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Extension > Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships > Southwest > Pride of the Prairie - Year 3

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Pride of the Prairie - Year 3

Purpose

Year 3--A coalition of non-profits, farmers and UMM administration/faculty/students in developing a local food system in the west central region. Much of the third year was continuation of system development in serving food on UMM campus, education, technical support, web page development and expanding the farmers marketing and delivery system.

Partners

Land Stewardship Project
UMN Extension
UMN-Morris - Sodexho Campus Services

Activities

Monthly meetings of the Pride of the Prairie coordinating committee, referred to as "The Foodies", continued to serve through 2003 as the project's coordinators, communicators and extended work force along with Land Stewardship Project.

Throughout the year LSP continued as a resource to community organizations to help develop menus, identify and locate local foods for a variety of events and meals that included:

The Willmar Moveable Feast Local foods were featured at the Pride of the Prairie event, Celebrating Food from Our Land, held at the United Methodist Church in Willmar in November 2003.

The Pride of the Prairie Farmers After a summer hiatus the farmers began meeting again as a group. We have formed a farmers market before each meeting in Montevideo and in Milan. The group meets every other week with a number of subcommittees meeting to accomplish assigned tasks through e-mail or in person between meetings.

Outcomes

In summer of 2003 along with the support of the FoodRoutes Learning Community we developed the recognizable Pride of the Prairie logo shown on the cover of this report and used on our Local Foods Guide. Three thousand Local Foods Guides were printed, listing local direct marketing farmers within an 85- mile radius of Morris, MN. These and other communications materials have been disseminated throughout the region. We are developing a newspaper insert type communications piece that will use this logo and we are planning mailings in the Alexandria and the Willmar areas that will include listings of farms, farmers markets, promo pieces about local foods, and the Buy Fresh Buy Local label. These will be distributed in May to everyone who subscribes to the Willmar and Alexandria newspapers and through Lake Association newsletter in the Alexandria area.

Prairie Yard and Garden, a popular Public Television show, has featured Pride of the Prairie on an episode that has been run and rerun on a number of occasions.

The farmers group (Prairie Grown) is The Willmar Moveable Feast

In summer of 2003 along with the support of the FoodRoutes Learning Community we developed the recognizable Pride of the Prairie logo shown on the cover of this report and used on our Local Foods Guide. Three thousand Local Foods Guides were printed, listing local direct marketing farmers within an 85- mile radius of Morris, MN. These and other communications materials have been disseminated throughout the region. We are developing a newspaper insert type

Communications piece that will use this logo and we are planning mailings in the Alexandria and the Willmar areas that will include listings of farms, farmers markets, promo pieces about local foods, and the Buy Fresh Buy Local label. These will be distributed in May to everyone who subscribes to the Willmar and Alexandria newspapers and through Lake Association newsletter in the Alexandria area.

Sponsoring print ads and radio ads in the Montevideo and Milan areas to get people to shop the Farmers Market that precedes each meeting. We are also developing point of sale materials using the Pride of the Prairie logos, labels and looks.

This summer we will provide farmers' markets with signage bearing the highly recognizable Buy Fresh Buy Local label. This should raise awareness of Pride of the Prairie and the individual farmers markets. We will also offer the opportunity for market organizers in this region to use the label and logo in their advertising and outreach.

The Willmar Moveable Feast
This dinner catered by Culinary Seasons was by invitation to members of the Willmar area healthcare, business, and economic development communities, along with local food producing farmers. Pride of the Prairie was introduced to the 60 people who attended the dinner and the event generated local interest and the opportunity for a radio interview, an invitation to speak at the Willmar Kiwanis, and a newspaper article picked up by the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Plans are in place to continue outreach in this part of our region with a newspaper insert this summer and Pride of the Prairie signs for the Willmar farmers market. Next year it is likely a Moveable Feast will be held in the Alexandria area building on the newspaper insert developed this summer and work with the Lake Association. We also hope to continue connecting our work with human health building off contacts and interest shown at this event.

The Pride of the Prairie Farmers

The following bullets are the highlights of this group's progress toward forming a formal marketing business.

Funding

In-Kind 25,270.00
Outside 140,000.00
Volunteer 38,221.00
State Special 60,000.00
Total 223,4991.00

Leveraged resources

A two-year grant from USDA Cooperative State Research Education and Research Services.

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