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More book events for Beth Dooley

If you haven’t had a chance yet to visit with Beth Dooley and buy her new book, you’ll still find opportunities in June. Dooley, a food journalist, cookbook author, and frequent contributor to Edible Twin Cities, continues to tour locally in support of her latest book, Minnesota’s Bounty: The Farmers Market Cookbook.

Here’s a lineup of remaining June book events:

Monday, June 10

2 p.m.

The Wedge Food Coop, Minneapolis

Recipe demo and book signing

Sunday, June 16

2 p.m.

Common Good Books, St. Paul

Demo/tasting and singing with Beth Dooley and the St. Paul Cheese Shop

Saturday, June 22

1:45 p.m.

Sister Wolf Books, Park Rapids, Minn.

Book signing


 … Read the rest

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Beehives placed atop Mpls. City Hall

Things are buzzing at the Minneapolis City Hall and Courthouse building, and not just on the inside.

City officials on Thursday marked the arrival of honeybees to the green roof of that downtown building. Two hives and related equipment were donated by the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community from its apiaries, and the hives are expected to grow about 50,000 bees each, according to a news release from the City of Minneapolis.

Bees on rooftops are common in cities, and provide critical, protected habitat. In fact, Minneapolis recently relaxed its beekeeping rules for rooftop hives in hopes of fostering more city hives.

The Wozupi organic garden and orchard operated by the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community near Prior Lake manages more than 4.8 million honeybees in 120 hives in six apiaries. The honeybees provide important pollination for the Wozupi fruits and vegetables, and they feed throughout the season on tree blossoms, flowers, and other plants around the Community.… Read the rest

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Study shows soil-building benefits of organics

Farmers making the switch to organic crops to meet growing market demand not only fetch premium prices, according to a recent study, they also build healthy soil and sequester carbon, making organic agriculture a useful strategy for dealing with climate change.

The study, published in Crop Management in April, summarizes results from the Long-Term Agroecological Research (LTAR) Experiment, one of the longest running replicated comparisons of organic and conventional agriculture in the country. The experiment began in 1998 with funding from the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University in Ames. The LTAR site also has been used as a demonstration plot for U.S. Department of Agriculture studies.

“Farmers interested in transitioning to organic production will be happy to see that, with good management, yields can be the same, with potentially higher returns and better soil quality,” said Kathleen Delate, agronomy and horticulture professor at ISU, who leads the project.

Organic food sales have tripled in the U.S. over the last decade. To market a crop as organic, it must be grown on land that has received no synthetic chemicals for three years prior to harvest.

Organic agriculture also promotes practices such as extended crop rotations and soil amendments, including animal manure and compost. Although organic practices are not the only way to improve soil health, the ISU experiment showed that some of the biggest changes over time were in soil quality, particularly once the system was established.

Based on plot-level data, the economic analysis showed that the organic crops fetched roughly $200 more per acre over the 13 years of the study because of premium market prices and reduced input costs. In 2010, for example, an acre of land planted with the four-year organic rotation returned $510, while an acre planted with conventional corn-soybean returned $351.

On average, labor requirements doubled for the organic systems. There was no significant difference in the number of crop pests. The results suggest that skilled management practices can overcome the need for synthetic inputs.
“Soil health is critical to any agricultural production system, and organic practices are among many ways to improve the health of our soils,” said Leopold Center Director Mark Rasmussen. “We hope that what we are learning from the LTAR experiment can be applied to other production models.”… Read the rest

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Teaming up on gluten-free beer

gluten free beer photo(Editor’s Note: The following article is from this month’s Savvy magazine, one of Edible Twin Cities’ sister publications.)

By Britt Johnsen

Dane Breimhorst and Thom Foss make for complementary brewery business partners: Foss, who used to work in IT and now works in marketing and public relations, says he’s more of the numbers guy; Breimhorst, a stay-at-home dad who a few years ago was diagnosed with celiac disease, is the hand-shaker. He’s the guy who’s attending community meetings and telling everyone about St. Paul’s first gluten-free brewery, which the two are set to open this summer.

The brewery will be a one-of-a-kind establishment. It’s currently in the planning stages, but Foss and Breimhorst say their new 5,000-square-foot brewery, Burning Brothers Brewing, will be opening near Fairview and University avenues in St. Paul. They’ll offer exclusive gluten-free beers, recipes they developed themselves after Breimhorst was diagnosed with celiac disease a few years ago.

