May 2023 News


May 2023

It seems like summer just snuck up on us with that bright sunshine and the intense heat. You all doing okay out there? One word: hydrate!

This round of the newsletter is packed full of exciting things to reveal: contest winners, opportunities for FREE TICKETS to this year's Minnesota State Fair (we love our volunteers), field day save the dates along with highlights of local farm happenings, local food opportunities and local food support!

—the team at Renewing the Countryside


Farmland Access

Building Community for Land Access webinar - First and Next

The first webinar of the Building Community for Land Access series was a smashing success with over 100 participants registered, and a robust Q&A afterwards.

Three speakers of African origin representing three different organizations presented their own personal journeys of land access and learning to farm in the Midwest—a much different climate than they were used to in their home environment—as well as their efforts to support and mentor other African immigrant farmers.

One thing is clear—there is a large land access need for African immigrant farmers and there is a desire (at least in the Twin Cities greater metro area) to provide access to land, help with support in accessing financial resources, and continue the conversation in order to clear the path for skilled food growers.

The next Building Community for Land Access event is being planned for July, with two in-person events planned for later in the summer. For details, see Land Stewardship Project or contact Robin Moore: [email protected] or 320-321-5244.



Livestock Giveaway Contest Winner(s)

In last month’s issue we highlighted the Livestock Giveaway Contest by Hoch Orchard and Gardens in La Crescent, MN—hosted by partnering organizations Renewing the Countryside, Marbleseed, Sustainable Farming Association, Practical Farmers of Iowa, and Land Stewardship Project.

Winners were chosen based on experience or knowledge of raising livestock, access to mentorship, available infrastructure and access to pasture (for the animals, not the farmers), and how obtaining livestock would improve their quality of life (for the farmers, not the animals—although animal quality-of-life was a central consideration).

Congratulations to the contest winners and new livestock owners!

Sheep: Kifah Abdi of Lindstrom, MN

Hogs: Sal Daggett of New Richmond, WI

Photo: Hoch Orchard and Gardens


New Farm Transitions Page—Farmland Access Hub website

Are you a landowner interested in transitioning your farm to the next generation? You may want to consider posting your farm’s profile to the new “Transitions” page on the Farmland Access Hub website.

It is our hope that this page will become a central resource in the Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa tri-state area for farmland owners hoping to connect with interested farmers regarding the transfer of land and farm businesses. If you would like to have your farm’s profile added to the Transitions page please contact Bonnie Warndahl at [email protected] or 612-462-9311.


Minnesota State Fair

It's that time of year again!

Do you love the Minnesota State Fair? Would you like an opportunity to attend the Fair for FREE? Sign up to volunteer today to reserve your spot. Not only will you get in FREE, but you also get a limited edition Renewing the Countryside local food organic cotton t-shirt as a token of our appreciation.

RTC has been providing programming at the State Fair for 14 years—and we could not do it without the hard work and energy of our volunteers! Whether it’s handing out samples of dishes from our featured chefs, facilitating engaging activities celebrating MN-grown produce or lending a hand with food prep, volunteering at the Fair is a rewarding experience that helps to connect fairgoers with vital information about supporting local food systems and a more resilient future.

Volunteer shifts are an average of three hours and are available every day of the Fair, Aug. 24 - Sept. 4, from 9am to 7:30pm. Sign up for the shift(s) you want at the link below, and we’ll follow up with all the info you’ll need. We hope to see you at the Fair!


Conservation Connectors

Go Farm Connect disaster relief assistance

Renewing the Countryside and Go Farm Connect is one of 8 organizations nationwide to have been selected to partner with USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) to provide outreach and assist farmers in applying for the Emergency Relief Program Phase 2.

This revenue-based funding helps offset losses crop farmers may have incurred in 2020 or 2021 due to qualifying natural disasters, including qualifying drought, derecho, excessive heat, excessive moisture, flooding, freeze, named hurricanes, excessive wind, storm surges, and tornadoes as a result of hurricanes, smoke exposure, wildfire, and winter storms.

Application deadline has been extended to July 14.

Visit or email [email protected] for more information and to reach a Disaster Assistance Connector.

Come and Get It!

Building capacity for local foods through on-farm community events

Since late last year, RTC staff and partners from the Minnesota Farmers Union and Sustainable Farming Association have been developing an innovative and dynamic program to connect more consumers to local foods.

Come and Get It! provides training and coaching support along with stipends to nine different rural communities to plan and execute on-farm community events that feature local foods and farmer vendors.

Each event will have its own unique flavor, but they all share similar goals - uplifting local farmers and food-makers, and building community resilience and connectivity.

We’ve been enjoying working with the nine participating communities:

  • Aitkin / Mille Lacs
  • Clover Valley Trail (between Duluth and Two Harbors)
  • Moorhead
  • Finlayson
  • Little Falls
  • Northfield
  • New London
  • SFA’s Lake Agassiz Chapter (Pelican Rapids area)
  • SFA’s MN River Chapter (Mankato area)

Join us as we cheer them on and be on the lookout as we roll out information about their events as they continue to take shape!

Questions? Contact Matt Barthelemy at [email protected] or 612-483-0286.


FEAST! Local Foods

Volume SIX of LOCAL FEAST! magazine is underway!

We have a great lineup of stories planned and are very much looking forward to our October release date when we get to put magazines into the hands of so many people with boots on the ground—like Lisa John of Kinney Mini Farms, pictured here with magazine editor Marlene Petersen.

As you page through a copy of LOCAL FEAST! you'll see as many as 50 different advertisers, from organizations and businesses who strongly believe in local foods as a driver of communities, to the regional food businesses working every day to produce delicious products with sustainable, responsible business models.

Our advertisers make this magazine possible—they allow us to dig into local foods and tell the stories. So thank you to all who advertise and patronize those businesses!

Learn more: Why advertise in LOCAL FEAST!?

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


Wisconsin Women in Conservation


It's time for WiWiC Summer Field Days! Join Sara and Elena in the Southwest region on Friday, June 23rd with Joy Miller of Keewaydin Farms and Driftless Curiosity and in the West Central region on Friday, June 30th with Jennifer Nelson of Humble Pie Farm.

Also, catch our next Conservation Summer Camp lunch webinar: Creating a Habitat for Turtles & Snakes on Thursday, June 22 at noon CT.

More about WiWiC


Farm to School & Early Care


RTC’s Farm to Early Care Team has begun its 2023 Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) delivery program for Early Care centers in Saint Paul!

Farm to Early Care work Nation-wide enables access for kids up to 5 years old to eat fresh foods, receive education about health and foods, and get their hands in the soil and learn in the garden. We focus our program in Saint Paul’s Rondo, Frogtown, and East Side neighborhoods. Originally a response to COVID-19, the Farm to Early Care Team have found that it was a welcome contribution to the community and have been glad to continue it.

For this year’s Spring CSA program we're once again partnering with the Hmong American Farmers Association (HAFA) and purchasing weekly CSA boxes to serve 10 early care facilities in the community. In addition to delivering the weekly CSA boxes to the mostly home-based daycares, we also bring relevant recipes and activities for young children to explore fresh, local produce, as well as the chance to grow a garden. This is a win-win arrangement, offering more business and connection to local farmers on one hand, and contributing nourishment to the bodies, minds, and curiosity of our young people.

In addition, we're excited to have Sara George presenting a seed/produce story hour and vegetable exploration (shown above) with five day cares in June!

Farm to School

Getting more local farm produce into school meals means having a growing number of farmers who know what's required, and what schools need and expect. That's the purpose of the Wholesale Readiness Training program offered by Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture, U of MN Extension, and Renewing the Countryside.

Eight live training sessions are available to watch on demand, along with supplemental materials and homework assignments, for self study. A few slots remain for farmers who complete the work to be eligible for a $500 mini-grant, which can be applied towards expenses from starting or expanding a wholesale produce enterprise.

The program runs through June 2024.

For questions, contact Jane Jewett:

[email protected]



Staff Moment

We're so glad to have Maeve Mallozzi-Kelly joining as full time staff, and thought we'd share an introduction! Already part of our Farmers Market Food Hubs project, she's now assisting with Come and Get It! and the MN State Fair, among other things. Shown below is Maeve and Sara George delivering apples from the Food Hub to Wabasha schools last fall.

What are/have been your stomping grounds?

I grew up in South Bend Indiana but have also spent significant time in Vermont, Ecuador, Paraguay, and now Minnesota! After living in five very different places over the course of ten years, I have found that home to me is just a supportive community and great food! I have lived in Minneapolis for 3 years now and I love this new home.

Recent work in a nutshell?

After receiving my masters in Sustainable Development I was an Agriculture Extension Peace Corps Volunteer in Paraguay for two years. Once back in the states, I worked with the Minnesota Farmers' Market Association as an AmeriCorps Volunteer for two years. During that time I was lucky enough to work on a few projects that exposed me to Renewing The Countryside's incredible work and the rest is history!

What's your favorite thing to get from the garden or farmers market?

It is impossible to choose just one thing. An ideal farmers market trip for me would include a warm and gooey pastry to eat while perusing the stalls, lots of seasonal veggies, and dried flowers to take home.

What do you love to do in your free time?

I am a proud cat mom and as soon as I log off of work everyday my cat Smellerbee and I go on a walk. I also love to cook, crochet, and spend as much time outside as possible while it's warm!

Read Maeve's bio and more on our staff page



*Read past issues of the RTC Rooster on our blog*
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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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