This circa 1951 photo is a courtesy of the Boys Town Hall of History.
Developing Regenerative Food Systems
We are organizing a non-profit research and development group for regenerative organic farms, ranches and gardens. These producer-owned operations will be located in and around Omaha, Des Moines and Kansas City.
Our mission is to increase farm, ranch and garden profits so that regenerative producers can pass successful diversified organic operations to the next generation within their families and communities.
Urban and rural producers are invited to organize local cooperatives to coordinate marketing, production and processing across the region.
Producer-led cooperation across city, county and state lines will define practical supply lines for high-value products, modern processing and efficient distribution within the region.
Raised Free Services
Page 2 on this website explains how Raised Free will facilitate investments in owner-operated regenerative farms, ranches and gardens.
Page 3 describes market research and business planning for commodity operations and producer-owned retail brands for area grocery and food service markets.
Page 4 explains how pasture-based organic agriculture can help regenerate natural resources and improve consumer heath.
Qualifications and History
The ideas offered on this website start with my late father, Bob Steffen. He was the farm manager for Father Flanagan at Boys Town for thirty years and a leader in developing commercial-scale organic and Biodynamic farming methods in the Midwest.
In later life, my parents moved to a small farm near Bennington, Nebraska where Dad raised Biodynamic grain for specialty millers and fresh produce for local restaurants in Omaha. Mom and Dad also rented their Massena, Iowa pasture to neighbors for their cow-calf operations.
Dad introduced me to many holistic thinkers, including E.F. Shumacher, Wendell Berry and Alan Savory. More recently, my reading on the economic potential of local food systems include Woody Tasch (Slow Money) and Michael Shuman (Local Dollars, Local Sense).
My current interests are in developing profitable pasture-based organic farms and connecting these farms to consumers and investors in nearby cities. Our greatest challenge today is to find the economies of scale that lie between “too small to make money” and the realities of the established food system – all without ignoring the real needs of land, labor, capital and management.
Posted 03-31-2020, revised 06-08-2021