Tuesday, February 21, 2012

UNR Farm under pressure....if you want to see improved local food programs please attend!

Contrary to what you might think...I don't jump on every bandwagon that rolls past me.  However, being into bicycling means being into what I eat.  I'm not a huge fan of power bars, gels, cliff bars and the like.  Rather, I like to garden and produce as much good organic food as I can.  There aren't a lot of opportunities for farming around Reno and the UNR farm is one of them.  While they don't do a lot on the local food front yet, we should protect this land so we can expand this effort in the future!  

What we certainly don't need is more light industrial (there is plenty of vacant light industrial all over town).  Besides Kimlick Lane (or Clean Water Way) is a great little ride through the farm and there is almost no traffic since it dead ends at the water treatment plant!  Come out and join us to help protect the UNR farm.  Details below:


Contact:          Ann Louhela                                                          

Community Forum Scheduled to Discuss Future of
UNR Main Station Farm & Wolf Pack Meats

Local food advocate Shelley Brant plans to attend the Community Forum regarding the UNR Main Station Farm re-zoning proposal, and she has a list of questions for University officials. The meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, February 21, 5:30 - 7:30 p.m., at Joe Crowley Student Union, University of Nevada, Reno. Doors open at 5:00 p.m.

UNR will host the public forum at the request of the Reno City Council. University officials submitted a request to re-zone 104 acres of the farm from agricultural to light industrial for potential development at the Council meeting in December. UNR officials asked the Council to delay the vote as a result of public outcry over the re-zoning request.

Flooding, public education, further erosion of open-space, and the future of Wolf Pack Meats located near the property are among public concerns. More than 200 citizens attended the December meeting to voice opposition, and an online petition received more than 10,000 signatures.

The future of agricultural education at the University is one of Brant's main concerns. The 104 acres proposed for re-zoning are among the most fertile on the farm. Additionally, Wolf Pack Meats, a facility for research and teaching, is located directly across from the acreage, and the slaughterhouse would likely be labeled undesirable, rather than a community asset, as development encroaches.

"Colleges across the country are expanding ag education because of the growth of the local food industry. UNR is perfectly situated to offer a unique and highly valuable ag program, and I would like to see the administration rebuild the College of Agriculture to suit 21st century needs," Brant said. She added that Nevada students are leaving the state for education elsewhere and that Utah State University attributes increased enrollment to Nevada's lack of agricultural programs.

Free parking for attendees to the Forum will be available on the third and fourth floors of the Whalen Parking Garage, and directional signage will be posted on North Virginia Street. Additional parking is in proximity to the Student Union.

Brant encourages the public to attend. More information about local food can be found at her Local Food Northern Nevada blog, http://lfnn.blogspot.com/.

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