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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

What's Killing My Kale? - Episode 1 - Integrated Weed Management

This month on What's Killing my Kale we're talking about integrated weed management (IWM) with Annie Klodd and Charlie Rowher. In part 1, we talk about how integrated pest management applies to weeds and explore the four pillars of IWM. 

You can listen to the podcast here, on iTunes, or Stitcher. If you listen, please provide your feedback via this short survey:

What's Killing My Kale - Episode 1

Youth Tractor and Farm Safety Certification

The Youth Tractor & Farm Safety Certification Program is designed to provide youth 14-years-old and older the opportunity to learn about safe equipment operation and general farm safety. 

This program is based on the National Safe Tractor and Machinery Operations Program curriculum and meets the requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Hazardous Occupations Orders for Agricultural Employment. 

Completing this or other similar programs is required for youth who wish to work off of their family farm or homestead with equipment with over 20 horse power.

In-person Dates:

June 11-12, 2018
8:30 AM - 4:00 PM both days
Kingsland High School
705 North Section Avenue
Spring Valley, MN 55975
Michael Cruse, UMN Extension Educator - Fillmore & Houston County;
Phone: 507-765-3896 or email:

June 14-15, 2018
8:30 AM - 4:00 PM both days
Meeker County Fairgrounds
1230 N Armstrong Ave
Litchfield, MN 55355
Karen Johnson, UMN Extension Educator - McLeod & Meeker County;
Phone: 320-484-4303 or email:
Emily Wilmes, UMN Extension Educator - Stearns County
Phone: 320-255-6169  email:

June 21-22, 2018
8:30 AM - 4:00 PM both days
Caledonia High School
511 West Main Street
Caledonia, MN 55921
Michael Cruse, UMN Extension Educator - Fillmore & Houston County;
Phone: 507-765-3896 or email:

Fee: $20, lunch is included both days.

Get Registered

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Small Farms Newsletter - May 2018

Have a great growing season!
We're finally getting into the fields, and things are greening up. I hope you all have a productive and safe growing season. 

There are some UMN Extension events coming up that I want to draw your attention to, a new Local Food Fine Print podcast episode, and MISA turns 25. Enjoy the newsletter.

If you'd like to receive this newsletter directly in your email, sign up here.

-Jake Overgaard
 Extension Educator

25th Anniversary
Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture (MISA)
MISA turns 25 this year. I think many of us in the small farms community can appreciate the significant impacts the organization has had. As a frequent user of their resources, past collaborator, and current board member, I'd like to reflect on a few.

I'm not sure which MISA publication I was exposed to first. It was probably Building a Sustainable Business or Marketing Local Food. Either way, it was easy to recognize the quality and usefulness of the publications. They just came out with a new one too, Perennial Fruit: New, Unusual, and Unique Crops for Northern Climates. A full list of publications is available here.

Sustag is a listserv that MISA operates (there are others too). If you want to stay on top of learning opportunities, events, job openings, and other news related to sustainable agriculture in MN, this is the list to join. 

Understanding and dealing with regulations from multiple agencies as a local food business can be a significant challenge. Since 2013, MISA has been a core member of the Local Foods Advisory Committee, a group that has been working with the MN Department of Ag, MN Department of Health, and other partners representing local food businesses and farmers to raise awareness about what the rules are, make them more clear, and more consistently interpreted. It's been a proactive, cooperative approach, and the group continues to connect. They've created some excellent fact sheets on regulations in MN, you can find them here. Having an issue yourself? They've got a comment form.

There is a lot more, I encourage you to explore their website, connect on Facebook, and check out their news blog.

As they mark this milestone, MISA is seeking feedback about their impact. Whether you're a farmer, student, faculty/staff, community member, they'd like to hear from you. You can fill out the survey here.
IPM Workshop

On May 15th, in Northfield, UMN Extension's Annie Klodd and Bill Hutchinson will be teaching how to improve management of common insect pests, and weeds. They'll also be raising attention to new pests that could make their way to MN. The information will be primarily for commercial fruit and vegetable growers. 

IPM Field Days
Three field days will be held in MN during the month of June. The focus will be on insect and disease management strategies, weed management, and improving spray technique for vegetable producers. In St. Paul, there will be an organic management focus, in Alexandria, there will be an additional focus on high tunnel and fruit production.

Dates and locations include St. Paul on June 12th, Waseca on June 14th, and Alexandria on June 19th. 

Temporary Livestock Fencing Workshop
UMN Extension, Steele County, along with the Sustainable Farming association have a workshop on June 29 for livestock producers looking to learn more about temporary livestock fencing.

Weather permitting, participants will install a working fence at the workshop. 

Local Food Fine Print Podcast

Listen to learn directly from food buyers (like those at co-ops, restaurants, food hubs, and more) how to enter their market, communicate, and about the "fine print" like insurance, liability, food safety, delivery schedules.

