Why Nebraska Food Systems?

You don’t have to be a farmer to be interested in where your food comes from and how it gets to the dinner table. Nebraska’s status as one of the world’s leading agricultural centers positions our state well to have a major impact on producers and consumers in regions across the state.

Local and regional food systems bring value to communities by

  • generating economic development
  • creating relationships between residents, farmers and businesses
  • preserving and protecting farm land
  • supporting healthy lifestyles
All of us rely on the food system, but it’s not always clear what role we play or how we can make it better. Nebraska Extension is poised to assist all Nebraskans to become better acquainted with their food system and to work with communities across the state to embark on building a food system that meets the needs of everyone.

Join Today! Summit Report Feb 2019

The Nebraska Regional Food Systems Initiative is committed to...


Creating spaces that are inviting to all, and proactively seeking and engaging non-traditional partners.

Shared Ownership

Fostering shared responsibility, collaborative decision making, and participation so all voices have impact.

Trustworthy Sources

Evidence-based sources of information and fact-driven decision making.

Iterative Process

A constant cycle of experimenting, learning, and adapting in order to respond to emerging needs.

Accessible Information

Clear, accessible language and data shared openly for public use.

processing web link distribution and marketing web link consumption web link resource management web link production web link

The Five Sectors of the Nebraska Regional Food Systems

Science, art, or occupation that involves cultivating land, raising crops, feeding, breeding, or raising livestock as well as hunting, fishing, or foraging. May include: gardening, specialty crop production, and urban farming.

Transformation of raw ingredients, physically or chemically, transforming into a value-added market. May include value-added processing, freezing and canning, and butcher shop.

Marketing and Distribution
Moving product from farm or processing site to consumer, including distribution and sales. May include grocery stores, food hubs, food boxes, and CSA.

Opportunities for an individual to gain access to food in a physically safe, financially viable, and culturally competent way. May include restaurants, food pantries, food trucks, and meal assistance programs.

Resource Management
Efficient and effective deployment and allocation of community and business resources as it relates to land, water, soil, plants, food and created materials. May include conservation programs, food waste recovery, and composting.

Sector descriptions are defined by the Iowa State University Extension & Outreach Community Food Systems Program.

Meet the Team

Lisa Franzen-Castle Photo

Lisa Franzen-Castle

Katie Kreuser Photo

Katie Kreuser

Ben McShane-Jewell Photo

Ben McShane-Jewell

Rex Nelson Photo

Rex Nelson

John Porter Photo

John Porter

Vanessa Wielenga Photo

Vanessa Wielenga