May E-Newsletter


May 2019

Profiles | Events | Partners | Resources | Reading | Trivia


A hearty "THANKS!" to all of you who attended our first spring breakfast & social earlier this month. When our work brings us great distances across the countryside (and the virtual world here on the web!), it's always fun to see familiar faces and share a meal. It was such a hit, we'll definitely do it again, and you'll be the first to know!

partner spotlight: The Food Finance Institute


Tera Johnson, who directs the Food Finance Institute, works to make sophisticated financial technical assistance available for every growing food, beverage, and value-added agriculture enterprise. 

Through our work with producers and local food entrepreneurs in programs like Feast and Farmers Market Aggregation efforts, Tera's expertise has become an invaluable asset with which we connect our communities. 

If we want to make sustainable food systems a viable model, we need to make sure we understand and are appropriately designing the underlying financials structures.

Tera and her collaborators have been working with food hubs across the country, including a cohort in Minnesota. We're lucky to connect entrepreneurs in communities across the region to expertise like this to help our local economies and businesses thrive!

where we're going: Soil Sisters Wisconsin Event

Soil Sisters

Make sure this not-to-miss gathering is on your calendar for early August! 
For three days and with five unique components, involving numerous women-owned farms, this jam-packed, award-winning culinary event celebrates Wisconsin's family farms and rural life in and around the farming communities of Monroe, New Glarus, Blanchardville and Brodhead, Wisconsin, over the first weekend of August 2019.

Wear your sun hat, pull on your farmboots or overalls, and kick back for a relaxing time on one, or all, of the farms. And come hungry for some farm-to-table feasts!

Soils Sisters, with several years behind it as an independent gathering, is now a program of Renewing the Countryside, spearheaded by longtime collaborator Lisa Kivirist. We're excited to match the energy of the Soil Sisters community with the innovation and connecting capacity of Renewing the Countryside in the months and years ahead!

look who's renewing the countryside: Stephanie Heim


Stephanie Heim has worked at the intersection of public health and food systems at the University of Minnesota Extension since January 2010. She is deeply committed to Extension’s mission to leverage community knowledge with University resources to create a more healthy, equitable food system. 

Stephanie, now the Associate Program Director of Health & Nutrition Programs at the University of Minnesota Extension, serves as the Minnesota Core Partner for the National Farm to School Network and coordinates Minnesota’s Farm to School Leadership team, and in that capacity has been a strong partner in our Farm to School & Early Care efforts for many years. 

She recently received a University of Minnesota Emerging Leader Award, and we think it's well deserved for her dedication, long-term vision, and collaborative spirit! She's also finding creative ways to support the state's communities,  including through the Action Learning Seed Fund that she's helped develop at the University. Check it out to learn more about this participatory grantmaking opportunity!

At Renewing the Countryside, our efforts to connect growers with eaters spans every age, from early care settings to long-term care facilities. Thanks to partners, like Stephanie, we can leverage each others work and make the strongest impact. Stay tuned as these opportunities continue to grow!

resource pick of the month: Explore Minnesota's Festival page

Explore MN


Looking for just the right event to bring your kids to this weekend, or your out-of-town guests vising later this summer? 

Explore Minnesota, the state's tourism office and a supporter of some of our travel initiatives, has a user-friendly, searchable site so you can find just what you're looking for throughout the year.

Bicycle camping tour through the countryside?

Pickle workshop weekend at an historic homestead in the suburbs? 

Garlic Festival, anyone?

Explore our vibrant, rural communities and get a taste of what our farmers and foodmakers have to offer!


what we're listening to: Harvest Public Media


Have you been searching for a source of informed agricultural news? Look no further!

Harvest Public Media reports on food systems, agriculture and rural issues through a collaborative network of reporters and partner stations throughout the Midwest and Plains.

They provide in-depth and unbiased reporting on complex issues for a broad, diverse audience, often connecting the Heartland to the rest of the country. Primary topics include, but are not limited to, agribusiness, biofuels, climate change, farming and ranching, food safety, rural life and public policy.

Several partners radio stations across the country carry their stories. You can also listen online at

trivia of the month



Q: How many flowers (hint: a range is okay) do forager honey bees generally visit during a single flight?



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

Keep up the great submissions