We are excited to share with you the news that Minnesota Food Association (MFA) operator of Big River Farms is now a program of The Food Group. This merger has been under discussion for some time and we want to share with you the official announcement, as well as some of our thoughts about this new partnership.
This new program area focuses on providing sustainable agriculture training for immigrant and minority farmers. MFA has been operating as a smaller nonprofit and the merger will significantly enhance their administrative capacity. The Food Group is excited to be bringing on a successful program like Big River Farms as it presents unique opportunities to develop our work in sourcing locally grown fresh produce for people in need, as well as to address issues of sustainability and access in our local food system.
The addition of Big River Farms allows The Food Group to work on both ends of the food system from production to distribution. We can now focus on breaking the barriers that exist to growing good food locally while also fighting the barriers that exist to getting good food to those who need it most in our community – hungry Minnesotans.
The Food Group is the only independent food bank in Minnesota. As a grassroots-based organization, we have the freedom to continually innovate in our response to local needs. While our primary role has been to support families that are struggling with meeting their own food needs, over the past decade we have developed strong partnerships with local farms, managed a micro-farm at our warehouse location, and coordinated large gleaning operations. Through this work we have learned more about the important role small-scale, sustainable farms play in our local food system, and increased our commitment to helping all members of our community have access to the high-quality foods produced by these farms.
There are not many examples of food banks partnering with small-scale, sustainable farms, and we are excited to open the door to the many new possibilities this partnership will present. We will find innovative ways to work together that support local farmers and help alleviate hunger in our community. Our focus will remain on our same good work while enhancing our programming with Big River Farms. This addition differentiates our work, broadens our focus on the local food system as a whole, and allows us to work more deeply on equity, access, and nutrition issues related to food and hunger. We’re excited to start working towards achieving our shared goal: a better local food system for all.
More about Big River Farms
- Big River Farms is a certified organic farm focusing on sustainable growing methods
- The land has been leased in Marine on St. Croix since 2005
- Each season there are between 15-22 farmers growing at Big River Farms
- Participating farmers are provided with land access, training, and sales marketing support
How to Get Involved
- Become a Big River Farms CSA Member – help support new immigrant and minority farmers while enjoying fresh, local, organic produce
- Sign-up online at: http://www.mnfoodassociation.org/members/types
- Take a tour of the farm on Wednesday, June 8 at 10am or Monday, June 12 at 5pm
- RSVP to Emily at [email protected] or 763-450-3868
- Save the Date for “Eat Local Farm Tour” at Big River Farms on Saturday, July 15th