Summer 2016 : E-Newsletter


The Conservation Cultivator

Welcome -- 


Here we are, already at the edition of our quarterly Women in Ag Newsletter Soil Sisters: Conservation Harvest, focused on women farmland owners, women farmers, and those devoted to the conservation of our farmland!

Please encourage your friends and colleagues to join the list. Remember, we'll just send out quarterly emails like this one, and we will not sell or share your email address. Enjoy!


The Buzz About Buffers

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Buffers, also known as filter strips, are an important tool in the soil and water conservation tool box.  They are typically located along streams, rivers and lakes to slow the flow of water from the surrounding landscape and filter out pollutants such as phosphorus, nitrogen and sediment found in the runoff after snow melt and rain events.  They also help to stabilize shorelines during flood events provided they have plants with good root structures.  Buffers can be grasses, trees or even crops such as alfalfa.  Some are native plants but not all. Minnesota has actually had a law requiring shoreland (aka riparian) buffers since 1989 but knowledge about the law and enforcement was spotty at best.  It was time for a reboot. More here...


Conservation Expert Profilekathryn-kelly.jpg

Today we are highlighting one of the women SWCD Supervisors who is truly “outstanding in her field”. Dr. Kathryn Kelly has served in this role in Renville County for many years.  She is a retired professional educator, having served on the Education Department faculty at St. Cloud State University.  

She has owned farmland for much of her life but now lives “in town”  in Olivia, Minnesota. Kathryn’s passion for involvement and protecting natural resources began at an early age. She notes “My father was the impetus for my involvement. He led by example through his work in early adoption of conservation practices."

 More here...

 

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Summer 2016 Recipe

Peaches and Blueberry Oatmeal

From Sara Freid, Lake City Catholic Worker Farm

“This is one of our favorite go-to’s for a special breakfast and my husband’s request for his birthday and Father’s Day. You can experiment with other fruit also, but this combination is delicious.”  Sara Freid

Ingredients:
3 c. old-fashioned oats
1/2 c. brown sugar
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 1/4 c. milk
1/4 c. canola oil
1 t. vanilla
2 egg whites
1 egg
Blueberries or peaches
1/3 c. chopped nuts
Maple syrup, whipped cream
Directions:
  • Combine oats, brown sugar, baking powder & salt.
  • Whisk together milk, canola oil, vanilla, egg whites & egg.
  • Combine the oats and milk mixtures and let stand for 5 minutes.
  • Add up to 1-2 cups blueberries and 1 can (or 1 cup fresh/frozen) peaches cut into pieces.
  • Pour into 11x7 (or I use 9x13) greased pan. Sprinkle 1/3 cup nuts on top. 
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.
Can top with maple syrup, whipped cream or even ice cream!  
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Conservation Topic: Buzz About Buffers

Buffers, also known as filter strips, are an important tool in the soil and water conservation tool box.  They are typically located along streams, rivers and lakes to slow the flow of water from the surrounding landscape and filter out pollutants such as phosphorus, nitrogen and sediment found in the runoff after snow melt and rain events.  They also help to stabilize shorelines during flood events provided they have plants with good root structures.  Buffers can be grasses, trees or even crops such as alfalfa.  Some are native plants but not all. Minnesota has actually had a law requiring shoreland (aka riparian) buffers since 1989 but knowledge about the law and enforcement was spotty at best.  It was time for a reboot.

In June of 2015 Governor Dayton signed the new statewide Buffer Law to help protect and improve the quality of our streams, rivers and lakes in Minnesota.  After some tweaking and clarifications during the spring 2016 legislative session this new law is ready to go.  Buffers of some kind of perennial vegetation will be required on public waters and public drainage systems.  There is no requirement for private drainage systems but having that buffer is certainly a good idea.

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Summer 2016 Women Caring for the Land Workshops

As the warm spring sunshine and rains were waking up the landscape women landowners and farmers gathered together for something most have never done before.  They gathered to meet other women like them, learn about healthy soil and actions that can be taken to nurture their land, meet women whose job it is to assist, and view examples on the landscape to spur actions. They gathered from a diversity of backgrounds and experiences: farm wives, mothers, teachers, nurses, active farmers (row crop to organic vegetables), retired farmers living in town, and the list goes on.  They shared a desire to better understand how farming affects their land, how to protect and improve the soil, and leave a legacy for their heirs.  

Kroeker_Farm.jpgWomen learning about healthy soil at the Kroeker Farm.

These gatherings are different from traditional farm education events in that they are not a room full of men and are designed for the way women prefer to learn. One participant noted  “When people close their eyes and think of a farmer they don’t think of people who look like us.”  However, more women are becoming owners or co-owners of land and they need to have the knowledge and resources to take care of that land.

 

 

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Summer 2016 Conservation Profile

Soil & Water Conservation District Supervisor Kathryn Kelly

kathryn-kelly.jpg

As this election season is in full swing it seems appropriate to highlight an elected office that few people know about and where there is a need for women leaders; Soil & Water Conservation District Supervisor.  SWCDs as they are know can be found in most counties of Minnesota. They are local units of government that help landowners protect and restore soil, water and natural resources.  The Supervisors serve as the Board helping to provide guidance and policies for these organizations.  Learn more by finding your SWCD on the web.

