Minnesota Food Association provides new farmers with the skills and knowledge to operate their own organic vegetable farm, while assisting the farmers-in-training to supply organic produce to consumers.
MFA operates Big River Farms, a land-based training program for immigrant and minority farmers. The training program is a 3-4 year curriculum including off-season classroom workshops and conferences together with a series of in-field training courses and farm field trips throughout the growing season. Each “farm” in our program is allocated ¼ – 3 acres of land in which to produce, and contributes to the Big River Farms Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and wholesale and retail sale markets. We reach over 300 immigrant or minority farmers each year. We enroll 10 “farms” (about 30 farmers) each year in the comprehensive, year-round training program. We also conduct an Annual Immigrant Farming Conference and our training courses up to other beginning immigrant farmers. MFA also collaborates with other nonprofit organizations in providing gardening opportunities to Hmong elders for physical and mental health purposes as well as providing an opportunity to grow food for their families.