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Urban Farm gets ‘treemendous’ gift from Lower Elkhorn NRD

Urban Farm gets ‘treemendous’ gift from Lower Elkhorn NRD

NORFOLK, Neb. – The Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District has provided funds to the Northeast Community College Urban Farm, which eventually should help to provide fruit for hungry students or others in need in the community.

Northeast applied for a grant that enabled it to be awarded $4,298 for reimbursement for some of the trees that were planted in the college’s Urban Farm.

Anthony Wisnieski, LENRD treasurer, said the district was pleased that Northeast applied for the grant and encourages others interested in conservation programs to do so as well. The funds are awarded through the Community Forestry Program that LENDRD administers.

Curtis Becker, LENRD assistant general manager, said roughly a dozen grants are awarded annually across the entire district. The maximum award for the reimbursement is $5,000.

Tee Bush, Northeast ag instructor, said the trees are doing well after a summer of growth.

“They were hand watered throughout the summer by our intern and mulched. They look great,” Bush said.

More than 90% of the 100 trees that were planted last spring are thriving.

“Knowing that trees take the longest to get established, this is just the first step in the 10-acre Urban Farm. We’re trying to create a place in the community for people to start figuring out how to overcome food insecurity and deficits by providing a place for the college and community (to have another food source).”

The trees are all ages. Some were at least 5 feet tall when planted. Others are close to seven years old and have started to flower, which means that fruit could be possible as early as next summer, Bush said.

Wisnieski said from the NRD’s standpoint, board members are pleased whenever people or groups plant trees.

“This is something there needs to be more of, including by communities,” Wisnieski said. “People need to realize that the NRD is there to help them. Too many trees are getting taken out, especially in the last few years. We need to replenish those trees.”

LENRD donation

The Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) has contributed nearly $5,000 for trees in the Northeast Community College Urban Farm. Shown here (from left) are Tracy Kruse, Northeast vice president of Development & External Affairs; Tee Bush, Northeast agriculture instructor; Anthony Wisnieksi, LENRD treasurer; and Curtis Becker, LENRD assistant general manager.