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If you have ever traveled to the Brainerd Lakes Area, you more than likely have experienced the delectable cuisine served by Prairie Bay Restaurant, checked out their big red food truck, or have taken your kids out to the St. Our country is not only faced with the issue of quality in our food system, but we are also faced with matters of food insecurity. Of course it’s extremely exciting for the Little Falls, Brainerd, and Pine River Area Communities acting as key players to extend food securities to their community members through an ingenious food distribution network by connecting consumers and producers throughout the state.
With a wide-spread grower’s network (eight counties), it is more than ideal to retain a processing and market facility for growers and consumers to connect.  The Little Falls’ food hub location will certainly narrow the existing gap between food growers and community members.
The area’s highway infrastructure to the planned processing facilities will also contribute directly to closing accessibility gaps by tightening the timeframe between harvest and distribution to schools, hospitals and other healthcare facilities where nutritionally-vacant persons reside. Growers are committed to serving their larger community through sustainable growing efforts.
Remember to support local community growers and producers, especially when you visit the Brainerd Lakes (Little Falls or Pine River) Area.
The personal views expressed in this post are the writers’ own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Minnesota Connected or its sponsors. Rotation of crops prevents disease and maintains fertility; using cover crops like alfalfa pulls free nitrogen right out of the air. The fact that average levels of nearly a dozen nutrients are 25% higher in organic produce translates to greater calmness, endurance, mobility, allergy-resistance, sharper senses, and a better sex life in the daily lives of consumers – a higher quality of life, not just prevention of heart disease or cancer.
Since only two percent of the country’s population now lives on a farm, we don’t think of ourselves as having a direct role in farming, yet we each eat an average of a ton of food every year.
Dairy products: Milk, yogurt and cheese are considered healthy bone-strengtheners, especially for children, but the additions of hormones and antibiotics undermine the simple goodness of commercial dairy products.
Ketchup: Even besides the pesticide issue, research has shown organic ketchup has nearly double the good-for-you antioxidants of conventional ketchup.
Coffee: Conventional coffee farming relies heavily on pesticide use and contributes to deforestation around the globe. I recently read that the trees have evolved and began to process more carbon dioxide than 30 years ago. There will be no need for you to buy the costly basil plants from the nursery once you see how quickly and easily you can grow your own little forest of basil yourself. When planted in the garden, they’re often a magnet for slugs, snails, all kinds of bugs, bunnies and so many other creatures. The weather is big factor for them as well, they have sensitive leaves that turn black and die easily if under stress.
Plant the seeds in pots on a window sill in the late spring and early summer and all those issues will be non-existent, you’ll get a bounty of basil with perfect leaves. The seeds will remain good to sprout for at least 3 years if you store them in a cool, dry place. After the first set, you’ll begin to see new leaves emerge as the stalk grows taller.
There’s no need to wash the leaves before use, they are perfectly clean since you grew them yourself and no pesticides were used. Toss and separate the leaves once each week to ensure they don’t stick together and go mouldy.
Dehydrator: Same as air drying just turbo speed, leaves must be very crispy and dry before storing them in your spice cupboard in a jar.
Freezing: Chop the leaves up and put them in an ice cube tray then fill it with water or olive oil. Then when you want to use Basil in a soup, stew or spaghetti sauce throw in a handful of the frozen basil cubes for terrific fresh basil taste. If you’ve dried it, rub the leaves between your hands vigorously and the wonderful aromatic basil dust will fall into your cooking.
Please leave a comment below about your basil growing adventures and share your favourite basil recipes if you have any.
It seems like every month a few more stories hit the social media grapevines, where home owners are being punished for growing food. Whether it’s the HOA rules or a city ordinance, some front-yard gardeners are being forced to pull up their plants and scrap their edible landscape.
And once you’ve begun growing your own, you will likely begin to wonder why Americans ever moved away from self-sustaining gardens. In British Columbia, Dirk Becker was threatened with six months in jail for converting an acre of his 2.5-acre lot into an organic farm.
