Profiles | Events | Partners | Resources | Reading | Trivia
Although it's been a rainy spring, we can see summer is on the way. We've been waiting for fields and lawns to dry up and sunny days to bloom those flowers and grow the wheat or broccoli. It's been a very challenging year for many, but we're on this journey together. We're excited to spend summer with you, and look forward to sharing how our work, and the work of our partners, might reach and support you in the coming weeks and months below.
join us: volunteer at the State Fair!
Love cooking, local food, and farmers? Renewing the Countryside is looking for volunteers for our 2019 Healthy Local Food exhibit in the Eco Experience building for the MN State Fair. We would love to have you there! Volunteer shifts are 3.5 hours long, with shifts ranging from 9:00am to 7:30pm, August 22 to September 2. Invite your friends, family and co-workers, and sign up! More details and your tickets will be mailed out to you after you sign up.
As a volunteer you will receive one admittance ticket to the State Fair for the day you volunteer, an organic cotton t-shirt and the opportunity to learn more and spread the word about local organic foods!
partner spotlight: CERTs
where we're going: Squash Blossom Farm, Nature - A Walking Play
look who's renewing the countryside: Kathy Ruhf
Kathy Ruhf is Senior Advisor at Land For Good (LFG), a New England-based nonprofit that specializes in farm access and transfer. She was co-founder and Executive Director at LFG. For three decades Kathy has taught, written, consulted and advocated on these critical issues in her region and nationally. Organizations such as ours have reached out to LFG for guidance on developing similar programs and training staff.
She's been a fantastic resource as we expand and strengthen our Farmland Access work though our hub of partners across Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa.
While regions have unique characteristics, land access and farm succession challenges are fairly consistent across the country. Kathy has been especially interested in fostering successful transfers between unrelated parties, exploring less traditional farm access and tenure methods, and addressing affordability, social equity and farm “findability.”
resource pick of the month: MDA's Tough Conversations workshops
One of the hardest things we do is work with farms and businesses that are really struggling. A few years ago, we were part of a project with the Sustainable Farming Association called Adjust 2015 where together we worked with SFA and MISA to develop the New Farm Reality Check Curriculum.
As part of that, we conducted surveys and interviews with farmers to better understand how they handled things when things didn’t go as planned. Injury, divorce, weather, prices, death - they all are things that don’t just affect the farm family, or the farm business, but both. And this year, perhaps more so than anytime since the 1980s farm crisis, farm businesses and families are really struggling.
We are thankful that our friends at the Minnesota Department of Agriculture are offering Navigating Conflict & Tough Conversations in Agriculture, a workshop designed to help agriculture professionals navigate potentially contentious situations. Workshops are taking place throughout the state this summer. See when and where at their event page.
The Rise Up! Podcast is a celebration of bakers, the bakeries they create and the people they serve. Several recent episodes also touch on the farmers, millers, researchers, and others in the foods supply chain that make good bread and good community possible.
Join host Mark Dyck as he talks with bakers and bakery owners from across North America and around the world. Hear about their struggles and triumphs and learn about the satisfaction that feeding a community can provide.
Especially given our growing work in connecting, supporting, and strengthening those involved with growing, processing, and using artisan grains in the region, hearing how other regions are developing these markets provides inspirations and ideas for our innovative models and approaches.
For a great example along these lines, listen to Mark's interview with Jennifer Lapidus, who has made a huge mark all over the Southern USA baking scene. A baker and former bakery owner, Jennifer is the founder of the Carolina Ground mill and a leading advocate for bread wheat production in the South. She's also one of the lead organizers of the famous Asheville Bread Festival.
trivia of the month
Q: Are small towns in Minnesota generally experiencing a growth or decline in population among those aged 30-49 currently?
The answer to last month's question about foraging honey bees was 50-100 flowers per hour. Newsletter reader, Mark Boen, was our winner. Here's a bit more about Mark and what he things about the work of Renewing the Countryside.
E-mail your response to firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to win a local foods T-shirt.