New Urban Agriculture Project Brings the Farm to the City

Students from a local high school tour Omaha Home for Boys Cooper Memorial Farm as an enrichment activity for their agriculture courses. Photo courtesy of Sarah Fili KETV

An April 12 visit to Omaha Home for Boys Cooper Memorial Farm by Congressman Don Bacon and Dr. Ann Bartuska, Acting Under Secretary for USDA’s Research, Education and Economics, shed light on a new project that brings urban agriculture to the Omaha metro.

The Urban Agriculture Program at Cooper Memorial Farm is an educational partnership connecting the Omaha Home for Boys with UNL Extension and the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture (NCTA) to offer educational programs that include real-life, hands-on urban farming. The program addresses the needs of youth and adults interested in growing, raising and marketing urban food crops and animals.

“With urban agriculture becoming a more widespread practice in Omaha, the Urban Agriculture Program fills a void by supporting locally-produced food and preparing youth for careers in agriculture,” said Omaha Home for Boys’ President & CEO, Jeff Moran.

Congressman Bacon agreed with Moran’s sentiments saying, “This program offers an incredible opportunity for our youth to boost their knowledge and learn about the limitless career opportunities that are now available through agriculture involving technology, biology, economics and financial services.”

Congressman Don Bacon toured Omaha Home for Boys Cooper Memorial Farm to learn more about the new Urban Agriculture Program aimed at education, entrepreneurship and career building in the ag sector. Photo courtesy of Brenden Sullivan The World-Herald

Through the Urban Agriculture Program, NCTA will begin offering courses this fall for high school or college credits at the Omaha Home for Boys’ main campus and Cooper Memorial Farm. The courses will provide hands-on learning for those interested in obtaining skills for employment in the growing urban ag sector or starting their own urban ag enterprise. The program not only provides instruction about produce, but poultry and livestock as well.

“We were honored to have Congressman Bacon and Dr. Bartuska visit Cooper Memorial Farm to learn more about the Urban Agriculture Program,” said Moran. “We are excited about the future of urban agriculture in Nebraska and proud to be a part of this enriching collaboration that brings education and accessibility to urban ag to the Omaha metro.”