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.n1430962408m-afs1430962408@ziss1430962408agaek1430962408al1430962408.

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.

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.