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Organic field school draws farmers to learn about Extension research

Organic field day participants, 2022

How much interest is there in organic farming in Minnesota? Using Extension’s organic field school as one measuring stick, the answer is “lots.”

On July 26, more than 80 people came to the event at the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul campus. Compare that to 2018, when enrollment totaled a mere three individuals, forcing cancellation due to lack of interest.

“People were excited to see new ideas being tested out by the University of Minnesota. They want to get ideas about things to try on their farms, or see how other folks are approaching the same problems they're having,” says Extension horticulture educator Annie Klodd, a co-organizer of the event.

Among the highlights: Extension horticulture educator Natalie Hoidal showed participants her studies of broccoli, and what varieties fare best in this climate. From the College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resource Sciences, doctoral student Matt Gullickson led the discussion at his strawberry plots, where the University is studying bedding materials that can be used instead of plastic.

This year’s event brought a busload of about 30 participants from Faribault and Northfield. In Faribault, Mahwa Adoch’s work in a community garden attracted her to the event.

“It’s good to be able to come here and learn more, especially about organic growing,” she says.

The event was offered in conjunction with the Department of Horticulture, the Student Organic Farm and the Minnesota Agriculture Experiment Station. Some of the featured research is funded by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and North Central Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education.

Allison Sandve, Extension news media manager, ajsandve@umn.edu, 612-626-4077 (office) or 651-492-0811 (mobile).
Contact Extension Communications at extnews@umn.edu.

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