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University of Nebraska–Lincoln

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Urban Food Leadership Coop

Courtney Quinn, John Quinn, Justin Vanwart, Katja Koehler-Cole, Gina Matkin, Mark Burbach, Chuck Francis.

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Development of an Urban Food Leadership Coop.


Project Summary:

A need shared by all communities is a clean environment that supports a sustainable food system and promotes human health. The current food system does not model environmental, social, or economic sustainability. Therefore, the challenge is to develop and support a new food system that creates sustainability for people, prosperity, and the planet. Local food systems reduce chemical use and transportation food miles, reconnect consumers and producers, teach people about food, and create a more resilient local economy.


To support a burgeoning urban food system in the mid-west, this innovative project will develop the Urban Food Leadership Co-op (UFLC). The UFLC will improve the viability of an urban food system by 1) reducing transaction costs and cost of entry, 2) providing focused training for parties with little or no experience in food production and marketing, 3) facilitating the movement of goods into the food system through local farmers markets, and 4) ensuring continued mentoring and support of participants. The UFLC will increase the diversity of participants in the food system by recruiting women, minority, and part-time market gardeners interested in growing food for both their own families and local food systems.

A uniquely integrated team of student researchers will quantify the benefits, impact, and outcomes of the project for the following four outcomes; 1) increased number of participants in the local food system, 2) increased amount of urban land in production, 3) reduced food miles required to supply urban consumers with produce, 4) increased understanding and appreciation of how local food can benefit people and the planet.

The UFLC will host education and training workshops to encourage and support the new urban local food system. Participants in the UFLC will be directly involved in providing environmental and social benefits that result in a healthy earth and thriving communities. TheUrban Food Leadership Co-op will further the EPA Mission of the Clean Air Act--Section 103 and the Safe Drinking Water Act--Section 1442 by conducting training and demonstrations that will prevent and reduce air and water pollution through sustainable agricultural practices.

Supplemental Keywords: Midwest, local food systems, sustainable agriculture, peri-urban agriculture, urban agriculture

EPA P3 Student Design Competition for Sustainability



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