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Wednesday, October 23 • 1:30pm - 5:00pm
Farm Tour: Innovating for Farm Viability & Regulatory Clarity

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Down the Mississippi River from Red Wing are a number of farm businesses that have been on the forefront of testing and demonstrating crops and systems that could increase viability for Midwest farmers. 

At the Lake City Catholic Workers Farm, run by Paul and Sarah Freid, a passive-solar Deep Winter Greenhouse was constructed as part of a pilot project with the University of Minnesota’s Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships. Together the Freid’s and University researchers are learning how structures like this can be used, and improved, to increase farm profitability while decreasing energy inputs. The Freid’s also have built a small-scale kombucha facility, and raise poultry and pigs.

On the edge of Lake City, Norm and Mary Erickson have established 12 acres of hazelnut bushes on Hazel Farm, which they recently sold to a new farm family. These hybrid plants are one of a handful of crops that have garnered interest by farmers and researchers alike for their perennial nature and ability to produce crops with economic value. The infrastructure to support the hazel operation at the Erickson’s farm includes a greenhouse, a root cellar, and specialized equipment to harvest and process the nuts, including an oil press to produce hazelnut oil. Researchers at the University of Minnesota work with growers like Norm and Mary to further develop this and other crops as part of a Forever Green Initiative, which has the goal of developing agriculturally profitable systems that provide a wide range of ecosystem benefits.

Of course, innovation doesn’t only happen on the farm, so the last tour stop we’ll hear about Minnesota’s Local Food Advisory Committee (LFAC) and the State Food Innovation Team that bring together farmer groups, organizations involved in local food systems, University staff and Extension educators, and food regulators to sort out and untangle issues that arise when local food meets regulations. Learn how this process has led to clarification, trust, and wage justice for small-scale food and farm entrepreneurs.
      Regulation Innovation Panelists:
      Jane Jewett, University of Minnesota's Institute for Sustainable Agriculture, 
      Kathy Zeman, Minnesota Farmers’ Market Association  
     Natasha Hedin, Minnesota Department of Agriculture

Tour Schedule:
1:00 Leave Red Wing
1:15 Catholic Workers Farm
2:15 To Hazelnut Valley Farm
2:30 Tour Hazel Farm
3:30   City Hall - Panel
4:30  To Red Wing
5:00 Arrive in Red Wing

Wednesday October 23, 2019 1:30pm - 5:00pm CDT
Red Wing/Lake City