Back to the Soil with Sustainable Farmers in Minnesota

Clare Algozin

Sustainable Farming Association (SFA) is focused on the development and enhancement of sustainable farming systems in Minnesota by building networks, and by supporting innovation, demonstration, and education. SFA’s projects work to develop curriculum for beginning farmers to promote sustainability, to sustain the beef and dairy industries in Minnesota, to encourage practices and innovations that protect the soil, and expand farmer education and networking opportunities.

Food Tank had the opportunity to speak with Jason Walker, Communications and Membership Coordinator at Sustainable Farming Association.

Food Tank (FT): How do you contribute to creating a better food system?

Jason Walker (JW): Sustainable Farming Association provides farmer-to-farmer networking, education with an emphasis on soil health principles, and skills-based new-farmer training. We have chapters around the region that are able to tackle locally focused projects and give farmers a regional support network. Additionally, we host several events throughout the year, like our Annual Conference, Midwest Soil Health Summit, and Minnesota Garlic Festival.

FT: What is a project, program, or result you are most proud of?

JW: We are proud of the Midwest Soil Health Summit, which in just its second year drew a terrific crowd of diverse farmers. In two days, these farmers were able to learn ways to make their farms more profitable and sustainable by implementing SFA's Five Principles of Soil Health: Keep the soil covered, Minimize soil disturbance, Increase crop diversity, Keep living roots in the soil, Integrate livestock.

FT: What are your goals for 2015 and beyond?

JW: In 2015, we plan to train more new farmers with the hands-on skills they need to succeed, grow our Soil Health Summit to reach more farmers in the Upper Midwest, and continue to enhance our farmer networking efforts.

FT: In one sentence, what is the most important thing eaters and consumers can do today to support a more sustainable food system?

JW: Cook most meals at home using simple, healthy ingredients—including natural animal products such as butter, lard, and cream—bought from a trusted source.

FT: How can individuals become more involved in your organization?

JW: Joining SFA online with a convenient Sustaining Membership, then attend meetings and events or volunteer.

Download the 2014 Good Food Org Guide HERE.

Submit your suggestions for the 2015 guide HERE.