Episode 5 is out! It's an interview with the Colleen, the kitchen manager at the Blue Heron Coffeehouse. You can find the podcast on iTunesStitcher, or listen on the UMN Extension Small Farms site.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Local Food Fine Print Podcast - Episode 5 – Blue Heron, Part 1

In episode 5, I speak with Colleen, Kitchen Manager at the Blue Heron Coffeehouse in Winona, MN.

The Blue Heron incorporates a lot of locally sourced produce and meat on their menu, and we discuss how local food fits in their business. We also discuss communication with farmers, initiating new business relationships, and local produce demand. Plus, a new feature this episode, “Three random questions”.

You can listen to the podcast here, on iTunes, or Stitcher.

If you listen, please provide your feedback via this short survey:

Thursday, May 3, 2018

IPM Field Days in June

Annie Klodd
UMN Extension Educator
Fruit and Vegetable Production 

UMN Extension’s Commercial Fruit and Vegetable Team is hosting three Vegetable IPM evening field days throughout MN in June, from 5:00-8:00 pm. 

Locations and dates include:

June 12: St. Paul @ UMN Student Organic Farm
June 14: Waseca @ UMN Southern Research and Outreach Center
June 19: Alexandria @ Berry Ridge Farm

Integrated Pest Management emphases combining diverse techniques for more sustainable and effective pest management. Join us for an evening of IPM strategies for vegetable crops. In Alexandria, the field day will include additional information on high tunnel pest management and fruit as well. Hone your skills, or learn new ones, to better tackle our most challenging diseases, insects, and weeds.

Activities include:
Insect and disease management strategies
Weeds: Innovative equipment and tactics for controlling weeds
Spraying more efficiently and effectively - demos by Ken Frost of Frost Inc./The Spray Barn

Who is this for? Anyone growing vegetables for market, including both organic and non-organic growers.

Cost: $15 per person, includes light supper and beverages

Annie Klodd - Extension Educator, Fruit and Vegetable Production
Natalie Hoidal - Co-coordinator, Pesticide Safety and Environmental Education
Ken Frost – Frost Inc./The Spray Barn
Jeff Haun – Extension Educator, Entomology
Michelle Grabowski – Extension Educator, Plant Pathology

To register: Follow these links to register, and to get more details on the topics covered at each location:
St. Paul, June 12
Waseca, June 14
Alexandria, June 19

Feel free to download the flyer, for more information, contact Annie Klodd at

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Workshop: IPM for Commercial Fruit and Vegetable Growers

University of Minnesota Extension is hosting a workshop entitled Integrated Pest Management in Vegetable and Fruit Production on Tuesday, May 15 at the Archer House in Northfield. 

This workshop will discuss control tactics for insect and weed pests in vegetable and fruit production. Featured speakers  Annie Klodd, Extension Educator-Vegetable and Fruit Production and Extension Entomologist, Bill Hutchison will address problem weeds, early season weed control tactics, a variety of recurring insect pests, plus newer insect pests which are on the horizon of becoming major issues in fruit and vegetable production.  

Most of the information discussed will be pertinent to organic production, and though the material will be especially relevant for fruit and vegetable producers, smaller scale/hobby growers, bee keepers, and gardeners should also find the information useful. 

This workshop will be held on Tuesday, May 15, 1-5 pm at the Archer House in the Lower Level Riverside Conference Room, 212 Division St. S. Northfield, MN 55057. (google map)

To pre-register, visit or call the Rice County Office at 507-332-6165. Pre-registration is appreciated but not required. The cost of the workshop is $15/person, cash or checks accepted at the door. 

For additional details, check out the flyer.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Deep Winter Greenhouse Open House

By Greg Schweser
Director Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems
University of Minnesota
Regional Sustainable Development Partnership

The UMN Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships, the Lake City Catholic Worker Farm, and the Sustainable Farming Association are excited to announce the next open house (and potluck) of our Deep Winter Greenhouse (DWG) campaign to help producers build passive solar greenhouses developed by the University of Minnesota Center for Sustainable Building Research.

This open house will occur on Saturday, May 5 from 4:00 to 7:00 pm at the Lake City Catholic Worker Farm, in Lake City, Minnesota. The Lake City Catholic Worker Farm is one of five producers and community organizations that was chosen to participate in the University of Minnesota Regional Sustainable Development Partnership’s campaign to spread awareness of this technology and to conduct research on the production and financial capacity of the system. Please see the attached flier for more information. 

DWGs use passive solar heat collected from the sun in the day which is stored in an underground rock bed. At night that heat dissipates into the enclosure above to allow cold tolerant crops to grow. This technology will help small- and mid-sized farms increase their revenue potential helping to keep small farmers on the land and increase access to fresh locally grown food. 

The University of Minnesota's Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships is proud to support our local producers and community groups that are experimenting with novel technology to enrich our communities. Attend this open house, learn about passive solar greenhouses, ask questions, and enjoy yourself!
This event is also a potluck.... so feel free to bring a dish to share and bring plates and utensils to cut down on waste.

See the flier for more details.

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