August 2022 News


August 2022


Will you come celebrate local food and farm to early care with us at the Minnesota State Fair? Going on now through Labor Day, Sept. 5! Are you a local food advocate that would like to volunteer? There are a few more spots—sign up HERE.

Keep reading for field days and gatherings that serve to inform and connect, and we hope your summer is wrapping up with bountiful fresh, local food and plenty of down time to spend with community!

—the team at Renewing the Countryside

Minnesota State Fair

A wonderful way to celebrate agriculture with 20,000 of your best friends, featuring:

1. A wonderful lineup of cooking demos in the Eco Experience Building's Sustainability Stage, starting with Beth Dooley on Thursday and Patrice Johnson Friday. See the full schedule here.

2. An exciting array of food businesses offering samples of their unique products, starting with Mostly Made and Perennial Pantry on Thursday and K-Mama and Woven Meats on Friday. Oh, and don't miss the crickets! Full schedule here.

3. Enjoy a spotlight on Farm to Early Care and Education (F2ECE) programs and the providers who've dedicated themselves to working with kids. F2ECE not only helps get fresh, local foods to young kids, but also engages them in positive experiences with those foods, from learning about how they're grown to fun activities based on the Pint Size Produce resource materials.

For example:

Roxanne Stiner operates Care-A-Lot Child Care in Park Rapids, MN where she predominantly works with children from underserved Indigenous families. She is dedicated to educating families about healthy eating through exposure to locally-grown foods and providing healthy recipes for preparing those foods. Children in Roxanne’s care learn about growing and harvesting fresh produce by visiting a prepared garden plot and by taking field trips to a local garden center, a u-pick strawberry farm, and the farmers market. She believes that by introducing new fruits and vegetables within peer groups, having time to cook together, and sharing recipes with their families, children are more likely to decide that they want to participate and try new fruits and veggies.

“By providing opportunities for the children to engage and learn, they will be proud to help provide healthy meals to bring home. They will try new foods and recipes and be excited to engage in lifelong learning about healthy living and eating.”

—Roxanne Stiner, Early Care Provider


Farmland Access

Pause for celebration

We're so grateful to the customers of Lakewinds Food Co-op for banding together to donate to our Farmland Access work through the Community Giving Round Up Program for the month of July: you raised a whopping $15,000 to help us get new farmers onto land!

Thank you!


Farmers Market Food Hub

RTC's Jan Joannides and Sara George joined AmeriCorps VISTAs Maeve Mallozzi-Kelly and Kathleen Rykhus at The Village this month for a regional visit with Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation and regional VISTA Coordinator Daniel Cruz.

Renewing the Countryside and the Minnesota Farmers Market Association are so lucky to have incredible VISTA volunteers through a program at the Southern MN Initiative Foundation. Kathleen and Maeve are creating resources and tools along with collecting data to make our Farmers’ Market Hubs stronger and more vibrant in communities across Minnesota.

Conservation Connections

More and more field days! Renewing the Countryside “connectors” are farmers, trained to connect others to resources that are available through the Farm Service Agency (FSA) and the Natural Resource Conservation Services (NRCS).

You’re invited to a Field Day at Twin Cities Berry Company, a production farm dedicated to increasing the Twin Cities' supply and access to healthy, locally produced fruit. The farm achieves this by developing and utilizing season extension technologies that push fruit production past its normal harvest window while maintaining impeccable taste and quality.

Network with other farmers and bring your questions! A warm invite especially to beginning farmers and new landowners, those needing interpretation, those growing on rented land interested in conservation resources and new to NRCS and FSA.

Introduction to NRCS & FSA Resources & Programs
Monday, August 29
4 - 6 PM CDT
Twin Cities Berry Company
Farmington, MN


Join farmer Robert Pierce for a tour of his farm, Half the 40 Acres, south of Madison and learn about various programs and opportunities to enhance conservation practices on your land. Learn about soil health and see Robert's composting operation.
"For me, it's pretty simple; everything starts with healthy soil. To grow good food you need good soil and that has always been my priority here on the farm."
—Robert Pierce, farmer and director of the South Madison Farmers' Market and Neighborhood Food Solutions nonprofit

Introduction to NRCS & FSA Resources & Programs
Wednesday, September 14
4 - 6 PM CDT
Half the 40 Acres
Fitchburg, WI


Women in Ag

WiWiC kicks off their fall workshops on Sept. 14 at Twin Bluff Farms in Stockholm, WI.


