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Extension > Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships > Southeast > Farm Story Book Project: From the Farm to the Table

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Farm Story Book Project: From the Farm to the Table


To report on the state of agriculture and farming in southeast Minnesota driven by a vision of an agricultural and food system that sustains abundant biological and cultural diversity, attends to land, human and animal health, and provides opportunities for farm families to survive in place and smaller communities to flourish. This project is one of extending the discussion about sustainable agriculture and sustainable development to the communities we try to serve. Engagement by the broader community is imperative if "sustainability" is to move beyond an ideal to a reality.




Sponsored author Gary Holthaus to write a book that reports on the state of agriculture in southeast Minnesota. Through the Jon Hassler Writers Center in Plainview, project director Gary Holthaus, over a three year period, gathered data, information and stories from farmers and town representatives.

In 2007-2008, contracted with local foods/promotion specialist to organize book readings and signing events in Minnesota and promote the book via radio, magazines, library readings, conference appearances/book tables, bookstores, brownbag with MISA and encourage use in high school and university courses.


  1. A fair, balanced, accurate, educational and compelling story
  2. The book project got off the ground and onto the bookshelves in November 2006.Gary Holthaus' From the Farm to the Table: What All Americans Need to Know about Agriculture was published by the University Press of Kentucky as the first in its series, Culture of the Land: A Series in the New Agrarianism.
  3. Two additional books produced by Gary which highlight interviews with southeast Minnesota farmers and other key farming interests, including University representatives, entitled Ours for a While: Farmers talking about Farming and Brown Trout, Dairy Cows and Watershed
  4. A readers theater production based on Farm Stories research (performed in eight locations) and an accompanying photograph exhibit
  5. A better educated public
  6. A "sub-project" of co-sponsoring the Rolling Plains Art Gallery visit to Plainview along with the Passport Club of the Plainview Area Community and Youth Center. SE RSDP/ERC Board member Sara Grover organized an art festival and auction for school groups and the public to experience art from regional (MN & ND) and local artists. The Farm Stories photographs and a reading from Gary Holthaus were part of the festival.
  7. 13 additional readings and facilitated discussions sponsored by SE RSDP/ERC.
  8. 20+ additional readings organized by author or others.
  9. Study circle" guides for using Farm Stories material in community settings
  10. Ongoing sales via U of KY Press
  11. Ongoing readership via circulation of 20 copies within the SELCO public library system throughout Minnesota
  12. Ideally, a better educated public and innovative policy recommendations



Leveraged resources


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