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      Learn More About Buying Local Produce

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      BuyFresh Buy Local® Nebraska will host a series of meetings, workshops andwebinars to promote local food systems and strengthen the specialty cropsgrower businesses in the state.

      TheNebraska Department of Agriculture awarded the University of Nebraska-Lincoln'sNebraska Cooperative Development Center a specialty crop block grant in theamount of $29,706. The project focuses on strengthening the local food systemand the business skills of specialty crop growers.

      "Thespecialty crop industry in Nebraska continues to grow," said Casey Foster,ag promotion coordinator with state agriculture department.

      "Whetherconsumers are purchasing tomatoes at a local farmers' market, or picking someapples at a roadside stand, they are contributing back to their local economy,"said Foster.

      LarryVan Tassell, head of UNL's Department of Agricultural Economics, said, thegrant will fund meetings across Nebraska to expand the Buy Fresh Buy Localprogram, increase the profitability of its members and the availability andbenefits of specialty crops as well as the value of buying locally.

      Theprogram, in partnership with NCDC, will provide educational workshops andtrainings to solely assist specialty crop growers in Nebraska. The purpose isto not only provide knowledge but also change marketing and business managementbehaviors to sustain a successful, profitable business.

      Anyonecan attend, but the focus and topics are solely geared toward specially cropsgrowers. Specialty crops are defined as "fruits and vegetables, tree nuts,dried fruits and horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture andChristmas trees."

      Pleaseaddress your questions and registration information to Billene Nemec, bnemec2@unl.edu or 402-472-5273.

      BuyFresh Buy Local® Nebraska will be hold meetings at the following locations:

      Wayne – Jan. 21, 7-8 p.m., First Nebraska Bankof Wayne, 442 E. Seventh St, in the Community Room. Deadline for registrationJan. 17.

      Ord – Jan. 28, 7-8 p.m. at the ExtensionOffice, 801 S Street. Deadline for registration Jan. 24.

      Grand Island – Feb. 19 at 7-8 pm, Grand Island CityLibrary, 211 N. Washington St. Deadline for registration Feb. 17.

      Scottsbluff –Feb. 24 at 7-8 p.m., Panhandle Research and Extension Center, Bluestem room.Deadline for registration Feb. 21.

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