Food Co-op: Feds notified of UNR farmland development proposal

Land parcel at the Main Station Field Laboratory proposed to be rezoned by the University of Nevada.

Land parcel at the Main Station Field Laboratory proposed to be rezoned by the University of Nevada.

GREAT BASIN FOOD CO-OP STATEMENT

Today is the day that Reno City Council Meeting scheduled to decide upon the rezoning of the 104 most fertile acres on the UNR Main Station Farm.  City Council member Oscar Delgado called us to let us know that the Mayor will be announcing a postponement of this decision until March 27th, 2013.  HOWEVER,  IT IS STILL A GREAT IDEA TO COME TO CITY HALL AT 6:00pm.

We are hoping that Mayor Cashell does indeed postpone tonight’s meeting so that the proper agencies, primarily The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), have the time that they need to look into this situation. Due to the fact that many of the agricultural assets and developments of the Main Station property were purchased with Hatch Act Funds, NIFA will need to determine whether or not UNR needs to have an environmental assessment done on the land prior to rezoning, developing or selling it. There is a question around whether Hatch Act Funds were used to purchase any or some of the land at the Main Station Farm.

If it turns out that Hatch Funds were used then UNR will need to make sure that any sales of land from these funds are reallocated to agricultural purchases.  These agencies have been recently notified of this situation but they need time to assess things.

Once this decision is made, there is no going back and we will have set a national and a local precedence for land grant universities and sustainable agriculture.  Lets help set this precedence in a positive direction and demonstrate that we want to preserve and promote small sustainable agriculture education in our universities academic setting.  There are enough universities focusing on biotech, genetic manipulation of seed, the use harmful chemicals, and changing our food into pest resistant poison.  We need to start focusing back on smaller production agriculture and we need to create more REAL food security in our state!

Nevada is rad and we all know it, lets create some news about ourselves that doesn’t have to do with high unemployment figures and crappy mental health or public education statistics.  Check out this NPR article: “Land Grant Universities and Agriculture’s Future” (http://www.npr.org/2012/07/05/156301146/land-grant-universities-and-future-of-agriculture)

REMEMBER: UNR is a land grant university. You as tax payers have a say in this and can effect the outcome.

There is an astounding team of local food and farm preservation advocates working on this issue and in support SAVING UNR FARMS: Local Farmers, Ranchers, Local restaurant and business owners, USDA representatives, local politicians, business folks, CABNR (UNR’s main station farm) advisory board members, Washoe County Food Policy members, non-profit and grass-roots organizations, concerned citizens, lobbyists…the list goes on.  Now is one of those times that we get to demonstrate what direction we want our city to take.  Stand behind our current and future farmers & ranchers to ensure that Nevada continues to develop a thriving local food system!

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