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Local Foods College

An interactive distance learning opportunity for gardeners and farmers interested in community-based food systems.

bed of flowering daisies, greenhouse with sides rolled up to see crops growing inside, group sitting together on the grass with instructor in front of them

Join us in 2018 for the 7th annual Local Foods College webinar series! These FREE online classes are available to anyone interested in strengthening food systems, and can be viewed from any computer with internet access.

*New in 2018* Local Foods College will be expanding to provide course offereings at two times during the year. The first series of 2018 will run from January 23 through February 27, 2018, with five (5) online classes held Tuesdays at 6:00 p.m. Dates and topics for the second series will be announced later in 2018.

Local Foods College is free but registration is required:


2018 Winter Session Local Foods College Dates and Topics

Dates and topics
Date Topic
1/23/2018 Fruits and Nuts
1/30/2018 Improving Pastures (plus a brief introduction to Food Safety Modernization Act -FSMA produce rule)
2/13/2018 Deep Winter Greenhouses
2/20/2018 Seed Saving
2/27/2018 Pollinators: what they do for us and what we can do for them

Session Details

Fruits and Nuts
January 23, 2018
Presenter: Thaddeus McCamant, Central Lakes College

This session will feature a brief overview of new and unusual crops that can be grown in Minnesota, including currants, gooseberries, honeyberries, juneberries and others. We will cover both the potential yields and the potential problems that each of these crops hold.

Watch the session


About the Presenter: Thaddeus McCamant
Thaddeus grew up in Colorado and Montana and started working with fruit at the age of 12 by picking cherries, peaches and apples. He also regularly ate every wild fruit that grows in both states. For the past 17 years, he has been working with fruit growers in Minnesota. The main crops he works with are apples, strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. He has also overseen several projects looking at the commercial potential of new fruit crops, including goji berries, chokecherries, gooseberries and pears.

Coming Soon! Perrennial Fruits, a book by Dr. McCamant, focuses on emerging fruit crops with commercial potential and hardiness in Minnesota's climate. Contact for ordering information.
Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture

What did you think about the session?
Fill out a short evaluation to let us know what you thought of this session and how we can improve future Local Foods College offerings.
Session 1 Evaluation

Improving Pastures (plus a brief introduction to Food Safety Modernization Act - FSMA produce rule)
January 30, 2018
Presenter: Troy Salzer, UMN Extension

In this session, U of M Extension Educator Troy Salzer will cover the importance of soil testing, fertilizing, liming, and seeding, along with an intro to the different styles of pasture management systems.

Watch the session


About the Presenter: Troy Salzer
Troy is a U of M Extension Educator in Carlton County. His work focuses on beef management, manure and nutrient management, soil science, pasture management, industrial byproduct utilization, and forages. Troy has B.S. and M.S. degrees in Animal Science and Animal Nutrition from the University of MN. Troy has a cow/calf operation near Barnum where he utilizes Managed Intensive Grazing, High Density Grazing (Mob) and set stocking based on addressing resource concerns and livestock needs. He uses soil building techniques such as bale grazing, seazon long cover crop production, and crop land conservation.

Grazing Systems Planning Guide
Grazing Management and Soil Health
Grazing Basics for Beginners

What did you think about the session?
If you participated in the Postharvest Handling webinar or if you watch the recorded webinar, please take a few minutes to evaluate the session:
Session 2 Evaluation

Deep Winter Greenhouses
February 13, 2018
Presenter: Carol Ford, UMN Extension Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships, Garden Goddess, Inc.

This presentation will cover production practices specific to growing in a passive solar Deep Winter Greenhouse and provide an opportunity for discussion and questions. We will briefly focus on the basic concepts of the DWG, how it works, and what is grown inside. Then we will take this opportunity to provide for an in-depth question and answer session. So please join into this session with specific ideas for what you want to know.

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About the Presenter: Carol Ford
Carol Ford is the Deep Winter Greenhouse program coordinator for the UMN Extension Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships. Additionally, Ford owns and operates Garden Goddess Enterprises where she produces winter crops in her DWG.

Deep Winter Greenhouses

What did you think about the session?
If you participated in the Sheep on a Small Farm - A Natural Fit webinar or if you watch the recorded webinar, please take a few minutes to evaluate the session:
Session 3 Evaluation

Seed Saving
February 20, 2018
Presenter: Sheri Breen, UMN Morris

In this session, we will explore seeds with University of Minnesota Professor Sheri Breen. Although seeds are the foundation for life, they are at the center of a heated conversation about food justice, biodiversity and ownership. As you plan your plantings for the spring, this session will give you a new perspective the importance of seeds.

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About the Presenter: Sheri Breen
Sheri Breen is an Associate Professor of Political Science and affiliated faculty in the Environmental Studies Program at the University of Minnesota, Morris. As an environmental political theorist, she studies the relationships between human societies and their physical landscapes, focusing on diverse and conflicting understandings of property and ownership across political systems and cultures. She is currently writing on the historic change from human understandings of food and crop seeds as a source of localized collective wealth to a privatized international system of intellectual property rights over plant genetic resources.

What did you think about the session?
If you participated in the Sheep on a Small Farm - A Natural Fit webinar or if you watch the recorded webinar, please take a few minutes to evaluate the session:
Session 4 Evaluation

Pollinators: what they do for us and what we can do for them
February 27, 2018
Presenter: Elaine Evans, UMN Extension

Pollinators are a crucial part of our food production systems as well as key players in ecosystem health. We will talk about who these pollinators are, what they do in agricultural systems, and practices to promote their health and diversity.

About the Presenter: Elaine Evans
Elaine Evans is a University of Minnesota Extension Educator and Bee Researcher working on pollinator education and research relating to bee conservation. She completed her M.S. and Ph.D. in Entomology at the University of Minnesota where she studied bee diversity in agricultural areas in the Great Plains and competition between honey bees and bumble bees. She has authored several books: "Befriending Bumble Bees: A Guide to Raising Local Bumble Bees" and "Managing Alternative Pollinators". Elaine was a conservation consultant for the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, studying declining North American bumble bee populations. After seeing the need for surveys focused on declining bumble bees, she founded the Minnesota Bumble Bee Survey in 2007, using volunteers to help survey bumble bees in the Twin Cities area. In 2016, this survey expanded statewide with the UMN Minnesota Bee Atlas program. Her current work focuses on determining the status of bees in Minnesota, monitoring populations of the endangered rusty-patched bumble bee, and enacting pollinator conservation through research, education, outreach, and citizen-science.

Local Foods College Facebook Group


Previous Recordings

Did you miss a session or want to view a presentation from a past series? Recordings of all Local Foods College webinars are now available on RSDP's YouTube Channel.


For more information, please contact Anna Peterson
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