MISA Publications For Producers

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    Forever Green Cookbook
    (Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture, 2021) Dooley, Beth
    Forever Green Cookbook Primary tabs These days, knowing where our food comes from and how it’s grown is more important than ever. Along with taste and nutrition, we want to be sure that it’s good for the land and wildlife, that it provides our farmers with a sustainable livelihood, and that good food is accessible to everyone. Such is the work of the Forever Green Initiative (FGI); a University of Minnesota and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service Program; which engages teams of experts in genomics, breeding, agronomics, soil health, and commercialization. Since its outset, FGI has placed equal importance on working hand in hand with the farmers, rural communities, food businesses, policy makers, and consumers who insist that healthy food, healthy rural communities, and a healthy environment are not mutually exclusive. Many of them are familiar pantry staples – grains, flour, oils, nuts, fruit, and vegetables. Today, these are all being grown in ways that connect recent advances in agricultural methods with ancient knowledge. Here are delicious ingredients for conscientious cooks. After all, “eating is an agricultural act.” – Wendell Berry.
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    Hogs Your Way
    (Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture, 2001) DiGiacomo, Gigi; Love, Patricia; Martin, Wayne; Morse, Debra Elias; Nelson, Beth; Virnig, Ken
    Hogs Your Way was created and produced for farmers considering adding, changing or expanding hog production in their portfolio of farm enterprises. It is designed to help you make decisions on how to raise hogs in a way that best fits your overall personal, family and financial goals. The challenges associated with hog production have increased over the last few years. Low prices and rising costs, environmental concerns, concerns about food safety, and social controversies have made hog production more challenging for farmers. However, in the midst of this there are farmers who are excited about their hog production systems, their enterprises and their future. Hogs Your Way tells stories of some of these farmers and describes the production systems they are using. Some of these practices are not often seen in the farm press and are not widely known. Hogs Your Way presents these alternative systems as well as the more conventional confinement system, with the goal of increasing awareness of the range of options for hog production available to Upper Midwest farmers as they try to adapt to these challenges. In addition to providing an overview of four production system options, Hogs Your Way challenges you to consider your “big picture” in making your choice. A new or expanded enterprise on your farm can have a variety of impacts on your work, finances, quality of life, family and community.
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    Selling Minnesota: Local Food Fact Sheet Series
    (Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture, 2017) Jewett, Jane G
    The Selling Minnesota series of fact sheets are intended to provide farmers and farm-based food business owners with detailed information about Minnesota state regulations and best practices for selling meat and poultry products, produce, and shell eggs. Additional fact sheets in the series cover aggregation of produce for sale, and approved sources of water for rural food businesses.
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    Una Guía para Desarrollar un Plan de Negocios para Granges y Ranchos
    (University of Missouri Extension, 2006) Garcia, Jose L
    Luego de una serie de talleres y seminarios durante 2005 y 2006 dirigida a agricultores Latinos, el programa Sistemas Comunitarios de Alimentación y Agricultura Sostenible de la Universidad de Missouri, vio la necesidad de desarrollar materiales que ayuden al productor Latino a entender mejor la situación actual de su granja y planificar el futuro. El resultado de esta inquietud es esta publicación titulada Una Guía para Desarrollar un Plan de Negocios para Granjas y Ranchos que la ofrecemos a todos los productores de habla Hispana y a los profesionales en agricultura que trabajan con ellos. La guía esta basada en la publicación en Inglés Building a Sustainable Business: A Guide to Developing a Business Plan for Farms and Rural Businesses del Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture y co-publicada por el Sustainable Agriculture Network. La guía comprende una sección introductoria breve llamada Antes de Empezar, y cuatro tareas de planificación que van desde la identificación de valores personales y comunes; pasando por la historia de la granja y situación actual; por la visión, misión y objetivos; hasta una estrategia de planificaron y evaluación. Todas las secciones incluyen explicaciones escritas de forma sencilla y varias hojas de ejercicio que van a ayudar al productor a poner por escrito lo que en muchos casos lo tienen en sus mentes y corazones. Esperamos que este esfuerzo llevado a cabo por el programa Sistemas Comunitarios de Alimentación y Agricultura Sostenible y subvencionado por el North Central Risk Management Education Center sea de utilidad para los productores Latinos en la sostenibilidad económica de sus granjas y ranchos.
