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Discovery Days kicks off 3rd season

The events include an outdoor ag classroom, farmers market and other activities.

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East Campus in Lincoln is the place to be on select Saturdays this summer. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln East Campus Discovery Days and Farmers Market kicked off its third season on June 10.

The event featured farm vendors selling produce, meat, popcorn, coffee, baked goods, crafts and more. It also included food trucks, live music, and free, hands-on, science-based activities for youth and adults alike offered by various university departments.

Sponsored by the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at UNL, the event also fell on a special day. Earlier this month, Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen designated June 10 as IANR Day, in honor of the institute’s 50th anniversary.

The idea for Discover Days was conceptualized by IANR offering the East Campus community, neighbors and friends access to science literacy opportunities, locally produced fresh food, value-added artisans and access to on-campus family fun activities.

As part of the university’s N2025 strategic plan, community engagement and external constituency support is an important mission. The event is an opportunity for the university to engage with community members, build relationships and promote science literacy. The goals of these events include:

  • providing locally produced nutritious foods to community members

  • providing avenue for farmers and producers to sell their produce

  • providing science literacy opportunities for youth

  • providing a safe, fun, entertaining environment for people of all ages

  • providing opportunities for students

Additional Discovery Day events are set for July 8 and Aug. 12, with activities running from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day. Learn more at

About the Author(s)

Curt Arens

Editor, Nebraska Farmer

Curt Arens began writing about Nebraska’s farm families when he was in high school. Before joining Farm Progress as a field editor in April 2010, he had worked as a freelance farm writer for 27 years, first for newspapers and then for farm magazines, including Nebraska Farmer.

His real full-time career, however, during that same period was farming his family’s fourth generation land in northeast Nebraska. He also operated his Christmas tree farm and grew black oil sunflowers for wild birdseed. Curt continues to raise corn, soybeans and alfalfa and runs a cow-calf herd.

Curt and his wife Donna have four children, Lauren, Taylor, Zachary and Benjamin. They are active in their church and St. Rose School in Crofton, where Donna teaches and their children attend classes.

Previously, the 1986 University of Nebraska animal science graduate wrote a weekly rural life column, developed a farm radio program and wrote books about farm direct marketing and farmers markets. He received media honors from the Nebraska Forest Service, Center for Rural Affairs and Northeast Nebraska Experimental Farm Association.

He wrote about the spiritual side of farming in his 2008 book, “Down to Earth: Celebrating a Blessed Life on the Land,” garnering a Catholic Press Association award.

Elizabeth Hodges

Staff Writer, Farm Progress

Growing up on a third-generation purebred Berkshire hog operation, Elizabeth Hodges of Julian, Neb., credits her farm background as showing her what it takes to be involved in the ag industry. She began her journalism career while in high school, reporting on producer progress for the Midwest Messenger newspaper.

While a student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, she became a Husker Harvest Days intern at Nebraska Farmer in 2022. The next year, she was hired full time as a staff writer for Farm Progress. She plans to graduate in 2024 with a double major in ag and environmental sciences communications, as well as animal science.

Being on the 2022 Meat Judging team at UNL led her to be on the 2023 Livestock Judging team, where she saw all aspects of the livestock industry. She is also in Block and Bridle and has held different leadership positions within the club.

Hodges’ father, Michael, raises hogs, and her mother, Christy, is an ag education teacher and FFA advisor at Johnson County Central. Hodges is the oldest sibling of four.

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