Providing services, programs, and leadership that support

and promote farmers' markets across Minnesota.

$50 Honorarium to Provide Feedback on New Botanicals Training

What could you achieve if you were able to get straightforward, easy-to-read answers to YOUR questions about the regulation of botanical products?

Finding answers to the questions that matter most to you, like, “What are the labeling requirements for my botanical product?” or “What health benefits can I legally claim?” shouldn’t be hard. That is why Farm Commons is seeking 24 Minnesotan botanical producers interested in reducing their legal risk this winter to watch three one-hour farm law webinars on botanical products and provide Farm Commons with feedback. In respect of your valuable time and wisdom, you’ll receive a $50 honorarium (through Venmo or PayPal). Interested in participating? Get started in just two steps:

First, watch the webinars by clicking on the following links:

Second, complete the short feedback surveys by clicking the survey linked in each webinar's show notes. In the Employment Law and Zoning feedback survey, you will be prompted to identify how you would like to receive your honorarium. Please note that you must watch all recordings and complete all surveys to be eligible for the honorarium.

This opportunity is first come, first served and will close on February 2, 2024. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to the Farm Commons Communications Manager, Bonita, at

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FSMA Produce Safety Rule Training

This course meets the training requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule for farms fully covered by the Produce Safety Rule. This regulatory training is led by UMN Extension, MDA staff and experienced farmer trainers.  All growers interested in learning about produce safety, Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) and the FSMA Produce Safety Rule are encouraged to attend. It includes information on GAPs, but also the requirements of the federal FSMA Produce Safety Rule.

  • February 27th in-person
    8:45am - 5:00pm (lunch included) Registration closes: 02/20/2024 
    Minnesota Farmers Union, 305 Roselawn Ave. E, St. Paul, MN 55117 

  • March 7th online delivery via Zoom (Registration for the virtual course is currently limited to Minnesota residents)
    8:45am - 5:00pm
    Registration closes: 02/28/2024

Cost: $25, includes training materials ($50 value) and certificate of completion ($35 value). Register:

Questions? Visit or contact (651) 539-3648;

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Mill City Farmers Market Grants Available

Mill City Farmers Market Charitable Fund (MCFM-CF) is committed to the success and sustainability of the local food community. MCFM-CF’s Next Stage Grant is designed to provide funding to local, regenerative farmers and food makers who are improving sustainable farming and business practices and growing toward the “next stage” of their local food businesses.

Grants are between $1,000 and $7,000 and awarded in early April. Past projects have included season extension, cold storage for produce and flowers, organic certification and experimenting with new equipment and techniques.

Grant applications are due on March 1, 2024. For more details and applications instructions, see our website:

This grant is meant to be easily accessible for busy, hardworking farmers and small business owners. MCFM-CF staff is available to answer your questions, help you complete the application and will provide translation if needed.

For questions or assistance with your application, please contact Maya O’Brien McLeod at or 612-341-7580.

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GAP (Good Ag Practices) Online Trainings for Produce Farmers 

Nationally recognized for her expertise in on-farm food safety for produce farmers, University of Minnesota Extension's Annalisa Hultberg has three online GAP classes lined up for produce farmers in February and March.

This 3.5 hour fully-online interactive course will provide a deep-dive into Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) on the farm. GAPs are science-based, farm-level practices for keeping fresh produce safe from contamination that can cause foodborne illness.

This training is strongly encouraged for farm owners, workers and gardeners who grow, harvest and pack fresh vegetables for sales to all markets, including at farmers’ markets, CSA, retail, schools, restaurants, or who donate produce to others. Trainers will include experienced produce farmers and UMN Extension staff and will cover all aspects of on-farm food safety. All attendees who participate in the full training will be issued certificates of attendance and entered to win a kit with handwashing stand materials.

Register here for any of the three classes:

  • Feb. 6, 9am - 1230pm, $15
  • Feb. 28, 1 - 430pm, $15
  • Mar. 13, 9am - 1230pm, $15

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    Roadshow! Farm To School:

    Farmers, Schools, Child Care

    Are you looking to expand your market opportunities? Interested in selling to schools or early care centers? The first-ever Minnesota Farm to School Roadshow will bring together producers, school nutrition professionals, and early care providers to make new connections and learn how to build successful relationships. This series of in-person events will include training and facilitated networking opportunities. There will also be a session for attendees to contribute ideas and input for the MN Farm to Kids strategic plan. Attend a session near you! 

    Free Coffee at each gathering provided by Minnesota Farmers Union! 