Today we are highlighting one of the women SWCD Supervisors who is truly “outstanding in her field”. Dr. Kathryn Kelly has served in this role in Renville County for many years.  She is a retired professional educator, having served on the Education Department faculty at St. Cloud State University.  She has owned farmland for much of her life but now lives “in town”  in Olivia, Minnesota.

Kathryn’s passion for involvement and protecting natural resources began at an early age. She notes “My father was the impetus for my involvement. He led by example through his work in early adoption of conservation practices. He also advised me from my earliest memory that,  "when you  retire, you need to become involved in doing things that make things better. After all, others did things to pave the way for opportunities you had." Wise advice I have followed! And....I'm not a rocking chair type of person!!”

 

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Summer 2016 Farmer Profile: Sara Freid

Five Tips for Beginning Women Farmers

Soil Sisters: Sara Freid, Lake City Catholic Worker Farm (Lake City, MN)
By Lisa Kivirist, author of Soil Sisters: A Toolkit for Women Farmers

Just about all farm women plant seeds and harvest crops, as does Sara Freid on her diversified operation in Lake City, Minnesota. IMG_5805.jpgHowever, dig a little deeper into Sara’s story and you quickly see she’s growing more than dinner on her land, she’s cultivating change.

“As a Catholic Worker Farm, our operation carries on the lay movement started by Dorothy Day during the Depression in the 1930s, a woman who grew disappointed in the church’s non- presence working to address issues of the day such as hunger and homelessness,” explains Sara. “Her core teaching is to identify needs in your community and then, importantly, act on what you can do to help resolve it.”

For Sara and her family, starting the Lake City Catholic Worker Farm in 2007 serves as their vivid and tangible action to both bringing healthy, fresh food to their community while providing a venue to tackle the broader issue of serving people in need. Today they raise diversified produce, pigs, chickens and eggs and sell at the Lake City farmers’ market, local schools, group homes, donate to area food pantries and other Catholic Worker homes and offer a fall CSA (community supported agriculture) share.

“Each Catholic Worker community is an independent entity that each strive in their own way to serve those in need, ranging from homes offering food and shelter to working farms like ours,” shares Sara. Her farm welcomes and hosts people in need of support, from lodging to meals. “Folks who come are our guests and we strive to make them feel welcomed, safe and loved. While guests can help in the gardens, it’s not a requirement to stay.”

For women interested in creating a farm venture in this same spirit of blending a successful farm enterprise with their social justice mission, read on for five tips from Sara:

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Spring 2016: E-Newsletter

The Conservation Cultivator

Welcome to the first edition of our quarterly Women in Ag Newsletter Soil Sisters: Conservation Harvest, focused on women farmland owners, women farmers, and those devoted to the conservation of our farmland!

Please encourage your friends and colleagues to join the list. Remember, we'll just send out quarterly emails like this one, and we will not sell or share your email address. Enjoy!




Caring for our Lands

AprilPrairielarge.jpg

What does the word “conservation” mean to you?  For me it conjures up the idea of protecting and restoring our natural areas, farmland and even urban yards.  It speaks to the idea of sustainability and passing along to future generations.  Healthy soil and water are some of the results of employing conservation practices on the land and will be areas of focus for this column.  How do we create these results?  This is a big topic and there is much going on in Minnesota and other places.  Some things that are “trending” right now are buffers, sustainable and organic farming, nitrogen pollution of our waters both above and below ground, soil health and cover crops, to name a few.  Over the course of these newsletters we’ll explore different topics and provide resources to learn more.
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Spring 2016: Recipes

See Kathy Zeman's Profile here, and her favorite Cucumber Buttermilk Soup recipe here.

And learn all Paula Foreman and her top bean recipe after the jump!

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Spring 2016: Cultivating Conservation

What does the word “conservation” mean to you?  For me it conjures up the idea of protecting and restoring our natural areas, farmland and even urban yards.  It speaks to the idea of sustainability and passing along to future generations.  Healthy soil and water are some of the results of employing conservation practices on the land and will be areas of focus for this column.  How do we create these results?  This is a big topic and there is much going on in Minnesota and other places.  Some things that are “trending” right now are buffers, sustainable and organic farming, nitrogen pollution of our waters both above and below ground, soil health and cover crops, to name a few.  Over the course of these newsletters we’ll explore different topics and provide resources to learn more.

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Spring 2016 Farmer Profile: Q & A with Kathy Zeman

 Kathy Zeman of Simple Harvest Farm Organics 
(Nerstrand, MN)

“If it ain’t simple, we can’t do it,” shares Kathy Zeman with a smile about her 20-acre diversified organic operation she’s been running as a solo woman farmer for the past 10 years. 

While her farm business approach of simplicity adds up to her success, Kathy’s vision for the future of our food system and landscape is far from minimal.  Blending farming moxie with a mission to leave this world a better place, Kathy brings drive and dedication to everything she cultivates, from raising her free range chickens to improving state policy via her hat managing the Minnesota Farmers’ Market Association.

The core of Kathy’s zeal and leadership roots in education.  “I call myself a ‘food farmer’ to emphasize that I raise the kinds of things you can actually eat,” she explains.  “Too much of what we see today are commodities far removed from our plate, so most of us don’t connect the costs of that production with our responsibility for the planet.”  

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