VanDerPol Transition Story
Longtime SFA members Jim and LeeAnn VanDerPol shared their farm transition story with Teresa Opheim, a former executive director of Practical Farmers of Iowa who is now working with Renewing the Countryside on farm transition issues.
Teresa profiled the VanDerPol family as part of her work on farm transitions, and Practical Farmers of Iowa was kind enough to share the article with SFA.
Farm-to-Institution: A Producer Perspective
In 2014-15, SFA, along with Renewing the Countryside, collaborated on a project led by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, “Building Minnesota’s Farm-to-Institution Markets: A Producer Survey.” The goal of the survey was to determine the resources Minnesota growers — specifically specialty crop growers — need to engage with institutional markets in a consistent and economically viable manner. It also identifies some of the key “next steps” that farmers feel are needed to ensure the state’s emerging farm-to-institution markets work for them.
Project leader Pete Huff published a final comprehensive report from this project that includes a wealth of data and producer comments on this issue.
To learn more about the project and access the report, click here.
To simply download the report, click here.
Note to SFA pork producers
Sustainable pork producers can benefit from listing in the National Pork Board’s Niche Pork Directory. This searchable database allows consumers to connect with farmers who share their sustainability concerns.
- Minnesota Dept. of Agriculture Grants page
- Approved Sources of Meat and Poultry for Food Facilities (PDF)
- Sale of Locally Raised Eggs to Food Facilities (PDF)
- Sale of Home or Farm Raised Poultry (PDF)
- Local Food Marketing Practices Minnesota (PDF): Designed to collect data related to the marketing of foods directly from farm producers to consumers or retailers who then sell directly to consumers, this survey, conducted in all 50 states, produced benchmark statistics on the number of farms that market food directly, the value of these direct sales, and the marketing practices used in conjunction with direct sales. The full report can be found at www.agcensus.usda.gov.
- The Land Stewardship Project hosts a “Seeking Farmers, Seeking Land Clearinghouse” where folks can post free listings for 90 days. Click here to visit.
- The Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture sponsors the “SustAgMarket” Listserv as a place where rural farmers, urban farmers, and sustainable agriculture-related business enterprises can exchange information about goods and services for sale or trade. Click here to learn more and subscribe.
- The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation has published a guide to constructing a hoophouse. Click here to view the guide and download the PDF.
- Grit Magazine published a terrific guide to starting and succeeding as a CSA farm operator by author Nathan A. Winters. To read the article, click this link or download in PDF format.
- An SFA partner organization, the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, released a comprehensive “Farm to Childcare Curriculum Package” that has extensive resources for childcare centers who wish to serve locally produced food. Download the package at this link.
- A new 50-page publication from Iowa State and the Leopold Center, “Machinery Sharing Manual for Fruit and Vegetable Growers,” discusses operational and organizational issues related to sharing specialized farm machinery for fruit and vegetable production. Click here to learn more and download.
- Tara Ritter and Jim Kleinschmit of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy have released a Farmer and Landowner Guide to Pollinators and Neonicotinoids in collaboration with Pesticide Action Network. To download, click here.
An organization called The Noun Project, in collaboration with Mother Jones Magazine, has created a set of digital icons, or “emoji,” for sustainable farmers. These icons are in the public domain and are free to use by anyone for any purpose.
To view and download the icons, click here.