Breimhorst says that when he was diagnosed, he felt devastated. The treatment for celiac disease is a gluten-free diet. He had been a cook at the Loring Pasta Bar, an establishment full of gluten in its beers, pastas, breads and more. But he wasn’t going to let his condition overcome him; he instead began developing recipes for beers. He has a distinct sense of taste and noticed that many of the gluten-free beers on the market today use brown rice syrup, leaving a finishing taste like that of a diet soda. What he and Foss are aiming to offer is a beer not just good enough for gluten-free beer drinkers; instead they want a beer that is delicious and satisfying whether a person is gluten intolerant or not. In other words, a good beer is a good beer, and that’s what the two want to create.

“What we’ve done is we’ve figured out the use of different adjuncts and grains, malted and kilned ourselves,” Breimhorst says. “I want people who have a choice or don’t have a choice, to enjoy and kick back, and worry about something else that’s more important.”

He and Foss became friends nearly 20 years ago when some mutual friends introduced them to each other, and they’ve been putting their heads together for adventures ever since. Breimhorst has been a cook, a comedian, has worked to help children with mental illness, and even spent some time as a debt collector. Foss did a two-year stint in the National Guard and went to college in Mankato before launching his career. After he and Breimhorst met, they got into fire-eating at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival – thus the name for their new brewery.

They plan to offer stouts and pale ales, a niche in the gluten-free beer market that has not been filled, Foss says. Also on their wish list is to create a taproom that will be a gathering place for the community. “I definitely can foresee that as a destination for people who are gluten-free,” he says.

These are big dreams, but Breimhorst says their vision is clear.

“We’re just a couple of local boys that want to not just give back to the community but we want to put something out there for people to enjoy,” Breimhorst says. “That’s simple and we want to keep it that simple.”… Read the rest

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WEI planning sustainable ag lectures

A number of notables from the sustainable agriculture community – including Atina Diffley and Will Allen – are instructors in an Organic Farm School that will be held 6-8 p.m. Mondays from June 10 to Aug. 12 at the Midtown Global Market in Minneapolis.

The 10 lectures are being held by the Women’s Environmental Institute (WEI), a non-profit that works on environmental and agricultural justice issues. People can enroll in all 10 events for $120, or pay a $20 drop-in fee for individual lectures.

Register at

The dates, lectures and their presenters are:

June 10 – “What is Organic,” presented by Meg Moynihan of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

June 17 – “Weeds,” presented by Atina Diffley of Organic Farming Works.

June 24 – “The Edible City,” a film screening and discussion with Maggie McKenna of the Permaculture Research Institute Cold Climate.

July 1 – “Meet the Farmers,” a discussion with a panel of farmers.

July 8 – “Seed Saving with the Seed Technician Magician,” led by Heidi Cook of the Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, Iowa. (It will be followed by a July 13 car caravan and tour of Seed Savers Exchange.)

July 15 – “Fish and Greens: Introduction to Aquaponics,” presented by Annelie Lindberg-Livingston of WEI and Chad Hebert of the Urban Farm Project.

July 22 – “It All Comes Down to ‘Humus,’” presented by Professor Pat Farrell of the Geography Department at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

July 29 – “Herbs, Herbal Healing, and Wild Medicine,” presented by Cynthia Thomas, practicing herbalist, massage therapist, doula, and educator at Sacred Journey Healing Arts.

Aug. 5 – “Basics of Urban Beekeeping with Beez Kneez,” presented by Erin Rupp and Kristy Allen of Beez Kneez.

Aug. 12 – “The Future of the Good Food Revolution,” presented by Will Allen, CEO and founder of Growing Power in Milwaukee, Wis.

The lectures will be held in the Greenway Conference Room of Midtown Global Market, 920 E. Lake St.… Read the rest

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Organic Valley recovery is underway

Employees of Organic Valley in LaFarge, Wis., are rebounding from a devastating fire at their headquarters building May 14. And, some interesting tales of rescuing company equipment, battling the fire, and forging ahead are now emerging.

You can read the LaCrosse Tribune’s account of the fire’s immediate aftermath here.

For an inside view, check out Rootstock, a blog authored by the farmer-owners, staff, and friends of CROPP Cooperative, which produces the Organic Valley products that are marketed in the Twin Cities area and elsewhere.

A Rootstock article about the valiant attempt to save company laptops from the burning building can be found here.

