Festival of Farms Events Aplenty on July 12: Ramsey, Northfield, St. Cloud, Hutchinson Areas

As the official start of summer nears and the growing season is in full swing, SFA chapters are gearing up for Festival of Farms, set for July 12, 2014.

The following is a compendium of SFA chapters that are participating in Festival of Farms. For complete details and scheduling, please visit our Festival of Farms homepage. Please note that of the tours below, the Picnic Scientifique and the Central Chapter event require an RSVP.

Picnic-smallIn the Northwest Metro, SFA member Bruce Bacon is hosting a special Festival of Farms event, the “Picnic Scientifique” Soil Field Day. The event, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sat., July 12, 2014, will be held at Bacon’s Garden Farme, 7363 175th Ave NW, Ramsey.
The event’s tour schedule:

  • 11 a.m. Garden Walk with the Garden Farme Soil Committee
  • 12:30 p.m. Bumblebee & Pollinators Walk with Sarah Foltz Jordan, Xerces Society
  • 2 p.m. Garden Walk with the Garden Farme Soil Committee

To learn more, click here. To RSVP, click here.

SFA_Central_RGBIn the St. Cloud area, the SFA Central Chapter is hosting tours of four farms:

To learn more and to register, click here.

Cannon River for Web Use JPG

In the Northfield area, the SFA Cannon River Chapter and Just Food Coop are sponsoring tours of two farms near Webster. The tour begins at 9:20 a.m. at Waxwing Farm; a free bus ride is available and leaves at 9 a.m. from Just Food Co-op in Northfield. The farms on the tour include:

  • Waxwing Farm, Anna Racer & Peter Skold, 4800 Dent Ave, Webster, MN. Waxwing Farm is a 40-acre diversified farm located in Webster that raises a wide variety of vegetables, laying hens, and market hogs that are marketed through a 70-member CSA and the Fulton Farmers Market in Minneapolis.
  • Sweetland Orchard, Mike & Gretchen Perbix, 26205 Fairlawn Ave, Webster, MN. In their five-acre orchard, the Perbixes grow 49 varieties of apples, many of them heirloom, not counting the cider apples. They also have a few pears and plums. They sell apples at the Kingfield market in Minneapolis, but most of their business is Pick-Your-Own on weekends in September and October.

For more information, click here.

SFA_Crow_RiverC_RGBIn the Hutchinson area, the Crow River Chapter will host two sets of farm tours at three different farms – tours are set for 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. July 12 at these farms:

  • The Farm of Minnesota, Dan and Donna Moe, 24618 State Hwy 15, Hutchinson. The Farm of Minnesota offers CSA shares, fresh produce at farmers markets, service to local restaurants and co-ops – and you can get their fruits and vegetables right there at the farm.
  • New Story Farm, Daniel Zetah & Stephanie Usery, 19778 235th St, Hutchinson. Farmer/operators Daniel Zetah and Stephanie Usery are actively working toward forming a “cooperative farming village,” a place where others with similar values and visions can work cooperatively on diverse endeavors.
  • Living Song Farm, Jerry Ford & Mariénne Kreitlow, 7616 25th St. SW, Howard Lake. Living Song Farm operates on land that has been in the Kreitlow family since 1898. Of the family’s 288 acres, Jerry and Mariénne have 70 acres in transition to certified organic, where they are managing 40 acres of rotational grazing for cattle and pastured laying hens, and growing garlic, onions and potatoes for market.

OCIA-MN #1Festival of Farms is sponsored by OCIA-MN #1. 

Save the Date: Festival of Farms is July 12, 2014

Festival of FarmsFestival of Farms™ is an opportunity to learn about sustainable agriculture, network within the community, and have fun at various farms across the state. The Festival is unique to each chapter, but the goal is the same—to build a unified sense of SFA’s presence in communities across Minnesota and tighten connections within the local food community.

SFA’s chapters are currently planning their Festival of Farms 2014 events. Look for updates here in SFA Connect and on our Festival of Farms homepage.

