October 2021


October 2021

With the leaves changing colors, the brisk wind moving in, we are looking at filling our pantry and preparing for the long, cold winter ahead. As you make those plans with us, consider filling your pantry with local goods. Your dollar supports so much more when you can keep it local.

Please enjoy these updates, and as always, we welcome your thoughts.

—the team at Renewing the Countryside


Farmland Access

Renewing the Countryside has released a new series of farmland access basic training videos—separated into three main topic areas:

Tenure Basics

Land Assessment

Building a Portfolio

We're excited to share these widely, and shared them with folks at our New Farmer U this weekend in Willow River in partnership with MOSES (Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service).

We encourage you to forward this email to anyone you think could learn from the videos!

Local Food

The 2021 issue of FEAST! Local Foods Magazine is just starting to hit newsstands! RTC is honored to be able to bring together the stories of hope and resilience within these 56 pages (and soon also online, in the digital edition).

Our cover story—with a photo of O’Neill Family Farm—examines the role of pastured meat in our health and for the planet, while a piece from Lisa Kivirist offers guidance for starting a food business out of your home. Profiles highlight exceptional organizations: from the Latino Economic Development Center's work with Latinx entrepreneurs to AmeriCorps VISTA's role in developing resources for farms and food businesses to three Midwest restaurants who turned pandemic necessities into positive changes for their communities. Beth Dooley invites us to savor foods grown locally for taste, flavor and ecological impact. There’s also recipes, chefs who make local foods shine and resources to help you farm, dine, and shop local.

There's no better place to shop local foods than the 8th Annual FEAST! Local Foods Marketplace. It kicks off with the Online Marketplace Nov. 14, where you can browse local foods from Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin and purchase for curbside pickup in Rochester or as a preview of the in-person event December 11 at the Mayo Civic Center, which includes samples and shopping.



Cottage Foods

Renewing the Countryside’s launch of the first Home Based Food Entrepreneur Virtual National Conference last spring brought together over 900 cottage food enthusiasts! Attendees included aspiring business owners, those with successfully established businesses, as well as educators and leaders in this movement with a goal to help these new entrepreneurs launch and succeed.

While the live conference was April 6-9, 2021, all the speakers and live question and answer sessions were recorded, so you don’t have to miss out. There are 9.5 hours of archived content, including 4 keynote presentations, 12 workshops, and 16 taped live question and answer sessions. This practical and timely content showcases and celebrates the economic impact of this budding entrepreneurial movement and its importance for local food economies. The recorded sessions from the entire conference are available for just $23. Access is provided for three years from the time you sign up; proceeds will help fund future events.


Farm to School & Early Care


Farm to School empowers children and their families to make informed food choices while strengthening the local economy and contributing to vibrant communities. To help support local Minnesota schools, food service directors and their staff in achieving their Farm to School goals, RTC staff have been working in collaboration with The Good Acre (Falcon Heights, MN) to create an instructional video, "Tips for Farm to School Success!"

In this video you will find:

  1. Farm to School Concepts
  2. What’s in your pantry?
  3. Taste the flavors, adding to the flavor of local foods
  4. Equipment. What to use? How to use them?
    1. Combi oven
    2. Tilt skillet
    3. Steam kettle
    4. Robo Coupe

No matter its size or location within Minnesota, all school districts are eligible to receive money through the MDA's AGRI Farm to School Grants, designed to enable the use of farm products. Ask your school principal or food service director if they have heard about and applied for the AGRI grants today!

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) AGRI Farm to School Grants are open for applications now. Apply before Nov. 4 at 4 pm CT.


Women in Ag

Renewing the Countryside is proud to partner with the Women for the Land program at American Farmland Trust on a unique virtual learning circle that aims to connect all women and non-binary farmers, farmland owners and/or operators living in Minnesota or Wisconsin who are interested in learning more about integrating Prairie and Prairie STRIPS in their farm system or on their farmland.

Wednesday, November 10
3:00 - 5:30 PM CT
Virtual, Free of Charge

By participating, you will:

  • Learn more about Prairie STRIPS from Rachael Whitehair, University of Wisconsin-Madison and Andy Olson from University of North Iowa’s Tallgrass Prairie Center
  • Meet WI farmer Nancy Kavazanjian, who is integrating Prairie Strips on her farm
  • Connect with other women in WI and MN who are interested in this practice
  • Meet key resource providers who can help you explore whether Prairie STRIPS are right for you



Staff Moment

Brett Olson and Eli Goodwell were both on duty for this weekend's New Farmer U, and shared a few peeks at the action—which you can see on our Facebook or Instagram. It was a jam-packed two days!

The Keynote Farmer Panel featured Hannah Bernhardt, Tamara Johnson, Moses Momanyi, Margo Hanson-Pierre, and Jennifer Nelson.



*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

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