April E-Newsletter


April 2019

Profiles | Events | Partners | Resources | Reading | Trivia


April showers bring budding trees, full rivers, and pastel flowers. April showers also bring May opportunities to gather, celebrate, and support. We hope you'll consider joining us on Monday, May 6th for breakfast! Learn more below or reserve your spot today!
Join us: RTC Spring Breakfast - Monday, May 6 


Start your week off right!
7:30-9am, Monday, May 6th
Red Stag Supperclub
Reserve your spot here: https://forms.gle/W4SR5KZ5UBjpH6iy9

Join us on May 6th for our first ever Spring Fundraiser & Social. This is an opportunity for people to come and learn about exciting developments at Renewing the Countryside. Yes, this is a fundraiser, and we will accepting contributions, but there is no minimum and no maximum gift – and breakfast is free! We would be delighted if you could join us!

You may know us through one particular program or event, but each of them are only a small part of our work -- we would love the chance to share about all the great things we're doing. Did you know we have helped more than a dozen farmers find land to lease or buy in the last year alone? That we reach over 250,000 visitors through our interactive, educational Healthy, Local Foods Exhibit each year at the Minnesota State Fair? That we host events that have connected many dozens of woman farmers and landowners with resources and support to increase conservation of their land? Or that we work with local child care providers to increase their nutrition education and purchasing of healthy local, farm-fresh food?

Register yourself and your friends today: https://forms.gle/W4SR5KZ5UBjpH6iy9

look who's renewing the countryside: Noreen Thomas


Keeping busy at Doubting Thomas Farm, which is currently run by its fourth and fifth generations, Noreen Thomas is deeply engaged in her local community, as well as regional and national work happening to increase the use of artisan, ancient, and organic grains. 

Noreen's family is working on developing some new and renewed ways to use grains, and puts into practice cover crops and other soil conservation practices.  Their efforts in connecting with others interested in the use and opportunities around ancient grains has quickly grown into numerous partnerships and alliances with other farmers, businesses and professionals. From renowned chefs, like Dan Barber, and local breweries and bread makers, the interest in what the Thomases are producing is expanding. Research and outreach continue to expand. 
We have worked with Noreen as a regional coordinator on some of our projects connecting women farmers with resources and information about funding and farming practices, and our recent regional ancient grain collaborations continue to bring us back together.  

where we've been: MN Artisan Grain Gathering


Last month we were excited to come together with farmers, millers, bakers, brewers, nonprofits, researchers, and other supply chain partners for a gathering to identify possibilities and priorities for Minnesota heritage and small grains from field to plate or glass.

The effort looks to expand local foods goals into the realm of grains, and for consumers to realize the benefits not only to new and interesting flavors, but also different nutrient values as well as increased markets for farms that are using grains in rotation with their other, often more marketable crops.

We were pleased to include panelists like author Beth Dooley, University of Minnesota Researcher Don Wyse, farmer Ben Penner, entrepreneur Brady Barnstable of Seven Sundays and millers Marty and Darrold Granville of Sunrise Flour Mill.

The Artisan Grain Collaborative (AGC) partnered with us to hold this gathering, and we were pleased to be able to bring together such an active group of people from across the grain value chain in Minnesota to hear about what AGC is doing and contribute to the conversation. 

Organizing partners include: Albert Lea Seed, Artisan Grain Collaborative, AURI, Ben Penner Farms, Beth Dooley’s Kitchen, Delta Institute, Environmental Initiative, Forever Green, University of Minnesota, Fresh Taste, Kimber Contours, Midwest Grains Initiative- Center for Sustainability Solutions, Sprowt Labs, Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture, Organic Seed Alliance, Peterson Farms, Renewing the Countryside, and U of M Extension Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships

partner spotlight: Ferndale Market


With the tagline, "We are farmers. We are shopkeepers. Regardless of which hat we're wearing, our mission is simple: to provide the very best in local, sustainable foods" you know you're working with a group of dedicated folks who value their role in the food system.

At Renewing the Countryside, we connected with John Peterson of Ferndale over a decade ago when we were first doing our Farmer-Buyer Speed-dating Workshops.

John has this to say: "Renewing the Countryside has been an ally ever since my return to our farm in 2008.  From support in helping to identify new markets, to launching Feast!, we've benefited significantly from the work Renewing the Countryside has done to help support farm sustainability and direct marketing."

We're excited to have John join us at our spring fundraiser next Monday, May. Make sure you join us to hear more from John about how Renewing the Countryside supports and impacts businesses like Ferndale. Reserve your spot today!

resource pick of the month: The Good Acre's spring classes


From spring soups, to fresh-caught panfish, The Good Acre has a wealth of classes for you to up your kitchen skills and add to your list of favorite recipes. 

Are you ready to make a healthy evolution in your cooking? Interested in a new cuisine? Need an alternative to take-out? Whatever your motivation, The Good Acre offers a fun, fulfilling and affordable way to learn from expert instructors, expand your food knowledge, and share your passion for good food—all while supporting the Minnesota food community.

Sign up for classes here!

We know that there are no farmers, and there is not a food system, if regular people like you and me don't have access to fresh food or know how to prepare it. That's why we work with community partners like The Good Acre in our efforts to educate the public, school, and early care staff about how to incorporate more fresh, local food into meals and snacks. Learn more more about our community-based food system work at our Spring Breakfast on May 6th!

trivia of the month



Q: What delicious spring crop has this strange tool been designed to harvest?



E-mail your response to [email protected] for a chance to win a local foods T-shirt. 

Keep up the great submissions!