Update: Thank you to everyone who contacted the committee, shared this blog post, and expressed their support for this effort. Unfortunately, The Food Group was not selected for LCCMR funding on Wednesday, July 17. We will keep sharing information and updates as we work to find alternative funding for this important project.
The Food Group is working to secure more farm land to grow organic food and train farmers who are immigrants and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color).
With our partners Minnesota Land Trust and Washington County, we have already covered 75 percent of the project cost. So now, we’re looking to our supporters to help advocate for the last piece of the funding puzzle. The Food Group is requesting gap funds from the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR) to purchase 316 acres in Washington County.
How We’ll Use The Land
The land includes some property we already lease for one of our programs, Big River Farms (formerly of Minnesota Food Association). Additionally, we’ll expand the farming program onto more acres. These efforts advance our mission of fighting hunger and nourishing our community.
Owning the land allows The Food Group to:
- Protect an important agricultural resource in the Metro area
- Preserve high-quality wildlife habitat and pristine waters in Wilder Forest through organic agriculture and pollinator-friendly land management
- Continue to serve under-represented communities that historically have not had access to LCCMR funding
- Expand Big River Farms, transitioning more conventionally farmed acres into organic production
The State Benefits from the Project
Our project offers significant benefit to the public and statewide conservation efforts. Organic farming is better for the land, wildlife and area waterways.
We practice conservation through agriculture as we build and conserve our soil; create pollinator habitat; monitor water usage; and are certified organic. With funding from LCCMR, we would own this land, and we would expand our conservation agricultural practices onto 80 more acres and continue these practices into perpetuity.—Molly Schaus, Big River Farms farm director
With the funding, The Food Group could provide land access and education to more local beginning farmers who want to grow organic food for the community.
Through The Food Group, I have learned some of what it takes to run a diversified, small-scale organic operation. I’ve learned that with the right information and the right tools, you can be successful and provide high-quality produce while being stewards of the land.—Faro Jones, Big River Farms farmer
How You Can Help
Contact LCCMR committee members. Tell them why you believe in the work of The Food Group and Big River Farms. Find their contact information here.
Funding decisions will be made this week! So be sure to contact members prior to the LCCMR meeting on Wednesday, July 17, at 9 a.m.
Thank you for supporting The Food Group’s mission and long-term efforts to fight hunger in our communities!