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    Discovering Profits in Unlikely Places: Agroforestry Opportunities for Added Income
    (University of Minnesota Extension, 2000) Josiah, Scott J; Elias Morse, Debra (Senior Editor)
    This publication highlights opportunities for Midwestern farmers to introduce agroforestry practices on their farms, outlines some of the benefits associated with agroforestry, describes six different agroforestry practices, and provides a list of resources for additional information.
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    Food from Farms: Toolkit for Direct Purchasing of Local Food
    (Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture, 2017) Wyant, Amy; Jewett, Jane G (editor and contributor)
    Schools, childcare centers, hospitals, non-profits, corporate cafeterias, and anyone else who serves food to the public: if you want to start sourcing local food from farmers in your area, but you aren’t sure how to do it, this new Toolkit for Direct Purchasing of Local Food is for you. The toolkit offers examples and templates for starting up community-based procurement of local food directly from farmers. It was originally developed for use by a small school district in northern Minnesota, and was designed for compliance with United State Department of Agriculture – Food and Nutrition Service (USDA-FNS) guidelines for informal procurement by Child and Adult Nutrition Programs (CNPs). The toolkit is quite adaptable to other situations, though: versions of it have been used for local food procurement by a hospital and a non-profit organization. The Toolkit enables an organization to craft a transparent process that involves administrators and community members, makes sales opportunities available to the widest variety of local farmers possible, complies with applicable state and federal laws, and builds community support. While the stepwise process and many templates provide a nearly turnkey package, adaptation of the material is highly encouraged. Communities and organizations can take ownership of this process and mold it into a system that works well for their particular situation.
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    Pack Shed Rules Employee Handbook
    (Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture, 2017) Baker, Lisa; Frerichs, Laura (contributor); Olson, Joan (contributor)
    Good harvest-to-sale handling techniques are important to us as farmers because we work hard to grow, care for, and harvest quality produce. We want to ensure our fruits and vegetables stay at their peak quality as long as possible, thereby satisfying our customers and sustaining our businesses. Your job is to get produce from the field to the customer at its highest quality and safely, while working efficiently and carefully and using good handling practices at each step: harvest, cleaning and cooling, sorting and grading, packing, storage, transport, and display. High-quality, clean produce with a long shelf-life will increase sales for the farm and create jobs for workers like you year after year. Doing your job well contributes to the overall success of the farm. This manual will help you understand the following post-harvest handling concepts: · A satisfied customer’s expectations · A plant’s respiration process · How to handle different respiration rates, ethylene producers, and cold sensitive crops · Food safety and the 4 W’s: Workers, Waste, Water, Wildlife · Sorting, grading and culling · Training Checklist & Employee Agreement Not everything in this handbook applies to every farm. Your on-the-job training will teach you handling procedures specific to your farm.
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    Harvest to Sale Vegetable Handling
    (Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture, 2015) Baker, Lisa; Frerichs, Laura; Olson, Joan
    Three experienced vegetable farmers in Minnesota describe best practices for harvesting, storing, preparing for sale, transporting, and selling fresh vegetables. Topics covered in PowerPoint presentation: Respiration, Harvest, Cleaning & Cooling, Packing Area Infrastructure, Sorting & Grading, Storage, Packing & Packaging, Transport, Display & Point-of-sale.
