Festival of Farms

Festival of Farms

Festival of Farms 2014 will be July 12th
More information coming soon!

Festival 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 Chapter Leaders: Please send your photos from Festival of Farms 2013 to SFA Communications Coordinator Jason Walker at jason@sfa-mn.org.

2013 Festival of Farms photos

Central Chapter Festival of Farms 2013 – Onamia, Minn.

Central Chapter Festival of Farms 2013 – Onamia, Minn.

Crow River Chapter Festival of Farms – True Cost Farm, Montrose.

Crow River Chapter Festival of Farms – True Cost Farm, Montrose.

Lake Agassiz Chapter Festival of Farms – GrassStain Farm, Wolverton.

Lake Agassiz Chapter Festival of Farms – GrassStain Farm, Wolverton.

2013 Festival of Farms Chapter Schedule

Central Chapter

CentralSustainable Farming Association of Central Minnesota and Farm Market Café are hosting the fourth annual Festival of Farms from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sat., July 13, in Onamia.

The Farm Market Café will host breakfast & lunch, local farm vendors, coffee roasting demonstrations, kids’ activities, and a presentation of Farm Market Café Business Plan.

Jo Rapatz of Dutch Fury Farm will lead a tour of her market garden, apple orchard, and open-pollinated cornfield.

Barbara Eller of Eller Family Farm will lead a tour of her rotational beef, pigs, and chickens grazing system in a silvopasture setting.

Click here to register for Central Chapter Festival of Farms 2013. For more information, visit the Central Chapter homepage.

Crow River Chapter

Crow_RiverJoin us for tours of four farms in the Montrose and Watertown area, with an end-of-the-day social gathering at a fifth farm, all happening on Saturday, July 13, 2013. The entire event is free to the public, with donations to SFA’s Crow River Chapter accepted at each location. You can see a diverse array of sustainable farming techniques including vegetables, sheep, turkeys, chickens, cattle and more. There are three tour times at three of the farms, so you can pick and choose which ones you want to visit at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. True Cost Farm in Montrose (below) will only tour at 11 a.m., so if you want to see them, go there first.

True Cost Farm

True Cost Farm

Participating farms include:

TRUE COST FARM, located at 4432 County Road 12 S., Montrose, 55363, will do one tour only, at 11 a.m. Owners Jack and Betsy McCann raise a variety of rare livestock breeds, selected for their deep flavors and excellent health. Grown in natural living conditions, the animals are treated with care and respect, and are regularly rotated to fresh fields of pasture, ensuring their access to the most nutritious organic feed possible. Pork, beef, chicken and eggs are available monthly through their delivered seasonal packages.

JPR Acres

JPR Acres

The second farm near Montrose, JPR ACRES, located at 10389 Baker Avenue SW, 55363, is a family owned & operated farm built around producing food that is nutrient-rich and tastes great. Emphasizing an environment-friendly approach, Kerry Skelton uses a rotational grazing system to improve soil life and animal health. All of the farm’s livestock and poultry – turkey, duck, chicken, lamb – are traditional heritage breeds chosen for their ability to thrive on pasture as well for their reputation for outstanding flavor.

SWEET BEET FARM, located at 11549 Highway 25 SW in Watertown, 55388, is a fourth-generation family farm founded in 1883. Young farmers Nick and Amelia Neaton and their family are

Sweet Beet Farm

Sweet Beet Farm

in their fifth year supplying quality, 100-percent naturally grown produce, eggs and lamb to the Twin Cities metropolitan area.

Also near Watertown, PRAIRIE SUN FARM (10330 Highway 25 SW, Watertown, 55388) owners Julie and Dan Geiger have been transitioning their 40-acre farm from conventional corn and soybeans into a diversified, productive landscape. In 2010 they received organic certification and started a 25-member Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) operation. They believe that this constantly evolving farm continues to teach them how to live with nature and grow great vegetables.

Prairie Sun Farm

Prairie Sun Farm

At the end of the tours, all Festival of Farms attendees are invited to a “post-festival social” at NATURE’S NEST FARM BED & BREAKFAST, 5412 Brighton Avenue SE, Montrose, MN 55363. Festivities begin at 4 p.m., and will feature light refreshments using products from the participating farms. Feel free to bring a dish or beverages to share.

For further information, call Nick Neaton at 952.807.8324.


Lake Agassiz Chapter


Bob and Marie Petry

Bob and Marie Petry

Lake Agassiz Chapter will be hosting a Farmer-to-Farmer Networking event July 13 at Marie and Bob Petry’s GrassStain Farm in Wolverton.

The event begins at 10:30 a.m. at the Petry farm, 1762 160th St, Wolverton. There will be a farm tour showcasing GrassStain Farm’s grazing paddocks, eggmobile, pastured pen poultry, small jersey herd, new cover crop project and new high tunnel.

