Blog

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  • LSP Statement on the Police Killing of George Floyd

    We at the Land Stewardship Project are shocked, saddened, and outraged at the news that a black man died while in police custody Monday night, less than three blocks from the Minneapolis office of the Land Stewardship Project. Video...

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  • 2020 Legislative Session: What Happened & What’s Next

    The past few months have been harder than ever for thousands of Minnesotans. Our communities were already facing a serious farm crisis, inaccessible and unaffordable healthcare, increasing impacts of climate change, corporate consolidation across our economy, and more. On top of that, a pandemic has wreaked havoc on our healthcare system, farm and food...

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  • Community-Based Meat Processing as a Public Good

    Many small and medium-size farms are trying to survive by selling meats directly to retail customers and restaurants. The idea shows promise as a way to revitalize an economy otherwise in the shadow of huge farming enterprises. We need slaughterhouses; several good, new up-to-date buildings should be placed...

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  • Fulfilling a Social Contract

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    A Viral Carrot Sale During a Pandemic Reveals Local Food’s Potential…& Limits

    In mid-March, when it was becoming clear the COVID-19 pandemic was going to change the way food is procured in the U.S. and beyond, the owners of Open Hands Farm placed five bags of carrots and a money box in their driveway....

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  • Now is the Time to Create a More Humane Healthcare System

    As of today— April 10 — due to the outbreak of COVID-19, nearly 350,000 Minnesotans have applied for unemployment benefits. That is already more than the total number of applicants in all...

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  • The 'Big Reveal'

    The Coronavirus Pandemic Unmasks a Brutal, Multinational Food & Farming System that's as Unsustainable as the Economic Model that Created it

    As the coronavirus disrupts “normal” life in America and worldwide—and we ride the rapids of shifting strategy and messaging from the White House, its cabinet, and Congressional leaders — the pandemic also...

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  • One Disruption Away

    I got a call from a colleague this morning asking how I was dealing with the corona virus pandemic and I said I was feeling grateful. Grateful to live in a rural area where my primary activity outside of working for the Land Stewardship Project is goofing around outside collecting firewood and going for long walks,...

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  • A Message from LSP on the COVID-19 Virus

    We are writing with an important update on how the Land Stewardship Project is responding as COVID-19 spreads throughout our communities and our world.

    In the best interests of the health and well-being of our staff, members, and communities, we have decided to take some important actions. Our work can and must move forward. While we are finding new ways to adapt to this changing...

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  • Midwestern Farms Can Counter Climate Change

    One of the best approaches for combating climate change lies beneath every Midwestern farm: the soil. By increasing soil organic carbon, farmers can help the climate, their bottom lines, and their farms and communities better adapt to the impacts of extreme weather. The Land Stewardship Project is part of the Midwest Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (MSAWG), a growing, informal network of...

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  • State Policy Update: Time for Legislative Action on the Farm Crisis is Now

    At the Land Stewardship Project, we know that we depend on each other to thrive and that our government, public institutions, and economy exist to serve each and every person, as well as our land, water. and air — no exceptions.

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  • Farmers, Landowners: Why You Do Not Want to Miss Jonathan Lundgren

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    In my experience, few learning experiences are more motivating to me than the ones that help us see the connections around us, empowering us to make more of a difference than we thought possible.

    I see this a lot in my work with non-operating farmland owners via their enthusiasm to learn about soil health, farming practices that build soil, and ways to support their renting farmers in...

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  • The Power of Pasture Walks

    I began attending Land Stewardship Project soil health events because I was looking to improve the soil health of my hay field and pasture, which sustain some beef cattle and equine southwest of Winona, Minn. I attended several of the ...

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  • Soil Health: Short-Term Gains, Long-Term Dividends

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    How One Farm’s Focus on Soil Health Helped Make Row-Cropping Viable...& Fun

    The economic benefits of building soil health are a balancing act between immediate payoff and delayed gratification. In an ideal situation, the source of those quick profits will set the foundation for a longer-term investment that pays dividends.

    For example, Dawn and Grant...

