The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) proposes sub-awarding $1,600,000 to the Nebraska Children and Families Foundation (NCFF) to create a collaborative network to focus on procuring food from local, small, and socially disadvantaged farmers & producers and distributing those farm products to Nebraskans who are underserved by traditional food distribution networks. This two-year project is designed to help small and socially disadvantaged producers sustainably grow their operations by creating predictable market demand during this economically turbulent time.
NCFF, a nonprofit with more than two decades of experience building collaborative networks to address complex challenges, will establish the Nebraska Healthy Local Foods Committee (NHLFC). NHLFC will partner with agriculture organizations, food distributors, and cooperatives to identify socially disadvantaged producers and recruit those producers to participate in the LFPAP. Simultaneously, NHLFC will establish a tiered purchasing system that gives preference to socially disadvantaged producers and will enter into agreements with food banks, food pantries, and other local organizations addressing food insecurity to purchase farm products from producers participating in the LFPAP.
To guide the work of the NHLFC, based on lessons learned from the past four years, and to amplify the reach of future learnings, Communities of Practice (CoP) will be formed around three LFPAP-related domains – production, marketing, and emergency food distribution. CoP are a structured way to create peer-learning opportunities that facilitate the sharing of lessons learned, shorten the time it takes to reach proficiency, and create space to collaborate with others.