Food Systems PROgrams

As a solution to urban food-deserts and lack of land for next-generation farmers, Reno Food Systems has developed the Park Farm Project.

Working with Washoe County Regional Parks and Open Space, our pilot Food Farm Park utilizes a small plot of underutilized public land on a portion of the Betsy Caughlin Donnelly Park (corner of McCarran and Mayberry Drive) to grow local produce for the neighborhood and the community through a suite of venues such as our on-site Farm Stand, Farmers Markets and More.  This teaching campus offers our farm interns hands-on experience growing high-density, organic crops in Northern Nevada's arid climate. Through intensive training and mentorship programs, farm interns experience the inter-connectedness of food systems and develop contemporary methods to deploy effective change in their communities. While curriculum is centered on applied holistic farming concepts, our interns participate in all aspects of their food system and work with local food cooperatives, chain grocers, large and small distributors, restaurateurs and chefs, local nonprofits and food banks, and public schools. Each season, we have weekly Farm Stands and host informative and fun events such as our U-Pick and Apothecary Days.

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One goal of the Park Farm model is to establish urban micro-farms in every neighborhood in the Reno-Sparks area so that more young farmers have access to meaningful livelihoods and more Washoe County residents have ready access to healthy, affordable fruits and veggies!

During 2018, our first year of production at Park Farm, our 2 FFA interns (Bethany Matthews and Lola Nixon) created this website detailing their internship experience.

Mobile Farmers Markets are popping up all over the U.S.  Typically they are refrigerated trucks stocked with high-quality, locally and naturally grown fruits and vegetables sold in communities and neighborhoods with limited access to fresh produce and healthy grocery options.  In addition to providing access to these foods, Mobile Farmers Markets also create much needed new opportunities for sales and outreach for the local farmers.  Mobile Farmers Markets can be found cruising the streets of urban food deserts in large cities as well as down dirt roads in rural towns that are unable to support a central Farmers Market.  However, one place you have yet to see a Mobile Farmers Market is right here in the Truckee Meadows…until now that is.  In 2020 we will be launching the very first Mobile Farmers Market Program in the region!

As Park Farm is evolving with the addition of our Heritage Orchard and Pollinator Hedgerows, we're planting a diversity of annuals and perennials to develop a locally adapted Fruit and Spice Park where we would like to showcase the many food, spice, and medicine plants that can be grown locally while also providing habitat for local wildlifeparticularly birds, bees, and butterflies.

As a companion to our on-site plantings, we're building of the seedling CSA program and will be selling both veggie seedlings and perennial plants at our Park Farm Stand this year.

This quarterly event's aim is to connect new gardeners with experienced farmers. Held at different venues throughout the year, the farm & garden club features guest speakers and provides an opportunity to gather, connect resources and share our love of growing food and community.

2020 will be Reno Garlic Fest's fourth year! Each year, we host the fest in a neighborhood park where folks gather to learn from our local garlic gurus, purchase locally grown garlic for the coming months, as well as enjoy all sorts of
garlic concoctions created by beloved food trucks and artisans. The event is part of Artown and is family friendly, so come on down and get some garlic ice cream! Support your local garlic grower and celebrate your love of garlic with us.

What is a Food System

"How we eat determines, to a considerable extent, how the world is used."

– Wendell Berry, The Pleasures of Eating

A food system is the network of people, processes and infrastructure involved in feeding a community. It's the pathway that food takes from farm to table and back to the soil.  Included are a wide diversity of activities and all their inputs and outputs. Food Systems can be global or local, but all share a similar set of elements. 

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"How we eat determines, to a considerable extent, how the world is used."

– Wendell Berry, The Pleasures of Eating

A food system is the network of people, processes and infrastructure involved in feeding a community. It's the pathway that food takes from farm to table and back to the soil.  Included are a wide diversity of activities and all their inputs and outputs. Food Systems can be global or local, but all share a similar set of elements. 

Local food systems benefit communities by both generating local jobs and increasing transparency of the methods of production and environmental results of each method.

In 2020, we hatched a Veggie Seedling CSA program to support local gardening and food production beyond our park farm site to the homes in our community.  Similar to a vegetable CSA, you could pre-order in winter then pick up your seedlings when they're ready to plant. We offered both cool season and warm season packages for small and large gardens. The Veggie Seedling CSA program has evolved into the Fruit and Spice Nursery which grows both veggie seedlings and perennial food, spice, medicine and wildlife habitat plants to support expanding the amount of food, medicine, and habitat available in our community landscapes.

As the first commercial hopyard in Nevada, the High Desert Hops Project aimed to introduce hops as a viable crop for farmers in the high desert and work with area brewers looking to get involved with the local food movement.

 

With 10 varieties planted on one acre at UNR's Main Station Field Lab in East Reno, we conducted quantitative testing for alpha acid content as well as qualitative field tests with some of your favorite local breweries.

The High Desert Hops Project was a collaboration between Reno Food Systems and the University of Nevada, Reno and received funding from the Nevada Department of Agriculture.

© 2018 by Reno Food Systems

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Reno, Nevada

Reno Food Systems is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

EIN: 81-1021982.