Partner Success Story: Local Foods Week
Driving across Southern Minnesota, it is clear to see that agriculture plays a vital role in our communities. In a world where so much of what we grow is sent off to be processed, it is not often that individuals are given the opportunity to eat what is grown right down the road. This year’s Local Foods Week gave attendees the opportunity to do just that- enjoy delicious, locally grown food at the restaurants they love.
Local Foods Week is celebrated annually in the month of July, with the overall goal to help build stronger partnerships between local farms and restaurants. This year’s celebration was held July 24th-30th in communities across Region 9. In addition to elevating the importance of community and partnerships, Local Foods Week strives to increase engagement and investment around local foods in the region.
Last year’s Local Foods Week festivities led to a partnership between Emily Knudsen with Pleasant Grove Pizza Farm and Scott Haase with Blue Dirt Farm. Both small business owners are dedicated to supporting their local communities and incorporating collaboration into the vision of their businesses. When asked what he wants the community to know about local foods, Haase shared, “I want the people to know that the flavor and quality of local products can be just levels beyond what you find in the store, and it doesn’t have to be inconvenient.” Haase and Knudsen combined efforts to create a delicious Cuban pizza topped with Blue Dirt Farm’s mangalitza pork. Haase emphasized, “I don’t think I would have ever connected with Pleasant Grove Pizza Farm if it hadn’t been for this project.”
This year, unique dishes highlighting local foods were featured at the following restaurants:
Local Foods Week is made possible thanks to partnerships between the Region Nine Development Commission (RNDC), the South-Central Minnesota Grower’s Network, the Mankato Old Town Association, and the Minnesota State University’s Strategic Partnership Center. If you would like to learn more about featured farms, restaurants, and dishes for Local Foods Week, visit RNDC’s website.