October 2023 News


October 2023

Fall is in full force with its beautiful leaves, temperature swings, and bountiful fall produce at the final outdoor markets. The brussels sprouts, kale and carrots have likely now seen their first frost so they've sweetened up to be just right. We love this time of year for bringing reprieve to the farmers and opportunities to connect in so many ways with conferences and retreats, planning and potlucks.

It’s also the time of year for being thankful, and among the things we’re grateful for is Give to the Max Day, Nov. 16, Minnesota's unique giving holiday designed to support nonprofits like RTC (scroll down for details). We hope you have much to be grateful for, and can take in some fall harvest togetherness with friends, family and good local food!

—the team at Renewing the Countryside

FEAST! Local Foods



This Saturday!

From cheese to chocolate, to meats and craft beverages and everything in between, FEAST! is a gourmet sampling and shopping local foods extravaganza. The nonprofit festival runs 10am-4pm and includes cooking demos, giveaways and live music. Kids' activities include veggie sampling with Mayo Clinic Dietetic Interns and seed games with Rochester Councilmember Kelly Rae Kirkpatrick. Get event details and discount tickets at local-feast.org.

Click the image above to see the rundown of activities happening at the FEAST! Local Foods Marketplace!

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


Farmland Access

Farmland Summit: Register today!

November 14-15, 2023 | Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, Chaska, MN

Registration ends Nov. 4 for the 2023 Upper Midwest Farmland Summit! Register today for early bird prices (through October 31). 

The 2023 Farmland Summit will bring together farm leaders, change agents, policymakers, and practitioners from around the upper Midwest to dig into critical challenges and opportunities related to farmland access and transfer. Participants will learn, share, and connect around an array of issues such as farmland financing, tenure, conservation, and transfer.

Subsidized registration and travel are available for those seeking support to attend based on availability of funds. Click the button below to learn more.

Interested in sponsoring the Summit? Learn about sponsoring here.

The Summit will be held at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chaska, MN and hosted by the Farmland Access Hub, a consortium of entities working together to improve farmland access for emerging farmers. Email Catie at [email protected] with any questions.



Recently, Lori Stern, Executive Director of Marbleseed, hosted a new mini-series on the In Her Boots Podcast. This two-part special titled Breaking Ground outlines the very real dilemma emerging farmers are grappling with around accessing land:

Breaking Ground follows a journey of farmland financing with farmers Dria Price and Halima Salazar and their diversified farming operation, Justevia Teas.

Listen on Spotify or read more here.



Farm Opportunity Spotlight in Berlin, WI

By Brooke Patrick

Peter of Berlin, Wisconsin currently has 23 cows, 19 yearlings, and 15 calves along with heritage hogs including 8 sows, 2 boars, 17 piglets, and roughly 400 acres of land. Ideally, he is looking for someone who has farming experience and ambitions to grow their operation alongside his, using regenerative ag practices—in particular rotational grazing. 

A little background on the land: Seven years ago it was severely depleted cropland. Using intensive managed rotational grazing (moving cattle 2 to 3 times in one day) he has converted portions of the land to lush, beautiful pasture. In total, there are roughly 400 acres of land with a mixture of pasture, forest, hay ground, cover crops, and wildlife food plots. In addition, the original farmhouse is available for the lessee to live in exchange for reduced rent for work. The farmhouse is being completely renovated inside; with several fruit trees, grapevines and a chicken coop nearby, it's truly a homesteader's dream.

If interested in this opportunity, contact [email protected] with some background information about your current operation and goals.


Wisconsin Women in Conservation

We had a lovely Look Book Launch—stay tuned for the digital edition!

What is a "Look Book"?

We had so many great stories of women demonstrating exemplary conservation practices on the land—and gorgeous photos to show—that we decided we needed to put it all together in an inspiring collection!

More about WiWiC

Artisan Grains

Have you heard the phrase grain chain

It's a reference to the people that need to work together for grains to be a part of "local foods," given that there are processing steps needed between growing grain and being able to use it in, let's say, your daily bread. 

The Artisan Grain Collaborative has just launched the Grain Chain Connections series of videos designed to highlight stories of collaboration across grain chain roles, from farmer to processor to end user. Episode 1, The Farmer, the Miller, and the Baker depicts how three Minnesota AGC members are working together to strengthen the grain chain, and why that's important.

