Food for thought, pennies for farmers

For decades, my dad complained that people didn’t understand how little of the food dollar goes to the farmers who grow the food. Every time the farmer’s price went up — for milk or corn or pigs — the grocery store price went up by even more. When the farmer’s price went down, the grocery store price usually didn’t follow in that direction. Continue Reading

Finding new keys to land ownership, careers in farming

At a creative farm south of St. Paul near the town of Coates, two things about fruit, vegetable and horticultural growing are immediately clear. You cannot plant and raise perennial crops when renting land on a year-to-year lease. You cannot even think about having an orchard unless you own the land.

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Video: Exploring a Hmong land cooperative

Minnesota is home to a large Hmong community of which many farm. One complication is that many do not have access to land that is affordable and near their homes. One group has committed to making a difference. The Hmong American Farmers Association (HAFA) was awarded a Bush Foundation Community Innovation Grant which will allow the nonprofit organization to explore organizing a land cooperative.

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Sympathy for the Devil?

It may seem strange to work up much sympathy for a booming industry that killed 47 people while virtually leveling their Quebec town last year and later touched off a giant fireball over Casselton, N.D., on the Minnesota border, but that’s what I’m feeling these days for the railroads. Continue Reading