Earlier this year, city inspectors bulldozed more than 100 types of plants, including garlic chives, strawberry and apple mint, being grown by Denise Morrison in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Steve Miller was fined $5,200 for growing vegetables in his Clarkston, Georgia backyard, which he not only consumed but also sold at farmers markets and shared with friends.

Whether you are looking to grow vegetables in a front-yard garden, out back, or even on your apartment balcony, there are simple ways to get started. If you are a beginner, choose plants that are easy to grow like tomatoes, hearty greens, and squash.
And, if you live in a town where there might be a battle over your new mini-farm, be prepared. It manages the collection, marketing, and distribution of locally farmed food products by fulfilling local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) memberships, providing high quality produce for restaurants (Farm-to-Institution), and coordinating multiple district Farm-to-School food opportunity programs. Mathias Farm, and its newly formed core group are all working together to develop an all-year, indoor farmer’s market, allowing for three processing facilities linking consumers to farmers in Little Falls (old Crestliner building), Brainerd (St.
In order to address food insecure populations, the food hub coordinates with local extension educators and stake-holders to provide locally sourced food commodities (from local growers) to senior centers, mental health facilities, and hospice care facilities in order to ensure all citizens have access to high quality, locally sourced goods. In return, communities gain economic vitality, reduced environmental risk (locally and sustainably grown products with low input), and progression to achieving food security among individuals and families.
Mathias Farm continue to work with low income and food insecure communities by coordinating Farm-to-School, working with the Prairie Bay food truck to demonstrate food preparation of locally grown commodities, and working with Hunger Free MN to provide access to food insecure households through expanded CSA’s and farmer’s markets. As a culture, we don’t yet recognize the difference in quality between organic and conventional food; between conventional and organic growing. Recycling “wastes” like manure, crop residues, and by-products of regional industries, such as coffee roasters or fruit canneries makes full use of existing resources. Those who associate organic food with astrology or hippies may not be aware that the White House chef has routinely served organic food to the Clintons, the Bushes, and now the Obamas. Farms and ranches still cover more than half our land, and consume three-fourths of our water and 70% percent of our antibiotics.
University of Washington researchers analyzed urine samples of 110 preschoolers, only one of whom had no measurable level of pesticides. Organic farming produces the same yields of corn and soybeans as does conventional farming, but uses 30 percent less energy, a 22-year farming trial study concludes. Organic farming preserves natural habitat in hedgerows, crop diversity, ponds, and forests, while conventional farming typically uses methods (mono-cropping and pesticides) that reduce biodiversity.  Beneficial insects such as bees flourish on organic farms, but often suffer from “colony collapse” on conventional farms.
Organic methods of growing crops generate fewer greenhouse emissions, both because energy-intensive fertilizers and pesticides are not used and because organic soil sequesters carbon dioxide. Many studies give strong evidence that produce grown organically promotes non-aggressive behavior in schools and prisons and increases performance on academic exams – largely because of increased nutrient density. It seems logical to choose organic for the foods you eat the most, as well as for the produce that is sprayed most heavily.
For example, although our ancestors hunted and ate far leaner animals than we do — species closer to modern deer and elk than the typical cow – it’s fashionable these days for meat to be fatty and tender, as if the goal of eating was heart disease. It’s a green, large leaf type that grows beautifully large leaves consistently every time. These leaves are distinctly different in appearance than any of the other leaves that grow afterwards. If you keep the tray filled with clean water all season long, they will be fine and grow happily.
In most cases, they will respond and perk up very quickly, if they haven’t gone past the point of no return. Allow at least 3 sets of leaves after the cotyledon leaves to grow and establish before you start pinching them off.
Take the leaves that you’ve just trimmed from the plant and put them on the plate in a single layer, cover it with a second paper towel and allow it time to dry. So, if you want to plant tomatoes instead of bushes, you should be entitled to that, right? Some of these front-yard gardeners have created landscapes that rival those created by high-paid landscaping companies.
