Category Archives: Announcements

A Tribute to a Beautiful NFC Producer – Barb David

Barb David, Oak Ridge Hydroponic Farms producer, passed away on Valentine’s Day, 2015.

Barb gives a demo.

A loving and giving soul, Barb touched many, many lives over the years. So it was fitting that she shared her last day with her family and friends on such a heartfelt day.

Barb joined NFC the summer of 2014, only one year after she started her hydroponic greenhouse. Her son, Ryan – as well as a few community members and students from Ord – work the fast-growing business alongside Barb.

Often dedicating hours upon hours of her time sharing her start-up perspective, Barb was welcomed as a speaker to many different groups that desired to incorporate healthier choices into their meals.

BibbLettuce1Frequently donating to various organizations, most recently, Barb donated two cases of lettuce to the NSAS Healthy Farms 2015 Conference.

As a producer of beautiful Bibb lettuce, Barb will be remembered for offering healthy, nutritious salad greens to schools, restaurants, hospitals, and homes across Nebraska.

We will miss your beautiful spirit, Barb.

Please keep Barb, her family, and friends in your heart and prayers.

Visitation: Tuesday, February 17,2015, 5-7 pm
Celebration of Life: Wed, February 18, 2015, 11:00 First United Methodist Church, Ord

Oak Ridge Hydroponics:

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NFC is Growing!

Happy 2015!

The Nebraska Food Cooperative is stepping up to meet Nebraska’s ‘local food’ demand. From retail customers to wholesale accounts from Omaha to Ogallala, NFC is meeting the year-round challenge of providing statewide access to healthy, wholesome Nebraska ‘local’ products.

We want to start 2015 off with a big bang!  For each new retail or wholesale customer you refer to and who purchases from NFC by the end of January (two cycles), you will receive 5% off your first February cycle purchases (February 4-8 order cycle) for each referral, up to four new members. Just ask the new member to complete the Membership Application and reference your name in the ‘referral’ box at the bottom of the form. (You must be a current NFC member, as of 1/1/15, to receive the discount.)

Receive 5% off your first March cycle purchases for one new producer referral (producer must be actively selling on NFC by the end of February).

Be part of the healthy local food movement by spreading the word!


Welcome Andrew – NFC’s Newest Advisory Board Member!

There are times when one just knows the fit is right.  And that awareness came from both directions pretty much at the same time.

Andrew Hollister, a new NFC producer, has been singing NFC’s praises.  Just some of Andrew’s recent comments to our staff:

By the way, I am blown away that I got orders this first week on the site. I was not expecting any at all. So for me to have sold multiple items more than met my expectations out of the gate.”

“…nothing was harvested that wasn’t already sold. Greatly reducing over harvesting.”

Glad to be adding more to the NFC family. Really, I firmly believe in what you guys do for everyone involved.”

It still amazes me how well your site connects producers and consumers. Just wonderful. I will continue to try to be your best spokesperson as I strongly agree with your concept and design.”

And then Andrew posted this gem on the NSAS list-serv: “I know there are a lot of producers out there like me who don’t have a lot of time to be at the markets. So I just wanted to share that we found Nebraska Food Coop and have products selling out in the first week. On-the-farm pickup from the delivery truck and only a small annual fee to participate. I am not getting paid or anything to mention this, I just want to let more people know that it exists.”

Finding a strong supporter of NFC’s model, the General Manager recommended him for an Advisory Board member role to which the board immediately agreed.

So welcome, Andrew!  It’s great to have you on board!


New Executive Board

According to NFC ByLaws, executive board members are voted by the board for a one-year term at the board meeting immediately following the Annual Membership meeting, which was held in September at the Fontenelle Forest Nature Center.

Fall is the season for change, and NFC is not exempt.

Roy Guisinger, NFC’s long-time Chief Information Officer, asked to step down as CIO to fill an Advisory Board member’s role. During his long tenure as NFC’s volunteer programmer, Roy has contributed thousands of hours of software enhancements that has become the backbone of our producer/member cooperative. Without Roy’s dedication in keeping NFC’s system in solid working order, we would not be the organization that we are today.

Another long-tenured board member Stephanie Kennedy, who served as Vice President, asked to step off the executive committee due to her heavy schedule of raising a young child and working on her doctorate in local food systems.

