Minneapolis Chef Paul Berglund Elected to SFA Board of Directors

Paul Berglund

Paul Berglund

Chef Paul Berglund, a 2015 James Beard Award finalist who helms the kitchen at Minneapolis’ acclaimed The Bachelor Farmer restaurant, was elected to the SFA Board of Directors at its most recent meeting on April 24, 2015, in Little Falls.

Berglund, who was elected to an at-large position, is committed to sourcing local ingredients for The Bachelor Farmer and even tends a rooftop garden atop the restaurant building. As an urban restaurateur, Berglund gives the SFA board a vital perspective on ways SFA farmers can more profitably communicate with and market to the chef-driven restaurant world.

Berglund has also attended the SFA Annual Conference the past two years and has completed a Deep Roots course on deep winter greenhouse production at Dr. Sue Wika’s Paradox Farm.

“Serving on the SFA board fulfills my personal values of citizenship and land stewardship,” Berglund said. “I believe that we are at a pivotal moment in environmental history. By participating in SFA, I can directly support those on the front lines of preserving our environment – thoughtful and conscientious farmers.”

Paul’s restaurant, which focuses on Scandinavian cuisine, received a four-star review from the Star Tribune in 2011 and is one of the Twin Cities’ most revered and popular establishments. The Bachelor Farmer is located at 50 N 2nd Ave in Minneapolis’ North Loop neighborhood.

“We are excited to have Paul on our board,” SFA Executive Director John Mesko said. “His understanding of the connection between agriculture, food and people is going to broaden our work directly. It’s an important perspective for us as an organization.”

For more information, visit our SFA Board homepage.

SFA Deep Roots Graduate Making Positive Impact with Native Seed Initiative

By Jason Walker • SFA Communications & Membership Coordinator

Zachary Paige, a recent graduate of SFA’s Deep Roots Farmer Development Program, is proof that Deep Roots is training the next generation of farmers and community leaders.

Zachary Paige, a recent graduate of SFA’s Deep Roots Farmer Development Program, is proof that Deep Roots is training the next generation of farmers and community leaders.

It didn’t take long for Zachary Paige to become a positive force in Minnesota’s Native American community, helping to devise a project that culminated late last year in a significant grant to create an indigenous seed keeping network.

As a recent graduate of SFA’s Deep Roots Farmer Development Program, Paige, 30, is also proof that Deep Roots is training the next generation of farmers and community leaders. Paige, of Ponsford, Minn, took the program then known as Sustainable Food Production in 2012-13, and said he gained a holistic vision of sustainable food systems by looking at the issue from many different angles.

“I had no experience farming until after graduating college,” he said. “I taught music and worked on farms for two summers in the off-season teaching music. I had all sorts of questions brewing in my mind regarding plant cultivation, breeding and why many ‘sustainable’ farms didn’t save their seeds. I really thought that this was something important that would close the gap in the cyclical nature of sustainable food systems.”

While in the program, Paige gained real-world experience, extensive skills training, and the educational background needed to become a sustainable food producer. Further, Deep Roots’ commitment to community development and mentoring boosted Paige’s desire to develop a progressive project that would positively impact the indigenous community.

To continue reading about Zach, click here.

From the Executive Director: Organic Valley’s Grass Up!, Featuring SFA Speakers, is May 7

John Mesko

John Mesko

By John Mesko

There is still time to RSVP for what I think could be a watershed event in the sustainable agriculture movement: Organic Valley is teaming up with key organizations and experts in the field of sustainable agriculture to bring energy and focus about our future at a FREE event this Thursday called Grass Up!

Click here to learn more and RSVP.

An invitation-only event, which is set for 6 p.m. May 7 at Macalester College in St. Paul, Grass Up! helps people understand the connections between soil, pasture, climate change, seeds, nutrition, and pollinators. It will gather people with expertise in these areas and help us all understand the points where these six areas intersect.

SFA is a part of this event in several ways.