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    Perennial Fruit
    (Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture, 2018) McCamant, Thaddeus; Schroeder, Sadie (contributing author)
    Most of Minnesota lies within the USDA hardiness zones 3 and 4, and gardeners often wish they could grow a larger variety of fruit. Cold winters kill or harm trees and branches, while short growing seasons prevent certain crops from properly maturing. In spite of these shortcomings, a surprising diversity of new and unusual crops can grow here. Some crops grow better here than in surrounding states, and the number of Zone 3 and 4 crops available to plant is increasing. In some cases, crops that were forgotten by older generations are being rediscovered; while in other cases, cold hardy varieties and species are being introduced from Eastern Europe and Asia. Meanwhile, some native plants with commercial potential are still being domesticated. A major driving force behind the growth in new crops is the recently discovered and rediscovered health benefits of berries and other fruits. Our current base of knowledge for these emerging crops is extremely small compared to crops like apples or strawberries. Most of what we know about emerging crops comes from people who experiment in their own yards or farms. Innovative growers are constantly discovering new varieties or developing new ways of growing emerging crops. Most of the emerging crops covered in this publication currently have a small market. Many crops would benefit from breeding work to improve fruit quality or disease resistance. All these crops require labor-intensive management. Few of these crops are suitable for the fresh market, so they must be processed into value-added products like juices, jam, or jelly. The economic potential for these crops will increase as innovative farmers, food entrepreneurs, and researchers discover or re-learn better ways to plant, manage, harvest, process, and market these crops. Investment in an emerging fruit crop could pay good dividends down the road.
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    Changing the Approach to Food Regulation in Minnesota
    (Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture, 2016) Lanthier, Karen; Van Dyke, Stephanie
    Accommodating innovation and new business models in the local foods sector in Minnesota is important for increasing local communities’ access to a diversified, culturally appropriate food supply. Many startup food entrepreneurs have difficulty navigating complex, and sometimes contradictory, rules and regulations related to starting and growing a food business in Minnesota. Moreover, regulators are equally frustrated by the difficulties they face trying to explain complex regulations, the inconsistencies of interpretation between agencies, and systemic restraints that limit their ability to be effective educators. With the increase in small business growth, many innovative businesses have struggled to fit within existing food safety and regulatory requirements. Various piecemeal fixes have been created over the years, but the resulting system is cumbersome. To address these issues, the Bush Grant Advisory Committee (BGAC), a team of about 20 professionals who represent government agencies, community nonprofits, the University of Minnesota, and individual businesses oversaw the work of a Bush Community Innovation Grant Project. BGAC members examined potential regulatory and nonregulatory approaches to achieving the vision of a Minnesota system that promotes food safety and economic development through a user-friendly food business regulatory system which is coordinated, reliable and efficient. They developed consensus on structures or processes that may achieve the project goals, and developed strategies to change the environment around regulation in Minnesota.
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    Making the Transition to Organic: Ten Farm Profiles
    (Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SARE), 2015) DiGiacomo, Gigi; King, Robert P
    As part of the Tools for Transitions Project, we interviewed ten farmers during 2012 - 2015 who were either in the process of transition or who had been recently certified organic to hear, in their words, about what it's like to go organic. (p.4)
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    Organic Transitions: A Business Planner for Farmers, Ranchers, and Food Entrepreneurs
    (Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SARE), 2015) King, Robert P; Nordquist, Dale; DiGiacomo, Gigi
    Organic food is a booming business. The profit potential—along with other rewards—has farmers, ranchers and food business owners across the country considering the switch to organic production. But successfully managing your business through the multi-year transition process requires careful planning. What are your long-term business goals? What organic market opportunities are you in a position to exploit? How will you acquire the resources you need to make the transition? How will you anticipate and deal with challenges as they arise? These are just a few of the critical questions you should be thinking about as you plan, and Organic Transition: A Business Planner for Farmers, Ranchers and Food Entrepreneurs can help. While not a comprehensive guide to becoming certified, the Organic Transition Planner will help you explore organic transition strategies and decide whether going organic makes sense for your farm or business. The Organic Transition Planner contains explanations of key concepts, real-life examples from transitioning farmers and detailed worksheets covering farm operations, marketing, human resources and finances. After working through the Organic Transition Planner you will be ready to develop an actionable business plan suitable for yourself, your management team or a lender. (Back cover)
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    A Guide to Regulations for Local Food Entrepreneurs
    (St. Paul, MN: Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture, 2015) O'Hara, Megan
    Rapid growth in numbers and kinds of farmers’ markets have served as incubators of many new food enterprises and spurred some farmers to enter into value-added products or light processing activities. The growth of many small food enterprises has created challenges for local and state regulators to enforce existing food code and statutory requirements, many of which were written and developed in a different era. This Report starts with an overview of the federal, state and local regulatory framework that deals with food, followed by the focus areas of entrepreneurial activities: farmers’ markets, mobile food units and commercial kitchens.
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    Profiles in Sustainable Agriculture: Loon Organics
    (St. Paul, MN: Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture, 2010) Stai, Sarah
    Loon Organics was established in Minnesota in 2005. It is a certified organic vegetable farm that provides product to consumers through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) subscriptions, a farmers market, and wholesale outlets. This case study describes how the husband-and-wife team became interested in farming, how they got their training, and how they transitioned from farming on land rented from mentors to buying their own 40-acre farm. Diverse aspects of their operation are described, including business and production planning, infrastructure and equipment, horticultural practices, and marketing models. The finances section is particularly detailed and valuable due to the financial data made available by Loon Organics. The unique challenges of managing an organic CSA operation are highlighted throughout the case study (p.3)
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    Farm Transitions Toolkit
    (St. Paul, MN: Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture, 2013-09-01) Baumhardt, Alex; Jewett, Jane G; Lewis, Hannah; Farmer's Legal Action Group
    A “farm transition” means that the responsibility for a piece of agricultural land is changing hands. Maybe the ownership of the land will change. Maybe that ownership will move from one generation to the next in the same family. Maybe ownership will move from one family to a different one. Maybe ownership of the land will stay the same, but different people will be in charge of operating the farm and making the day-to-day decisions. The transition might happen quickly, or it might happen gradually over a period of months or years. Whatever the case, this Farm Transitions Toolkit offers information, advice, and help to plan those changes.Transitioning is a complex project that takes effort and communication from family members and others, but planning for the farm transition just might be the most important thing you can do for your land.
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    Come and Get it!: What You Need to Know to Serve Food on Your Farm
    (St. Paul, MN: Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture, 2015) Armstrong, Rachel; Kivirist, Lisa
    Dining directly on a farm appeals to local food enthusiasts and to host farmers alike. Customers get to savor specialties made with that farm’s fresh-raised fare, and chat with the farmer who grew it. Host farmers get to share their farm home and bucolic setting while loyal customers taste the harvest in the freshest possible manner. Add these two motivations together and you see a vibrant movement of on-farm food events, from informal “pizza farms” selling wood-fired pizzas made with farm-raised ingredients to pricier white-tablecloth, multi-course dinners. While the concept of sharing a meal around a table reaches back through centuries of history, in today’s business and regulatory reality it isn’t as simple as setting out an extra table and chairs and collecting cash to get something started. Adding any form of on-farm food service to your farm business mix requires a well-thought-out and strategic planning process to bring you to long-term success.
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    Commercial Kitchen Guide
    (St. Paul, MN: Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture, 2014-09-01) Korslund, Karen; Schweser, Greg; Grewell, Rachel
    Community commercial kitchens available for rent to members of the public can be used as incubation facilities for beginning food entrepreneurs like caterers, product manufacturers, or food truck operators. They may also be a means for local farmers to add value to raw product in order to expand their marketing potential. Community commercial kitchens are different from other community kitchens in that they are approved for use by licensed food businesses, and may be used to create products for sale in wholesale or retail markets. This guide is intended to provide information on policies and regulations for those looking to open or operate in a community commercial kitchen.
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    Marketing Local Food
    (St. Paul, MN: Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture, 2011) Jewett, Jane Grimsbo; Nelson, Beth; Braaten, Derrick
    "We hope this book will help you to ask the right questions as you develop a plan to sell local food, and set you on a path to successfully establish or strengthen a local food enterprise!" (p.3)
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    Farmstay Manual
    (St. Paul, MN: Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture, 2011) Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture
    "In this publication, we will: explore the farmstay concept; highlight diverse examples of farmstays and foreststays in Minnesota; outline what one needs to consider before going down this road; and provide some guidance on how to establish and run such an enterprise." (p.5)
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    Urban Gardens and Soil Contaminants: A Gardener's Guide to Healthy Soil.
    (St. Paul, MN: Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture, 2010-03) Wieland, Betsy; Leith, Andy; Rosen, Carl; Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture; Gardening Matters