Gary Fehr and Lanette Stec, two of our many committed board members, stepped into the CIO and VP roles, respectively. They will serve on the executive board alongside Randy Wattermann, President; Liz Sarno, Secretary; and Jeremiah Picard, Treasurer.

We will continue to be in good hands with our strong board as NFC continues down the road to sustainability.

New Territory & New Staff

The Nebraska Food Cooperative is growing!

With strong producer, consumer, and school interest in central and western Nebraska for ‘local’ food options, NFC is meeting the challenge by expanding into new territory.

To make this bold move, NFC has hired two additional parttime drivers to make the trek from farm-gate to delivery point. Scott Hanson and Jonathan David will join Kevin Krause as NFC’s distribution backbone.

Scott, a beginning rancher from Grant, will run the I-80 route from Kearney westward, currently to Ogallala on a monthly basis.

Jonathan,  a young farmer who is quite familar with the local food scene, will run the central route.

Please welcome Scott and Jonathan to the NFC family if you happen to meet up with them on their distribution cycle.

Who is Affected by the Proposed FSMA Rules?

Everyone who eats ‘locally’.

Food safety matters because everybody eats – and everybody has a role in keeping food safe from farm to the table. Done right, these new rules can help make our food safer; done wrong, they run the risk of putting farmers out of business, limit consumer choice, and increase the use of chemicals rather than natural fertilizers, among other problems.

But before the rules are finalized, the FDA NEEDS TO HEAR FROM YOU!  The second comment period closes December 15, 2014. In large part due to National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition’s (NSAC) comments last year, the FDA announced that it would reexamine several critical areas of the Food Safety Moderization Act (FSMA) proposed rules that have major potential impacts for sustainable farming, as covered in the Produce Safety Rule and the Preventive Controls Rule.

We are now in a second public comment period, focused on the ‘re-proposal’ – like a second draft – of key sections of the rules this year for further public comment. The areas they are re-proposing will still require significant public input to shape an outcome that is supportive of sustainable agriculture.

The first comment period closed November 15, 2013. Now it’s time for you to speak up.  How?  Just follow this easy step-by-step process (and short video) How to Submit Comments to send your heartfelt message to the FDA.  The second comment period closes December 15, 2014.

The Nebraska Food Cooperative needs EVERYONE…every local food consumer and every producer of local food…to speak up and submit a comment within the next THREE WEEKS.

So when your family, friends, and you are enjoying your Thanksgiving feast, spread the word about the urgency to comment on these new food safety regulations.

With the right approach, we will be able to help ensure good food safety practices without placing an unfair burden on family farmers. For a safe and sustainable future, FSMA must allow farmers to use sustainable farming practices, allow local food and farms to grow and thrive, and treat family farms fairly.


Are You Affected?:

If you operate a business that grows and sells fresh produce – and/or processes, packs, manufactures, or holds food –  your business may be affected by the proposed FSMA rules. Some businesses may not be affected at all, some may be affected by one rule, and some may be affected by both rules.

IMPORTANT: These proposed rules are not yet final, which means they are not yet law. To learn about the FSMA timeline, read NSAC’s FSMA Overview and Background.

The information included below is intended to help individuals gain a better understanding of whether or not their business operation may be impacted by the proposed rules. Farmers and business owners nationwide are reporting confusion in determining if they might be impacted by these rules. If you are uncertain, you are not alone! One major concern about these draft rules is that they are complex and confusing.


  • Do you grow, harvest, pack, or hold (store) fruits or vegetables?
    If yes, you may be affected by the Produce Rule.
  • Do you process, manufacture, pack, or hold (store) human food?
    If yes, you may be affected by the Preventive Controls Rule.
  • Do you BOTH grow, harvest, pack, or hold (store) fruits or vegetables AND process, manufacture, pack, or hold (store) human food?
    If yes, you may be affected by BOTH the Produce Rule and the Preventive Controls Rule.

Download the “Am I Affected?” flowchart to help determine if your farm or business may be subject to the proposed Produce or Preventive Controls Rules!


If you’re a consumer, these rules could, over the long term, impact the kind of food you are able to find and purchase in your community.  The proposed rules may also increase the costs of purchasing fresh fruits and vegetables. Ultimately, we want to ensure a safe and affordable food supply, strong on-farm conservation of natural resources, and thriving family farms and small value-added farm and food businesses. That translates into fresh, healthy food for communities across the country, from the farmers’ market to the grocery store to the school cafeteria! As a concerned consumer, you absolutely have a say in these proposed rules and should speak out!  The second comment period closes December 15, 2014.

Please note: These rules DO NOT affect home gardeners who grow food for personal consumption – but as a concerned eater, you can still comment!

Additional Resources:

  • Webinar about the impact of FSMA regulations on food hubs, CSAs, and aggregation
  • Webinar on FSMA: Impacts on Farmers, Producers, and States


Source: National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC)

NFC 2014 Volunteer of the Year

NFC implemented a new “The Golden Plate” award for an outstanding volunteer who has contributed to the success of NFC.  This award will be bestowed upon a volunteer every year at the annual banquet.

The first recipient of “The Golden Plate” award is Aimee Owen. You probably know her name from the faithful emails that she has sent you year after year opening the order cycle, reminding you that the order cycle was nearing close, and then sending you the order pick-up details. Aimee also posted information to the NFC Facebook page and just generally, supported NFC and its members however she could.

BanquetVoYAwardCroppedSo THANK YOU, Aimee! You have been a bright star for NFC.




IMPORTANT Calendar Changes!

In order to accommodate deliveries for Thanksgiving and Christmas, we have skipped an order week in October.

Current Order Cycle:  September 21-28
Delivery Days: October 2-3

Week Skipped Here

Order Cycle: October 12-19
Delivery Days: October 23-24

IMPORTANT: We are giving our volunteers and staff a Christmas and New Year’s break. So there will be ONLY ONE order cycle in December.   So, PLAN AHEAD for the holidays!

See the new Autumn Calendar or the Home page for upcoming dates.  Print the Autumn Calendar for easy reference!

Banquet and Annual Membership Meeting

Banquet2014TablesCroppedFifty-eight members and guests enjoyed a first-class evening celebrating NFC at Fontenelle Forest Nature Center Sunday, September 14. (See Banquet Picture Gallery.)

Tim Rinne, one of the founders of Lincoln’s Hawleys Hamlet, spoke eloquently about the connection between climate change and the food on our plates. Fabulous cuisine served by The Normandy was definitely  bon appetit!

Volunteers, site coordinators, and board members were recognized for their eight years of dedication in bringing local food to the eastern third of the state.

Moving into the required annual membership meeting, the requisite quorum was easily met with plenty of voting members present and interested in sharing their ideas.

Exciting opportunities are on the horizon with NFC’s expansion west along the I-80 corridor with the opening of the new Ogallala site late September. As interest continues to build for local food (which supports the Nebraska economy), NFC will not only expand into new retail areas, but is starting to sell wholesale to institutions (schools, restaruants, stores, hospitals, among other businesses).

Many fortuitous connections await. If you have a connection that you’d like us to act upon, whether it be a new producer, new instituition, or new drop site,  just send Caryl, our General Manager, an email with the particulars. Caryl may be reached at: (

New Skins!


You might have noticed the new ‘skins’ that the NFC delivery truck has been wearing as of late.

Courtesy of long-time member and new board member Gary Fehr, the truck’s refrigeration box now touts a fresh white skin. Thank you,  Gary, for volunteering once again!!

In addition to the new paint, the NFC truck no longer travels the roads incognito. New Nebraska Food Cooperative signage was just added by Greger Graphics and boy, does it look fantastic!

So now, not only our members are spreading the ‘local’ word. NFC’s truck is doing so as well!

New Pick-Up Sites!

NFC is pleased to share that two new sites will be opening soon. Watch for an announcement with their effective date.

  • Omaha Dundee area (Site Coordinator: Deirdre Routt)
  • York (Site Coordinator: Melinda Marquart)

Omaha Downtown
(Site Coordinator: Paul Vonderfecht) has new hours effective immediately:
Thursday:   4:00-5:30 PM
Friday:          7:30-9:00 AM or by arrangement



Many, many thanks Deirdre, Melinda, and Paul!

NFC’s Annual Banquet/Membership Meeting

Fontenelle Forest Nature Center


The interdependence of man with nature is what allows NFC to bring bountiful harvests to its membership. So this year, NFC is bringing to its members ‘connections': between local foodies, between local ingredients and our plate, between nature and producers, between Nebraska and the wider world, and between NFC successes and its volunteers.

Banquet Registration Form (Registration Deadline: August 31)

What better way to share stories and connect with fellow members than over a fine, locally sourced meal? And beforehand, if you take in an exploratory walk on the Fontenelle Forest trails (hiking fee waived), you’ll be sharing even more ‘finds’!

Local food, you say? Absolutely!  Opening its doors on Valentine’s Day 2014, Lawrence (a French chef) and Renee (a Nebraska native) brought casual French cuisine to Lincoln.  The Normandy uses only the freshest, local ingredients in their superb dishes – fresh from the farmers’ market and Nebraska producers. You are definitely in for a treat with this master chef’s creations!

Tim Rinne, our keynote speaker, will connect the dots between how our steadily warming climate, with its extreme weather and a higher incidence of disease and pests, is making it increasingly difficult for growers to bring in a harvest.

Since NFC opened its doors in 2006, volunteers have continued to serve as the backbone to the success of Nebraska’s year-round, on-line farmers’ market.  One special volunteer will receive ‘The Golden Plate’ award.  Granted, a very hard decision to choose just one recipient for NFC’s top award, all volunteers will be recognized for their valued (and tireless) contributions.

To wrap up the evening, NFC will hold its annual membership meeting.  Any NFC member may attend the meeting, but only voting members may vote on resolutions. (Voting members may elect to only attend the meeting….see the Banquet Registration Form, please.)

Sunday, September 14
Fontenelle Forest Nature Center, Bellevue

Banquet Schedule
4:30      Cash Bar (serving wine and local beer)
5:00      Dinner (catered by The Normandy)
6:00      Keynote Speech (featuring Tim Rinne)
6:45      ‘The Golden Plate Award’  &  Appreciation for NFC Volunteers
7:00      Membership Meeting

Questions?  Contact Caryl for assistance.

Fontenelle Forest? You’re in for a Treat!

FFTrails3 FFTrails2




Fontenelle Forest Trail Map

Walking the Fontenelle Forest (FF) trails is an experience unlike any other in the Omaha metro area. Fontenelle Forest owns and manages 2,000 acres of conservation land and 26 miles of marked trails within Fontenelle Forest Nature Center in Bellevue and Neale Woods in Omaha. These unique areas have been protected since 1913 and are home to many species of plants and animals. Trails of varying lengths and grades allow people of all ages and experience levels to enjoy the beauty of nature. Our one-mile Riverview Boardwalk and Gifford Memorial Boardwalk offer even paths for stroller and wheelchair access.

As you hike FF trails, you will encounter ecosystems such as deciduous forest, oak savanna, prairie, and wetlands. Although it is common to hike during the warmer months, the trails offer unique sightings during every season.

  • Wear shoes with good support
  • Dress in layers appropriate for the weather
  • Bring binoculars and a camera
  • Mark your turns on your free trail map if you are unfamiliar with the trails

Excerpt from


Keynote Synopsis: “Turning Food Insecurity into Food Security”

NFC Annual Banquet Keynote Speaker: Tim Rinne

Michael Paulsen Lincoln Journal Star
Photo by Michael Paulsen, Lincoln Journal Star

The average bite of food on our plates travels 1500 miles to get there.  Your typical grocery store stocks just three days worth of inventory.  Our steadily warming climate, with its extreme weather and a higher incidence of disease and pests, is making it increasingly difficult for growers to bring in a harvest.  Food shortages — even here in America — are projected to be commonplace by mid-century.  And with a shortage of supply, food costs will soar.  Not since the Depression and Dust Bowl of the ’30s will Americans have faced such a challenge to feed themselves.

The need to create a resilient, locally based food system has never been greater.  Supporting our local farmers and market gardeners is paramount.  But food security doesn’t just mean joining a CSA or giving the Nebraska Food Co-op our business.  To develop a secure (and sufficient) food supply, city dwellers are going to need to start bringing more than just their appetites to the table.  The urban environment (where most of the demand is) is going to need to start pulling its weight in our food production system.

And the sooner we, as a community, dig in to meet this challenge, the easier it’s going to be on everybody.

To hear Tim delve into this topic and connect the dots, see him at NFC’s Annual Banquet on September 14 at Fontenelle Forest.

Election of NFC Board of Directors

Since 2006, the Nebraska Food Cooperative has been run mostly by a very active and dedicated board of directors. Some of them are still the original incorporators of our organization. Recent changes have now enabled NFC to actually pay our general manager (formerly a volunteer position) to handle many of the business activities that were previously performed by board members. This bodes very well for the future of NFC.

Meanwhile, it is time to schedule elections. This year, terms for three board members are expiring and need to be filled.  Board directors serve three-year terms that start in September, are expected to attend monthly board meetings (in-person and conference call meetings), and participate in email board discussions.

If you are interested in running for a director position, please send your intention statement/biography  (100-200 words) and  picture (jpg) to our general manager ( no later than July 31.

On the other hand, if you aren’t quite ready to participate as a director of NFC, we also have an advisory board where you can get your feet wet and participate in co-op decisions without any of the responsibilities. The advisory board makes an excellent starting position for members wanting to be more involved and/or exploring the possibility of a term as a director.  Although it is encouraged, there is no requirement to be a member of the advisory board prior to being elected as a director.

Early next month, voting members will receive a biography of each candidate, voting instructions, and a ballot.

Please note that director positions are only available to voting members and only voting members are entitled to vote for board directors.


Climate Marchers Find Nebraska’s Friendliness Attractive

During the typically hottest month of the year in Nebraska, a community of concerned citizens are marching, through Nebraska, from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C.

The Great March for Climate Action comes at a critical moment in the climate crisis, contends the march’s founder. Beginning their march on March 1st and completing their journey on November 1st, the marcher’s route will cross the path of the proposed Keystone Pipeline on Saturday, July 19. Teaming up with BOLD Nebraska, the Climate Marchers will visit the renewable energy-powered barn that was built on farm land directly in the path of Keystone XL pipeline.

Two climate marchers expect great things from Nebraska’s welcoming sign.

The marchers have met folks all across Nebraska, engaging in conversations along the way. They stopped for a bite at the Haigler Country Cafe; marched in the Culbertson 4th of July parade;  hosted a potluck dinner and community  conversation in Holdrege; demonstrated their solar cooking ovens to a TV news crew in Axtell; and collected petition signatures in Kearney.

Knowing that healthy eating is critical to the health of the walkers, the Nebraska Food Cooperative was twice the source of the walkers’ local purchases. Buying greens, grains, dairy, and meat, the marchers raved about the quality and variety of NFC’s offerings. Marie, the marcher’s food coordinator, shared that once they entered Nebraska, everyone they met were friendly and respectful, regardless of their position on climate change. And the local food has been outstanding!

Anna Wishart delivering donated pies to the marchers at the Colorado/Nebraska border.

Hearty ‘pies’ (quiche, meat, vegetable, fruit) were introduced to the marchers at the Colorado/Nebraska border by Anna Wishart, the Nebraska coordinator for the Climate Marchers. So popular were the pies, that additional donations may be made on July 19th or at a later date in Lincoln or Omaha (Nebraska route by date).

Follow their journey on FaceBook or to see how you can personally support the marchers on July 19, check out the BOLD Nebraska link that outlines the day’s march and activities, and how to offer donations.

September 14: Annual Members’ Banquet & Meeting

The Nebraska Food Cooperative is holding their annual members’ meeting this year at the beautiful Fontenelle Forest in Bellevue.

banquetWith cooler temps gracing a late Sunday afternoon in mid September, it will be the perfect time to hike Fontenelle Forest trails before sitting down for a  Nebraska-local banquet.  Keynote speaker Tim Rinne will speak about local food security that has implications nationally and internationally.

Voting members will hold a short business meeting, but you don’t have to be a voting member to enjoy the evening.  Whether you are a visiting member, non-voting member, or a friend of a member, you are welcome to attend and enjoy the comaraderie of fellow local ‘foodies’.

A registration form will be available in the August newsletter.

Board Update & Large Order Discount

From the NFC Board:

The NFC board of directors last met on May 27, 2014. Among other business, there was some great discussion about pricing and deliveries.

Members are always welcome to attend board meetings (scheduled every other month) and are encouraged to become involved as advisory board members. If you are interested in directly supporting your coop in this capacity, contact Caryl Guisinger, the general manager at


Large Order Discount: $600+:

Among other decisions from the May board meeting, orders over a $600 value will receive a 10% discount. We hope to roll out some additional savings in the future, but this is our way to start making your food bills more affordable.

Little-known fact: Although it has never been advertised, most large orders also receive personal home deliveries by Kevin, our route driver. This has been one of NFC’s best-kept secrets for several years, and now we’re letting the cat out of the bag. There could be some circumstances when a home delivery is not possible, but we haven’t discovered any yet.