June 2024 News



June 2024

Summer is here and with it comes all those warm and fuzzy feelings that make us smile…such as peas and strawberries popping up at farmers markets and farm stands across the state, fireflies flying around at night, camp fires, summer camp, families at the beach, vibrant flower beds and so much more. What is there not to love about summer? 

Renewing the Countryside has lots to smile about too… from field days and farm to school connections, to new staff joining our team and all the awesome State Fair planning and did you hear we are celebrating our 20 years of working together in Minnesota!?!?

Come celebrate with us, pretty peas!?

—Sara George, Farmer Focused Program Manager


You're Invited!

Our 2024 FUNdraiser is just over a week away!


We're so excited to celebrate 20 years of Renewing the Countryside with you.

The big bash is Thursday, June 27th, 5:30-8:30pm at the beautiful Dodge Nature Center in West Saint Paul. Join us for great food, fun games, and engaging conversation with folks from across our various program areas. No need for a sitter either. Kids are welcome and free under age 12! Tickets start at $25 (including appetizers and a drink ticket).

Click the button below for tickets and more information, like details on the silent auction's 45+ items to bid on at the event.  PLEASE PURCHASE BY JUNE 22. Tickets are limited. Register today so you don't miss all the fun! 

For questions, contact Marlene Petersen at [email protected]


Join Our Team!



RTC is looking for two new great people to join our staff! 

Development and Communications Manager: This role is a full-time, exempt, salaried position. It is primarily remote, however will require occasional travel to meetings and events. Main responsibilities include fundraising and communications work. Application review begins 6/20/24.

Minnesota Women in Conservation State Coordinator: This role is a 60-100% FTE (flexible), salaried position. While remote, this position will require regular travel for meetings and events around Minnesota. Main responsibilities include supporting the launch of the new Minnesota Women in Conservation program, developing and maintaining diverse partnerships, and managing teams. Application review begins 7/8/24.

To access the complete position descriptions, visit our job openings page. Please share with anyone who you think may be interested! Positions will remain open until filled.

Applicants are welcome to direct questions and send application materials to [email protected].

Minnesota State Fair

Sign up to volunteer with us at the MN State Fair!

15 years of curating an interactive, educational food & farming exhibit at the MN State Fair Eco Experience Building means we've had a lot of opportunity to share information about issues important to agriculture, land stewardship, and local foods. The award-winning sustainability expo draws over 250,000 people during the twelve days of the fair. Our exhibit includes kids activities, three daily cooking demonstrations, and local food sampling, as well as a poster display on our theme —this year we're digging into AGROFORESTRY!

For more on our 2024 exhibit, visit our website.

Volunteers receive a free admission ticket to the fair on the day of their shift and also receive a free, limited edition, Local Foods T-Shirt! Volunteer shifts are 3 hours long and are available between 9am-7:30pm. 

For questions, contact Maeve Mallozzi-Kelly at [email protected]

Urban Ag


RTC’s Urban Ag team is excited to announce that our community review panels have selected 13 projects to receive People’s Garden grants with funding from USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service. The new People’s Gardens are equally distributed across the Minneapolis and St. Paul area, and include 2 school-based projects and several community gardens, neighborhood associations, and youth-focused gardens. USDA People’s Gardens, located in communities across the country, are educational spaces where people grow food, create wildlife habitat, practice conservation, and provide education and training on these topics.


Farmland Access


How will new farmers access land, given rising land prices?

How will retiring farmers be able to transition their land to the next generation of farmers? 

Last November, we had a blast gathering with over 200 farm leaders, food and agriculture professionals, policymakers, and diverse partners at the 2023 Upper Midwest Farmland Summit.

The Summit was chock full of exciting conversations about farmland access and transfer, and participants left feeling informed, inspired, and connected.

Read about the Summit's powerful impacts here!


Questions about the Summit? Contact Catie DeMets at [email protected]

Go Farm Connect

Thurs., June 27

Are you new to farming and not sure about what resources are available? 

Have you met with someone trying to help and you simply can’t figure out all the acronyms they are using? 

Join us as we lift up farmers that have used these programs, they will share what resources they used and tips and resources for your success too.  Find us at the following upcoming events and be sure to watch our website for more events coming soon! 

On Saturday, June 29, 2-5pm, our Urban Ag team is co-hosting a Field Day at Urban Roots: Exploring Resources for Youth in Urban Ag. The purpose of this event, which will be held at Rivoli Bluff Farm in St Paul, is to showcase the work of Urban Roots in engaging youth in growing food, cooking, practicing conservation, and career exploration; and to learn about USDA’s Youth Farm Loan program as a way to support young agricultural entrepreneurs. This will also be a chance for exchange with USDA staff. Please register here

Learn more and register at gofarmconnect.org/events

For questions about Go Farm Connect, contact [email protected]

Come and Get It!


