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Our Story

Farmers who grow food in smaller communities in rural Minnesota frequently truck their products 50-100 miles to larger metropolitan areas to access customers. These long drives increase fuel costs and transportation time, and decrease investment in the local social and economic fabric. Many farmers want stronger local markets, but finding or creating local outlets can be very difficult. 

 

Many consumers, in both urban and rural areas, opt for the convenience and cheap prices at grocery, big box and dollar stores. Others are unaware of the abundance of local foods in their communities or may not know where or how to purchase food directly from local growers and producers. In small rural communities–where many farmers operate–the populations are also low, and drumming up enough business is challenging, especially when rural customers buy elsewhere. If, however, farmers could increase sales in their immediate vicinity, they could eliminate some longer trips, reducing their costs, increasing their business longevity, and increasing the health of their local communities.

 

Renewing the Countryside in partnership with The Sustainable Farming Association and the Minnesota Farmers Union (through a USDA Farmers’ Market Participation Program (FMPP) grant), is addressing these issues with the Come & Get It project!

 

RTC developed the Come & Get It project to train and assist local teams of farmers and food advocates in creating, publicizing and conducting fun, educational, and safe, on-farm events in their regions to bolster their communities' access and commitment to buying local. On-farm events are great for encouraging rural customers, including individual, retail and institutional buyers, to buy products closer to home. 

 

We've seen such events open new sales markets, broaden customer bases, enhance product interest and loyalty, increase knowledge of direct-from-farmer buying options, and promote agritourism.

 

Each event has been planned by the teams themselves, bringing their own regional flavor, featuring pop-up farmers’ markets, educational kids activities, hands-on cooking demonstrations, music and more! Each event is tailored to increase local consumption of and access to locally and regionally produced agricultural products by developing, improving, and expanding market opportunities

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