Building local partnerships to sustain local farm festivals and relocalize markets

Project Overview

Project Type: Partnership
Funds awarded in 2024: $47,141.00
Projected End Date: 08/31/2025
Grant Recipient: Renewing the Countryside
Region: North Central
State: Minnesota
Project Coordinator:
Jan Joannides
Renewing the Countryside


No commodities identified


No practices identified

Proposal abstract:

This project collaboratively develops new marketing approaches
for farmers in rural communities. Farmers growing food in smaller
communities in rural Minnesota frequently truck their products
50-100 miles to larger metropolitan areas to access customers.
These long drives increase fuel costs, transportation time, and
carbon emissions, and decrease investment in the local social and
economic fabric. The overarching aim is to expand hyper-local
markets for farmers in rural communities by increasing the
quantity and reliability of purchasing by households,
restaurants/stores, and institutions within the community. We do
this by creating an annual on-farm local food festival in each
community that generates excitement and awareness about the value
of and ways to access local foods. This project builds on
existing partnerships between Renewing the Countryside,
Sustainable Farming Association, Minnesota Farmers Union, and
pairs of farmers and local food leaders in 7 rural MN
communities, where we are currently piloting local food festivals
with support from USDA. Funding from SARE will allow these
community teams to dive deeper into the critical local
partnership building that will allow the annual event to become
self-sustaining through local sponsorship and support. 

Project objectives from proposal:

Objective 1: Develop diverse partnerships in rural areas among
farmers, local businesses, institutional buyers, grassroots
groups, and agencies, who work together to hold and sustain
annual local food festivals that expand local interest in and
commitment to local foods

Objective 2: Generate one-time sales for farmers and food makers
participating in pop-up farmers markets at each local food

Objective 3: Evaluate project impacts and develop materials and
presentations on best practices for building diverse local
partnerships to create and sustain local food festivals. Share
materials with farmers, rural community leaders, funders, and
others who want to replicate this model.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.