Local Foods College Series Provides Opportunity to Learn from Practitioners and Educators Beginning January 24, 2012; Sponsored by the NWRSDP and available via ITV in Dowell 101 at the U of M, Crookston

If you are interested in growing more of your own food or scaling up production to market garden scale, the upcoming Local Foods College is designed for you. The series, which begins on January 24, 2012, will offer an overview of the basics, from planning to soils, fruit and vegetable production and business planning. The series, available via interactive television (ITV) at several locations across northwestern Minnesota, continues on Tuesday evenings through mid-March. Registration is $10 per session or $50 for the entire series.

Participants will learn from practitioners and educators and share personal experiences with others who are part of the growing movement to build resilient local food systems. Registration can be completed online by visiting www.rsdp.umn.edu/Northwest and payment sent to the Regional Extension Office Crookston, 2900 University Ave, Crookston, Minn., 56716.

Participants will choose the location as well as select the sessions they wish to attend and may bring a family member or partner along for no additional cost. Host sites include the University of Minnesota Crookston; Bemidji State University; Minnesota State University Moorhead; Northland Technical College in Thief River Falls; Central Lakes College in Staples;
Clearwater County Courthouse in Bagley; Lake of the Woods High School in Baudette; and
Minnesota State Community and Technical College in Fergus Falls. Check the locations for the Local Foods College sites.

Session topics will include: Whole farm planning, nutrient cycles and interactions; soils and composting; vegetable production and planning a market garden; starting and managing an apple orchard; small fruit production; backyard poultry; and farm business management. For more detailed information or questions, visit www.rsdp.umn.edu/Northwest or call 888-241-0781.

The Local Foods College is sponsored by the University of Minnesota; Statewide Health Improvement Program; Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation; Minnesota State Colleges and Universities; and North Central Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education.

The Local Foods College is one aspect of a movement to strengthen local and regional food systems. It encompasses healthy foods for healthy people, stronger demand for healthy local foods, available accessible and affordable healthy local foods, and marketing and policy support for farmers and food producers. To learn more, visit www.localfoods.umn.edu.

The Northwest Minnesota Sustainable Development Partnership serves the people in northwestern Minnesota as they experiment with innovative ideas, build and strengthen relationships and take practical steps into a hopeful future. They connect university resources and citizen leaders in support of regional aspirations for natural resources, clean energy, agriculture and food systems, and resilient communities. The Northwest region encompasses Kittson, Roseau, Lake of the Woods, Marshall, Pennington, Red Lake, Polk, Norman, Mahnomen, Clay and Wilkin counties.

Today the University of Minnesota, Crookston delivers 26 bachelor's degree programs, 18 minors, and 36 concentrations, including 10 online degrees, in the areas of agriculture and natural resources; business; liberal arts and education; and math, science and technology.  With an enrollment of 1,600 undergraduates from 25 countries and 40 states, the Crookston campus offers a supportive, close-knit atmosphere that leads to a prestigious University of Minnesota degree.  "Small Campus. Big Degree."  To learn more, visit www.umcrookston.edu.

Contact: : Linda Kingery, executive director, NWRSDP, 218-281-8697 (kinge002@umn.edu); Elizabeth Tollefson, assistant director, communications, 218-281-8432 (ltollefs@umn.edu)