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August 17, 2013  

Festival of Farms was a beautiful day!

Did you attend the Festival of Farms event on July 13 in Onamia? If you did, thank you!

Over 30 participants met at the Farm Market Cafe in Onamia for a presentation on the cafe's local food business model, tours of Dutch Fury Farm and the Eller Family Farm, and a presentation on soil health - with live entertainment during lunch!

Here are a few photos. 



Training and Feeding the Next Generation of Farmers

SFA Central Chapter board member Sister Ruth Lentner was recently featured in a St. Cloud Times article about Garden-to-School programming in the Little Falls school district. The program is aimed at providing the district with a healthy and sustainable food source while educating the students on food production. Read the article here.

Volunteer Opportunities 

We are hosting several events within the next few weeks in the Central Chapter –they are described in this newsletter. If you’d like to volunteer to help make the event run smoothly, we’d love to have the help! Contact me, Lisa Baker, chapter coordinator for more info: (320) 309-0746, lisa@bakersacresfarm.com.

SFA’s Sustainable Food Production Program Partnership

The new SFA Sustainable Food Production Program has launched and is now accepting applicants. The first course, Farm Skills 101, will assist students in building farm skills competence and handiness in a fun, hands-on, community-oriented environment.

The course is three sessions in October and takes place northwest of Alexandria, Minnesota, near beautiful Eagle Lake. The course dates are Oct 4-5; 11-12; and 18-19.

More details and registration info can be found at http://www.sfa-mn.org/farmskills101/.  

Upcoming Events in Central Minnesota 

Let's Talk Potatoes, in Ashby, August 21 

1:30-4 p.m.
Paradox Farm
Ashby, Minn.
Join us on Wednesday, Aug 21, in Ashby for "Let's Talk Potatoes!", a presentation on participatory potato variety trials by Dr. Ruth Genger.
See the full flyer on our Facebook page

New Crops Project & Orcharding in the North Field Day in Staples, August 23 

1-6 p.m.
Central Lakes College Ag Center
Staples, Minn.

Join us for a field day at the Ag Center in Staples. Sessions are suitable for all levels of growers, taught by knowledgeable horticulturists and orchard managers, giving participants practical, hands-on experience.

Refreshments and food will be available at the Living Legacy Gardens food stand, located on the Ag Center property.


1:30-2:30 p.m. – Specialty Crops Demonstration Plot: This plot is a small, regional trial of 10 novel cereals and foodstuffs that may have a future in Minnesota such as spelt, teff, amaranth, and low-gluten corn. We will also tour the Center’s producing stands of specialty fruits; aronia and seaberry, in particular, are of increasing interest in the marketplace.

2:45-4:30 p.m. – Pest & Disease Management in your Home Orchard: Fruit scientist Thaddeus McCamant will conduct a walk-and-talk in the Center’s orchards on identification and treatment of fruit tree diseases and pest problems. A taste-testing will follow of mature fruits and apples. Bring samples of tree fruits and berries from their own orchards for the taste test. This session costs $10 and is capped at 25 participants. Please pre-register by emailing rscheer@charter.net.

2:45-3:30 p.m. – Local Fuels from A to Z: The “Distributed Energy” concept: A free session by Bob Schafer, an industry expert in bio-fuels generation and alternative fuels, this session will visit canola and camelina fields as well as an oilseed press, a small tractor using canola oil, and growing, processing and utilizing oilseed crops on the farm.

4:45-5:45 p.m. – Viticulture for Northern Minnesota: Oenologist Dennis Emslie Drummond will present his remarkable wine grape trial, including an overview of varietal characteristics, training systems, and issues for viticulture in the north. This will be followed by a leisurely tasting of experimental wines with cheese and crackers. This session costs $10 to cover expenses and is capped at 25 participants. Please pre-register by emailing rscheer@charter.net.

For information and to RSVP, contact Jim Chamberlin at jchamberlin@hugllc.com or Kent Scheer at rscheer@charter.net or 218.631.3084 (between 7-11pm).


Save the date: Cover crops demonstration, September 7

A cover crops demonstration will be held on 4 farms in Wadena County. More info coming soon. 


2014 Annual Conference

The Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota will host its annual conference at the College of Saint Benedict in 2014. Mark your calendars and register early for discounted admission. Registration is now open - click here.  


September is Farm-to-School Month

Next month – September – is Farm-to-School month. To help connect producers with school foodservice directors and move more specialty crops into school cafeterias, the University of Minnesota Extension office provides several helpful resources. Here is a fact sheet (pictured right) and a website with more resources. Here are a few quick tips you’ll find in the resources for farmers:

  1. Meet with your nearest Food Service Director. When it comes to school food, the food service director, often called the child nutrition services director, holds the keys to the kingdom.
  2. Many districts have little or no capacity to process fresh produce and may need the produce distributed to all school sites equally or several times throughout the week because of limited storage capacity. Be open to packing or sizing your produce in new ways.
  3. Be up-front and realistic about pricing. Keep in mind that schools may not be your highest profit markets, but they can be reliable, large volume customers and may help build your future markets by reaching children in your community.
  4. Use active parents, administrator or teacher contacts that you have to create support for Farm-to-School.

Like us on Facebook

The Central Chapter now has its own Facebook page, located here. Follow us to stay up to date on chapter activities. 

Feedback for the Central Chapter?

If you have feedback for educational programs or activities that you would like to share or learn more about, please contact SFA of Central Minnesota at 218-296-6732 or sfaofcentralminnesota@gmail.com.



Lisa Baker

Sustain MN

SFA is Working to Sustain Minnesota

You can be a part of it. Join or renew your membership to add to the farmer-to-farmer network and stay up to date on how you can be involved.

When you choose to support the Central Chapter of SFA, 100% of your membership dues go to support local chapter activities.

SFA Events

August 21 - Let's Talk Potatoes, Ashby, MN

August 23 - New Crops Project & Orcharding in the North Field Day, Staples, MN

September 7 - Cover crop demonstration, 4 farms in Wadena Co.


The Sustainable Farming Association of Central Minnesota is a non-profit organization that supports the development and enhancement of sustainable farming systems through innovation, demonstration, education, and farmer-to-farmer networking. The mission of this group is to promote the use of environmentally and economically sound agricultural practices and to ensure a healthy future for family farms and all of the people of central Minnesota.

Sustainable Farming Association of Central Minnesota (SFA-CM)
36861 Co. Rd. 9, Avon, MN 56310
(218) 296-6732 • sfaofcentralminnesota@gmail.com

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