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LNK Center for Resilience & Conservation

The Sustainable Feast, Episode One

Learn More

View the PowerPoint presentation, “A LNK MARKET? Public Perceptions, Reactions, and Ideas” by Lisa M. PytlikZillig of the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center. Click here.

Read the full report, “LNK Market Community Conversations”, the results of a series of surveys conducted by Dr. Lisa M. PytlikZillig of the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center. Click here to read the PDF report.

Lincoln Public Market will have its own website soon. Keep an eye on this space to get the link when it becomes active.

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Lincoln Public Market

Cities and towns across the country are undertaking new initiatives and strengthening current programs that support development and growth of local food systems while reinvesting in downtowns and existing neighborhoods. These efforts can help communities achieve multiple goals, including:
• Enhance the Market as a place of genuine economic democracy, developing equity for immigrant, low-income, BIPoC, elderly, and disabled residents
•  Keeping money spent on food within the local economy
•  Creating new jobs and opportunities in the region
•  Diversifying the local economy and sustaining/reinvigorating the region’s agricultural heritage
•  Increasing the vitality of an existing neighborhood, helping attract reinvestment in and growth to these areas
•  Revitalizing already-developed areas to reap environmental benefits, celebrating diverse growth, and rebuilding the urban fabric
•  Reducing food insecurity and food deserts

Nationwide, interest in local foods is skyrocketing. Farmers markets, community-supported agriculture (CSAs), farm-to-school programs, restaurants that source ingredients locally, community gardens, and demand at local grocery stores for local foods are all growing year over year. Last year, the Federal Reserve Bank, whose views might constitute an economic bellwether if not directional imperative, published an important series of white papers, Harvesting Opportunity: The Power of Regional Food System Investments to Transform Communities, which posits that food systems are a dynamic driver of economic development, job creation, community sustainability and growth, and improving the lives and health of people, among other benefits.

The Joslyn Institute for Sustainable Communities began exploring the viability of a regional food hub and public market in 2015, meeting with food providers, producers, non-profits, wholesalers, and other stakeholders, to determine whether a regional food hub and public market might be established in the vacant Pershing Auditorium, which the City of Lincoln had designated as surplus property. The report we produced at the end of this study, Feasibility Analysis: Regional Food Hub and Support Facilities, can be viewed here.

In the process of this feasibility study, the Joslyn Institute worked with Clark Enersen Partners to design a dynamic multi-use conversion of Pershing to include a commercial kitchen, food processing facilities, food vendor areas, cafés and sidewalk café, indoor greenhouse, artist studios, living space, office space, and more.

In the years since the feasibility study was complete, the city has indicated it will use the Pershing site for other purposes, perhaps demolishing the historic structure. The Joslyn Institute is currently considering other potential sites for a more comprehensive food hub and conservation center.

Comprehensive Study Completed

Meanwhile, the Joslyn Institute has done further study, analysis, and planning for a regional food system through a US Department of Agriculture Value-Added Producer Grant along with Lakehouse Farm and a group of other stakeholders. The group met twice a month for a period that spanned two years; visited public markets and food hubs across the country; convened meetings of food consumers, retailers, wholesalers and others; and conducted surveys of people throughout the region to determine how a public market might be perceived, welcomed, and any advantages or disadvantages of such a regional food system.

With the help and support of the USDA Rural Development, the Nebraska Investment Finance Authority, and Lakehouse Farm, the Joslyn Institute for Sustainable Communities has continued to lay the groundwork to establish a year-round regional food hub and further develop a robust regional food network in Lincoln.

Working with farmers, wholesalers, retailers, consumers, educators, non-profits, and scores of stakeholders over a four-year period to determine local foods potentials and pitfalls, supply and demand, logistics, market conditions, public policies, consumer needs, producer needs, and sites.

While we continue to work toward building a sustainable 12-month regional food hub/public market in Lincoln, you can read about our progress in a newly-published report. This report is the result of intensive studies and surveys, underwritten by a U. S. Department of Agriculture Value-Added Producer Grant, with matching funds from NIFA, over the two-year grant period. Jerry and Renee Cornett of Lakehouse Farm and the Joslyn Institute worked together to produce the two-year study and report. Click here to read and download a PDF copy of the final VAPG report.

Additional reading can be found in the sidebar on the left side of this page. You will find “26 Reasons Why a Lincoln Public Market is the Highest and Best Use of the Pershing Center Building and Site”, a copy of Lisa Pytlik Zillig’s PowerPoint presentation on the findings of the surveys we conducted during our study, and a detailed report on that survey in PDF form. In addition, links to our Lincoln Public Market social media pages are located there. Please “friend” and “follow” us on social media, where we post a wide range of articles and videos about the importance of food systems, food security, and local foods.