on-farm food service

As interest in knowing where your food comes from continues to boom, local food fans are increasingly flocking to on-farm dining experiences, from multi-course farm-to-table meals to family-friendly pizza nights. This movement opens up opportunities for farmers to launch dining experiences on their family farms and diversify income streams.


Come & Get It: On-Farm Events

Celebrating Minnesotan farmers, food, and rural communities

Farmers who grow food in smaller communities in rural Minnesota frequently truck their products 50-100 miles to larger metropolitan areas to access customers. These long drives increase fuel costs and transportation time, and decrease investment in the local social and economic fabric. Many farmers want stronger local markets, but finding or creating local outlets can be very difficult. 

Many consumers, in both urban and rural areas, opt for the convenience and cheap prices at grocery, big box and dollar stores. Others are unaware of the abundance of local foods in their communities or may not know where or how to purchase food directly from local growers and producers. In small rural communities–where many farmers operate–the populations are also low, and drumming up enough business is challenging, especially when rural customers buy elsewhere. If, however, farmers could increase sales in their immediate vicinity, they could eliminate some longer trips, reducing their costs, increasing their business longevity, and increasing the health of their local communities.

Renewing the Countryside in partnership with The Sustainable Farming Association and the Minnesota Farmers Union (through a USDA Farmers’ Market Participation Program (FMPP) grant), is addressing these issues with the Come & Get It project!




Come & Get It: What you need to know to serve food on your farm

Come & Get It: What you need to know to serve food on your farm uniquely supports farmers interested in understanding regulations and learning from other farmers seasoned in on-farm food service operations. Come & Get It, spearheaded by the Renewing the Countryside, supports farmers in Minnesota and Wisconsin eager to explore on-farm food service with resources including assessments, case studies, and research data to develop their own business plan.

The five-part Come & Get It publication (over 120 pages total) offers an industry overview including how to determine if an on-farm food service business is right for your farm. Case studies of nine successful farm businesses in Minnesota and Wisconsin offer “behind the scenes” tips and first-hand experiences from farmers already running successful pizza nights and other on-farm food service events.

Download the guide in five sections:

1. Manual

2. Case Studies

3. Minnesota specific laws, rules and regulations

4. Wisconsin specific laws, rules and regulations

5. Customer Assessment





See our May 2019 Press Release here

On-Farm Food Service Workshop with Renewing the Countryside

Workshop presented at the National Women in Sustainable Agriculture Conference (WISA) in St. Paul, MN, on October 18, 2019.
Facilitated by:  Jan Joannides, Grace Brogan & Lisa Kivirist with Renewing the Countryside and Jane Jewett with the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture (MISA)

Thanks to the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture, North Central SARE and Farm Commons for your support.


This material is based upon work that is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award number H004991248 through the North Central Region SARE program under project number ONC18-043. USDA is an equal opportunity employer and service provider. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture


Farmstay Manual

In the simplest terms, a farmstay is lodging available to paying guests on a working farm.
Beyond this, a farmstay can take many forms. A farm family may convert a room in their farmhouse to accommodate overnight guests, repurpose an outbuilding into a sleeping cabin, or build a new structure specifically for guests. A managed forest, too, can be working land, and in this manual we refer to guest accommodations on such land as foreststays. Starting a farmstay need not be a monumental undertaking. Most of the farmstays in operation in Minnesota began on a small scale. Some have remained that way, while others have expanded as their owners have gained the knowledge, interest, and resources to manage larger operations.
NOTE: The Farmstay is a publication from 2011. Some of the contents do not represent current laws, licensing, insurance, regulation or information we had at the time of publication. We are in process of updating the text.