Wisconsin Women in Conservation has launched a lineup of fall workshops, starting with the West Central region, hosted by Sara George!

Come celebrate fall and harvest season with other women who share your commitment to land conservation, gather ideas and information for establishing your land conservation plan and how to use the upcoming winter months for planning, research and connections with NRCS.

All women farmers, landowners and conservationists from Pierce, Pepin, Buffalo and surrounding areas are welcome to attend—whatever your background, from beginners to experts!

Visit to learn more.

Contact RTC staffers Sara George or Elena Byrne with questions.


Soil Sisters

Did you catch Soil Sisters Weekend, Aug 5-7?

From tours to soil tests to recipes, the weekend was packed with learning and community. Thanks to all who joined in the fun and good times!

Stay in touch with Soil Sisters action on Facebook for info on events like Harvest. Cook. Feed. Share: Soil Sisters & Culinary Ladies Collective Happy Hour, happening at Brix Cider in Mount Horeb, WI on Wednesday, Sept. 7.


Staff Moment

Top row, L to R: Melvin Giles, Ramona Robinson-O'Brien, Vanessa Apira, Jody Padgham, Ceugant Scolaidhe, Matt Barthelemy, Kathleen Rykhus, Brett Olson. Bottom row: Jan Joannides, Elena Byrne, Sara George, Marlene Petersen. Not pictured: Lisa Kivirist, who also lives the furthest from St. Paul!


RTC staff converged in St. Paul at the end of July for a meeting to put our heads together around our various program areas and discuss how we can better serve our farm and local food constituents. Bonus, we also gathered with outgoing staffers Eli Goodwell, Lynne Bishop, and Nora Shields-Cutler at an after party with lots of cake and only a few tears!

staff page

Community Happenings

MN Farmers Markets Map

In early August, just in time for Farmers Market Week, our friends at the Minnesota Farmers Market Association (MFMA) released a new, searchable map directory of farmers markets, currently showing 346 throughout Minnesota!

“We have needed a comprehensive map of all markets in Minnesota for a very long time,” stated Kathy Zeman, MFMA Executive Director. “This map is phenomenal. For the first time, Minnesota residents across the state can find a complete listing of all the state’s markets in one location.”

Kudos to VISTA Maeve Mallozzi-Kelly for her hard work building the database for this awesome tool. Check it out!


First Generation Farm Start-Up


August 27 | Naima’s Farm | Alexandria, Minn.

This field day will highlight the journey of Naima’s Farm from the beginning to current transition. Naima and her husband will share the challenges they both experienced in regard to land access for an immigrant farmer and share more about their expanding farm business. This field day is supported by NIFA, USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. Learn more and register.


Hazelnut Field Day


It will soon be time for hazelnut harvest! Join University of Minnesota's hazelnut breeding program on August 31 from 2:00 - 4:00 pm at the Rosemount hazelnut planting at the Vermillion Highlands, Farm Loop Lone Rock Trailhead to learn about the crop as they are ready to harvest. Also learn about the American Hazelnut Company and their efforts to pioneer the marketing of this new midwestern nut crop.

RSVP here

Photo: American Hazelnut Co.

Deep Roots Festival

The Deep Roots Festival, Saturday, Sept. 10, is presented by the Lake Agassiz Chapter of the Sustainable Farming Association in the spirit of building connection to local food and the producers who make them in the Lake Agassiz Region!

Presenters include Deb Jenkins, Bonnie Jo of Cali Kombucha and more to come. Stay tuned for schedule updates!

Location: Pelican Rapids, MN

Learn more + register


Minneapolis Public Schools Farm to School Community BBQ


Back after a 2- year pause, this Mpls Public Schools Community BBQ will feature delicious locally-sourced food and the farmers who grow it, live music, family-friendly activities, and a corn-shucking contest.

RTC will be there!

Date: Wednesday, Sept. 21, 4-6:30 pm



*Read past issues of the RTC Rooster on our blog*
Thank you for your support of time, energy, funds, and enthusiasm!

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!



Renewing the Countryside is a non-profit organization that strengthens rural areas and small towns by championing & supporting farmers, artists, entrepreneurs, educators, activists, and others who are revitalizing the countryside through innovative endeavors.
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.

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