A food forest combines trees, shrubs, vines, perennials and self-seeding annuals to provide edible fruits and nuts. Rather than individually maintained parcels, the entire food forest is open to the public for harvest. The idea is to create an ecosystem that protects the soil, provides healthy foods, and requires minimal labor to be productive.
Consumer interest in experiencing closer connections to their food is contributing to a growth in agritourism offerings in Minnesota. Events like the Central RSDP-supported Salsa Fest provide opportunities to connect with growers and makers of value-added products such as salsa.
By giving away the easy-care houseplants in pretty containers, along with written instructions for their care, Stevens County Master Gardeners have created awareness and grown interest in gardening with more than 150 college students this year. They also made them feel less lonely being away from home.
Realizing that not everyone has access to land to plant a large-scale vegetable garden, University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardeners in Hubbard County coordinated a “Patio Vegetable Gardening Program” to reduce that obstacle for food shelf clientele.
Joleen Hadrich is an Extension specialist and CFANS associate professor funded by the Agricultural Research, Education and Extension Tech Transfer program (AGREETT). Her work is finding ways to combine animal health, production and farm financial data to help dairy farmers create more profitable and sustainable operations.
Three in four participants reported changing practices based upon information presented by Extension