Minnesota AgrAbility Project staff Al Rasmussen and Dan Stores attended the Upper Midwest Regional Fruit and Vegetable Growers Conference held January 15-17 2014, in St. Cloud, Minnesota. The first day of the conference was a Beginning Grower workshop that was filled with information about growing specialty crops, legal issues, farmers markets, CSAs and the benefits of using greenhouses, high tunnels, and raised beds to increase the gowning season on both ends of the cycle. A wealth of information was shared about the rapidly growing CSA farms, with the largest one represented at the conference having 2,000 customers and still expanding. Day 2 and 3 of the conference consisted of numerous sessions throughout the day, providing information on almost every aspect of growing specialty crops including marketing through social media. The vendor hall provided a look at equipment and services developed for specialty crop farms. The three day conference gave AgrAbility staff the opportunity to connect with many specialty crop farmers and vendors and provided them with information about AgrAbility and talked of ways staff could get more involved in this rapidly growing form of agriculture. The Minnesota AgrAbility Project looks forward to working more closely with fruit and vegetable growers in the future.
Minnesota AgrAbility staff members continue making preparations for the 2014 Fence Line Conference being held March 16-17 2014 at the Holiday Inn and Suites, St. Cloud, Minnesota. The Fence Line Conference is an annual conference, with the theme for 2014 being "Keeping the Family Farm Alive." The Fence Line Conference is designed to provide resources for farmers with disabilities and their families, offering help in overcoming barriers resulting from an injury or debilitating illness. For more information about the Fence Line Conference, please call 866.535.8239, or check out the webpage www.equipalife.org.
Submitted by Dan Stores