Sustainable Agriculture as we know it defined has been the work of the Sustainable Farming Association for 25 years. SFA and other organizations have been working diligently to advance this brand of agriculture. We’ve succeeded in many ways, but there’s more to be done. In this report, I review the past, assess the present, and lay out a few objectives for the future. Funding for this report was supplied by the Otto Bremer Foundation.
At SFA, we are starting to see both an increased interest in our programming as well as positive results from the education and farmer networking efforts we’ve undertaken in the past few years. SFA is an inclusive organization open to all, and we believe that our brand of agriculture is the most positive way forward.
We are proud to announce that we have built a matching fund for the upcoming Give to the Max Day, the popular annual fundraiser promoted by GiveMN.org. As of today, we have raised $10,000 for our matching fund from our board members and supporters like Lakewinds Co-op and Restaurant Alma. This means that every dollar you donate will be matched by the fund at least up to $10,000 – your $100 donation results in $200 to SFA.
Our goal is to raise $20,000 on Give to the Max Day, and we can’t do it without your support.
This year’s fundraising holiday is officially Nov. 12, but GiveMN has stretched the event – it began Nov. 1, and any donation you make through SFA’s page on GiveMN will qualify for the matching fund. Schedule your donation early and avoid the high-traffic GTM Day fray.
SFA is growing the next generation of farmers who are going to farm in ways that feed our communities good food while improving water and soil quality. We hope to hear from you.
Click here to view our Give to the Max homepage and donate today. And many thanks to those of you who have already scheduled your donations!
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has created Minnesota Farm Link, a web tool designed to link farmers and farmland. Minnesota Farm Link includes all types of farming, from small fruit and vegetable farms, to large grain and livestock operations. Whether it’s helping someone find a farm, matching an experienced or retiring farmer with a beginning farmer, or exploring mentoring opportunities, the goal is to connect people.
The MDA’s website also features a directory of Beginning and Transitioning Farmer Information, a clearinghouse of programs and services for all types of farmers: farmers seeking land, financial assistance and loans; farmer education; legal services; multi-cultural programs; networking, mentoring and transitioning; and succession planning.
Information about Minnesota Farm Link: Jim Ostlie at 320.842.6910 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn about other beginning farmer resources, contact Becky Balk at 651.201.6369 or email@example.com.
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.
NOTE: The Spring 2015 semester of Farm Skills 101 is sold out. Fall 2015 registration is NOW OPEN HERE.
Farm Skills 101 consists of around 50 hours of on-farm education in three weekends of fun and fulfilling learning. These are days in the field, not field days. Participants will need pants, closed-toe shoes, gloves and safety glasses.
Deep Roots programs include small class sizes and individualized attention. Every student engages in the activities. This is real-world, real-time education.
Register below for “Nuts and Bolts,” a workshop designed for those with a desire to farm but with little or no experience with common farm tools and equipment. In this workshop, students will gain practical experience with farm tools and materials.
Get prepared for the upcoming season of food production by participating in this Deep Roots Farmer Development Program workshop. You will increase your handiness while developing competence with farm tools and materials. Get the edge for summer farm internships by listing this course on your resume! This is also an appropriate preparatory course for Farm Skills 101.
Bring a sack lunch.
Small class size guarantees that all students receive ample individual attention. Course instructors are seasoned farmers.Students should have gloves and safety glasses and wear closed-toe shoes and long pants.
- Common hand tool identification and use on the farm
- Hands-on operation of common tools
- Ergonomics and body mechanics
- Common hardware identification & use: nails, nuts, bolts, staples, screws
- Building materials, such as lumber
- Small carpentry project completed during class