Please see the drop-down menu under Food Topics in the top navigation bar for links to pages on other food topics.
Know how. Know now.
From border to border in Nebraska, UNL Extension is making an incredible impact on the success of our state — its youth, its families, its farms and ranches, its communities, its economy. Please check these websites for more "know how, know now" information.
Reasons to Buy Locally
Buying locally is an important aspect for both consumers and producers in Nebraska. By purchasing local food/products consumers are supporting the local economy, supporting local farmers and ranchers and consuming healthier, fresher food.
7 Reasons to Buy Local This Season
- You get to know Nebraska’s seasons and Nebraska farmers, who are very knowledgeable about the food they raise. They can tell and show you how they raise your food, what growing practices they use, when and how the food was harvested and how they handle the food for your purchase. Knowing where your food comes from and how it is grown allows you to choose food from farmers you trust.
- Buying local strengthens food security. When you buy local food, you know that the food is from a local farmer that eats and trusts the same crops you do.
- With the purchase of locally grown food you are preserving a taste of yesterday. Farmers are planting and harvesting a multitude of re-discovered heirloom treasures and raising rare and endangered heritage breeds of animals and poultry that are likely be impossible to find on most produce and meat counters. These farmers are ensuring the survival of thousands of diverse varieties and flavors that would otherwise be lost.
- By supporting local food you are supporting Nebraska’s vanishing family farms. Did you know that less than 1% of the US population claim farming as an occupation? On average only 10 cents of each dollar spent on food returns to the farmer. The other 90 cents goes to corporations for packaging, marketing, transportation, etc. Farmers who sell direct to consumers receive 80 cents of each food dollar.
- Buying local strengthens the regional economy. Buying local food keeps your dollars circulating in your community and increases local food security. With each local food purchase, you ensure that more of your money spent on food goes directly to local farmers and the local farmers often put their money back into the community.
- Enjoying local food protects the environment and improves land stewardship. While most conventionally produced food is extremely resource intensive, traveling an average of 1,500-2,500 miles from field to plate, local food is not. This reduces fossil fuel dependence, carbon dioxide emissions, and use of packing materials and garbage.
- Buying local food protects open spaces and farmland. Keeping local family farms economically viable is critical to preserving the beautiful landscapes you see in the rural agricultural areas known as “foodsheds”. By supporting Nebraska’s family farmers you will ensure the farmland used to grow food remains preserved, now and in future next generations.
Tips From Past Generations on Why You Should Buy Local!: Check out this cool snapshot from Guardian Service Tested Recipes (1950s) Cookbook on the importance of eating local fruits and vegetables. PDF
The $10 Solution!
If each of the 796,793 households in Nebraska committed to spending just $10 per week on locally-grown foods we would keep more than $414 million of our food dollars circulating here in Nebraska, helping both family farms and our local economy. And we would have the added benefit of eating fresher, tastier, healthier food!
-2010 Census Breau
Reasons to Visit a Farmers' Market
The reasons for visiting a farmers' market range from purchasing fresh, local food to meeting and visiting with the producers who grow it. Everyone has different, but good, reasons for choosing to shop Farmers' Markets! Check out your local Nebraska Farmers' Market (open across the state beginning in May and running through October). Several markets are members of BFBLN and proudly display our POP cards and Member signs-for a full list of current BFBLN member markets check out our online food guide!
12 Reasons for Visiting a Farmers' Market
It's Farmers' Market time again. Here are 12 great reasons to visit a Farmers’ Market, illustrated with scenes from Farmers’ Markets-By Alice Henneman, MS, RD, UNL Extension Educator (PDF version)
- Find foods not available in a grocery store.
- Take home a truly tasty tomato! Make a tomato, basil, and olive oil bruschetta or other recipe!
- Enjoy really fresh sweet corn. Fresh from the field means fantastic flavor!
- Purchase a pretty plant you know will grow in your state because it was locally grown in your state.
- Meet with a master gardener. Extension master gardeners are available at some of the Farmers’ Markets. They’ll answer your garden questions and help make your garden grow!
- Make memorable meals. The meal at right features toasted sunflower wheat bread with lettuce and smoked bacon cheese; kale sautéed in olive oil with green onions and garlic; purple (graffiti) cauliflower ... all from one Farmers’ Market!
- Have fun with your family and friends. Many Farmers’ Markets feature special events, such as cooking demonstrations, music, festivals, and more.
- Get really fresh food that didn’t travel long distances to reach you. Freshly picked produce not only tastes better, but keeps longer, too! Look for the Buy Fresh Buy Local sign used many places to identify locally grown produce.
- Buy a beautiful bouquet of locally grown flowers.
- Get to know your farmer. Ask questions about how the food was grown, how to cook it, and more.
- Support your local economy. If every household spent $10 every week on locally-produced food, think how much could stay in your local economy each week.
- Farmers’ Markets are full of surprises – you never know what you might see!
Reasons Why You Love Your Farmers' Market: For every $10 spent on local food, farmers get closer to $8-$9!! That's $6-$7 more than when you buy through a distributer! Find out more.
What You're Missing If You Don't Visit a Farmers' Market: This video discusses the 12 reasons everyone should visit a farmers' market! It also features Nebraska-grown foods!
Shopping at Farmers' Markets: Dr. PK Newby discusses the benefits of shopping at your local farmer's market and why vegetables are an important part of maintaining a healthy diet.
Why Local Food Matters
Discover Foods Blog Check out this food centered blog by Georgia Jones, Ph.D! With a new blog post every week including a recipe and/or preserving, canning information.
Fruits & Veggies Matter Center for Disease Control's website has in-depth information on why you should eat fruits and vegetables, including how many you need based on gender, age, and physical activity!
Fruits & Veggies More Matter fruitsandveggiesmorematter.org includes healthy diet plans, coooking, fruits nutrition, health guide, recipes, and more!
Whole grains quiz: How much do your students know about whole grain? A balanced diet includes a variety of whole grains such as brown rice, barley, and soba noodles, but what exactly is a whole grain and how much do you need? Use this tool to test your class’s whole grain knowledge.
Additional Buying Locally Resources
BFBLN Comments & Suggestion CardsComment & Suggestion cards for BFBLN-what can we do to help make purchasing and consuming local produce easier?
ATTRA (National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service)
ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service is managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) and is funded under a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Business-Cooperative Service. It provides information and other technical assistance to farmers, ranchers, Extension agents, educators, and others involved in sustainable agriculture in the United States. (ATTRA was formerly known as the "Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas" project.) - information provided by AATRA website
Visit their website and learn more about:
- Local Food Systems
- Energy Alternatives
- Beginning Farmer
- Field & Horticulture Crops
- Livestock & Pasture
- Marketing, Business & Risk Management
- Organic Farming
- Pest Management
- Soils & Compost
- Water Managment