The inspectors said her plants were too tall, but city code allows for plants over 12 inches if they’re meant for human consumption, which hers were.
Choose the right place, where your plants will get plenty of sunshine and won’t be trampled by the dog or neighborhood kids.
Planting an amazing kitchen garden entirely in containers, without breaking soil at all, is also an option.
Purchase starter plants for things like peppers, squash and tomatoes, to get a head start and to eliminate some of the gamble when planting seeds.
And if you’re looking to grow your own vegetables, strongly consider going all organic. Each of these enjoyable opportunities share a common goal — connecting local community growers and producers to consumers. The hub strengthens the relationship between producers and consumers and the local economy as a whole.

While you typically imagine poverty stricken foreign villages when thinking of childhood hunger, it is much more obscure. In order to achieve a community of food secure consumers, there must be an appropriate selection of available foods, a suitable transportation system or logistically placed food market places, and affordable food products.
Because a food distribution network or food hub almost eliminates the logistical issues of accessibility, it expands consumers ability to obtain healthy and affordable food products. This (successful) complimentary relationship is a win-win for all growers, consumers, and communities involved.
For example, we don’t recognize collectively that it’s more accurate to define the word “organic” by what it is, rather than what it isn’t. This information-rich way of farming provides habitat for wildlife (which reciprocate with natural pest control); conserves water and helps preserve family farms in rural and metro-edge communities. That one child’s parents ate exclusively organic food and didn’t use pesticides in their home or lawn.  EPA-documented effects in children of exposure to certain pesticides include poorer growth and impact on neurodevelopment. While this may seem like a common sense line of reasoning, many cities and towns across our nation think otherwise.
If for nothing more than to have a seamless line of green yards stretching through the neighborhood. It may sound crazy that a city government would spend (waste) resources to target gardeners, but it actually happens more often than you would think. The child in your classroom, your co-worker’s son or daughter, or your own child’s friend from school all may have or may be experiencing a form of hunger (food insecurity) in their homes.
A community who focuses their attention to such initiatives will be a community with more food secure individuals and families.
The outlined Distributed Local Foods Network will work to maximize production efforts in a regional way. Growers are connected to a larger network of buyers they may not have been able to connect to through their own networking efforts.
Insults toward the author, MNC, or other commenters will result in comment removal and possible ban. CAN'T BE REPEALED (GUN CONTROL FORBIDDEN) THE TRUMP CARD ENACTED BY CONGRESS FURTHER ASSERTING THE SECOND AMENDMENT AS UNOUTCHABLEPEOPLE OF THE LIE: CANCER ! My first year, I just got a bunch of lettuce seeds, kicked up the mud, sprinkled the seeds on the ground, and kicked some more mud over the top. The existence of childhood hunger in the United States rests solely upon the complex relationship of individual and community resources (and their appropriate access). The holding facilities will make it easier for farmers to drop off their product or for the food hub (SPROUT MN) to pick it up.
In addition, conventional produce has fewer of the enzymes and minerals that enhance flavor.
This strategy not only extends food availability to the local community, it also adds value to local farmers and their ability to provide fresh, high-quality products. At this time, the food hub coordinates with growers in eight counties and distributes to six counties. The English are very good at gardening, with their straight lines and bits of string, but that’s not me.
For the first year, that’s not bad.If you have a go at something easy like lettuce, then grow some squash or pumpkins next time.
If I’m growing an apple tree, it will take a year or two to get one or two apples, and it will take another 20 or 30 years to get a lot of apples.There’s enough food in that seed to keep it alive. If I put a seed in cotton wool in a bit of water, it would start sprouting and growing for about eight days. Then it runs out of fuel, and it has to start drawing from the soil.You plant one apple seed in the ground, and it turns into a sapling. Then, when it’s a little bigger you plant it in some half-decent soil, in a little spot in the garden.
Before you know it, you’ll be 10 years older, and you’ll have 100 of these babies, but you’ve never really given it much care. Anything that grows on a tree is pretty low-maintenance.This is really clever stuff going on here.

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