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Regional Updates - Wednesday, May 12th at 4pm

Click here to join the Zoom meeting or join via phone: +1 346-248-7799‬

Welcome, Heather Mahoney!

Heather Mahoney started with the Rutabaga Project on April 19, 2021. She replaces Kelsey Gantzer as the new Food Access and Rutabaga Project Manager.

For the past 13 years, Heather was employed with the Minnesota Department of Revenue, most recently as a trainer with the Collection Division. She has an accounting and financial background but farming, food, and equitable food access have always been close to her heart. Heather grew up on an 80 acre hobby farm in rural Minnesota. Her and husband reside in Embarrass on their 40 acre homestead in the woods. In the summer, you will likely find her out in one of their vegetable gardens. Heather is a registered cottage foods producer and sells canned goods and produce at the Mesabi East Environmental Education Center Farmers Market. She is also new Farm to School producer this year for the Mesabi East School.

Heather’s current role at the Rutabaga Project is primarily focused on work outlined in the USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) grant, awarded in 2019. She will provide an overview of the objectives outlined in the grant and seek feedback for current projects and future priorities.

Resource Sharing

The internet creates so many ways for us to find and share resources. Even social media platforms like Facebook allow folks to locate classes, groups, and events. That said, the amount of resources can quickly become overwhelming. Do you have a favorite resource for locating grant or funding opportunities? Does your web browser contain a file of favorite seed, soil, or growing related websites? Maybe you have a great flyer or book that contains helpful tips.

Bring your favorite online or printed regional food, farming, food access, or education related resource to the next meeting and get ready to share!

Legislative Update

Minnesota House passes Agriculture budget bill. Highlights include:

  • Mental health outreach and funding

  • Farm safety grants

  • Support for Minnesota’s industrial hemp program

  • Pesticide labeling requirements

  • Exemption from state regulation for small meat processors

  • Increase in the income cap for registered cottage food producers

Read the full press release here: https://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/members/profile/news/15418/31800

Farm Beginnings Applications Open

According to the Land Stewardship Project website:

“The Farm Beginnings class is a 12-month training session that helps beginning farmers clarify their goals and strengths, establish a strong enterprise plan and start building their operation. The course uses a mix of farmer-led classroom sessions, on-farm tours, and an extensive farmer network.”

“Farm Beginnings sessions will take place in an online setting December through February. The class cost is $1,000, which covers up to two individuals per farm. Applications are due September 15, 2021, and applications that are received before August 15 (and accepted) will receive a $100 discount.”

Access this link for more information: https://landstewardshipproject.org/morefarmers/farmbeginningsclass

What is the Northland Food Network?

The Northland Food Network supports regional food production, access, and education to improve the health and resilience of the Northland’s people, economy, and environment.

Goal: Produce and consume 25% local food by 2025
Action Steps:

  • Improve access to capital

  • Create a regional vision

  • Encourage more producers

  • Increase Farm-To-School

  • Impact legislation

Join us! Connect with others in the region who are working to increase local food production and consumption. Together, let’s create the networks of support that ensure long-term sustainable food access in NE MN.

We meet on the 2nd Wednesday of each month from 4pm-5pm via Zoom.

For more information, contact David Abazs dwabazs@umn.edu or Brian Bluhm atbluhmb@stlouiscountymn.gov

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