A potluck lunch will follow at noon – please bring a dish to share. After lunch, there will be a chicken processing demonstration and then plenty of time to network and enjoy the farm.

Note: Do not use online maps or GPS directions to the Petry farm as they may mislead you. Directions from Wolverton: Drive 4.5 miles east on Hwy 30. Turn right on 170th Ave (Hwy 3). South for 1 mile. Turn left (east) on 160th St and go 1/2 mile; GrassStain Farm is the second house on the left. Directions from Sabin: Take Hwy 11 south about 20 miles to the second stop sign (road turns into Hwy 3 at county line). At that second stop sign, go one more mile south, then turn left on 160th St. Go east for 1/2 mile, and GrassStain Farm is the second house on the left.

For more information, contact Lake Agassiz Chapter coordinator Marie Petry at grass@wtc-mail.net, download a flyer here or visit the Lake Agassiz Chapter homepage. Please feel free to post the flyer on local bulletin boards.


South Central Chapter


Because of recent storm damage the South Central Chapter of the MN Sustainable Farming Association will be changing their Festival of Farms plans.  Watch this space for new information for this year’s activities.

The SFA South Central Chapter appreciates your participation! Please feel free to forward your SFA Connect and CornerPost newsletters and share valuable activities with like-minded friends and help our Chapter serve the needs of local farmers and food producers. We value your participation and input.

To receive future meetings and announcements, please be sure to be added to the email list and include your post address by contacting Linda@ruraladvantage.org. Find more info on our chapter homepage or join us on Facebook and share in topics of interest.




Recap of 2012 events

Crow River Chapter

Compton FarmTaking a “salad bar” approach to this year’s Festival of Farms, Crow River Chapter is offering a selection of twelve operations. Each farm will give tours at 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. with “open house” time between the tours. Farms are grouped in five locales, so patrons should be able to tour two places with minimal driving — some of the farms even share the same property. The locations are:

The diversity of these farms ranges from various livestock to CSA vegetables, with models of conservation and forestry practices as well; and some of the farms are offering special features during the open house time.

Donations will be accepted at all locations, and several will have farm fresh products for sale.

For all the details, please visit the Crow River homepage. Another GrazeFest event.

Cannon River Chapter

Farms participating:

Little Hill Berry Farm: Climbing up the gradual slope to the top of a little hill you will feast your senses on 1,600 blueberry plants (roughly, an acre and a half). Little Hill Berry Farm aims to offer organic blueberries (and other fruit in the future). During our infancy, the berries produced on the farm will mostly be sold through our neighbor CSAs and Farmer’s Markets. In the not so distant future, we will be open to the public as a U-Pick berry operation. This fall, we will be harvesting Wild Rice in the lakes of Northern Minnesota to add to sell along with our blueberries. Through this tour, you will have the unique opportunity to walk the rows of plants, glean, and taste some of the coveted blue bursts of happiness before the general public. We will also provide information about the complex and tenuous task of growing and tending to your own berry patch. Visit our website and blog for more information.

Spring Wind Farm: A small, diversified operation, we raise vegetables, laying hens, and hogs on about four acres of land. We market all of our farm products here in Northfield, through our CSA, the farmers market, and wholesale. This is our third year of production. During our farm tour, visitors will get a first-hand look at the challenges and opportunities that come with converting a conventional corn and bean field into a diversified farm … as well as the chance to say hello to some very happy pigs. Visit our website for more information.

Open Hands Farm: Open Hands Farm is a 10-acre vegetable farm, using organic practices to grow 50 different vegetables (about 275 different varieties) mostly for our CSA, and also for wholesale, primarily to Just Food Co-op and St. Olaf College, and other local institutions.  Walking through the farm you’ll see this diversity, and we’ll discuss some of the organic practices we use for growing food for our community, including how we feed the soil life to grow healthy crops and attract insects that help with pest management.  Walking down the hill from Spring Wind Farm and Little Hill Berry Farm, we’ll tour Open Hands on the way to the barn for an ice cream social. Visit our website for more information.

Cherry Leaf Farm is currently nurturing close to a thousand ‘Carmine Jewel’ cherry bushes and ‘Honeyberry’ honeysuckle bushes. Both are newer varieties of fruit that do well in our climate. When mature, the cherries and berries will be offered for U-pick. The farm also produces vegetables for wholesale. Visitors can view systems for deer fencing and row covers.

To register for the Festival of Farms bus tour, go to www.justfood.coop, click on the “events” tab and scroll through the calendar to find the signup link on July 14. For more information about Cannon River Chapter, please visit the chapter homepage.

