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Sowing Seeds: Come & Get It's First On-Farm Event!

For a few years now, Brooke Knisley and Mary Fischer have been hearing their neighbors call for more access to local foods and opportunities to learn self-sufficiency skills. Being farmers themselves, they decided to organize an on-farm event celebrating all of the wonderful knowledge and food in their community.

Through Renewing the Countryside’s Come & Get It! grant, and support from Sustainable Farming Association and the MN River Chapter, they created Sowing Seeds: Celebrating Local Food and Lost Skills with the mission to celebrate local farmers and a return to community resilience through traditional skills.

The event was held on Brooke’s farm in Madelia on July 23rd, featuring eight vendors and an on-farm store selling everything from local produce, flowers and mushrooms, to knit goods. They made sure to have a variety of vendors to highlight a little bit of everything available in the area that people wouldn’t necessarily realize they had access to. They also had many skills demonstrations ranging from cast iron care, knot tying, turning flax to linen, and mushroom preserving demonstrations. Their goal was to provide attendees with actionable steps to try on their own. As one of the organizers, Mary said “It went very well, better than we thought it could have gone!”

Over 200 community members and aspiring homesteaders attended, many with their families to take advantage of the great kids activity area while they shopped and listened to the demonstrations. Everyone appreciated how family-friendly the event was and loved being around like-minded people and supporters of local food and sustainable living.

Brooke has been farming at Alternative Roots Farm for 12 years. She grows over 40 varieties of certified organic apples and perennial fruits and raises heritage hogs from farrow to finish. Her other business, Tallgrass Cider, makes hard cider with her apples. Mary’s farm, K & M Fisher Farm in Hanska, mostly grows produce for direct sales channels. Brooke has done many on-farm tours in the past but she and Mary felt a pull to increase local leadership skills which led them to sign up for Renewing the Countryside’s Come & Get It! grant. Through the grant they both received training on all aspects of running on-farm events and were connected with a coach to support them through the entire planning process.

“We received good support from the training and learned a lot. We would love to go back and review materials before next year. It was really good to have the coach and regular check-ins, said Brooke. “Successfully running the event bolstered my confidence and it worked! We did it!”

The event was successful in meeting their mission and the community saw what local farmers have in terms of variety and availability. Both Brooke and Mary are excited to build on the event next year and continue to build resilience with local foods in their community.

Look out for more Come & Get It! events in your area by going to our Events page and using our map!

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