They work hard, and that's why we launched the FEAST! Local Foods Magazine two years ago: we want to tell the inside stories of how they do what they do. We're currently working on Volume Three, planning on how to best document this momentous year in local food.
We want to celebrate the resilience and the importance of knowing your farmer for your own sense of food security...all the while, supporting their efforts with your patronage. We love hearing from people who've enjoyed reading the magazine, and are planning for a dynamic online version for Vol 3.
Here's a sampling of the topics we covered in Vol 2 (read online here):
- Chef profiles
- Cold-hardy grapes
- Farm to school: Local in the Lunchroom
- Finding Farmland
- Hmong American Farmers Association: Acres of Hope
- Local grains: Elevating Grains
- On-farm food: Come & Get It
The proverbial jury is still out on what the 2020 FEAST! festival will look like, but we're looking at a variety of options, including online sales and curbside pickup.
Just like the event, the Mag is all about helping local farm & food businesses get recognition, understanding, and community support. It's only possible because many of you show support by purchasing ads.
We have a long way to go to reach the 42 advertisers in Vol. 2, which included 21 event vendors and 6 restaurants.
If you can help stand up for farms and food businesses in the region who are creating jobs and enriching our communities, please check out the rate card for advertising options or email [email protected].
Uptowne Café & Bakery
An hour east of Rochester, across the Mississippi in scenic La Crosse, Wisconsin, Adrian Lipscombe is making waves. She is many things, including: a mother (four times—her youngest born in February), a Southerner, an urban planner, an activist, a baker and chef, a restaurant owner. And a Black woman.
Transplanted from Austin, TX to La Crosse in 2016, her first act was mobilizing dozens of community volunteers to help bake 5,000 bread rolls for the Standing Rock pipeline protests. In a recent podcast with The Table Underground, she said that community response convinced her she was in the right place to put down new roots.
Uptowne Café was born out of that kind of intentional work, to learn what the community wanted, and convey how important their support was for the café to survive. She brought people together to get to know them, beautify the neighborhood, plan events.
For Juneteenth 2019, she headed up a team of chefs for a James Beard dinner, and in early 2020 was featured in an episode of the Wisconsin Foodie television show. Then came COVID.
She consulted her employees before deciding to stay open with curbside pickup. “Being community rooted has saved us,” she reflected. And then, with the growth of the Black Lives Matter movement, Adrian began receiving compassionate support from the community that spawned an idea: a crowdfunding effort to purchase land to farm and share Black foodways.
The 40 Acres & a Mule Project launched on June 7th. By Juneteenth, less than two weeks in, it was halfway to the $100,000 goal, and is currently over $77K. The vision is for “a sanctuary to hold the history, food and stories of Black culture in food and farming,” as she wrote in the profile for the project’s popular Instagram @40acresproject—already reaching over 2600 followers in less than a month. If the content shared there is an indication, this Project will be a great asset to the region, and a major legacy for this young chef.
Know Your Farmer
Whether it’s connecting with farmers in new ways online, or trying to grow your own food, this year has given everyone a reality check on how important it is to have local farmers. And as regional farms go, Ferndale Market is pretty well known for their free-range turkeys and involvement in area school lunch programs. What you may not know is that John Peterson, leader of this three-generation farm, does a variety of community-focused giving, and was awarded the FEAST! Inspiring Social Benefit Award at the tradeshow event last December.
Ferndale Market donates many turkeys to the food bank every year for Thanksgiving and Christmas. They also donate assorted gift boxes and gift certificates to organizations from surrounding communities for special events, and are a big part of the Minneapolis Public Schools’ efforts to connect kids to the farms that feed us. The award is meant to highlight the great leadership we have in our region’s food and farm businesses, and Ferndale is a wonderful example. (Read John’s newsletter message about the award here—his “acceptance speech,” where he credits several other businesses for their mentorship!)
In his June message, John shared about the mixed impact of the pandemic—at once, identifying farm and food businesses as essential, while also presenting major sales challenges. For farms like Ferndale who sell a considerable percentage of their product to restaurants, a once smooth balance of supply and demand ran into a shutdown along with those restaurants.
As entrepreneurs must, they adjusted. They launched curbside pickup at their farm store, and networked with new partners to offer delivery throughout the region. By the way, those partners happen to be farmers, too. Maybe you’ve heard of some of them? Grandpa Don’s, Hidden Stream Farm, TC Farm, Wallace Farms, and Iron Shoe Farm have all been part of getting local foods to your doorstep. Now that’s service!
Who's Fueling FEAST!?
Community & Economic Development Associates (CEDA)
CEDA was created in 1986 as a private, 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation which updated its scope and name in 2010 to reflect its commitment to serve communities throughout Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa. They offer staff to communities on project contracts or general economic development work. In addition, they provide small business assistance, grant writing, administrative services, community planning and development as well as management services. They currently have 30 team members and are hiring!
CEDA staff in Cannon Falls have been especially engaged with FEAST!, including overseeing business grants and developing the Cannon Roots brand featured in Vol. 2 of the FEAST! magazine. CEDA was one of the organizations that helped to process the Minnesota DEED Small Business Emergency Loan funds. CEDA staffer Laura Qualey told us, "it was exciting to be an integral part of walking through the process with business owners across the state. It was very rewarding to be able to call them after many hours of hunting and gathering paperwork and financials to tell them that their loan had been approved."
FEAST! is glad to be connected with this results-focused organization and we look forward to sharing more of what CEDA does in the future. Learn more here.
Tell us which of the stories you liked most in either Vol. 1 or Vol. 2 of the FEAST! Local Foods Magazine, and why
We want to hear about it!
Reply with your answer—
We'll enter you into a drawing for a $25 gift card to use at an area farm-to-table restaurant (either for takeout now, or dine-in when possible).
Congratulations to Becca Stiles-Nogosek!
Becca won last month's drawing and received a gift card for the Bleu Duck in Rochester, MN that she can use at the new 3.0 relaunch, including the Duck Truck!
Below is how Becca answered our question about how much home gardening everyone is doing this year: