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!
FEAST! Online Marketplace
Over 400 locally-grown and locally-made products are offered for sale on our online platform for contactless curbside pickup in Rochester, MN on Sunday, Dec. 6.
Vendors from across the Upper Midwest region have listed items like jam, honey, bread, maple syrup, chocolate, coffee and tea. There are also many unique products like hazelnut oil, kombucha, smoked salmon patties, and exotic flavors inspired by diverse cultures.
COVID has hit many of these foodmakers hard as they rely on events and sampling to sell their products. FEAST! is one of the few "events" that is providing a way for these small businesses to sell to you! Please support them by making a purchase today if you can.
Sales end Wednesday, Dec. 2 at midnight—
Missing out on the in-person event was difficult for many reasons, but we wanted to help add a personal feel to the pictures and words offered on screen. To help with this, we asked businesses to introduce themselves with short videos, and in a handful of cases we were able to set up video interviews. These were fun ways to learn about the products from the makers, and hear suggestions for how to enjoy them.
Did you know that there's a FEAST! YouTube Channel? You can go there to find a dozen food business entrepreneurs talk about their efforts, such as the interview with The Greensted, a microgreens grower from Zumbrota, MN, shown below talking with RTC's Brett Olson.
Too far from Rochester for the curbside pickup? We still encourage you to patronize these local foodmakers! Many are vertically integrated operations, growing crops and then making them into value added products, and many others are working with local and regional farmers for their ingredients.
These items make great gifts for foodie friends and neighbors, and many can be purchased from the vendors directly and shipped directly to you. Find those links from the FEAST! Foodmaker Directory.
Thanks for your support, because Local Food is Essential!
Farm to School & Early Care
Have you seen? The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is accepting proposals for their Agricultural Growth, Research, and Innovation (AGRI) program to support school districts in purchasing local foods.
They have both First Bite and Full Tray grants available to support a wide variety of districts. Applications are due by 4 pm on Friday, December 18.
Learn more here: https://www.mda.state.mn.us/funding-available-expand-locally-grown-food-schools.
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!
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.