Come & Get It! on-farm food events are just around the corner! Up first is Sowing Seeds on July 14 in Madelia, which includes a farm tour, "lost skills" demos, kids activities, farmers' market area, and more. 

Visit our On Farm Food Event website to see all that's in store for this summer!

RTC developed the Come & Get It project to train and assist teams of farmers and food advocates in creating fun, educational, and safe on-farm events. Each event is planned by the teams to highlight their own regional flavor, featuring pop-up farmers’ markets, educational kids activities, hands-on cooking demonstrations, music and more! 

For questions, contact Maeve at [email protected].

Farmers Market Food Hub

Summer is here and with that brings packed schedules filled with t-ball games, swimming lessons and all those summer camp trips. Does it feel like there is not enough time in a day. Fear not!  We can help!

Did you know that you can order online from several farmers markets across the state?  Think of it as the “Amazon of local foods.” We work with and support 7 food hubs across the state as they work hands on with the farmers in their communities.

Here’s how it works: you go to the online store, where you can see various farmers to order from, what products they have available at what price, and you can put those items from multiple different farms into one shopping cart for a single check out, single payment and depending on the market, you can choose for drive through or delivery *at a nominal fee to finalize the transaction!

Sounds cool right!?! Try it out today! Visit the online stores at farmersmarkethub.org, or click the desired hub link below: 

Aitkin  |  Grand Rapids  |  Virginia  |  Moorhead  |  Willmar   Red Wing  |  St. Paul  

To learn more about these hubs, contact [email protected] or [email protected]

Farmers for Solar

Interested in learning more about how solar energy can benefit farmers, the environment, and rural communities?

Join us for a solar farm tour on August 7th in the Black River Falls area! We'll visit two farms that have incorporated solar into their operations to keep their family farms vibrant and viable. One of the farms has established perennial groundcover and pollinator habitat, and the other is grazing sheep among the panels. To learn more and receive updates about the tour, sign up and check out the short fact sheet at cleanwisconsin.org/FarmersForSolar. 

Farmers for Solar is a new Wisconsin-based initiative to build a community of farmers and rural landowners who are willing to speak up in support for rural clean energy projects. For this project, RTC is working in partnership with Clean Wisconsin & Michael Fields Agricultural Institute.


Wisconsin Women in Conservation

June is CHOCK FULL of WiWiC events! RTC staffer Elena Byrne will be hosting the lunch & learn Summer Camp Webinar on Thursday, June 20 at noon. We'll hear from content expert Léa Vereecke, Organic Agronomist & Regional Manager at Rodale Consulting Services, and we'll hear from farmer and landowner Michelle Cannon of Larryville Gardens. 

Also, check out these in-person events!

Friday, June 21: Southwest Region Potluck at Keewaydin Farms, Viola, WI

Wednesday, June 26: Field Day at Misty Dawn Farm, Janesville, WI

More about WiWiC events


FEAST! Local Foods

The 11th annual FEAST! Local Foods Marketplace festival is the first Saturday in November at Rochester's Mayo Civic Center, and we hope you have it on your calendars! Exhibitor Registration is well underway, and we're excited to share the first fabulous five businesses who are signed up to be a part of it: Joe Mama BBQ Sauce & Seasons (Northfield, MN), Must Be Ruff (Brooklyn Park MN), Embark Maple from B&E's Trees (Viroqua, WI), Tortilleria Zepeda (Lone Rock, WI), and Cakes & Bakes (Rochester, MN)!

Ticket sales begin in August on opening day of the Minnesota State Fair, so stay tuned!

For questions about FEAST! Local Foods Network programs, contact Elena at 608.712.8340 or [email protected].

Staff Moment


Above left is Melvin Giles, from our Farm to Early Care team, leading a tour group from the ASPHN Farm to Early Care & Education Convening last week. Also attending the conference were Alexandria Harris on our team, and former staffer/very good colleague Nora Shields-Cutler, seen sitting next to each other!


Read more on our staff page


Community Happenings

Planning is underway for the Marbleseed Organic Farming Conference, happening Feb 20-22 2025. This annual event brings together farmers of all backgrounds to collaborate, connect, and innovate through comprehensive courses aimed at fostering organic and sustainable farms and food systems.

Marbleseed is looking for proposals for facilitated discussions, traditional presentations, and interactive sessions. Deadline to submit a proposal or suggestion is July 5th. 

Submit content suggestions

Submit content proposals 



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

Looking for a way to make a greater impact?

Become a sustaining donorYour generous, on-going support makes all the programs above (and so much more!) possible for thousands in our local food system.



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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