    Date and Locations (All events will run 12pm-4pm)

    • January 30th - The Good Acre (Falcon Heights, MN)
    • February 7th - UMN Regional Extension Office (Rochester, MN)
    • February 12th - UMN Regional Extension Office (Grand Rapids, MN)
    • February 13th - Bucks Mill Brewing (Detroit Lakes, MN)
    • February 14th - Midwest Technology Campus (Willmar, MN)
    • March 4th - St. Peter Community Center (St. Peter, MN)

    Learn more and register HERE.

    This event is organized by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, the Minnesota Department of Education, and Renewing the Countryside.

    Contact Maeve Mallozzi-KellyRenewing the Countryside with questions.

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    Get Authorized to Accept SNAP, Offer Market Bucks + Produce Market Bucks

    The $200,000 awarded by the MN Legislature last year to help implement SNAP at more farmers' markets will soon be available. Now is the time for markets and direct marketing farmers to take advantage of the free sessions MFMA is offering to help walk you through the entire process. To get completely operational usually takes between 2-3 months. 

    Free zoominars are set; please click and register:

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    2024 Rules Refresher & Marketing Tips

    It's time for managers and vendors to review the rules for 2024. MFMA's Kathy Zeman will offer several zoominars at various times - pick the one that best fits your schedule.

    MFMA's Sina War is offering tested methods to maximize the effectiveness of your marketing efforts - helping markets and vendors help each other to attract more shoppers and increase sales. 

    For the entire list of free zoominars, go to our Events page.

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    Building A Culture of Food Safety

    "Food safety is super important in the local foodshed,

    because if someone gets sick from our food, 

    we're going to know them,

    they're going to be our neighbors."

    The University of Minnesota Extension Food Safety Team is offering 21 free zoominars through 2024. Amy Johnston is offering a 3-part "Food Safety Foundation" series before kicking off the next 18 zoominars that teach food preservation.

    Click this link for the recording on Youtube from the #1 zoominar last week: "Food safety foundations: What is foodborne illness?" 

    #2 is Tuesday, February 13, 2024 from 2-3pm: "Food safety foundations: Factors that influence pathogen growth."

    #3 is Monday, March 11, 2024 from 530-630pm: "Food safety foundations: Cleaning and sanitation best practices."

    Webinars are free and open for all to attend. After registering, you will receive the webinar link.

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    Direct to Customer: Basics of Marketing Your Farm Products 

    FREE 3-class course plus a hands-on workbook

    February 6, 13, and 20

    Are you new to marketing directly to customers or looking to refresh your approach?

    Whether you are a farmer selling quarters of beef or a vegetable vendor at a Saturday farmers' market, this course is for you. Learn the basics of how to assess your market, pricing, and promotions for maximum effect and apply your knowledge independently in a hands-on workbook. This free course will meet weekly for one-hour via zoom. All are welcome to join. Taught by Ryan Pesch, University of Minnesota Extension.

    Sign up at

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    Metro Farmland Survey - Input Needed

    The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) and the Metropolitan Council are working together to learn more about the needs of farmers in the 7-county metro region. This includes Anoka, Hennepin, Ramsey, Washington, Dakota, Scott, and Carver counties. The information gathered will be used to inform two things: 1) the Metropolitan Council’s agricultural and land use policies in its upcoming Regional Development Guide, and 2) farmland preservation work at the MDA.

    If you are a farmer in the metro region, we invite you to share your thoughts with us on land policies through this 6-question survey. The survey will be open until January 24th. 

    If you have questions about the survey, please contact Michael Zastoupil ( or MacKenzie Young-Walters (

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    SURVEY: MN Cold Hardy Table Grapes Perfect for Farmers' Markets?

    Think you might want to grown cold hardy table grapes here in Minnesota? Then you are invited to be in a research study of Growers' Preferences for Growing Cold Hardy Table Grapes at the University of Minnesota.  

    To participate in the survey, you must be 18 years or older and the designated decision-maker at the farm. Only one person per farm is eligible to participate. Participation will take approximately 25 minutes. The UMN will pay you a $40 gift card (e.g., Amazon, Walmart, Target, or another of your choice, which must be available as an eCard) after you complete the survey. Your participation will help researchers understand the barriers and challenges of growing cold hardy table grapes.

    To participant in the survey, please use the link below: 

    If you have any questions about the survey or encounter any concerns while filling the survey, please email Manlin Cui at If you prefer a phone call back, please indicate it in the email.

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    Upcoming Classes, Events, Conferences

    Here's your running list of learning opportunities. Pass them along to anyone who can benefit! Click the links to register for each item.

    JANUARY 2024

    FEBRUARY 2024

    MARCH 2024

    For more 2024 classes, click here.

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    UME Fruit & Vegetable News

    Check out weekly updates on this fruit and vegetable blog on the University of Minnesota Extension Educators site at: 

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