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Jun 22 17

Charting the Future of Local Foods

by Melissa

What is the potential for local foods in our region? What needs to happen in order to have local foods more readily available in our region? What are the next steps to increase the amount of local foods grown and distributed in our region?  These are a few of the questions asked in a recently completed Local Food Study lead by UMVRDC staff.  “Charting the Future of Local Foods” is the final document of a project completed in partnership with the University of Minnesota Extension and the Southwest Regional Sustainable Development Partnership (RSDP) and Countryside Public Health – Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP).


The planning process started in the spring of 2016, and worked with stakeholders, growers and places that buy or sell local foods.  The RSDP also conducted a local food market analysis to explore the market potential.  Currently local foods account for a very small percentage of food purchased in our region. If we were to increase this percentage by a small amount, there is a potential to create economic opportunities for local farmers.

The plan outlines a list of 58 action steps that address what we can do next to improve the local foods system. Hhere are  the identified priorities:


  • Community Building:
    • Find ways that get growers and institutions, restaurants and others together on a recurring basis.
    • Host workshops within communities to figure out how to be more welcoming, supportive, and connected with newcomers, farmers, and others.


    Food Skills and Availability:

    • For young people: Systematically assist schools in providing classes for cooking and preparing food at an early level.
    • Expand the mobile food shelf that makes local foods accessible to more people.


    Farm Business Planning and Farmer Recruitment:

    • Explore who is growing food for human consumption in the region. Identify different kinds and scales of growers and identify those who want to scale up and use different marketing mechanisms.
    • Create models for conventional farmers to join the local foods system with an emphasis on small and mid-sized farms.



    • Utilize the Buy Fresh Buy Local logo in food campaigns (Cooperative regional marketing [logo/campaign] to grocery stores/restaurants).



    • Identify the main local food distributors and continue to work with them.
    • Create more stable markets for producers by connecting to local food markets statewide and into South Dakota. Link to food hubs across the state and link co-ops in the surrounding area.
    • Establish an online farmers’ market.
    • Look into models similar to Bountiful Baskets that support CSAs and other local food producers.


    Additional ideas:

    • Host opportunities for low to modest income individuals to cook with local foods.
    • Create a local foods cuisine cookbook.


For more information, contact Kristi Fernholz at or by calling 320.2891.1981 x106

View the Final LFS Report

Market analysis here:

Jun 20 17

Open House for 2019 Lac qui Parle Bridge Project Set for June 28

by Melissa

WILLMAR, Minn. – The first open house for the 2019 Lac qui Parle Bridge Project is set for Wednesday June 28 at the Milan City Hall (244 North 2nd Street in Milan, MN). The open house will run from 5:30-6:30 pm with a presentation starting promptly at 5:30 pm and will include a live polling activity to gather feedback on the bridge. The public will also have the opportunity to learn more about the Section 106 process and ask questions on the project process.

Built in 1938, the bridge is significant as a contributing property to the Lac qui Parle Flood Control Historic District. The Flood Control Project was completed by the Works Project Administration (WPA) as a major federal relief project during the New Deal era. As such, the bridge is subject to review under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. MnDOT is working closely with the Army Corps of Engineers as well as the State Historic Preservation Office on the bridge project.

The project is currently in the preliminary designs and environmental review stages. Public feedback will be gathered through the summer.

For those unable to attend the public open house, an online survey will be available. For more information on the project visit the webpage at

To request an ASL or foreign language interpreter, or other reasonable accommodation, contact Janet Miller at 651-366-4270 or 1-800-657-3774, 711 or 1-800-627-3529. You may also send an email to Please send request at least one week in advance if possible.

For updated road condition information, call 511 or visit


Jun 7 17

Office Closed – July 3 & 4

by Jackie S

In observance of Independence Day our office will be closed Monday and Tuesday, July 3rd and 4th. We will open at 8am on Wednesday, July 5th.
Have a safe & happy holiday with family and friends.

Jun 7 17

July 2017 – Annual Meeting

by Jackie S

The UMVRDC will host its annual meeting on Tuesday, July 25th.  This meeting is open to the public.

More details on location and time will follow.

Jun 1 17

June 2017 Board Meeting

by Jackie S

The monthly board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, June 27th beginning at 6:30pm in Appleton.  This meeting is open to the public.


Click here for the board packet