Category Archives: Events

Growing Food, Growing Community

Growing Food, Growing Community: the Example of the Hawley Hamlet talk was given by Tim Rinne at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. Since 2010, Tim and his wife have gone from a measly little tomato patch to six tenths of an acre (the equivalent of roughly 65 yards of a football field). They have planted over 50 fruit and nut trees and two dozen berry beds, set up two chicken coops and two beehives, and now have 20 neighbors actively participating in what they call their hamlet.

They are growing food in the “Hawley Hamlet.” But equally important, they’re growing community. And that’s a good thing. Because given the risks climate change and extreme weather are posing to our environment, we’re going to need all the food and community the city can produce.

Tim is a native son of Nebraska, born in Beatrice, raised in Gering in the Panhandle and for the past 37 years, he has lived in Lincoln. An English Major and UNL alum, Tim has spent most of his adult life involved in Nebraska politics, doing everything from serving as a VISTA volunteer to running local campaigns to his present post as State Coordinator for Nebraskans for Peace (a position he has held for over 20 years).

TEDx Lincoln, December 1, 2014, and published on YouTube.

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.




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: (

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.

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: SAVE the DATE!


It’s time to start planning the Nebraska Food Cooperative’s Annual Membership Meeting and Celebration Dinner.

Mark your calendar now to join us at the beautiful Fontenelle Forest Nature Center in Bellevue late in the afternoon on Sunday, September 14.

Tim Rinne, of the Lincoln’s Hawley Hamlet and Mother Earth News fame, is our keynote speaker who will connect the food security dots. A Silent Auction is being organized as well as a fabulous local food dinner featuring our very own producers.

Watch for more information in upcoming newsletters. If you’d like to join the Organizing Committee, please contact the General Manager at: by the end of June.

Grow Year-Round in Nebraska

Never Ending HarvestWORKSHOP — Would you like to grow produce year round to supply not only your family but expand into new markets, like schools, restaurants, retail stores, farmers’ markets, and NFC customers?

Being held in Nebraska for the first time, this Fall, Winter, Spring Produce Workshop teaches a greenhouse method that doesn’t necessarily require auxilliary heating!  Presented by Roger and Beth Matson, founders of Never Ending Harvest, this family owned and operated, sustainable farming business is a long-time grower of winter produce in Iowa.

The workshop will be held on Wednesday, April 23 from 1:00-4:00 PM in Hastings, Nebraska. It includes three hours of detailed group instruction, plus the winter greenhouse set of three DVDs. Cost is $85.00.

Greenhouse in winter
Winter vegetable production

Register no later than Saturday, April 19 — limited seating available — by mailing payment and contact information (name, email, address, and phone) to:

NFC General Manager
45150 State Hwy. 52
Belgrade, NE 68623

For questions, contact Caryl Guisinger, NFC General Manager:
308.357.1000 (home)

This workshop is co-sponsored by the Nebraska Food Cooperative and Buy Fresh / Buy Local Nebraska.



‘How Can I Continue to be Better’ Workshop

springBuy Fresh Buy Local® Nebraska (BFBLN) in partnership with the UNL Nebraska Cooperative Development Center will provide educational workshops and trainings to assist specialty crop growers in Nebraska. The purpose of the workshops are to not only provide knowledge but also change marketing and business management behaviors to sustain a successful, profitable business.

BFBLN will strengthen the specialty crops grower businesses in Nebraska by offering presentations that focus on three areas: “Business & Enterprise Planning and Financing”,” “Food Safety for Direct-to-Consumer Markets” and “Marketing & Promotion Utilizing Social Media”.

The workshops are open to anyone, but the focus and topics geared toward specially crops growers. Specialty crops are defined as “fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits and horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture and Christmas trees.”

It matters not if you are just starting out as a young specialty crop grower or have some years of experience under your belt, these workshops can help you expand your skill set and gain practical knowledge!

DATE:  Saturday, March 8

TIME: 12:30 – 4:30 pm

WHERE: Kearney Public Library, 2020 1st Ave

Please register by Friday, March 7th so we will have an accurate number of workbooks available.

There is a $10.00 registration fee for the workshop and payable on day of workshop.

Registration information to: BFBLN coordinator Billene Nemec, or 402-472-5273.

Weston A Price Omaha Chapter meeting

When: Saturday, March 8th from 1:00-2:30 pmstethoscope
Where: Natural Grocers….. 7831 Dodge Street
What: The Best Way to Prepare Grains, with samples, cooking, ideas and presentation from a local Baker!

Come and eat and chat with us!

For more information please contact Miranda @ 719-694-6113 or or check out our Facebook page: Weston A Price Omaha

(This is a public notice. The event described is not sponsored by the Nebraska Food Cooperative)

National Food Entrepreneur Program Seminar

Food From ThoughtThe University of Nebraska Food Processing Center is offering a one-day seminar for all individuals interested in exploring the idea of starting a food manufacturing business.  Interested individuals are encouraged to attend the “Recipe to Reality” seminar, which will be offered on May 16, 2014.  Pre-registration is required and space is limited.  Registration deadline is May 2, 2014. Contact Jill Gifford at 402-472-2819 or for an information packet.

(This is a public notice. The event described is not sponsored by the Nebraska Food Cooperative)

March 18….Save the Date!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014 1:00 - 4:30 PM
Tuesday, March 18, 2014 1:00 – 4:30 PM

Are you an NFC producer?  Do you know someone who has a desire to get into gardening or small-scale farming as a business?  Are you involved in your local school?  Are you a parent who wants your child’s school to serve up ‘healthy, local foods’?  Or as a community member, are you interested in starting a school garden?

Then this afternoon workshop is for you.  Attend the Farm-to-School Summit March 18th at the beautiful Nielsen Community Center in West Point and see what other states are doing in their school cafeterias!  You’ll like the new face the Center for Rural Affairs – along with collaborators from the Department of Education, Farmers Union, and Nebraska Food Cooperative – is bringing to our rural schools.

See the Save the Date for the Farm-to-School Summit for details.