Saturday, January 31, 2015

Healthy Farms Conference Breakout Sessions III

Helping You Help Your Land! Charles Leinen

The session describes the Natural Resource Conservation Service in Nebraska and the program opportunities that are available to farmers and landowners.

About: Charles Leinen,  Civil Engineer with over 30 years of work experience with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) formerly Soil Conservation Service.  He has multi-state experience in conservation planning, design, and implementation on several engineering practices, such as, terraces, waterways, ag-waste facilities, surface and subsurface irrigation systems, grade stabilization structures, wetland restoration, watershed rehabilitation, and emergency watershed program assistance. He is a graduate of Iowa State University, BS (1991) with over 16 years’ experience as an NRCS employee in Nebraska serving agriculture farmers in Eastern Nebraska.

Global Gardening: Urban Community Gardening & Farming with Refugee Populations

 This breakout session will provide insight into initiatives happening around Omaha and Lincoln that are providing refugee communities with available land and resources to grow their own food. We will focus on funding ideas, seed orders, overcoming initial challenges, and overall best practices for the most successful growing season.

About: Aaron French is currently the farm training manager at Community Crops, where he helps to oversee the day to day production and farmer training on the Prairie Pines Training Farm.

About: Laura Weiss is the Education, Employment, & Outreach Coordinator at Southern Sudan Community Association and founder of Root Down Community Gardens, a program aimed at providing resources for refugee communities to grow their own fresh and culturally appropriate food. Outside of work you can find her singing in her band, gardening with Root Down participants, eating Kim-chi, or conversing over coffee.

Nebraskan Permaculture Design & Trees as the Farmer’s Best Friend.

Gus would like to share Permaculture designs that highlight lessons he has learned when designing landscapes for the Nebraskan home, community or farm.  The main lesson he would like to showcase is the many uses for every tree in your landscape; with all its different stages of development and decomposition.

About: Gus Von Roenn is a permaculture designer in Omaha.  With a background in social sciences, he pursues sustainability projects that help improve healthy food accessibility for low-income communities.  As a general contractor for many years, he adopts a building sensibility when designing permaculture projects.   He engages his community by participating on boards of local food organizations to help promote sustainability and create awareness of water quality degradation from agricultural runoff.   He hopes to spread a vision of agroecology throughout the farms of the midwest.

Building a Local Foods Movement. Next Steps

Local food is fresher, tastier and more nutritious—good for our personal health and the health of our communities and local economies.  But with the onset of climate change and the increasing peril of extreme weather to our global food production and distribution system, local food is also vital to our ‘food security.’  The farther away we are from our food supply, the more food insecure we are.  The need for building a vibrant local food movement capable of meeting these economic and environmental challenges has never been greater.  In this workshop session, we will examine some possible ‘next steps’ local food advocates may want to take to dramatically grow both the production and consumption of local foods.

About: Tim Rinne just celebrated his 20th year as the State Coordinator of Nebraskans for Peace.  Long interested in environmental and climate issues, from 2004-2013, he was the Political and Legislative Chair for the Nebraska Sierra Club.  Helping create the Hawley Hamlet and learning to grow some of his own food is the most satisfying political thing he’s ever done.  Makes you wonder why he waited until he was in his fifties to get going…

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