Other upcoming SFA events for your calendars:

Becca Carlson of Northfield Joins Association Board

Carlson, Becca for Board pageBy Jason Walker • SFA Communications & Membership Coordinator

Our association Board of Directors welcomed a new face at our latest board meeting – Becca Carlson is the new representative from the Cannon River chapter.

Becca is farm manager at Seeds Farm, a diversified vegetable and animal farm near her native Northfield. Becca is a St. Olaf grad who is committed to learning how she can produce healthy food for the community while being a good steward of the land. Becca said she feels lucky to be a part of SFA’s bustling network.

“I wanted to be a SFA state representative to help share with the state what our Cannon River chapter is involved in and vice versa,” she said. “Plus, it’s a great opportunity to meet more farmers and soak up new information.”

Because of her love for the outdoors, Becca said she has found a way to spend most of her time outside year-round. Besides farming, Becca works winters as a dogsled guide in Northern Minnesota. But her love of food is pretty powerful, too.

“I love everything about food – thinking about it, growing it, harvesting it, cooking with it, eating it, and mostly, sharing it with my community,” she said.

To learn more about Becca and Seeds Farm, visit seedsfarmproject.com.

The SFA association Board of Directors meets each October, February and April; the April 2014 meeting is this Friday (April 25) at the College of Saint Benedict. If you have questions about the Board, contact your chapter’s board member or email me at jason@sfa-mn.org.

Executive Director’s Note

John Mesko

John Mesko

By John Mesko • SFA Executive Director

Do you support sustainable agriculture?  If you’ve been taking the time to read this newsletter for any length of time, then I’d say you do.  Getting informed is the first level of involvement in any cause.  We are very happy you’ve decided to have SFA be a source of informaiton for your benefit and edification.

Would you like to be further involved? Step 2 would be membership.  Have you renewed your SFA membership?  I want to thank the many folks who have done just that in the past few days.  I know it’s hard to keep track of all the groups and organizations vying for your time, and your membership. If you were a member of SFA at one time, maybe you’ve forgotten to keep it going.  Here’s one way to make sure you won’t forget your SFA membership: become a sustaining member!  Its easy, and you’ll never have to worry about us reminding you again.  Many folks have opted for sustaining memberships this season.  To do so, just click here.  

Of course, your membership can also be easily renewed online by credit card or by check.  To pay by check, see the membership form here.

And finally, thanks again for your continued support of SFA.  Your membership in our organization strengthens our movement, and is helping to make sustainable agriculture the preferred brand of agriculture now and in the future!

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Follow me on Twitter: @johnmesko.

Voting Now Open for 2015 SFA Annual Conference Topics

Ten of the session topics at this year’s Annual Conference were chosen by you, SFA’s members and supporters, using an online application that allowed you to vote for your favorite topics as well as submit your own. The top vote-getting topic, Root Cellaring, was a standing-room-only session led by root cellar builders Jerry Ford and Greg Reynolds as well as the esteemed John Fisher-Merrit, who dazzled the attendees with the details of his affordable yet highly customized root cellar that has significantly enhanced his farm’s revenue stream.

With this year’s SFA Annual Conference fresh in your minds, it’s time to start thinking to our next annual gathering, set for Feb. 14, 2015, again at the College of Saint Benedict in St. Joseph.

We have opened voting for the 2015 Annual Conference session topics – click this link to begin voting. The more votes we tabulate, the more accurately we can tailor the session schedule around your wishes. One thing we hear a lot during an after the Conference is, “there were so many good sessions I had a hard time choosing.” If there was a session you missed in 2014 but still are interested in, be sure to input that topic into the website. Some of the topics already submitted include:

  • SFA_AC_Cover crops and soil health
  • Fencing
  • Integrating crops and livestock
  • Hogs on pasture
  • Root cellaring
  • Agroforestry
  • New crops
  • Season extension
  • Seed saving
  • Grazing for beginners

Make your voice heard – submit your own ideas and vote early and often.

Also, photo galleries from both the 2014 Annual Conference and inaugural Midwest Soil Health Summit are available on each conference’s homepage. Check them out!