March E-Newsletter


March 2019

Profiles | Events | Partners | Resources | Reading | Trivia

Spring has sprung! And our wealth of snow has turned into a wealth of water all at once. While we more and more often face these extremes, we have our community both to help us through these challenge immediate times, and to help us change systems that can mitigate these challenges in the future.

It takes our combined voices and efforts in the face of big issues, and that's why we're so lucky to have you along on our journey to support a just, vibrant, and sustainable countryside. Together, we make great change in our communities and landscapes. If you're looking for ways to support this good work, we invite you to donate, to give, to consider becoming a sustaining donorYour generosity makes a big difference!
In these changing times, we—RTC and our friends like you—can and need to step even more boldly and often to the plate as bridge builders, connecting rural and urban areas and fostering new approaches to building healthy, thriving communities. Read below for more about how we're doing just that. 


Jan Joannides, Executive Director

look who's renewing the countryside: Jim & Joyce


We're proud to spread the word that friends of RTC, Jim Riddle and Joyce Ford of Blue Fruit Farm, were recognized as Farmer of the Year last month at the annual MOSES (Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service) Conference.  

Jim and Joyce have been actively involved with Feast! from the start, the collaborative network and annual local food festival we help orchestrate each winter.  It's been a way for them to connect their Blue Fruit Farm enterprise with customers and wholesale buyers in a community-based setting.

A few notes from MOSES's award announcement:
"Jim Riddle & Joyce Ford have had a profound impact on organic agriculture, not just as farmers, but also as educators, policy advocates, and advisers. They have worked at local, state, and national levels to promote organic agriculture, and helped shape the country’s founding organic standards in the 1990s. In truth, they’ve been front and center in nearly every aspect of the organic world." 
Here's a link to their keynote video if you're interested in hearing more:

what we're listening to: FERN's Ag Insider Daily


FERN’s Ag Insider Daily is a free morning news round up offering agriculture business and policy news nuggets and scoops from a wide range of sources.

The Food & Environment Reporting Network (FERN) is the first and only independent, non-profit news organization that produces in-depth and investigative journalism in the critically underreported areas of food, agriculture, and environmental health. FERN uncovers, explores, and explains news that is critical to the public’s right to know about these areas in order to inform, inspire, and catalyze change.

partner spotlight: The McKnight Foundation


The McKnight Foundation is a family foundation based in Minnesota that advances a more just, creative, and abundant future where people and planet thrive. 

A generous partner for those of us working at the nexus of human, economic, and environmental health, the McKnight Foundation has been a long-time supporter of the work we do at Renewing the Countryside, and many of our community partners. 

In 1986, the McKnight foundation also created six independent nonprofit philanthropic organizations across Greater Minnesota, with the goal of making those regions stronger and more prosperous. Each foundation’s priorities are decided by people within that region, with grants and loans supporting economic development; leadership development; community building; and families, youth, and seniors. These Initiative Foundations are often key partners in our statewide community-based work, and strengthen opportunities for Minnesota's rural communities. 

resource pick of the month: NFU Beginning Farmer Institute 


National Farmers Union’s Beginning Farmer Institute (BFI) is a free training program that prepares beginning farmers of all ages and operation types for a successful future in agriculture. Apply by April 15, 2019.

Participants will attend three in-person learning sessions over the course of the year, one each in Washington, D.C., Northern California and Savannah, Georgia. The sessions include farm tours as well as seminars on a variety of beginning farmers issues, such as business planning, USDA programs and acquiring land. Each year’s curriculum will be tailored to the participants’ needs as determined by a pre-attendance survey.

Applications for the 2019-2020 BFI cohort are open through April 15. Learn more and apply:

trivia of the month



Q: What perennial plant is one of the first to produce in the springtime in Minnesota edible gardens and appears in recorded history as a medicinal plant in China as early as 2700 BC?


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


The answer to February's question was hemp seed, which is a product of the cannabis plant that is rich in fiber, full of complete proteins and well-balanced fats, and something you can easily (and deliciously) add to almost any salad. Hemp heart was also accepted. 



Renewing the Countryside is a non-profit organization that strengthens rural areas and small towns by championing and 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 and sharing stories of rural renewal, providing practical assistance and networking opportunities for those working to improve rural America, and fostering connections between urban and rural people.

Have you heard about AmazonSmile? 
AmazonSmile is a website operated by Amazon with the same products, prices, and shopping features as
The difference is that when you shop on AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to the charitable organization of your choice.
The link below will allow you to contribute to our work when you shop Amazon. Thanks for checking it out!

AmazonSmile logo


Renewing the Countryside


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