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Building the capacity of farmers and service providers for culturally competent technical assistance
Big River Farms, The Food Group Inc., American Rescue Plan Act, 2023 - 2027.

Purpose: The primary goal of American Rescue Plan Technical Assistance Investment Program is to “ensure improved understanding of and equitable participation in the full range of USDA programs and services among underserved farmers, ranchers, forest land owners and operators through supporting the organizational delivery of technical assistance projects and establishment of technical assistance networks.” To that end, our purpose is to ensure that underserved Minnesota farmers access the culturally appropriate resources they need to build thriving farm businesses. We will do this by strengthening our capacity and that of our project partners to provide technical assistance in agricultural production and access to USDA programs and services.

Goal: Build capacity of BIPOC-led and BIPOC-focused organizations to provide technical assistance:

Objective 1: Help underserved farmers overcome linguistic and cultural barriers by partnering with organizations that have strong rapport with specific cultural communities

Objective 2: Help project partners build their capacity to provide 1:1 technical assistance to the farmers they serve Objective 3: Assist farmers with learning about and applying for USDA programs and services

Objective 4: Ten consultants will share their expertise at the annual Emerging Farmers Conference during years 2 - 5 of the grant period.

Additional partners receiving support under this funding include Sudanese Farming Group LLC. and Somali American Farm Institute. 

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Diverse Crop Production For Northern Markets
Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Growth, Research, and Innovation (AGRI) Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Grant, 2022 - 2023. 
Thank you to Regenerative Agriculture Alliance for providing matching funds for this project, and to the University of Minnesota Extension Southeast Regional Sustainable Development Partnership for further resource development funding! This project will build farmer’s confidence in navigating the modern world of agriculture as well as further connect them to community while growing culturally relevant food. Two Minnesota Farmers, Wilber de la Rosa of Regenerative Agriculture Alliance, and Moses Momanyi from Dawn2Dusk Farm, will support and guide our research. We will also work with University Educators on issues such as pest prevention, disease management, soil health, and soil amendments. 

1. Tomatillos for Salsa Production  

Goal of project: Very little research has been conducted around productivity of varieties of tomatillos in northern climates. Our farmers will grow 3-5 varieties with a control for each and two treatment variables. They also wish to explore herb varieties to complement salsa production. 


2. Managu Pest Trapping 

Goal of project: Managu is special to the Kisii community in Rochester, however much of it is lost to flea beetle and other pests. By use of trap crops, mowing around the area, and a row cover, we hope to increase the yield of managu and make it profitable for organic production. 


3. Asian Greens Varieties 

Goal of project: There are specific varieties of cabbage which our farmers wish to research for pest resistance, climate tolerance, storage capabilities, and also scale up for local production. The research will be implemented with similar process to tomatillo.

We will be posting signage regarding this project and inviting the public in for a public discussion and viewing during the 2023 season.



Minnesota Farmers' Market Hubs

USDA Grant: Local Food Promotion Program, 2022 - 2024

Written and overseen by Renewing the Countryside, Minnesota Farmer's Market Association, and Minnesota Institutde for Sustainable Agriculture

Renewing the Countryside has been an amazing supporter and collaborator since we were introduced in early spring 2021. From providing mini-grants to our farmers to helping us to locate land and enter contracts for the future, RTC has invested in our mission and helped us continue to grow. Through support from Renewing the Countryside and the USDA LFPP, the Village will open a Farmer's Market Aggregate Hub. The Village will purchase food from farmers and sell it to the public. This eliminates the need for busy farming families to spend hours at a booth, as well as eliminates the need for them to market their product. Farmers’ markets are known and loved in their communities as gathering places for farmers and community members. Our vision with this project is to help farmers’ markets develop “hub” enterprises that connect farmers to a broader range of buyers in their communities and help them to sell their surplus products.

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New Farm at the Old Farm

Inclusive and Equitable Communities Program,

Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, 2023 - 2024


Food for Everyone: Diversifying the Market

Inclusive and Equitable Communities Program,

Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, 2021 - 2022

The overarching goal of these projects is to build entrepreneurial power for marginalized communities and diversify our produce markets: we will focus on increasing capacity, knowledge, and support for 5 - 10 immigrant farmers in the Rochester area who have already demonstrated their abilities to grow culturally relevant food. The farmers will receive further access to land, education on marketing their produce according to state guidelines, a platform where they can share their successes and challenges, opportunity to represent their culture at a recurring city-wide event, and build a more equitable society, building trust and opportunity for the future. These funds will also support the further development of infrastructure at our farms. 
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Building Cross-Cultural Community Resilience 

through Increased Fresh-Food Access

Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives Institute; University of Minnesota, 2020 - 2021

Community-based agriculture has been found to decrease food insecurity and ameliorate population health inequities. Furthermore, community gardens have been found to provide a connected set of benefits to intersectionally diverse gardeners: a sense of ownership, resources to help integration within new communities, and a space to nurture existing cultural identities. This sense of belonging in connection with access to community garden plots has been linked to psychological well-being and resilience.
Using a mixed-method approach, we examined the experiences of two food insecure communities in Rochester: current and new growers within the Village, and University of Minnesota-Rochester (UMR) students who currently supplement their vegetable and fruit intake via their use of the student food pantry. We utilize these results to design and implement a larger intervention that foregrounds community-based agricultural initiatives as a model to improve physical and mental health outcomes in food-insecure communities.
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