ST. PAUL — Inspired by the enthusiasm of Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) members, the Minnesota Cooks™ team has rolled out a new tool for Minnesota’s local foods community – and membership benefit for the grassroots organization.
Minnesota Foodshed is a new website for “matchmaking” between farmers and wholesale buyers who are members of MFU. Farmers can find buyers for their locally grown goods, while buyers (including restaurants, bakeries, distilleries, brewers, and more) can increase local representation on their menus.
Minnesota Cooks is best known for an annual program at the State Fair, highlighting recipe demonstrations from restaurants and stories from the farmers they work with, and the annual calendar featuring these same recipes and farm-restaurant stories. This new venture gives the organization an even more active role in building those relationships.
“At Farmers Union, we know that family farmers need fair prices to keep doing what they love,” said MFU President Gary Wertish. “One of the best ways to do that is by buying directly from family farms.
“Since its beginnings in 2003, Minnesota Cooks has celebrated restaurants around the state who work closely with farmers through its State Fair program and recipe calendar. I’m happy to share this new resource that can bring together even more mutually beneficial partnerships.”
“The idea for Minnesota Foodshed came from all the inquiries the Minnesota Cooks team has received throughout the years from both farmers and buyers seeking connections,” said Minnesota Cooks Program Manager Claudine Arndt. “It might be helpful to think of it as a hybrid between a dating site and Craigslist – a place for farmers and wholesale buyers to browse profiles and develop long term connections as well as a place to submit real-time posts about products one is seeking to sell or buy in the short term.”
To help familiarize Minnesotans with Foodshed, MFU is offering two virtual mini-tours, open to the public, on May 10 at noon and May 12 at 5 p.m. Register at mnfoodshedtour.eventbrite.com.
To participate in Minnesota Foodshed, farmers and buyers can go to minnesotafoodshed.org to create profiles, then they can reach out to others on the site and post on The Exchange. It’s free to create a profile, you just have to be a member of MFU to do so. The organization is offering free 1-year promotional memberships to those new to MFU and who join through Foodshed, which automatically renew a year later. Those who are current MFU members will receive information via email on how to login and create their profile as a membership benefit.
About Minnesota Cooks
Minnesota Cooks is the local foods education and outreach program of MFU. It is presented with support from Minnesota Grown, Farmers Union Agency, and Farmers Union Industries. For more information about Minnesota Cooks, please visit the website at www.minnesotacooks.org, email email@example.com, or follow Minnesota Cooks on Facebook and @minnesotacooks on Instagram.
About Minnesota Farmers Union
Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) works to protect and enhance the economic interests and quality of life of family farmers and ranchers and rural communities. MFU is a nonprofit membership-based organization. Membership is open to everyone. Learn more and join at www.mfu.org, and follow MFU on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
— Minnesota Farmers Union
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