Farmer Training Program
Since 1983, the Minnesota Food Association (MFA) has been working to build a local and sustainable food system in Minnesota and the St. Croix River Valley. In 1998, MFA began training immigrants new to farming in the United States using farm land in the Wilder Forest, near Marine on St. Croix, in Washington County, MN. During the 2007 and 2008 seasons, MFA developed the Big River Farms Farmer Training Program.
The Big River Farms Training Program provides primarily immigrant and minority farmers with instruction and certification for organic vegetable production, access to resources and markets for growing, distributing and selling those vegetables, and a forum in which they can develop and practice business skills. Farmer Participants have access to demonstration/production plots for growing vegetables and receive valuable training in farm business goals and practices.
Currently, the integrated training program provides land to approximately ten (10) Farmer Participants each year, and its participants sell produce into two or more channels, including the Big River Farms CSA. Click here to read profiles of our Farmers-in-Training and Graduates.
Minnesota Food Association is pleased to share this video featuring its farmer training program. The video conveys the story of the importance of our work -- to the health of Minnesotans and the livelihood of farmers who directly grow and distribute healthy, organic vegetables.
This 9 minute video, released in October 2010, took over a year to produce because it tells the entire growing season and training story through the eyes of farmers in our training program, as well as staff and board members.
USDA Risk Management Agency approached Minnesota Food Association with funding and inspiration to produce a short video about our farmer training program. We selected Jerry Stenger to produce the video. Mr. Stenger is the Media Director for the Will Steger Foundation and videographer for Global Warming 101 Expeditions and has an innovative approach to documenting and educating that has attracted media attention locally, nationally and internationally. Jerry is also an independent videographer
Minnesota Food Association extends our sincere thanks to USDA RMA, Jerry, and the farmers for all helping to put this together.