Stefan Meyer, General Project Coordinator.
My story began on a family farm in SW MN, where as a 4th generation farmer, my family raised the standard fare of corn, soybeans, and their livestock of choice (turkeys). After leaving the conventional family farm, I moved out to the Pacific Northwest and discovered Permaculture, Biodynamics and AgroEcology, opening a whole new path of working with the land.
Back in MN, I started Growing Lots Urban Farm with the help of a local non-profit, and grew the farm for 5 years as a CSA and Market Farm alongside friends and volunteers. Since then, I’ve spent time farming in SW Colorado, as well as the wooded countryside of Mora, MN. My passion around farming is personified by small-scale diversified farming systems that blend into the regional environment, enhancing the productivity and health of the land for all species, while maintaining a strong focus on the power of local farms as the economic base for small communities. I joined the AgroEcology Center in the Spring of 2017 as the Farm Manager. Since then I have been acting as the Finland Farmers Market Coordinator, and for the last year participating in the Finland Food Chain process. As the General Project Coordinator, I will be keeping an eye to the overarching goals of the project, assisting the other coordinators in their work, and seeking out future funding opportunities.
I’m Cindy Hale of Clover Valley Farms (the vinegar lady) and am thrilled to have been hired to serve as the Producer and Infrastructure Coordinator for the Finland Food Chain project.
Our farm is just south of Two Harbors on the Homestead Rd, 4 miles in from Lake Superior. We have a highly diversified farm growing a variety of small fruits, tree fruits, herbs and a few veggies. We breed and use both sheep and rabbits in a rotational grazing system so they do most of the mowing and we get a diversity of high value products from them…sheep (wool, meat & hides) and rabbits (meat…I have hides in the freezer if anyone wants them!). We have been farming for 12 years and experimented with lots of things before finding the right balance for our farm and us. I look forward to sharing our experiences with you and hearing more about the innovative ways you all grow food & fiber too!
I’m Federica Ranelli, and I’m happy to introduce myself to you as the Education Coordinator for the Finland Food Chain project. I grew up in Duluth and have called many places home since then, but I call Finland home now. It’s wonderful to be back on the North Shore and closer to family again, but still doing things I love: teaching, growing food, working with people, creating equitable and local food futures, learning. All great things.
Since graduating from college with a Food Science degree, I have worn a variety of hats in the education and farming worlds. My studies in food science quickly rolled into advocating for local food systems, which then included food sovereignty and justice organizing, which then pulled in farming and teaching. I’ve spent four seasons on diversified vegetable and fruit farms, two of which were education centers in addition to production spaces. One of those is the Wolf Ridge farm. I spent the 2019 season as the field manager, and I am a naturalist at Wolf Ridge right now.
I’m excited to work with you all in the world of farmers markets, public outreach, school farm curriculum, and community gardens….at least that’s the beginning. Thank you all for the brainstorming, dreaming, and work you have put into this project. I am thankful for this opportunity to work with you and move our mission forward together.