Lake Superior Chapter

Festival of Farms and the First Annual Old Time Wrenshall Barn Dance Weekend
A Gathering of Old-time Music, Dance, Local Farm Fresh Food, and Farm Tours

Join the Fun on July 13-15 • With a Special Pig Roast Luncheon and Festival of Farm Tours on Sat., July 14, to benefit Lake Superior Farm Beginnings • Located at the Same Site as the Free Range Film Fest: 909 County Road 4, Wrenshall, MN.

Lake Superior Sustainable Farming Association (LSSFA) and folks from the Tamarack Dance Association have partnered to bring you a full weekend of old-time music and dancing, educational farm tours on three Wrenshall-area CSA farms, and a local foods luncheon fundraiser with PIG ROAST (pig provided by Yker Acres and LSSFA). Pig Roast luncheon cost $12/person.

There will be workshops on clogging, banjo, fiddle and more; local foods served; farm education; camping and jamming; and maypole fun for the kids.

SFA’s Festival of Farms tour will visit Northern Harvest Farm, Stone’s Throw Farm and Yker’s Acres Farm. The tour runs from 2-6 p.m. and will cover topics of Community Supported Agriculture, pastured pig production, diversified vegetable production, sustainable farming, infrastructure and lack thereof, and beginning farmer challenges and successes. All three farms are graduates of Farm Beginnings, a comprehensive training and support program for beginning farmers. All farms are within five minutes of the barn!

Join us for the day (or the whole weekend). There are many ways to play!


  • 6 p.m.: Potluck with Dance Following


  • 8-10 a.m.: Breakfast with Harbor City String Band
  • 11 a.m.-6 p.m.: Barn Dance Workshops throughout the Day (www.tamarackdance.org)
  • Noon-2 p.m.: Pig Roast Potluck Luncheon Benefit for Lake Superior Farm Beginnings
  • 2 p.m.-6 p.m.: LSSFA Festival of Farms Tours
  • 2-3:10 p.m.: Northern Harvest Farm – 2572 County Road 102, Wrenshall MN
  • 3:25-4:35 p.m.: Stone’s Throw Farm – 2555 County Road 102, Wrenshall MN
  • 4:50-6 p.m.: Yker Acres Farm – 539 County Road 4, Wrenshall MN
  • 6-7 p.m.: Dinner Hosted by Tamarack Dance Association
  • 7-10:30 p.m.: Dance with 3 Great Bands and 3 Great Callers


  • 9-11 a.m.: Breakfast with Harbor City String Band
  • 11 a.m.-noon: Gospel Sing with Four Mile Portage

Affordable meals served all days. Suggested donation for camping is $20 (no hook-ups) and for dancing is $12. Visit www.tamarackdance.org and www.lssfa.org for more information.

This activity is funded in part by the Arrowhead Region Arts Council with money from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage fund as appropriated by the  Minnesota State Legislature with money from the vote of the people of Minnesota on Nov. 4, 2008, and by a grant from the McKnight Foundation.

South Central Chapter

South Central Chapter is planning a low-energy farm day from MyBackAchers.com and Cedar River Horse Logging, 50277 130th St, Lyle.

Starting at 10 a.m., the farm will host daylong demonstrations of alternative energy on the farm including hydroelectric power from a small creek. Other events include:

  • Discussion of wind power, including 1.) Things to Consider and 2.) Power Management
  • Draft horse demonstration
  • Wood as an efficient fuel source and a wood-fired steam engine
  • Alcohol as a fuel discussion and handouts.
  • Demo of  Auto-Fodder-Feeder system for low energy and reduced feed costs.

Preregistration is required by July 5 by visiting our Facebook page, calling/texting 507.589.5256 or e-mailing MyBackAchers@gmail.com. This event is free to SFA members and $5 for non-members.

For more information about South Central Chapter, please visit the chapter homepage.



Recap of 2011 events: Saturday, July 16, 2011

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.

Governor Dayton proclaimed July 16, 2011 as Sustainable Agriculture Day in Minnesota.  Click here to read more about it. Click here for a Press Release.

Central Chapter – Staples Area Event Details

On Saturday, July 16, Mel and Lorna Wiens of Staples hosted the annual Festival of Farms, a family-friendly event designed to connect community members with area farmers in a celebration of local foods.

The daylong event, held at Wiens’ Acorn Ridge Farm on the North side of Staples, was just one of several “festivals” that took place on July 16, 2011, across Minnesota.

The Central Chapter of the SFA sponsored the Staples area Festival of Farms, which featured a delicious, “local foods” lunch catered by chef Derek Olson of the Harvest Thyme Bistro in Wadena. There also were hay rides, a petting zoo, educational demonstrations, shopping stands, and guided bus tours of three near-by farms.

Cannon River (Northfield area) Event Details

Three Goodhue County farms were featured during SFA’s 2nd Annual Festival of Farms™ on Saturday, July 16, 2011: Sogn Valley CSA and Market Farm, Cannon Falls; L & R Poultry & Produce, Kenyon; and Seven Songs Organic Farm, Kenyon.

