Emerging Farmers Conference

  • University of Minnesota Continuing Education & Conference Center, 1890 Buford Ave., St. Paul, MN 55108
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  • RSVP to MFA, 651-433-3676, info@mnfoodassociation.org

The Minnesota Food Association's annual Emerging Farmers Conference — formerly the Immigrant and Minority Farmers Conference —serves to advance the success and sustainability of farmers who traditionally face barriers to the education and resources necessary to build profitable agricultural businesses. This innovative conference, which is co-sponsored by the Land Stewardship Project, focuses primarily on the needs and interests of farmers of color and immigrant farmers, and supports their contributions to local economic development and building healthy communities. It does so by connecting farmers, farm advocates, educators, professionals, experts and agency officials.


This conference provides education and resources, fosters relationships between farmers and community partners, and empowers participants to lead change in their communities through healthy food access, education and economic opportunity.


Farmers obtain a deeper understanding of resources available to them and methods by which they can access those resources to support and grow their farming businesses. For example, farmers will be provided with financial plans, soil maps and contact information for organizations that provide land leasing and purchase information.


Valuable connections are made between local farmers, vendors, organizations and community groups which support emerging farmer populations and strengthen all components of the local food system.


Farmers gain specific, hands-on knowledge which is directly applicable to their farm businesses and will increase the success of their farm operations. For example, farmers will leave with a deeper understanding of weed management or production techniques for specialty crops. Organizations and community stakeholders gain exposure to a deeper understanding of the contributions immigrant and minority farmers make to the local food system, and the importance of supporting sustainable agricultural practices in their communities.


Conference participants are empowered to enact change in their local communities, specifically in the areas of racial equity and sustainable agriculture as they relate to the local food system. For example, participants will have the opportunity to connect with other farmers in our collaborative problem- solving workshop. This facilitated discussion aims to foster relationships between farmers, allows them a space to talk about common challenges, and find solutions to those challenges.

Language Interpretation

The conference is FREE for all farmers and language interpretation is available in Spanish, Hmong, Karen, Bhutanese, Vietnamese and Somali. Interpretation is based on registration. (We do our best to accommodate all farmers, but cannot guarantee interpretation for last-minute registrations.)

Continental breakfast, lunch and snacks will be provided. Childcare is not provided.


Interested farmers and community-based members who have questions should contact info@mnfoodassociation.org or 651-433-3676. For more information and to register, click here.


Friday, Jan. 25; Check-in: 6 p.m. Workshops 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.

Friday evening will feature hands-on workshops where farmers can get their hands dirty in learning how to grow healthy transplants, how to grow mushrooms, and organic pest and disease management.

Saturday, January 26, 8 a.m.-5 p.m

Farmers will have nine workshop choices throughout the day, including topics such as: how to find land to farm, chickens for meat or eggs, cover crops, and cut flowers.

View the complete schedule here.