Central Lakes College, through its Agricultural and Energy Center, is a co-host for seven sessions for farmers to increase the production of local foods in the region by building production and business management skills. Local Foods College takes place at 6 p.m. on Tuesdays, Jan. 24 and 31, Feb. 14, 21, and 28, and March 6 and 13 via interactive television at the Staples campus.
Schedule and topics:
Jan. 24 - Whole Farm Planning, Nutrient Cycles and Interactions. Betsy Wieland and Benjamin Arlt. Learn about cycles and interactions and how to use them properly within your production model.
Jan. 31 - Soils and Composting. Randy Nelson. Covering the basics of soils and how to compost yard and garden wastes.
Feb. 14 - Vegetable Production and Planning Your Market Garden. Terry Nennich. Learn the basics of vegetable production, including site selection, water needs, seed selection, planning, and some basic methods of dealing with the short grand harsh winter of northern Minnesota. Learn how to layout a vegetable garden or market garden for maximum productivity.
Feb. 21 - Starting and Managing an Apple Orchard. Jake Overgaard. A practical look at considerations. Site selection, varieties, rootstock, orchard layout, pests, diseases, orchard floor management, pruning, post harvest management, and finances. Emphasis on providing useful re-sources for future use.
Feb. 28 - Small Fruit. Terry Nennich. Basic production and management of the three major small fruit crops grown in northern Minnesota – strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries – along with some minor small fruit crops. Soils, plant spacing, growth management, fertility, and harvest.
March 6 - Backyard Poultry. Jim Stordahl. For the beginner or poultry enthusiast. The entire cycle of raising poultry (mostly chickens) on your farm or in your backyard. Common poultry terminology and breeds, this is a guide through feeding, common problems, housing, and dealing with predators.
March 13 – 1. Marketing and Business Planning. Ryan Pesch. Marketing local foods takes both planning and creativity. Learn about how to identify your market, options to promote your product, and the basics of a business planning for your enterprise.
2. Farm to School: Find, Learn, and Connect. Sarah Reese. It takes a whole community to put nutritious foods from local farms on the menu at schools. Local growers/farmers restore a connection to eaters and gain reliable new markets in schools. Learn how to connect with valuable resources.
A participant may attend any single session for $10 or all seven for $50. One family member or partner will be admitted at no additional cost. For information call 888-241-0781. Online registration is available at http://www.rsdp.umn.edu/Northwest/
Checks may be made payable to University of Minnesota and sent to Regional Extension Office, 2900 University Ave., Crookston, Minn. 56716.
Other ITV locations are Bemidji State University, Minnesota State University Moorhead, Northland Community and Technical College, Thief River Falls, University of Minnesota Crookston, and Clearwater County Courthouse. Additional locations may be available.Co-sponsors are Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, University of Minnesota, Blue Cross and Blue Shield Minnesota, North Central Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education, and Health Reform Minnesota.