I’ll be one of two keynote speakers, offering a short overview of how these issues connect for farmers today and in the future. Also, Kent Solberg, SFA’s Livestock & Grazing Specialist, will join me at the discussion tables after the keynotes to network, learn and share. Kent will be an expert at the pasture discussion table, while I’ll be networking with others about agriculture’s response to climate change.

It’s basically a fantastic cocktail party, with great food, great learning, and an excellent opportunity to network, and I hope you’ll be able to make it. I’d love to see you there, and to let everyone know SFA’s Farmer-to-Farmer Network® organization is providing solutions for our future!

Space is limited. Click here to RSVP.

Lake Agassiz Chapter Spring Blossom Orchard Tour is May 21

SFA_LakeAgassiz_RGBSFA Lake Agassiz Chapter is hosting a Spring Blossom Orchard Tour from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thurs., May 21, at the Honeyberry Farm & Nursery, 19736 350th St, Bagley (1.5 miles SE of Bagley). The event is free and registration is not required.

During the tour, The Honeyberry Farm and Nursery will showcase the beauty and fragrances of spring blossoms. Honeyberries burst out first, followed by Saskatoons, dwarf sour cherries, currants, aronia, elderberries, and more. Farm owners Jim and Bernis Ingvaldson will lead the tour.

Attendees will learn how to plan orchards to enjoy fresh fruit from early summer to late fall. Cameras and kids are welcome.

For more information about this free event, contact 218.694.3071 or gro.n1438287150m-afs1438287150@ziss1438287150agaek1438287150al1438287150.

SFA Greater Mille Lacs Chapter Now Official

SFA is excited to announce the formation of a brand-new chapter centered around the Aitkin area – the Greater Mille Lacs chapter.

Erik Heimark, SFA Greater Mille Lacs Chapter President.

Erik Heimark, SFA Greater Mille Lacs Chapter President.

According to Erik Heimark, chapter president, Greater Mille Lacs arose because of the large number of sustainably minded farmers around the Aitkin area.

“The idea to form a SFA chapter came about at a meeting last January where local farmers got together to discuss ways to support each other in the coming season,” he said. “The main goals of the Greater Mille Lacs Chapter are to help farmers market and process their products, provide support to their operations, and to educate themselves and their neighbors about the best practices in sustainable agriculture.”

SFA Network Coordinator Jerry Ford shepherded the new chapter through the formation process, and reminds SFA members that anyone interested in chapter-related issues should visit our Chapter Resource Portal.

Anyone interested in learning more about the new Greater Mille Lacs Chapter can contact Erik at ude.n1438287150mu@2214382871500amie1438287150h1438287150 or membership coordinator Jodi Olson at moc.l1438287150iamg@143828715013ett1438287150eduaj1438287150 or 218.927.1435.

SFA Nears Completion in Meeting High-level Nonprofit Standards

SFA Network Coordinator Jerry Ford has been working with the Charities Review Council in a program that certifies nonprofit organizations that meet a high set of standards. Jerry is shown here with Kris Kewitsch, Executive Director, Charities Review Council.

SFA Network Coordinator Jerry Ford has been working with the Charities Review Council in a program that certifies nonprofit organizations that meet a high set of standards. Jerry is shown here with Kris Kewitsch, Executive Director, Charities Review Council.

The Charities Review Council oversees a program to certify nonprofit organizations that meet a high set of standards. The process for attaining the certification is rigorous and demanding, but SFA is nearing the finish line. Organizations that achieve these standards are listed on the website, smartgivers.org, a resource for donors, foundations and philanthropists who seek assurance that a particular charity is structurally sound and effectively pursuing its stated mission.

SFA’s Network Coordinator, Jerry Ford, and Executive Director, John Mesko, have completed a series of required Nonprofit Strengthening Workshops over the past several months as part of this program. Using what they have learned, they have been fine-tuning various area of SFA’s organizational documentation and structure to bring us into greater alignment with legal requirements and accepted best practices.