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  • Farm Transition Profile: A High-Value Apprenticeship

    When Nathan Vergin applied to work as an apprentice on Polyface Farm in Virginia back in the mid-2000s, he had to undergo a three-day “working interview.” Vergin, who grew up helping out on a sheep dairy near Northfield, Minn., passed the trial by fire, and went on to serve a two-year apprenticeship with...

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  • Farm Transition Profile: The Goal Standard of Farming

    One day in 2014, a man stopped by Bill and Bonnie McMillin’s farm tucked away in the hills of southeastern Minnesota’s Wabasha County and offered to pay cash for all 160 acres, lock, stock and barrel. Such an offer can be tempting. After all, Bill and Bonnie had worked hard over the previous few decades to build a 45-cow dairy operation, which they later transitioned to a grass-fed...

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  • In the Mirror

    Note: Land Stewardship Project member Jim VanDerPol raises crops and livestock on Pastures a Plenty Farm near Kerkhoven in western Minnesota. He recently wrote this ...

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  • Creating Narrative Power from the Ground Up

    At a Land Stewardship Project Policy and Organizing Program staff meeting in January 2016, I had a deeply moving experience that will stay with me for a long time. My fellow organizers and I read aloud an early draft of a document entitled, “A Transformational Narrative for LSP Policy & Organizing: A Work in Progress.” I had never seen so many of my own core values and beliefs...

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  • Public-Private Prairie Partnership

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    A BioBlitz Highlights the Role Livestock Farmers Can Play in Habitat Improvement

    It’s the kind of overcast day in June that leaves one wondering if the sun decided to take an extended summer holiday. But as heavy thunderstorms threaten this part of Big Stone County in western Minnesota, some 130-people break up into teams and fan out onto various parcels of prairie...

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  • Pulling Together, Moving Forward: LSP Member Statement on the Current Farm Crisis

    NOTE: On Sept. 7, 2019, 37 Land Stewardship Project member-farmers and leaders came together in St. Peter, Minn., to discuss direct ways of addressing the current farm crisis. Below is the statement these members developed as a guideline on how to move forward to address this crisis:

    A...

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  • Standing up to a Factory Farm & Asking Tough Questions

    CROW LAKE TOWNSHIP, Minn. — It’s early November, and Grass Lake in Stearns County's Crow Lake Township is peaceful, lined with cattails bending in the breeze and a few ducks and geese watching for winter’s arrival. But if things had gone differently a few months ago, neighbors could have been seeing, hearing, smelling, and feeling the effects of a newly built...

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  • Don’t 'Get Big or Get Out' — Get Together and Fight Back

    Earlier this week, at the World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wis., U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue made the following remarks in regard to the economic crisis facing many small and mid-sized farmers, especially dairy farmers: “In America, the big get bigger and the...

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  • Robbing the Farm or Enriching the Farm: Which is the Better Way?

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    Ross Cooper and his family raise canning and grain crops on their Century Farm in Spring Valley in southeastern Minnesota. Shortly after his son was born, Ross converted to no-till to cut down on the amount of time he was spending in the tractor. More recently, he has begun integrating cover crops into the farming system. In addition to crop farming, they graze cattle on perennial pastures and...

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  • From Crisis to Community

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    A Shared Threat Prompts a Shared Vision for a New Farm

    As the land auction progressed, it looked like the parcel was on its way to exchanging hands at a decent price. But the landowner grew increasingly anxious about the guy who was likely to get the highest bid—he was a well-known owner of large-scale hog operations in the region. If he was the buyer, it was clear the...

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  • Stewardship, Justice & Democracy

    At the Land Stewardship Project, among member-leaders and staff, we’ve been thinking more about our work in the context of economic, racial, and gender equity in this country, and how that relates to core values of LSP, like stewardship, justice, community, democracy, and health. Land Stewardship Project’s board is meeting this week to give a final review and approval to a Long...

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  • A Farmer's View of Climate Change

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    Climate change is happening. Farmers who work with higher elevations may be able to deny it. Those of us on more variable and wetter soils cannot. I have been aware of it in our farming for 20 years.

    The water cycle is impaired. This is the most obvious. Excessive rainfall spreads into a huge number of rainy days and it becomes a challenge to walk from house to barn. Twenty years ago,...

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