SFA Providing Technical Assistance to Central Minnesota Project

For Immediate Release – Feb. 10, 2015

Contact: John Mesko, 763-260-0209, gro.n1438221618m-afs1438221618@nhoj1438221618

The Sustainable Farming Association is committed to developing and promoting sustainable farming solutions on every acre of agricultural land. SFA has become a leading advocate for the integrated use of cover crops, diverse crop rotations and livestock grazing for the purpose of building soil health. Our expertise is evident through events like the upcoming Midwest Soil Health Summit our work with cover crops and the integration of livestock to build soil health through a Minnesota Department of Agriculture Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Grant, as well as our ongoing partnership with the Pasture Project.

In 2014, Kent Solberg, SFA Livestock & Grazing Specialist, provided suggestions to the NRCS Conservation Plan for a project at the Agricultural and Energy Center at Central Lakes College, which involved a lease of R.D. Offutt Company land in Byron Township, Cass County. The intent of the project was to look at innovative cropping practices to protect groundwater. Other members of the advisory team included staff from Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA), University of Minnesota (U of M), and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is the regulatory agency monitoring ground water on the site through their irrigation well permitting process.

In a news release last week, R.D. Offutt and Company described SFA’s involvement as being “in partnership” with R.D. Offutt.

“While our involvement in R.D. Offutt’s Byron Township Project is primarily as technical assistance for the Central Lakes College project, we are encouraged that R.D. Offutt has been open to exploring sustainable farming solutions to expand to their many acres of potato ground throughout Minnesota,” SFA Executive Director John Mesko said. “Our goal as leaders in soil health education is to replicate high value agroecology production models on as many acres as possible, with as many farms as possible, regardless of size or current farming practice.”

Shifting the focus of agriculture from maximum yields to maximum soil health quality is critical to the sustainability of agriculture in Minnesota, the Upper Midwest, the United States and globally. SFA is committed to continued soil health programming, including programs addressing the integration of cover crops,  diverse crop rotations and managed livestock grazing. We will continue the pursuit of funding and programs that foster the development of soil health building practices for the long term.

More information about Sustainable Farming Association and the Midwest Soil Health Summit, slated for Feb. 18-19 in Alexandria, Minn., is available at www.sfa-mn.org.

Farmers: Minneapolis Public Schools Seeking Local Produce

Minneapolis Public Schools is excited to work with local farmers for the 2015-2016 school year! Find all the details about selling fresh produce to MPS through our Farm to School program in our Request for Information (RFI) available here: http://bit.ly/MPSf2sRFI.  Responses are due by noon on Thurs., Jan. 22, 2015.

There will be an optional RFI Q&A phone call at noon Jan. 14. Notes from the Q&A conference call will be posted on MPS’ Farm to School website. Conference Dial-in Number: (712) 775-7031 and Meeting ID: 545-938-784

Please spread the word to any farmers in the area you know who might be interested.

Please email Andrea Northup, MPS Farm to School Coordinator, with any questions. You can learn more about MPS’ Farm to School program at http://nutritionservices.mpls.k12.mn.us/f2s_program.

SFA Chooses Winter Sustainability Conference Interns

Katie Harris

Katie Harris

For the second consecutive year, SFA has tapped Sustainability Conference Interns to help plan our winter conferences and become a part of our farmer networking organization. This year, three interns were picked from a diverse, deep pool of applicants: Katie Harris, Helen Schnoes and Kelsey Wulf.

Harris (top right), who will work alongside Livestock & Grazing Specialist Kent Solberg, is a student at the University of Minnesota with a major in Food Systems – Organic and Local Food Production Emphasis. Harris, of Anoka, works at Grass Roots Cooperative in Anoka, has volunteered at Mill City Farmers Market and has studied sustainability in Ecuador.

Helen Schnoes

Helen Schnoes

Schnoes (middle right), who will work alongside Event Coordinator Jerry Ford, just received her Master of Regional Planning degree from Cornell University. A Minneapolis native, she has extensively studied food systems and co-funded Sitka Salmon Shares and has experience planning several local foods events.

Wulf, who will work alongside Communications Coordinator JasonWalker, is a familiar face at SFA events and graduate of the Sustainable Food Production program.

Kelsey Wulf

Kelsey Wulf

Wulf, who lives in Detroit Lakes, has worked on several farms, including Seven Pines Farm and Lida Farm. She has also been selected to help with SFA’s 25th anniversary celebration, and has written and compiled several submissions for the upcoming CornerPost and an online historical archive.

SFA thanks everyone who applied for our sustainability internships.

Support SFA on Give to the Max Day

Help advance farmer networking and education in Minnesota and the Upper Midwest – donate to SFA on Give to the Max Day on Nov. 13, 2014.

Click here to view SFA’s Give to the Max Day homepage.

SFA supports sustainable farmers with our networking opportunities, field days, Annual Conference, Midwest Soil Health Summit, and other educational events. SFA has built a crucial network where farmers can rely on support from like-minded individuals as well as tap the wisdom of our community.

We help farmers be more sustainable, productive and profitable, thereby helping build soil health and water quality while putting healthy, ethical food on the plates of people throughout Minnesota and beyond.

If you believe in the importance of family farms, clean water, healthy food and preserving natural splendor and wildlife habitat, then make a tax-deductible donation to SFA today. 

Remember SFA on Give to the Max Day Nov. 13

GTM Day 2014Once again, SFA is asking for your support on Give to the Max Day, which this year is Nov. 13.

Click here to visit SFA’s page.

Feel good about donating to SFA – we do not have costly overhead expenses, so your dollars go directly into helping us provide more farmer networking and educational events. Our programs are making a difference, and with your help we can make an even larger impact on agriculture in the Upper Midwest.

Give to the Max Day has moved to a new site after last year’s five-hour blackout, so hopefully those issues will not return. Some SFA folks were unable to donate because of the blackout, but remember that you can always donate 24/7/365 on our homepage.

All donations to SFA, whether on our homepage or the GiveMN Give to the Max Day site, are fully tax-deductible.