We appreciate you as your support for and interest in strong rural communities and healthy local food systems is fundamental to their vitality.
This month we're especially looking forward to the return of the Minnesota State Fair, August 26-September 6. Keep reading to learn about our plans for local food and agriculture info at our Eco Experience Building events, and so much more going on!
Minnesota State Fair
Come learn, eat and play with us Aug. 26 - Sept. 6 at the Minnesota State Fair! For over a decade, Renewing the Countryside and partners have curated a food-related, interactive educational exhibit at the Eco Experience—the award-winning sustainability expo which draws over 250,000 visitors over the 12 days of the fair. Stop, say "hi" and enjoy the activities.
We're on stage with cooking demos* at 11am, 1pm, and 3pm daily. Featured chefs this year include:
- Patrice Johnson - author of Land of 1,000 Plates on Thursday, 8/26
- James Beard award-winning author Beth Dooley, cooking recipes from her book The Perennial Kitchen on Saturday, 8/28
- Chef Lachelle Cunningham from The Good Acre & Chelle's Kitchen on Saturday, 9/4.
*See the full schedule at renewingthecountryside.org/mn_state_fair
This year’s theme focuses on Climate Change and Agriculture. The consequences of rising global temperatures are showing all around us, with ever-increasing effects on farmers, agriculture, and the future of our food supply. Come learn how innovative farmers and others in the food sector are tackling the climate problem head-on - as well as things YOU can do to help in the struggle against climate change.
We’ll explore the relationship between climate change and agriculture and share how responsible soil and water management, grazing, continuous living cover, and the prevention of food waste can play a role in helping mitigate the climate crisis.
Kids and families can have fun learning how to eat better and move more with Yum Power at our children's area, sponsored by HealthPartners. We're also welcoming Seven Sundays back for the entire fair run and, new this year, Sacred Blossom Farm and Herbal Teas.
Plan to join us for an inspiring time at the Healthy Local Foods exhibit at the Eco Experience!
Registration is now open for the 2021 New Farmer U, a training offered by MOSES and Renewing the Countryside to increase beginning farmers' business skills and support their farming success. New Farmer U will take place on Oct. 29th and 30th at Camp One Heartland in Willow River, Minnesota. Language interpretation and scholarships are available.
The event includes workshops on topics such as wholesale markets, online marketing, recordkeeping, land access and financing, and income diversification. The $50.00 registration fee covers workshops, meals, and lodging.
Fearless Farm Finances workshop add-on: Arrive early on October 29th to join us for the Fearless Farm Finances workshop, based on the book and led by author Paul Dietmann of Compeer Financial. Registration is $25 and includes a free copy of the book. This workshop may also be attended as a standalone event.
Scholarships: Beginning farmers who need assistance accessing the training may apply for a $35 scholarship. The scholarship application closes on Aug. 27th.
Zumbrota microgreens growers Jayne and Dean Breadlau of The Greensted have been part of the FEAST! Local Foods Marketplace since 2017, and have been growing in all directions lately. First branching out into garden veggies in 2020, they moved into a larger microgreens facility in March of this year, and just last month, opened a new retail store at their farm [45820 190th Ave, Zumbrota, MN 55992].
“Everything in our store is sourced locally," Jayne told us. "We have met so many wonderful makers and producers along our vendor and farmers market trail, we wanted to have a place where everything great from the region is here.”
- Meet the Maker store demos Saturdays, 10 am to noon, 1 pm - 3 pm. Samples are pre-portioned.
- Education classes - The store also has a demonstration kitchen, where they’ll be holding some group classes in the fall through Zumbrota Mazeppa Community Ed. If you'd like to teach your craft, share your knowledge, show a skill to a group of 8 or 10 people, contact [email protected]
- Reko Market - Online pre-sales will be aggregated for order pick-up at the farm store twice a month.
Farm to School & Early Care
Early-care tasting event was the place to be!
Zumbrota-Mazeppa Public School's farm-to-school summer efforts came to a crescendo with a recent tasting event, where kids from Cougar Care and Bright Beginnings tasted and learned about produce grown by their area farmers! Kids sampled sweet cherry tomatoes from D & S Gardens, farm-fresh green beans, and carrots that had "tails" on them—grown by Good Turn Farm.
RTC staff Sara George and Brett Olson helped orchestrate the tasting with the help of our first high-school intern, Katrina Sortland (soon-to-be a Junior at Zumbrota-Mazeppa High School) and Food Service Director Jill Duitsman. "We asked how they liked the veggies and got to hear all about their gardens at home!" said Duitsman. "The kids were super excited and engaged to hear that the produce came from farms that were so close to their school."
They'll be trying these fresh products out on the district's unlimited fruit and veggie bars when school starts. Great job, team, and many thanks to Lunchtime Solutions for their partnership and to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture for supporting this work!
Brett and Katrina truly enjoyed the conversations with the children as they tried these flavorful, fresh vegetables. One very interesting observation: children with garden experience or gardens at home were much more adventurous when trying these vegetables. Keep on gardening—they are watching and learning!
Women in Ag
RTC's Sara George (above, left) was recently featured on an hour-long radio conversation with Sally Farrar (above, right) and conservation biologist Britta Peterson of Pheasants Forever. The August 9 edition of Patty Pelteko's Public Affair show on Wisconsin's WORT dove into the topic of women stewarding the land. Listen here!
Among the WiWiC Regional Coordinators are RTC's Sara George and Elena Byrne, who hosted 45 women for a field day at Sally Farrar's amazing farm (and prairie) in Pepin, WI on August 14 and are holding an in-person outdoor workshop at beautiful Beaver Creek Reserve in Falls Creek, WI on August 27 (click to register).
Our summer intern Ka Zoua Xiong has been working on a range of activities, including farm to school and early care programs, plus making some fun cooking videos. Take a peek—they're really short and sweet, and are great activities to use with kids in the kitchen!
Silvopasture for Livestock & Pollinator Field Day - Aug 21
Saturday, Aug. 21, learn about Silvopasture for Livestock & Pollinators at Mary Dirty Face Farm in Menomonie, WI. Topics will include species selection, installation, and weed management for tree strips that provide forage/shade for livestock and food/ nesting for pollinators, especially specialist bees, butterflies, and moths that require certain tree and shrub species to survive.
Co-hosted by MOSES and The Xerces Society. Details here
Holms Girls Dairy Field Day - Sept 28
Tuesday, Sept. 28, join Wisconsin Women in Conservation and MOSES for a FREE field day at Holm Girls Dairy in Elk Mound, WI, 3-7pm (supper provided). Organic farmer and conservationist Mariann Holm will lead a pasture walk and discuss pasture renewal, grazing as conservation, and grazing livestock on pasture with trees. Learn and see how soil regenerates through pasture rotation and renewal.
Learn more & register here.
2021 National Farm Viability Conference (#FarmViability21)
In the fall of 2019, RTC had the pleasure of hosting the National Farm Viability Conference in Red Wing, MN. This year, the conference is virtual and is co-hosted by Oregon Tilth & Oregon State University’s Center for Small Farms and Community Food Systems.
Professionals and others in farm/food business planning, financial planning, land conservation, and market development should register for this month of workshops, discussions & skill sharing. Register today!
We continue to invite you to donate and to consider becoming a sustaining donor if you haven't already. Your generosity makes a big difference in the sustainable finances of a small non-profit organization like RTC!
We build awareness and support for these initiatives by collecting & sharing stories of rural renewal, providing practical assistance & networking opportunities for those working to improve rural America, and fostering connections between urban & rural people.