Renewing the Countryside



Our key area of work fit into three buckets:
- working landscapes
- local foods
- rural places
Within these buckets, we are involved in an array of projects and initiatives that range from building regional capacity to support beginning farmers access farmland, to incubating a Slow Money network, to empowering rural women to be change makers in their communities.
We do this by being:
- Animateurs
- Supporting individuals and communities in turning ideas into change
- Making space for new conversations and collaborations
- Boundary Crossers ­ building relationships:
- Between nonprofit, private, government & education sectors
- Between rural, urban and suburban
- Between business, agriculture, arts, the environment, education, and tourism
- Between those with abundant wealth and those without
- Innovative - being flexible, responsive, nimble, creative, and willing to take risks
- Collaborative
- Authentically engaging partners
- Creating spaces for co­creation, co­ownership, shared power
- Sharing resources
In rural areas, we work with people who are passionate about creating vibrant, equitable communities that grow economic, social and environmental wealth. These individuals include farmers, local government officials, students, educators, business owners, investors, cooperatives, food service professionals, artists, activists and the staff at agencies and nonprofit organizations.
We also serve as a bridge between rural and urban populations, especially through our local foods and sustainable tourism work.

Mission Statement

Empowering people and communities to advance ideas and efforts that contribute to economic, social, and environmental wealth in rural places.
Our goals are:
  1. To cultivate change in rural places that enhances economic, social environmental wealth.
  2. To strengthen productive, equitable linkages between urban and rural places and grow a better understanding of our interdependence.

Program Details

Farmland Access & Transitions:   Did you know the average age of a farmland owner is over 70 - and that the average age of the farmer on that land is nearly 60? In the next decade we will need 100,000 new farmers just to replace the ones we have now who intend to retire. At the same time, a growing number of beginning farmers want to farm, but access to land and capital are major barriers to success. We are seeing a huge farmland shift in ownership and we are working with family farmers to try and ensure that the farms get into the hands of beginning farmers in a way that balances future success and maximum profit.
We're in the midst of a multi-year project to connect all of those working on this issue in the Upper Midwest, and to help beginning farmers navigate the web of barriers and opportunities. We've reached over 200 beginning farmers with our farmland access trainings already.
Local Foods:   Our Farm to Cafeteria workshops were once again held in early 2020, reaching over 30 communities and hundreds of farmers and buyers now in the last decade with skill and connection building!  Many of those were school districts, food trucks, chefs and other wholesale buyers who are actively seeking farmers in their regions to provide healthy local food. We continue to work with communities across Minnesota on innovative, farmers-market based aggregation methods. And don't miss our seventh  annual FEAST! Tradeshow & Marketplace on Saturday, December 5th highlighting food makers using local ingredients!
Events & Public Education:  We've had the pleasure of meeting you for over a decade now at the Healthy Local Food exhibit at the Minnesota State Fair. Local foods cooking demonstrations, the beloved Veggie Grand Prix, Community Supported Agriculture farmers and great local foods. So much fun, so exhausting. Your support can help us develop more effective educational materials for the nearly 300,000 visitors to the EcoExperience.
And so much more! 
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2637 27th Ave S, Suite 17
Minneapolis, MN 55406
United States
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