2016 Top Ten!


Here it is - the Renewing the Countryside "End of Year Top 10 Review."

2016, by some accounts, is one to forget - However, we are rather proud of what we got accomplished and think you will be impressed too. From a successful fundraiser for a micro-loan fund for farmers (who can forget the amazing crew of "Mud Bucket Challenge" volunteers?) to the long list of partnering organizations who were instrumental in making this year a success.  Of course, we couldn't have done it without the support of you - our volunteers, friends, supporters, and donors.

Remember, this coming year, you don't have to wait until the end of the year to see what we've been doing at Renewing the Countryside! Just follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page to make sure you don't miss anything!

Also, it is not too late to make a tax-deductible donation to Renewing the Countryside



1. Grow a Farmer - Slow Money Minnesota

We successfully raised nearly $100,000 for a new micro-loan program for Southern Minnesota family farmers. Over 200 individuals and organizations contributed to the fund!


2. New Farmer U

Along with our lead partner at MOSES, we successfully brought together over 100 farmers to an intensive 2 day conference for networking, skill training and information geared directly for beginning farmers.


3. Specialty Crop Enhancement Teams

We piloted a new way to bring technical assistance to farmers at critical moments on their farm. By engaging experts from research institutions, state agencies, and mentor farmers, we were able to facilitate meaningful technical assistance when farmers needed it.


4. Farmland Access

Our leadership in  Slow Money Minnesota has brought together Iroquois Valley Farms and Yker Acres to ensure a sustainable family farm can provide a steady stream of high quality pastured pork to Red Table Meats - and to you!


5. Women in Agriculture

We held three Women Caring for the Land workshops this spring. We also launched and convened our first Soil Sisters cohort, and hosted a performance of Map of My Kingdom about land transitions. We will be partnering again with Women Food and Agriculture Network on workshops focused on farmland owners and city dwellers.


6. Green Routes

We redesigned and relaunched our website for a new more mobile-friendly version of the best “green” directory of travel destinations in the north.


7. Forever Green at the Minnesota State Fair

Twelve days, 144 hours, a record 1.94 MILLION attendees, 158 volunteers, 36 cooking demonstrations Dozens of foodmakers served 70,000 free samples of Healthy Local Food! This year our theme was Forever Green, promoting new crops and farming methods that are good for soil and water health and the farmer’s bottom line. 


8. Farm to Institution

We brought together over 250 farmers, buyers, and experts to connect and learn in four regional events across the state, offer mentorships for more in-depth opportunities to navigate barriers to purchasing local specialty crops for schools and other institutions, and continue to work with early care and education settings to bring more healthy, local food and gardening-related education to our youngest eaters.


9. Feast! Local Foods Marketplace

We brought back the largest local food expo for its third year to Rochester Minnesota. This year with record public attendance! Ticket sales grew by thirty percent over 2015!


10. Partnerships

We couldn't have accomplished any of these programs or projects without the help and leadership of so many other organizations. Here is a partial list of those groups for 2016! Ag Ventures Alliance, Birchwood Cafe, Green Lands Blue Waters, Co-op Partners Warehouse, Cogent Consulting, Farm Commons, Ferndale Market, Featherstone Fruits and Vegetables, Field Guide, HealthPartners, Hmong American Farmers Association, Inn Serendipity, Kalona, Kwik Trip, Land Stewardship Project, Mayo Clinic, Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service, Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Minnesota Department of Health, Minnesota Farmers Market Association, Minnesota Farmers Union, Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture, National Young Farmers Association, Organic Valley, Peace Coffee, Practical Farmers of Iowa, Shared Capital Co-op, Slow Money, Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, Sustainable Farmers Association of Minnesota, The Food Building, The Good Acre, The McKnight Foundation, The People's Co-op, University of Minnesota, Wisconsin Farmers Union, AND MANY MORE!



Help us build a healthier food system, more vibrant communities and a brighter future for our planet! 


Jan Joannides

Executive Director

And the staff, board, and intern team!