Crops included in this ongoing project include quinoa, spelt, currants, sea buckthorn, and herbs such as tarragon, borage, nettle and many more. In doing this, SFA hopes to build a market for farmers while increasing the variety of Upper Midwest-grown foods available to consumers.
What are the goals of the New Crops Project?
- Identify and quantify the demand for specific new and hard-to-find crops among natural and organic food consumers who are looking for local sources of those foods.
- Present findings to SFA farmer-members and assess the need for additional production education around these specific crops.
- Develop educational programs to assist farmers in learning how to grow, harvest and market specialty crops
- Assist the retail market in making these foods available in a way that is beneficial to consumers and producers.
With the results of this survey, we have the information to entice and encourage Minnesota farmers to explore and engage in the production of new, hard-to-find crops and foods that Minnesota consumers are looking for. This information will not only help direct the avenues that SFA pursues with the new copra project, but will be used to help farmers learn more about what is in demand amongst consumers. SFA is seeking to help farmers learn what consumers are interested in, helping to guarantee them a market for their goods, and help consumers find more local sources for the hard to find foods that they desire.
The New Crops Project is funded by a Minnesota Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Block Grant.