your own decisions. In the video [20:20]–“The fastest growing component of American economic society are female owned small businesses.”

We often take for granted what we have in our city. I enjoy walking Centennial Mall on my way to work. When I step out of the office, I’ll look up and see the Capitol. For an escape from the office, I’ll go inside the Capitol building and take the elevators to the highest level  (around 400 ft) and just take in the view. You can feel that Nebraska breeze as you look out from all corners and look out for miles upon miles. As I walk around inside the Capitol, I feel like I’m in some sort of castle and imagine how  life was in past times. It’s a little getaway for me. The Capitol resembles many things to me including Lincoln–a city that I’ve come to fully embrace for its people and character.

Home on the Prairie

November 14, 2011

Below, is one of my favorite articles from Smithsonian Magazine.  The comments are touching and brilliant. Unless you live or have lived here you just don’t get that Nebraska is a great place to be. The whole perception of “there is nothing to do here” is complete nonsense. Show me a picture of a prairie and I’ll show you the beauty of vast open spaces, show me a picture of corn fields and I’ll show you the most hard working, dedicated land stewards we have in this country, show me a picture of the sandhills, and I’ll show you the great rolling hills of the plains, boundless beauty to the horizon . There is no place like Nebraska.

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/people-places/Lincoln-Nebraska-Home-on-the-Prairie.html

Nebraska Sandhills

Lincoln Downtown Nightlite

October 21, 2011

Lincoln, Ne

Lincoln, NE

I thoroughly enjoyed all of the keynote speakers at this event.
From New York to Nebraska, Joe Moglia, a straightforward business man and football coach speaks with great insight, depicting parallels within his experiences at TD Ameritrade with his most recent venture in the UFL.  He opens his speech with a story about Coach Tom Osborne.  This man woke me up literally and figuratively with his outspokenness, but the guy knows his stuff. My take away points:  Always go back to your main priorities, know your core competencies.

Pam Dingman is also  a mover and shaker on my list. She pulled through with perseverance in harsh adverse atmospheres. She is now the CEO of  Engineering Design Consultants here in Nebraska, and one of the nation’s Top Ten Business Women by the American Business Women’s Association. This woman is full of resilience and I have the utmost respect for this story she shares. My take away point: It’s not over unless YOU say it is.