May 2021 News


May 2021


We hope you've been enjoying the season for its outdoor markets and increasing numbers of in-person events—and for the most part, avoiding the fickle weather!

We're sharing news of the Co-op Farm Tour, as well as some virtual events and a new book from Beth Dooley, ways to engage with farm to school efforts in Minnesota, and an application opportunity for Land Stewardship Project's Farm Beginnings program.

Have a wonderful Memorial Day!

—the team at Renewing the Countryside


Local Food

Don’t miss the 2021 Co-op Farm Tour!

Saturday, July 10 from 10 am–4 pm

Explore local sustainable and organic farms as they open their doors for a day full of fun, learning, and discovery brought to you by your local food co-ops. This year 20 urban and rural farms are offering exciting activities such as farm goods for sale, farming demonstrations, food trucks, games, and pick-your-own berries. It’s a free, self-guided event, so no need to sign up!

New this year, meet more farmers with fewer stops when you attend the Driftless Grown vendor fair, hosted by Hoch Orchard and Blue Fruit Farm of southeastern MN. When you visit those two farms, you’ll find farm stands featuring goods from other wonderful farms and makers in the area.

For more information, including an interactive map, visit Check regularly for updates about this event, and use the Co-op Farm Tour Guide Book to plan ahead.

Find the Co-op Farm Tour on Instagram @coopfarmtour and Facebook


Artisan Grains

James Beard award-winning author Beth Dooley has added a 10th cookbook to her growing collection! In The Perennial Kitchen: Simple Recipes for a Healthy Future, she explains and explores the concept of environmental eating. “Local food can be confused as yuppie food,” Beth said in a recent conversation. With that confusion in mind, she wrote this book to help frame eating as an environmental act, one that can be simple, delicious, and approachable for everyone.

The book names and describes elements of what she dubs the “perennial pantry,” grains such as Kernza®, beans, flour, cooking oils, vinegars, nuts, and sweets. An opening section introduces these ingredients and how they reflect better farming, and this information continues throughout the cookbook in recipe notes and ingredient profiles. This thread, she hopes, will encourage people to cook in a way that reshapes our foodshed by supporting farming practices that provide habitat for wildlife and pollinators, protect waters, and help reverse rural poverty.

--> Read the full profile from AGC's newsletter, The Crumb

Watch the May 17 Book Launch Panel Discussion with Prabin Bajgain (University of Minnesota), Sandy Boss Febbo (Bang Brewing), Kieran Folliard (The Food Building), Tre Hardy (Forager, Chef at InterContinental Hotels & Resorts), Luke Peterson (A-Frame Farm), and Tracy Singleton (Birchwood Cafe).

Photo: Beth Dooley at the 2019 Minnesota State Fair, where she presented a cooking demo on the Sustainability Stage and talked about cooking with Kernza® and hazelnuts.

We want to know how you think about and purchase grains!

Help us support local businesses in serving you better by filling out a 5-7 minute survey. At the end, you can enter a raffle for a basket of Midwest grain goodies!

As members of the Artisan Grain Collaborative AGC), we are part of a network supporting the development of the regional grainshed. AGC members created this survey to better understand consumers' needs, attitudes, and purchasing practices relevant to grains. Your input will help the AGC community better serve you in getting delicious local grain products to your table.

Farm to School & Early Care

The Minnesota Farm to School Leadership Team is offering monthly Technical Assistance Office Hours.

Who should attend?

Farmers, school food service directors, school wellness committee members, community organizers, SHIP coordinators, Extension educators, and anyone else with an interest in farm to school or farm to early care programs!

Wednesday, June 2nd from 9:00 to 10:00 AM will be the next office hours session. Please pass this along to colleagues!

Register for recurring office hour meetings.

If you’re not able to make it but still have questions, submit them here.

Schools: Apply to Pilot Minnesota’s New Harvest of the Month (HOTM) Program!

Are you interested in building your school’s Farm to School programming and could you use some help figuring out how to get started?

The Minnesota Departments of Agriculture and Education (MDA, MDE) invite school-based teams to apply to pilot the Minnesota Harvest of the Month (HOTM) program next school year. HOTM is a viable strategy to help successfully implement farm to school.

Program Goals:

  • Encourage healthy food choices by increasing students’ exposure to and knowledge about seasonal foods and building excitement about school meals
  • Support market development for local farmers
  • Provide connections between the cafeteria, classroom and community


Learn more about the benefits of participating and expectations of selected schools.

Apply today! Assemble your team, fill out the online application, and turn in by Friday, 6/4/2021.

Questions? Reach out to Helen Schnoes, MDA Farm to School Lead at [email protected].


Farmland Access

Land Stewardship Project Farm Beginnings: Our partners at Land Stewardship Project are currently enrolling for their Farm Beginnings Course. It will take place online December through March, with on-farm educational events to follow later in 2022.

Applications are due September 15, 2021—and those received and accepted before August 15 will receive a discount. Scholarships are available as well as a Minnesota Beginning Farmer Tax Credit for the cost of the class (Minnesota residents).

Learn more and apply:

Or contact Annelie Livingston-Anderson:


[email protected]

Photo: Land Stewardship Project 2018-19 Cohort

Women in Ag

Wisconsin Women in Conservation (WiWiC) just launched a four-part virtual Conservation Summer Camp Lunch Series that aims to address the top land stewardship concerns of women farmers and landowners across the state. All women landowners, farmers, and those who desire to better care for land, water and wildlife are welcome to attend. The first Conservation Summer Camp Lunch was May 27, focused on Increasing Pollinator Habitat, featuring landowner Sally Farrar and Pheasants Forever biologist Britta Petersen. A recording will be available—sign up for updates on the website to receive a notification.

Upcoming sessions, held on the 3rd Thursday of each month, will focus on Building Healthy Soils, Restoring Native Habitats, and Exploring Regenerative Agriculture.

Registration is now open for the Conservation Summer Camp Series at Also engage with @wiwomeninconservation on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

*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.

Renewing the Countryside

Facebook Twitter logo instagram-100px.png