Beth McConnon and Mark Askegaard of Askegaard Organic Farm, Patrick Wylie of Baker's Field Flour And Bread, and Tiffany Singh and Christopher MacLeod of Laune Bread reflect on how they came to work together, what they find meaningful about their partnerships, and how their work is fostering development of the regional grainshed.

Read more about the Grain Chain Connections project on the AGC website at graincollaborative.com/grainchainconnections

For questions, contact [email protected].

Farm Labor Dashboard

Preserve & Protect Your Most Important Tool:  You!

A Mini Virtual Retreat for Women Farmers on Body Mechanics


This time of year gives us an opportunity to step back, reflect and learn how to better care for our physical and mental health.  Renewing the Countryside and Soil Sisters are excited to facilitate this unique, virtual collaborative learning circle environment for women to connect and learn together on key elements of body mechanics. 

Key topics covered include:

  • building flexibility & strength
  • understanding muscles & joints
  • preventing & managing injury
  • dealing with chronic pain & conditions
  • cultivating rest & recovery
  • how to create an environment supporting healthy body mechanics for your staff  

This free retreat takes place on Zoom for three daily 90-minute sessions, Tues. Nov. 7 through Thurs. Nov. 9, 12-1:30 CST

Space is limited; if you're interested, please contact Lisa Kivirist at [email protected].

Farmers' Market Food Hubs


RTC staffers Jan, Maeve and Sara got together with Jane Jewett of MISA and Kathy Zeman and Sina Pleggenkuhle of the MN Farmers Market Association this past month to reflect on how things went this season for the Farmers' Market Food Hubs, now numbering 10.

Also, if you picked up a copy of our LOCAL FEAST! magazine vol.6, did you notice the article about food hubs on page 14? (If not, never fear—the digital edition is coming soon!)    

Learn more at farmersmarkethub.org or find us on Facebook


Staff Moment

We're happy to share some insights with Alexandria Harris, who's a valued team member on our Farm to Early Care and Urban Agriculture projects.

What are/have been your stomping grounds?

I grew up in the Cities, and always dreamed of living elsewhere. But during school (Hamline University) I came to value the deep connection that’s possible here. After getting married and living in Chicago for almost 5 years, Minnesota called us home last March.

As Farm to Early Care Coordinator I get to work mostly in Saint Paul’s Rondo, Frogtown, Eastside, and North End neighborhoods. I’m so grateful to connect with the Twin Cities again and to be a part of the amazing food justice work in this community. I plan to stay put this time around, grow my roots deep, and introduce my kids to where I’m from and all that’s possible here.


Recent work in a nutshell?

My work with RTC  focuses in the Twin Cities area on urban agriculture and Farm to Early Care initiatives. It means the world to me to connect young people (pre-K) to where their food comes from and help them develop a relationship with good nourishment. It is also a crucial part of my work to work toward racial equity in my community, and to address nutrition and wellness gaps based on race and class. This is all at the heart of sustainable change, to me.


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

I love love love fresh summer tomatoes! Nothing tastes like a warm tomato off the vine. One of my son’s favorite books is called ‘Tomatoes For Neela’, by Padma Lakshmi, with beautiful illustrations by Juana Martinez-Neal. At one point, the book says, “…tomatoes grow on vines on the longest days of the year, when it’s hot enough to go swimming. They need to swim in the sun.” My son loves this idea, and it’s become our favorite thing to adventure for summer tomatoes to bring home to cook. The book continues, “Amma explained that tomatoes picked when in season not only taste better; they are better for you.” Such a magical thing—this idea informs both my life, and a lot of my work in the world of local and urban agriculture.


What do you love to do in your free time?

I love to read. I don’t get to read as much as I’d like, but it is definitely my happy-place to be sitting with a book. I love to cook. I love to eat. And I am a visual artist as well. Spending time with my family and community is a huge value for me, and I try to mix that with getting time outside as often as possible.

Read more on our staff page


Give to the Max

For questions contact Marlene Petersen at 651-272-7238 or [email protected].

For more on Give to the Max, visit givemn.org



*Read past issues of the RTC Rooster on our blog*
Thank you for your support of time, energy, funds, and enthusiasm! 

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Become a sustaining donorYour generous, on-going support makes all the programs above (and so much more!) possible for thousands in our local food system.



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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