Sogn Valley CSA and Market Farm
Tim, Leslie and Isaac Mahle have owned and operated Sogn Valley CSA & Market Farm for 5 years. It is a small, family-owned farm just south of Cannon Falls in the beautiful Sogn Valley. They do a CSA for local pickup and off-site delivery, offering a weekly share, a bi-weekly share and a singles share. They also offer a “salsa share,” a one-time box of tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic & cilantro.

L & R Poultry & Produce
Rae Rusnak and her son Leo have been producing food for the local foodshed for several years. L & R Poultry & Produce is a family owned and operated 72-acre woodland farm, featuring rolling hills, streams, and mixed hardwood trees.

They produce eggs, chickens and turkeys as well as maple syrup and a market garden. Their poultry are free range and their produce is grown without the use of chemical pesticides or fertilizers.

Seven Songs Organic Farm
Melissa Driscoll and husband Jay Hambidge spent 2.5 years searching for their ideal farm before buying one outside of Kenyon in January 2010. They’re transitioning their farm to organic food production, with organic certification scheduled for the fall of 2012. Seven Songs specializes in gourmet garlic, raspberries, humanely-produced eggs, and heirloom vegetables. A hoop house will be built this summer to extend the season for raspberries and cold-hearty greens.  They are also building an Eggmobile so they can move their chickens around the farm where they will do the most good for the whole farm. Driscoll and Hambidge sell food to individuals and restaurants and are actively looking for more local customers for the 2012 season.

Crow River Chapter Event Details


Natures Folly Farm
Mike Lilja, Owner/Operator

A small suburban farm using the techniques and philosophy of permaculture to ”grow” beyond organic.

14000 Lawndale Ln. N., Dayton, MN 55327
Phone: 763-712-5506

- AND -

Crandall Garden Farme
Bruce Bacon, Owner/Operator

Certified Organic since 1977, and family farm since 1913, Crandall Garden Farme offers specialty market gardening and custom growing for restaurants and caterers.  They sell 5 gal. wildflower bulk honey, and they have a potted tree nursery; 25-acre prairie restoration, and are a permaculture demonstration site. They are a host site for agro-ecology research projects, as well seminars and retreats, private parties, picnics, weddings, and plein air painting.

7363 175 Ave. NW, Ramsey, MN 55303
Phone: 763-753-5099

Lake Superior SFA Event Details

Festival of Farms Public Farm Tour was held Saturday, July 16 at Morning View Farm

Lake Superior Sustainable Farming Association (LSSFA) in partnership with Gayle Gonsior and Larry Fickbohn invited the public to Morning View Farm for a tour in Port Wing, WI. The farm tour, “Lives in the Balance” was a chance to walk and talk with participants about operations management of a highly diversified family farm, while still having time for personal, family, community and a professional life.

While at Morning View Farm, participants were exposed to a myriad array of enterprises to include grass-fed, sustainably-grown or raised lamb, pork, beef, eggs, turkeys, and vegetables. In addition, Gayle and Larry utilize high tunnels for production, raise much of their own animal feed and fertilizer, participate in University of WI Extension’s hazelnut production trials with 1500 hazelnut trees planted, and are one of two agricultural areas participating in a biomass tree planting experiment in conjunction with Excel Energy and Bayfield County. They have put 100 acres of woodland into a 50-year conservation protection plan and have the capacity to make their own biodiesel from waste oil for use in their tractors.

Gayle and Larry love living and working off of their land as much as possible, and enjoy all the silent sports available in the Chequamegon Bay area. They live simply and economically, supporting local businesses and arts as a matter of philosophy and quality as much as they possibly can. There is a lot to see at Morning View Farm and a lot to learn from Gayle and Larry.

South Central Chapter Event Details

We had three farms in the area of Wells, MN on our tour.

It started at 10:30AM at the Lutteke family organic dairy farm at 56360 200th St., a few miles from Wells.  A noon lunch was served at the Lutteke farm.

After lunch we visited the nearby farm operated by Gary Yokiel and his mother, Leona Yokiel, at 58653 190th St.  This is an organic grain farm with beef cattle.  Also there was a a large collection of Minneapolis Moline tractors on  display.

After spending about an hour at the Yokiels we went South to the farm of Archie and Denise Kluender at 7286 State Highway 22 which is an organic grain farm with a wide variety of crops.

All three of these farms are well know for their organic farming practices.

Gary’s father, George, was one of the early pioneering organic farmers in this part of the state.  Large organic farming field days have been held on the farm of Dennis Lutteke and his family.  The Kluender converted to organic farming many years ago following the good examples set by by the Yokiels and Luttekes.