Neligh creates garden to combat food insecurity


NELIGH - It might be a little hard to believe that food insecurity could be present in a state like Nebraska.

In Antelope County, 12.6% of the population is food insecure, which equates to 800 people.

"Sometimes people don't have food on their table year-round," said Brittany Spieker, Food Nutrition and Health Extension Educator.

"So when I looked at the statistics I said there's room for us to provide some additional food to our neighbors in need here in Antelope County."

Last Winter, the Neligh City Council set aside a small patch of land to grow some extra food, a project involving the Nebraska Extension, the city economic development department, and the town’s own local master botanist.

"So far we've planted 3 types of potatoes, 3 types of onion, and radishes and carrots," said Linda Douglas, a representative for the Master Gardeners of Northeast Nebraska.

It’s a good start for the plot’s first harvest. And the group is looking for anyone else who would like to volunteer some time and effort to make the result even greater.

"Gardening is very therapeutic," Douglas said, "it's relaxing, and of course in this instance, it's a service."

Bri O’Brien with the economic development department says she is excited to see the project’s progress, and she says supporting ideas like these is its own reward.

"It's going to be even more rewarding when we're actually able to harvest and implement that change ourselves," she said, "it's a great feeling."

It’s not a large space - but it will mean a world of difference for the people who can get a little extra food for their families.

"Right now it's just this spot," Spieker said,  "We eventually would like to see it maybe grow in the future."