NORFOLK, Neb. – Several connections between Northeast Community College and the Norfolk Farmers’ Market will be featured on the upcoming Backyard Farmer program on Nebraska Public Media.
The panel portion of the program will be taped in the College's Chuck M. Pohlman Agriculture Complex Tue., June 7, and aired June 9 at 7 p.m. and June 11 at 10 a.m. In Norfolk, Backyard Farmer airs on Channel 19, KXNE-TV. In addition to the segment taped at Northeast, several pre-produced features will be included in the broadcast that highlight Northeast staff who are active participants in local farmers’ markets.
One segment will be about sisters Stacy and Sandy Dieckman. Stacy Dieckman is the director of financial aid at Northeast. Sandy Dieckman teaches math at Norfolk Senior High and has been an adjunct faculty member at Northeast for approximately 20 years. Sandy currently manages the Norfolk Farmers’ Market, and the sisters sell a variety of produce that includes rhubarb, green beans, potatoes, green onions, onions, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, acorn squash, butternut, spaghetti squash and pumpkins and gourds.
Another segment taped recently in Norfolk will feature North Fork Bread Co., which began selling bread at the Farmers’ Market and now has a stand-alone retail store on Benjamin Ave. The store is owned by Caleb Nihira, a former music educator, and Jody Gibson, the director of institutional research and analytics at Northeast.
Northeast Community College Ag Program Director Jill Heemstra said the Backyard Farmer program also provides a good way for Northeast to announce its new urban farm program.
“In Nebraska you can find all kinds of people who have vegetable production, have a high tunnel, they sell eggs, or have CSA’s (Community Supported Agriculture),” she said, “and we think urban ag is a big piece of the future of agriculture in our department here at Northeast.”
“Former Dean Corinne Morris and I discussed the next steps for the ag department and horticulture pre-Covid,” Horticulture Instructor Dr. Trentee Bush explained. “And we planned a new degree, the urban ag concentration, that brought the best of both worlds together. And then the pandemic happened and in this weird, universal, fortuitous thing, we saw a lot of people doing what I would call ‘backyard farming.’ We just happened to have this degree prepared and a space we were dreaming of to use for a lab.”
Bush said the 10-acre site can be shared across several departments at Northeast.
“I expect biology to be able to use it, agriculture, horticulture, math, and things like geriatric or special needs care in the outdoor environment. I look forward to something that would be intimate, easy to access and useable for so many departments.”
Some components will be in place on the urban farm lab this fall, Bush said, but realistically it will take up to 10 years to complete the lab.
“We want to represent a small acreage and show all the ways we can be self-sustaining, food efficient individuals while also having fun and having an aesthetically appealing environment.”
The public is invited to attend the taping of Backyard Farmer inside the Pohlman Ag Complex, 2301 E. Benjamin Ave. a mile east of the main campus. A question-and-answer session will be held from 5:15 – 5:45 p.m., followed by the taping at 6.
PHOTO IDs: Jill Heemstra and Dr. Trentee Bush.