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City of Lincoln
Mayor's Office

2006 Media Releases

October 6, 2006
For More Information Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, Citizen Information Center, 441-7831
Sandy Myers, Parks and Recreation, 441-8261
Jackie Barnhardt, Open Harvest, 475-9033


Mayor Coleen J. Seng today announced that a community food project has been awarded a federal grant of more than $275,000. “From Garden to Table” is a project of Open Harvest Natural Foods Grocery in partnership with the Lincoln Parks and Recreation Department and Community CROPS (Combining Resources, Opportunities and People for Sustainability), a local community garden project.

The three-year project addresses the needs of low-income, minority and new Americans by:

  • providing access to affordable, quality, whole foods;
  • developing markets for local urban gardeners; and
  • providing education on food, gardening and nutrition.

“This grant is a tremendous investment in the health of this community,” said Mayor Seng. “I want to thank all the organizations who are working together on this important project. By helping families develop healthy eating habits and attitudes, the entire community benefits.”

The USDA Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service will fund and administer the grant. Additional partners include the El Centro de las Americas (formerly named the Hispanic Community Center), the Malone Community Center, the Asian Community and Cultural Center, the Indian Center and the Good Neighbor Community Center.

“This grant enables us to serve our community more effectively by translating our bulk food programs into other languages and developing programs about eco-literacy to educate the public on where food comes from. Many children do not even know how a seed grows.” said Jackie Barnhardt, Open Harvest’s Outreach Director. “We can create a stronger food security system when we understand and support the vital service our local farmers provide to us.”

The Lincoln Parks and Recreation Department will help develop youth-driven community garden activities, cultivate family involvement and provide hands-on cooking and nutrition classes, with a special focus on addressing childhood obesity. Several educational programs will also be developed to air on 5 CITY-TV, the government access cable television channel.

“Our motivation for the project is to go beyond the mere provision of free snacks and supper, by helping the children understand the food production cycle and good nutrition, learn easy food preparation techniques and start to increase their own families’ food self-reliance,” said Sandy Myers, Recreation Manager.

The Nutrition Education Project of the Lancaster County Extension Service will provide nutrition education and cooking classes at the “F” Street Recreation Center, using produce raised by children working on the youth gardens.

From Garden to Table strengthens the ability of Community CROPS to provide technical assistance, resources and access to garden plots and small farms. The project also creates an opportunity for CROPS to build an ethnic farmers market to increase access to fresh local fruits and vegetables and encourage economic development for refugee, New American and low-income farmers.

The grant also creates opportunities to connect people to high-nutrient, economical bulk foods by expanding outreach and marketing to a broader community. KZUM Community Radio will provide cultural awareness of the From Garden to Table project and education on nutrition and food self-reliance.

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