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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.

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