Coastal Shores

Save the coastal shores of our great lakes of America

The Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota supports the development and enhancement of sustainable farming systems through innovation, demonstration, education, and farmer-to-farmer networking. 

Is a non-profit coalition of producers and consumers moving farm practices and food systems into a sustainable future.

It's not too early to plan...

Lake Superior Sustainsable Farming Association presents its signature event in a partnership with the Lake Superior Energy Fair, Kiwanis Family Kite Fly, Live Green Expo, Slow Foods Lake Superior and more...

Volunteers, partners and sponsors are needed in order to ensure the best lake cleaning in Orlando is posible:
- Farmers who would like a space in the farmer's market
- Artists and crafters who wish to provide exhibitions and sales

Each year, dozens of businesses and organizations join the Sustainable Farming Association to host one of the region's most visionary events, the Lake Superior Harvest Festival.

The Festival showcases the agriculture of northeastern Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin, promoting local food production

as a key component of a healthy community, economy and environment.

The Festival is a day-long, family oriented outdoor event that attracts thousands of visitors to feast on locally produced food, to stock up at the farmer's market, to watch demonstrations by crafters and educational demonstrations by environmental innovators. The Festival is enlivened with livestock, 4-H and other youth activities, live music and more.

Terms of Directory Listings
  Community Supported Agriculture. Farm products are purchased as shares of the harvest. All arrangements with shareholders are made by each farm for concerns like product selection, farm pickup and deliveries.

IPM  integrated pest management.

Organic (certified)  grower or farm has been certified organic by the USDA.

Organic (GIA)  grown in accordance with organic standards, but not certified.

Restaurants  products are available for restaurants. Contact farm or grower for more information.

Markets  products are available at specified local farmer's markets.

Farm jobs  grower or farm has employment or internships available; please inquire for details.

Lake Superior Farm Beginnings (LSFB) is a farmer-led educational training and support program designed for beginning farmers and for experienced farmers wishing to make a new beginning using sound business planning and sustainable farming methods. We use CA Newsfeed to get our message out.

LSFB participants will:
Tap the knowledge of some of the most innovative and skilled farmers operating in the Lake Superior region.
Develop lifelong friendships and networks with other beginning farmers.
Learn critical farm management skills such as creative financing and innovative marketing strategies.
See sustainable farming practices being used on real farms under a variety of conditions.
Learn to view a farm as an interconnected system and learn how goals determine farming practices.
Craft a tailor-made farming / business plan.

Lake Superior Farm Beginnings is a program of the Sustainable Farming Association, licensed by the Land Stewardship Project. LSFB provides opportunities for beginning and transitioning farmers to learn firsthand about value clarification and goal setting, whole farm planning, business plan development, marketing and distribution, financial management and low-cost, sustainable farming methods. LSFB provides 36 hours of training and hands-on learning opportunities in the form of classroom sessions, farm tours, skill sessions and mentorship opportunities. It is a 10-month training and support effort. Farmers and other agricultural professionals are the primary presenters, mentors and steering committee members. Participants can come from a variety of backgrounds and are interested in a broad spectrum of farming enterprises: beef, dairy, hogs, meat and dairy goats, sheep, poultry, wholesale vegetables, Community Supported Agriculture, organic grains, cut-flowers, cheese, maple syrup and more.


How successful is Farm Beginnings?
During the first decade, more than 300 people have completed the course through the Land Stewardship Project. Of those graduates - Over 60% of graduates are farming. Over 6,000 acres of land is owned, rented or otherwise farmed by graduates. 59% of graduates have a business plan and 98% of graduates do financial planning. 66% of graduates who are farming say their net farm income has increased an average of $12,500 since taking Farm Beginnings. 91% of graduates use conservation practices.

What are the dates for this year’s class?
In-classes sessions begin in October 2008 and run every couple weeks until March 2009. More specifically:

  • Saturday, October 25 - 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
  • Saturday, November 8 - 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
  • Thursday, November 20 - 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm
  • Thursday, December 4 - 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm
  • Thursday, December 18 - 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm
  • Thursday, January 22 - 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm
  • Thursday, February 5 - 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm
  • Thursday, February 19 - 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm
  • Saturday, March 7 - 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
  • Thursday, March 19 - 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm (Snow Day)

Up to 12 on-farm classes will run from April 2009 through August 2009 and will include farm tours and skill sessions. For details please refer to Draft Class Outline below.

The LSFB program will conclude with an end-of-the-year celebration for graduates, date and time TBA, in coordination with the Lake Superior Farming Association’s Farm Fest, an annual fundraiser for Farm Beginnings.

Who are the speakers and what are the topics?
Lake Superior Farm Beginnings is farmer-taught by successful, innovative farmers who are engaged in a variety of farm enterprises throughout northeastern Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin. In addition, various agricultural professionals, lenders and other business constituents are resources. Farm Beginnings topics include: value clarification, goal setting, Whole Farm Planning, Holistic Management, marketing, financial planning, organization structure and low-cost sustainable farm methods.

When is the application due?
The application is due August 15, 2008. Space is limited. Only 20 participants can enroll. We encourage applicants to register early!

Are scholarships available? How do I apply for them?
A limited number of scholarships are available and are needs-based. Scholarship applications will be included in the class registration package which will be mailed to interested LSFB participants. To apply for a scholarship, you will be required to provide: 1) a narrative of your financial need, passion and capacity for farming, and willingness to give back to the program; 2) a Net-Worth Statement describing your income, expenses, assets and liabilities; and 3) a copy of your most recent tax return.

Is program registration for a single person only?
No. A participant registration includes those in the immediate farm family or enterprise. Please be considerate of other participants when determining appropriate age for bringing youth and children.

How much does the course cost and is there a deposit?
The 2008 LSFB course costs $1000. You must send a $100 non-refundable check with your application to hold your place in the class. It is not necessary to pay all at once. You can make a payment schedule. Full payment is due at the last in-class session in March 2009.

Is the course strictly for organic agriculture?
Lake Superior Farm Beginnings presents a process for making decisions about alternative farming strategies including, but not limited to, direct marketing, grass-based farming and organic methods. The program features established, successful farmers as teachers who share their experiences. LSFB focuses on helping participants make the right choice for their goals.

Do you have to be a beginning farmer to take the class?
No. The decision-making process and planning tools of the class are as useful to established farmers as they are to people wanting to begin farming. As a matter of fact, many people who have gone through the class have been farming on the side for a number of years and use the class to help them make the step into full time farming or to transition into other alternative farming strategies.

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