April 2021 news

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April 2021


 

April in the upper Midwest brings serious changes and hope for new growth. This April has been no exception, both in the weather and in our world. In snow and buds, rhubarb and flowers, and the conviction in the murder of George Floyd, we see a glimmer of justice and a little hope, though there's still such a long way to go.

April also means friends and colleagues who are farmers are beyond busy in greenhouses and fields. In this issue, meet Jen Zimmerman of Maltwerks and our new staff member Melvin Giles, learn about opportunities to join Wisconsin Women in Conservation and the Land Stewardship Project with offerings for farmers and growers. Also, a last chance* to purchase local food from our FEAST! Online Marketplace!

—the team at Renewing the Countryside

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March 2021 News

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March 2021



Happy Spring!

In this issue we have an immigrant's farmland access journey, a new regional flour mill in Wisconsin, and we introduce you to two new Vista project volunteers, a new Farm to School project, and more. Read to the end and you'll discover a chance to win a free registration to the Cottage Food conference, April 6-9!

—the team at Renewing the Countryside

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February 2021 News

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February 2021



Have you had enough cold weather? Seems like it was many months ago when we were in a deep freeze—oh how a couple of warmer days can make you forget the long, dark, and cold days of winter. Our thoughts are with those in Texas who are still dealing with the aftermath of the polar vortex, but the rest of us are probably squinting at the sunny and quickly-lengthening days plus warmer temps, and envisioning the first spring radishes and peas.

BUT—it’s still pretty chilly and more cool days are to come, so what to do? BAKE. Attend virtual conferences. And get ready for planting seeds!

In this issue we share a broad perspective on farmland access, a new virtual conference just for cottage foods, a conference all about school gardens, and a new cookbook from Beth Dooley, focused on the sustainable crops of the Forever Green Initiative. Check it out!

—the team at Renewing the Countryside

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January 2021 News

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January 2021



We're a month into a new year, and for many of us that means planning for a new growing season....and also, conference season—though this time, without the travel. In this month's updates we're sharing news of a few of those conferences, as well as a new brewer supplier database, farm to school efforts continuing in unique circumstances, and a program tailored to women landowners all about conservation.

We appreciate the opportunity to share these updates with you, and welcome your thoughts. If one of these stories strikes a chord, feel free to let us know!

—the team at Renewing the Countryside

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Happy Holidays from RTC

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December 2020


As we all gather our thoughts of a difficult year, we can take comfort in some silver linings of this pandemic—and look forward to the light at the end of the tunnel in 2021!

During this year we adapted, as many did. Some highlights:

  • shifted an online sales platform to allow for online ordering from farmers' markets as early as March 21
  • held a virtual fundraiser in May that saw the silliness of a kazoo-a-long as well as testimonials from staff and partners in some of our core programs
  • continued our farm to early care work, focusing on activities for parents and caregivers to do at home to help kids learn about farm-fresh foods
  • planned for a hybrid version of the annual FEAST! Local Foods Marketplace—and then adjusted to online-only when infection numbers increased
  • doubled the number of our Farmland Access Navigators (now eight!) who provide one-on-one support to beginning farmers in IA, WI, and MN. Our navigators have helped >70 farmers achieve secure access to land
  • forged two new partnerships with NRCS to increase conservation training and resource connections to women landowners and historically underserved farmers (BIPOC, immigrant, low-income, and veteran)
  • Soil Sisters became an official project of RTC, supporting this vibrant Wisconsin-based network of women in sustainable ag to grow new networks + continue their successful annual event.
We remain grateful for the ability to continue doing the work we're compelled to do! We hope you got to know more farmers this year, or increased your connection to them.

The other necessary ritual at the end of each year is a reminder to you, that if you're deciding on donations that have impact, we hope you'll consider donating to RTC. Below, we introduce you to one of our board members. Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful holiday!

—the team at Renewing the Countryside

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November News

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Special Edition | Dec. 2, 2020


Hoping this finds you well, and replenished from the recent Thanksgiving holiday. As unusual as it was, we've talked with many who appreciated the absence of the typical chaos and rush.

We've had a busy November, very focused on pivoting the annual FEAST! event to an Online Marketplace for this year—so we are taking a break from our usual newsletter format for a brief check-in here to tell you a bit about it below.

Thank you for your time and attention to the different ways we can work together to renew the countryside!

—the team at Renewing the Countryside

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October 2020 enewsletter

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October 2020


 
It's not time to hunker down yet! Farmers have many end of season responsibilities, and many are celebrating the last outdoor farmers' market of the year tomorrow...

Meanwhile, RTC staff are celebrating another month of progress in our program areas, including Pint Size Produce materials for young eaters (more on that below). We're also celebrating the just-published FEAST! Local Foods Magazine that we produce with our partners at the FEAST! Network. Keep reading for details on that and more!

—the team at Renewing the Countryside

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September 2020 enewsletter

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September 2020


 
With the leaves turning and a cool breeze in the air, many of us are starting to set our sights on celebrating fall. For many farmers, there's still a wealth of food for our communities coming from the earth, but we're all well aware that the season is quickly shifting. It's a time to reflect and celebrate. Read on below for opportunities to celebrate, from restaurant collaborations dedicated to local food, to all of the ways we can participate in a month dedicated to the many benefits of Farm to School, to how we can celebrate life through plants, and more....

—the team at Renewing the Countryside

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Four ways to embrace harvest abundance

By Lisa Kivirist

Photo: John D. Ivanko Photography 

As we head straight on into harvest season, does your “bushel of life” feel full?  Whether literally overloaded with tomatoes to sell/preserve or figuratively, with other duties that must get done, the to-do list always seems to multiply as the days grow shorter. As women farmers and landowners, we wear many boots—from family caretaker to local leadership or running our own businesses, to name a few. 

While 2020 probably isn’t your first round of managing harvest abundance, juggling all that under a pandemic is new. Canceled events mean certain time blocks have opened up, but some realities of managing farm life right now take much longer—from contacting a state agency with a question to setting up for market with new safety protocols.

The key? Embrace and savor the season’s abundance, full throttle. Approach the overload with gratitude, creativity and a dash of fun...and end up with stronger resilience when the snow flies! 

Here are four strategies to try:

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July 2020 enewsletter

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July 2020


Have you taken the LOCAL FOOD IS ESSENTIAL pledge? A coalition of organizations, including RTC, is seizing upon the groundswell of support for local foods to ensure that the lessons learned this year will be here to stay—that our commitment to local farms is steadfast so that their presence is sustained for years to come, rather than fading after COVID. 

If you're able, consider donating to the Local Emergency Assistance Farm Fund (LEAFF) to help farmers, particularly BIPOC and emerging farmers, whose businesses have been impacted by COVID-19.

In these troubling times, we're so glad to be doing work that instills hope for our food system and the people that are so dedicated to caring for the land and our communities. Keep reading for some of the other things we have going on!

—the team at Renewing the Countryside

 

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