Undercurrent

Food bank gets 600 lbs. of tomatoes from NV farm — more to come thanks to food program

By: - September 28, 2022 11:40 am

Nevada received $2 million in funding for the program from the American Rescue Plan Act to buy the Nevada-grown, produced and processed foods and distribute them through Three Square Food Bank and the Food Bank of Northern Nevada. (Photo courtesy Abraham Mehring)

Last week, Nevada farmer Rodney Mehring delivered 600 pounds of locally grown tomatoes to Three Square Food Bank in Las Vegas, the only food bank in Southern Nevada.

The small family-owned farm in Lincoln County—Blue Lizard Farm—was able to provide produce to food insecure families in Las Vegas thanks to a bill passed last year that uses state funds to buy food grown and produced in Nevada for distribution to local food banks. 

The Home Feeds Nevada program gives food banks the ability to order and distribute locally grown produce — all paid in full. The delivery of tomatoes marked the first food order completed through the Home Feeds Nevada program.

“The Home Feeds Nevada program is giving my farm some much needed stability, and at the same time, feeding Nevadans in need with highly nutritious produce,” said Mehring of Blue Lizard Farms in a statement. “We are honored to be a part of the Home Feed Nevada program. I started farming so I could provide nutritious food to my children, and now that they are grown my farm can provide produce to other families in Nevada.” 

Like many other states, small-scale farmers in Nevada faced a huge loss of sales during the pandemic. A study by the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute at the University of Missouri estimated that farm income fell by $21.9 billion in 2021 compared to their forecast prior to COVID-19.

The farm grows a variety of vegetables in Caliente, Nevada during the growing season from March to November, selling much of their produce at local farmers markets. 

The Nevada Department of Agriculture, which runs the program, says the initiative will feed communities in need, while also bolstering local agriculture and rural economies.

“Ensuring every Nevadan has food on their plate is something the NDA works towards every day,” said Jennifer Ott, the director of NDA “This first delivery through the Home Feeds Nevada program marks a huge success for us in the fight for food security and the support we’re able to offer our food and agriculture industries in the state.”

Nevada received $2 million in funding for the program from the American Rescue Plan Act to buy the Nevada-grown, produced and processed foods and distribute them through Three Square Food Bank and the Food Bank of Northern Nevada.

The department is now accepting applications from local farmers, ranchers, food producers and processors interested in selling food to fight food insecurity and from storage and transportation providers to help aggregate and transport food. Application forms for the program are available on the NDA website.

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Jeniffer Solis
Jeniffer Solis

Reporter | Jeniffer was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada where she attended the University of Nevada, Las Vegas before graduating in 2017 with a B.A in Journalism and Media Studies. While at UNLV she was a senior staff writer for the student newspaper, the UNLV Scarlet and Gray Free Press, and a news reporter for KUNV 91.5 FM, covering everything from the Route 91 shooting to UNLV housing. She has also contributed to the UNLV News Center and worked as a production engineer for several KUNV broadcasts before joining the Nevada Current. She’s an Aries.

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