The final step is a thorough analysis of our procedures, policies and mission, and we are well into that process. Our intention is to be certified by the Charities Review Council before the fall fundraising season, which will open up even greater sources of donation revenue for SFA.

Lake Agassiz Seed Swap April 26 in Bagley

SFA_LakeAgassiz_RGBSFA Lake Agassiz Chapter is hosting a Seed Swap and potluck from 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday, April 26, at the American Legion, 112 Main Ave N, Bagley. This event is free and no registration is required.

Attendees can bring extra seeds saved from crops or leftover purchased seeds, all in containers that are not spill-prone and clearly labeled, along with small envelopes to carry home your exchanges. Do not bring treated or GMO seeds. Cuttings, scion wood, etc. are welcome.

No seeds? No sweat! Come anyway and pick up some things that interest you. Discussion welcome on the history of heirloom seeds and ancient grains.

For more information, contact Jim Ingvaldson at 218-694-3071.

Young Farmers Receive Crow River SFA Scholarships

SFA’s Crow River Chapter recently recognized two area youth as recipients of the Outstanding Youth in Sustainable Agriculture award.

Two aspiring farmers received $100 awards at the Crow River SFA annual meeting Jan. 31. Pictured (from left) are scholarship winners Emily Hackbarth and Charlie Otto with Crow River Chapter President Nick Neaton.

Two aspiring farmers received $100 awards at the Crow River SFA annual meeting Jan. 31. Pictured (from left) are scholarship winners Emily Hackbarth and Charlie Otto with Crow River Chapter President Nick Neaton.

These hard-working young people each received a $100 cash award towards their farming projects. It is the CRSFA’s hope that this financial assistance will inspire new generations to start farming!

Emily Hackbarth raises goats, llamas, and gardens at her family’s farm near Silver Lake. Emily is especially interested in pasture management and holistic health for her herd of dairy goats. She is active in 4-H, which has helped cultivate her lifelong passion for agriculture.

Charlie Otto of Delano is also a longtime 4-H member. Charlie raises sheep, cattle, and chickens on his family’s farm, as well as helping with the vegetable gardens. Charlie hopes to use the $100 award to create a better fencing system for his pastured chickens.

For more information, visit the SFA Crow River Chapter homepage.

Lake Agassiz Seed Swap April 26 in Bagley

SFA_LakeAgassiz_RGBSFA Lake Agassiz Chapter is hosting a Seed Swap and potluck from 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday, April 26, at the American Legion, 112 Main Ave N, Bagley. This event is free and no registration is required.

Attendees can bring extra seeds saved from crops or leftover purchased seeds, all in containers that are not spill-prone and clearly labeled, along with small envelopes to carry home your exchanges. Do not bring treated or GMO seeds. Cuttings, scion wood, etc. are welcome.

No seeds? No sweat! Come anyway and pick up some things that interest you. Discussion welcome on the history of heirloom seeds and ancient grains.

For more information, contact Jim Ingvaldson at 218-694-3071.

KCIM Soil Health Webinar with Dr. Shannon Osbourne Now Archived

KCIM Keep Cattle in MinnesotaOur most recent Keep Cattle in Minnesota webinar was April 3 and featured Dr. Shannon Osbourne of ARS in Brookings, S.D. Dr. Osborne is a Research Agronomist with the US Dept of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service whose research focuses on understanding how soil and crop management options influence the soil environment and how these practices can be developed into production systems that maintain or improve our soil resource conservation and environmental quality, while providing production efficiency.

Dr. Osborne’s presentation focused on the impact of crop diversity, no-till, cover crops and residue removal on soil health properties, including soil physical properties and their interaction with soil biological properties. Specific information will included how crop diversity and cover crops impact soil aggregation, carbon and components of soil organic matter.

Click here to view this and past webinars on our new Webinar Homepage.