New Website

November 1, 2010 Leave a comment

No More Empty Pots has a new website. You can find it at There are more links, resources, a photo gallery, calendar and other features.

We would love to hear your feedback!

Categories: Community, Food, Omaha Tags: , , ,

Monthly Meeting Notes: October 2010

October 24, 2010 Leave a comment
Coalition Meeting
Monday, October 25, 2010
10:30 AM – 12:30 PM
Meeting Facilitator: Susan Whitfield
Benson Library
6015 Binney St, 444-4846

MEETING ATTENDEES (count 12):  Edgar Hicks, Larry Kurtz, Kareca Moore, Neel Montgomery, Stephanie Ahlschwede, Kay Stevens, Jenifer Valandra, Jason Valandra, Kristy Carlson, Aja Kniep, Nancy Williams, and Susan Whitfield

2nd Annual Food Summit: A Blueprint for the Harvest – Nov. 19 & 20, 2010: Updated and reviewed conference schedule with three tracks: home, food system development and business & community.  Still seeking volunteers to serve on Summit committee, please contact Susan Whitfield, project manager at 972.7330,  See schedule on


  • Nebraska Legislative Resolution 453 (LR 453): Food Desert Study.  Senators Brenda Council and Tom Carlson introduced LR 453 for the purpose of examining “food deserts” in the state of Nebraska. The goal of the study is to identify potential policy interventions in order to increase access to and utilization of nutritious food choices for residents in underserved areas.
  • Many thanks to Coalition members: Annette Artherton, Omaha Economic Development Corporation and Edgar Hicks, NCR SARE for accompanying Susan Whitfield, NMEP Project Manager to Lincoln, NE to testify before the Agriculture Committee of the Nebraska State Legislature on Friday, October 22, 2010.  
  • Community-Based Participatory Research project (UNMC, College of Public Health): Kristy Carlson and Aja Kniep, UNMC, College of Public Health graduate students, selected NMEP for their Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) project. They educated the group on the CBPR process and developed research questions based on the initial discussion of a commercial kitchen education program. The program will help train families and individuals to prepare healthy food, including local and seasonal ingredients and possibly serve as an incubator for food related microbusinesses. The results of the discussion will provide the foundation for funding proposals with a research based evaluation plan.


  • People’s Garden School Garden Pilot Program: NMEP was invited to support and help develop a plan with this $1MM USDA FNS grant in partnership with the City of Omaha Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, Douglas County Health Department, metro area school districts and nonprofit organizations with an interest in youth nutrition and school gardens. The planned proposal submission is November 8th.
  • Community Commercial Kitchen-Family Housing  Advisory Service: FHAS and NMEP will collaborate with others on funding proposals as needed to prepare the kitchen so that it becomes a more useful community asset.  The results from NMEP’s kitchen survey will be used to determine the feasibility of modifying an existing kitchen resource. FHAS will convene the meeting on Thursday, October 28, 2010. For more information, be sure to complete the survey before Wednesday, Oct. 27.

Date: Saturday, December 4, 2010 @ 10:30AM 
Location: University of Nebraska-Omaha, College of Public Affairs & Community Service (CPACS), Room 132D

Monthly Coalition Meeting: October 23, 2010

October 20, 2010 Leave a comment

Join us for the next monthly No More Empty Pots coalition meeting!  It will be at the Benson Branch Library at 10:30AM. Meetings last about two hours. See registration and agenda below.


Meeting Location

Benson Branch Library
6015 Binney St
Omaha, NE 68104



Meeting Topics

  • Welcome & Introductions 
  •  Progress Updates & Discussion
    • Food Summit in November: Tracks, Speakers, Sponsors
    •  Commercial Kitchen: Survey, Meeting & Rental opportunities in November
  • Discussion with UNMC Public Health Students
  • Meeting Adjournment

Contact: No More Empty Pots | |

USDA NCR-SARE Grants Available Now

October 1, 2010 Leave a comment

Last week, the USDA NCR-SAR E Circle of Sustainability group attended listening sessions in Lincoln, Council Bluffs and Omaha. Each site offered a different perspective on food issues faced by residents in the community.

The group also toured local gardens and farms near the listening sites. From raised bed gardens at an afterschool agency to a thriving neighborhood garden to full-scale farms with produce and livestock, the committee members visited diverse  food production places.

Gardens and farms are a rich resource for education and sharing. You can apply for a SARE grant to provide educational opportunities and to explore sustainable agriculture. 

Produce from community garden

Produce from a community garden

 Here are two active grants for the North Central Region (NCR): 1) farmer and rancher and 2) youth and youth educator.  For more grant information, please see the links below.

 2010 Farmer Rancher Grant Call for Proposals (Word format)
The deadline for the 2010 Farmer Rancher Call for Proposals is Thursday, December 2, 2010.

2010 Youth & Youth Educator Sustainable Agriculture Grant Call for Proposals (Word)
The deadline for Youth and Youth Educator Grant proposals is Friday, January 14, 2011.

