‘Growing’ Demand for Local Food

Learn more about marketing local foods from an expert during a meeting in Kearney, Nebraska, sponsored by the Center for Rural Affairs.

Freshly picked farm produce.

Freshly picked farm produce perfect for your dinner table.

iStockphoto.com/Kelly Cline

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Lyons, Nebraska – With consumers' growing appetite for locally grown food, wholesale buyers are demanding local produce and farmers are seeking new regional markets.

"This demand for local food by mainstream retailers, like the independent grocery chains in Nebraska, can mean reliable sales and more volume per sale than direct-to-consumer marketing. But the wholesale market requires a ‘scaled up’ approach from the farmer," says Kathie Starkweather, rural opportunities and stewardship director at the Center for Rural Affairs.

The Center for Rural Affairs and the University of Nebraska Rural Initiative are working together in an effort to increase the production and consumption of local foods in Nebraska while creating economic opportunities for Nebraskans.

An informational meeting will be held for those interested in learning more. Diana Endicott, who established the "Good Natured Family Farms" label < www.goodnatured.net="">>for locally grown food in Kansas, will discuss how she developed a farm to market system for local food in the Kansas City market area and her interest in working with Nebraska producers.

The meeting will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. Thursday, April 15, at the Ramada Inn Motel in Kearney, Nebraska.

Endicott started Good Natured Family Farms to give small family farms a market for their products. By banding together, a number of small family farms were able to produce sufficient quantities and meet the needs of the Kansas City market area and provide local, better tasting and healthier foods. Participants will have the opportunity to gather information from Endicott about how the system could work for Nebraska producers.

Endicott's business began as the result of some surplus tomatoes she grew 10 years ago. Today, she and her husband raise cattle and chickens and own and operate a USDA federally inspected processing plant. The "Good Natured Family Farms" brand appears on beef, chickens, eggs, milk, sausage, ham, bacon, Heritage turkeys, eggnog, bison, Farmhouse cheese, and honey. All these products come from small family farms surrounding the Kansas City area.

The event is free to the public. Snacks and refreshments will be provided. In order to ensure that a large enough room is reserved for the meeting, please e-mail your intentions to attend the meeting to kpeterson2@unl.edu or call 402-472-9287.

The Center for Rural Affairs was established in 1973 as an unaffiliated nonprofit corporation under IRS code 501(c)3. The Center for Rural Affairs was formed by rural Nebraskans concerned about family farms and rural communities, and we work to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities