May E-Newsletter


May 2018

Profiles | Events | Partners | Resources | Reading | Trivia

Summer is suddenly just around the corner, and we're excited to celebrate what that means for each of our communities. Creaking cafe doors are open on the corner, friends are enjoying the sun, and farmers are working hard to catch up with the growing season after a wet spring.

Let's step boldly — open windows and lilac-scented breezes — and work together to build bridges, connect rural and urban areas, and foster new approaches to building healthy, vibrant communities! Read below for more about how we're doing just that. You are always welcome to get in touch with us and support our work at any time. We couldn't do it without you!

Jan Joannides, Executive Director

look who's renewing the countryside

Julie-Barton_Headshot_small.jpgAt Renewing the Countryside, our work revolves around developing innovative solutions with and listening closely to rural community members, farmers, activists, and entrepreneurs. Jennifer Nelson embodies all of those roles, and we're excited to welcome her as our Wisconsin Farmland Access Hub navigator.

We originally worked with Jennifer through her role as an organic specialist at one of our partner organizations, MOSES. Jennifer's additional experience looking for land as a flower farmer at Humble Pie Farm made it clear she was the right fit to join our team and help others nagivate the same complex web. Photo credit Claire Campbell.

Learn more about our Farmland Access Hub and consider donating to help keep these innovative programs creatively and effectively renewing our countrysides.


places to go / things to do


Thriving by Design, June 27-29

At the heart of Renewing the Countryside is connecting people with each other and resources, and part of that work means building bridges between rural and urban communities. This upcoming event is definitely worth checking out if this is also important to you.

A statewide gathering of Minnesota residents to begin and follow-thru on a six-month process to create a comprehensive policy agenda and socioeconomic contract - the One Minnesota Equity Blueprint - for achieving rural-urban and racial economic equity and inclusive growth.

Visit to register and check out their video about the event!

partner spotlight: National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC)

Minnesota Farmers Market Association

We are part of an alliance of grassroots organizations, called NSAC, that advocates for federal policy reform to advance the sustainability of agriculture, food systems, natural resources, and rural communities. 

NSAC has been providing leadership and support around the recent Farm Bill, which touches all of our lives and communities. And what a wild ride it's been! About one week ago, for the second time in history (and the second time in five years) the House version of the bill was voted down. Just a couple of days later, the Senate Appropriation's Committee advanced the agriculture funding bill, and thankfully did not cut funding for critical conservation programs. 

Your voices are important in passing a farm bill that supports healthy people, landscapes, and rural economies, and the next month is a critical time for decisions related to funding. Keep up to date on what you can do to support this year's Farm Bill via NSAC's blog.

resource picks of the month: Land Access Farminar



Our Farmland Access Team has been hard at work over the last several months to coordinate over twenty organizations working on this topic in the Upper Midwest. We help new farmers navigate the increasingly difficult process of finding affordable land to farm in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa.

The Hub offers workshops, day-long boot camps, and one-on-one coaching with Farmland Access Navigators. Our technical advisors include attorneys, real estate professionals, financial experts, and seasoned farmers. Learn more about our program here.

Watch the new Farmland Access webinar for best practices and tips developed with our partners at Practical Farmers of Iowa here, featuring our own Brett Olson and Kate Edwards!


what we're reading: The Rise of the Rural Creative Class


Digging into the data may not sound like your cup of tea, so we've let the professional do it, and this great article from City Lab begins to sort out some interesting details about innovation and creativity in rural communities. 
At Renewing the Countryside, we know that entrepreneurship often thrives in robust rural economies, but access to resources and capital may be more difficult. Our work with the FEAST! Local Foods Network is just one way we're providing the support small food businesses want and need to grow.
"These rural creative centers tend to be in relatively close proximity to and have good connections to major metro areas; are home to a major university or college; or have considerable natural amenities which draw people to them." Read the full article here.

trivia of the month

LisaQ: This is a common wild edible mushroom that you can find in the spring in the Midwest. It has several names, tell us two.

A: E-mail your answer to [email protected] for a chance to win a local foods T-shirt!


Want to learn more about the great community that makes up Renewing the Countryside? Meet last month's trivia winner: Julie Miller of Rochester, MN!

Congrats to last month's winner, Julie. Your local food T-shirt is on its way!



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


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