Categories: Community, Food, Funding, Omaha

Save the Date: Blueprint for the Harvest – Nov. 19 & 20

September 27, 2010 Leave a comment

Save November 19 and 20, 2010 for the next No More Empty Pots food summit: Blueprint for the Harvest.

The goal is to educate, facilitate economic development opportunities, inspire, and create plans of action to improve food security in our communities.  The summit will have three tracks: 1) Community Food Systems, 2) Home, and 3) Business & Community. Participants may choose sessions based on interest. Friday, November 19 will feature hands-on pre-conference workshops and Saturday, November 20 will be a full day conference with speakers and breakout sessions. 

Summit sessions planned include scratch cookery with local seasonal foods, improving economic viability of small farms, vermicomposting, composting, year round gardening, edible landscaping, and economic development opportunities of a regional food system plus the policies needed to make it happen. Summit details will be posted as they are available.

The summit planning committee is currently seeking sponsors for the event to reduce the cost for each participant and provide a more inclusive opportunity for all interested residents. If interested in sponsoring the event or specific sessions, please click here or contact the committee at

REMEMBER: Save November 19 & 20, 2010 for the NMEP Summit: Blueprint for the Harvest!

Monthly Coalition Meeting: September 2010

September 24, 2010 Leave a comment

Join us for the next monthly No More Empty Pots coalition meeting!  It will be at the  W. Dale Clark (Main) Library on Saturday, September 25 at 10AM. Meetings last about two hours. See topics and registration below:



Meeting Location

W. Dale Clark (Main) Library
215 S. 15th Street
Omaha, NE  68102
(402) 444-4800

 Exciting updates and need input on the following:


Progress Updates & Discussion

  • USDA Listening Sessions
  • Urban Ag & Shared Commercial Kitchen
  • Food Summit in November : Blueprint for the Harvest

See you on Saturday @ 10AM!

For more information contact:

Categories: Uncategorized

30 Letters + Compelling Content = USDA SARE Listening Sessions

September 9, 2010 Leave a comment

More than 30 groups and individuals sent letters of support for a listening session to the USDA North Central SARE Administrative Council. The letters include data, information about the areas, potential for growth and innovation, challenges and solutions. They conveyed the opportunities of a region to work together: building community, stronger networks, improved economic development. And it would start with a listening session in three cities to cover three converging areas: Lincoln, Council Bluffs and Omaha.

Letter authors were very compelling. Because on September 23 and 24, the USDA North Central SARE Administrative Council will engage rural, suburban,  and for the first time, urban growers and consumers in dialog about what works, what doesn’t work and what the USDA can do to support improvements and innovation. Each site has its own schedule. Omaha will be the site of the first urban listening session for the USDA.

Residents are engaging more about food. There were at least three more farmers markets this year than last in Omaha. Which means there are more folks growing and selling food as well more folks buying food directly from them.  If you care about what you eat, limited choices or not; if you are food secure or food insecure; if you grow food, cook food or just eat it, you have something to say about food. And the USDA council wants to hear it.

So here’s your chance to have a face-to-face with some of the folks who can help improve our food systems. And get some good grub to go with it. Register today and share with friends!

Want to know who supported the listening sessions? Check them out below.

  1. Nebraska Great Plains RC&D
  2. State of Nebrasksa – Governor Heineman
  3. City of Omaha – Mayor Suttle
  4. Rural Development Commission
  5. University of Nebraska Rural Initiative
  6. Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society
  7. Pottawattamie County Board of Supervisors
  8. Golden Hills Resource Conservation and Development, Inc.
  9. Homeside Farm Market & Greenhouses
  10. Western Iowa Development Association
  11. Boy Scouts of America, Mid-America Council
  12. Iowa State Senator:  Hubert Houser
  13. Keep Council Bluffs Beautiful
  14. Douglas/Sarpy County Extension
  15. University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension
  16. Southern Sudan Community Association
  17. Nebraska Radio Association
  18. Grower: Charles Bichel, Iowa
  19. Grower: Bernadean Bichel, Iowa
  20. Nebraska Urban Indian Health Coalition, Inc.
  21. Sarpy-Douglas County FSA Committee
  22. HyVee: Mitch Streit, Council  Bluffs 
  23. Celiac Sprue Association
  24. Center for Rural Affairs
  25. Grower: Jim Knopik, Nebraska
  26. Nebraska Community Foundation
  27. Nebraska State Grange
  28. Kansas Black Farmers Association
  29. Omaha Resident: Kay Stevens
  30. Massena Farms
  31. No More Empty Pots
  32. Nebraska State Senator:  Brenda Council
  33. Grace City Church, Omaha
  34. MCC Institute for the Culinary Arts
  35. Buy Fresh Buy Local Nebraska
  36. Congressmen Lee Terry & Jeff Fortenberry