The State of Minnesota is working to support our emerging farmers, including how food service operations and meal providers can buy from these producers.
- Our new AGRI Farm to School Rapid Response Grants for Schools and Grants for Food Vendors prioritize awards that support sales from and market access for the state’s emerging farmers.
- The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) is also interested in supporting emerging farmers through its Expanded Meal Access for Minnesota Children and Adults Grant.
What is an “Emerging Farmer”?
“Emerging Farmers” include historically underserved communities including Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, immigrants, women, veterans, persons with disabilities, young and beginning farmers, LGBTQ+ farmers, and others. As our Emerging Farmer Legislative Report describes, there’s value in taking this inclusive and intentional approach:
The term reflects the diversity and intersectionality of farmers, and the way that barriers affect multiple communities at the same time. […] Using the term “emerging” farmer helps to frame the conversation around the shared experiences of many communities within the conversation.
“Emerging” refers to something that is starting to exist, or something which is just beginning to be noticed. In this regard, Emerging Farmers encompasses both those individuals who are entirely new to farming as well as those individuals who have been farming for generations but were outside the scope of traditional state and Federal agricultural support programs. (Page 4)
How can my school connect with Emerging Farmers?
There isn’t a specific list of “emerging farmers” in Minnesota. Many producers may fall into this grouping without using the term “emerging farmer.” The best way to find out is to start building relationships within your community.
Some ideas to connect with emerging farmers:
- Ask your local distributor or food hub who they source from in Minnesota. If they don’t know if that producer is an emerging farmer, see if they can find out, or consider contacting the producer directly.
- Strike up conversations around town at the farmers' market, places of worship, non-profit and cultural organizations, and restaurants or grocery stores that buy local. Remember – it’s all about building community!
- Talk to other Farm to School supporters, including the Farm to School leadership team, other schools in your area, and the resources and connectors listed on this page. You can also reach out to Sami Burington at the Minnesota Department of Education.
Who can help?
Local and Regional Connectors
- University of Minnesota Extension:
- Statewide Health Improvement Partnerships
- Area colleges and universities with agriculture-related and food systems programming, including extracurricular activities like student farms and gardens
This list not comprehensive – send additional ideas to Helen Schnoes.
Emerging Farmer focused (Metro):
- Good Food Purchasing Program
- Big River Farms & The Food Group
- Metro Food Justice Network & Appetite for Change
- Hmong American Farming Association
- The Good Acre
Emerging Farmer focused (Statewide or non-Metro):
- Women in Ag Network
- Veteran Farming Initiative
- Central Minnesota Young Farmers Coalition
- Duluth Young Farmers Coalition
- Sprout MN
- Shared Ground Co-op & Latino Economic Development Center
- Minnesota Cooks (Minnesota Farmers Union)
- Minnesota Farm Bureau
- Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota
- Land Stewardship Project
Farm to School Leadership Team Organizations:
- Renewing the Countryside (Minnesota Farmers Markets' Hubs)
- Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
- Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture
- Minnesota Grown’s Wholesale Directory
Resources listed on this website do not constitute the MDA’s endorsement of a service, program, or organization. The MDA accepts no liability for the content of these resources.