Read about the firefighters’ perspective of the battle to extinguish the blaze in this Rootstock installment.

Finally, here’s a piece about a gathering to honor those firefighters and to rally toward recovery.… Read the rest

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Local food resource website launched

The new website's home page.

The new website’s home page.

A new, tri-state collaboration has resulted in a website to assist rural community food system development.

Designed to support rural communities that are beginning to build local food systems, as well as those with more developed ones, the web site is It brings together the following organizations:
• Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships (UMN Extension)
• North Dakota State University Extension Service
• Buy Fresh Buy Local South Dakota
• FARRMS, a non-profit based in Medina, N.D.

“The release of this website coincides with the kick-off of a new season of farmers’ markets, CSAs and farm-to-institution programs,” said Greg Schweser, community food systems planner for the University of Minnesota Extension’s Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships.

The project was funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program’s North Central division.

Researchers worked with rural Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota communities to identify needs and meet them through the website’s tools and resources for farmers, community groups, Extension educators and others interested in local food systems.

It will be useful to those working in local foods seeking production assistance, expanded marketing opportunities, developing stronger businesses, creating new sourcing options, educating citizens, and crafting more beneficial public policies, according to a news release announcing the new website.

The website includes, among other things, a primer about the local-food movement, information about setting local food policy, and tips for farmers on how to market locally grown products.… Read the rest

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Learn about the new Farm Bill

The path to a 2013 Farm Bill.

The path to a 2013 Farm Bill.

Crop insurance, farm subsidies, and food stamps – these are but a few of the food-related issues affected by the Farm Bill now being debated by Congress.

Congress authors a new Farm Bill about every five years, although last year’s scheduled rewrite was postponed to 2013. It now looks as if the 2013 Farm Bill will reach the floor of the House and Senate, and presumably the president for signing, in late summer or early fall.

The National Sustainable Agriculture Commission has created a graphic to help acquaint you with the process and timeline. For a larger version, go to

The New York Times also provides a topic page where you can find news about the legislation.… Read the rest

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Work on healthful-food access is lauded

A number of organizations familiar to the local, sustainable food community have been recognized for their work to get healthful foods in the hands of Minnesotans.

A top-15 list of high-impact groups includes the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), Gardening Matters, the Youth Farm and Market Project, and the Land Stewardship Project.

They were chosen for the list by nearly 100 experts in healthy-food access as part of a research project by Philanthropedia, an arm of Guidestar, the national charities rating system.

The top 15 non-profits on the list are:

  • Emergency Foodshelf Network, Inc.
  • Second Harvest Heartland
  • University of Minnesota
  • Hunger Solutions Minnesota
  • Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
  • Gardening Matters
  • Youth Farm and Market Project
  • NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center, Inc.
  • Minnesota Food Association
  • Land Stewardship Project
  • Neighborhood House
  • Minnesota Project
  • Farmers Legal Action Group
  • Eagan Resource Center
  • Dream of Wild Health (Peta Wakan Tipi)

More information about the recent research and these non-profits is on the Philanthropedia website.… Read the rest

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Front yard will become garden-art project

The Schoenherr family in front of their Woodbury home.

The Schoenherr family in front of their Woodbury home.

A suburban Woodbury front yard will be turned into an organic edible garden as part of a project by artist Fritz Haeg, who is doing a residency at the Walker Art Center.

A team of volunteers will be helping the Schoenherr family – Catherine and John and their adult children, Aaron and Andrea – tear up the lawn over the Memorial Day weekend and transform it into a highly visible and productive garden.

It will be called Edible Estate #15, since it is part of an ongoing, around-the-world effort by Haeg to re-imagine our everyday relationships to the land, the home, the city, and each other.  Edible Estate #12 was installed in Budapest, Hungary last year, and #13 and #14 are also taking place this year – in Tel Aviv, Israel, and Aarhus, Denmark, respectively.

They will be the final Edible Estates before the 2014 publication of the expanded third edition of the book, “Edible Estates: Attack on the Front Lawn,” documenting all of the gardens Haeg’s series, with stories from the garden owners, and framed by essays from renowned garden writers.

The Schoenherrs were selected from about 100 families all over the Twin Cities who asked to be picked for the “Edible Estate” garden and art project. Haeg said in a news release that the Woodbury family had everything he was seeking: an outer-ring suburban home; a large, sunny and visible front lawn, and some gardening experience.… Read the rest

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