AGRICULTURE & LOCAL FOODS
Increasing economic opportunity and improving quality of life.
Food is at the heart of every community. It brings families and neighbors together, defines and blends culture, nourishes health, and fuels life. And the system of producing, processing and distributing food creates jobs, engenders opportunity, drives innovation and productivity, and facilitates creative expression, especially in underserved rural and urban areas. Visit The Good Food Access Program to learn more about food access point technical assistance. Other food and agriculture-related programs we currently have are the AgVet Program, and Agricultural Mental Health Program.
Agricultural Mental Health Program
In July 2022, R5DC entered into an agreement with the State of Minnesota to provide contract with agriculturally competent, no-fee mental health counseling services to Minnesota farmers, farm family members, employees, and related parties through the services of Agricultural Mental Health Providers. Contracted Mental Health professionals will also provide mental health information, support, and coaching to individuals in Minnesota who serve farmers in a professional capacity, e.g., State and Federal agency staff, Minnesota State Farm Business Management educators, University of Minnesota Extension staff, Farm Advocates, health care providers, social service providers, and others. R5DC agreed to collaborate with local authorities, as appropriate, to protect the health, safety, and well-being of farmers, farm family members, and related parties.
Agricultural Mental Health Providers
Monica McConkey, MA, LPC
Monica has worked in the mental health sector for the past 25 years. Her background includes work with youth and adults and covers a wide range of emotional challenges. Her recent work focuses on emotional stress of farmers and consulting with agriculture industry groups.
Ted Matthews, MS
Ted is a veteran and has worked with rural issues in counseling for over 45 years. He has been director of mental health services during two natural disasters in the 1990s. Ted also has extensive counseling experiences in the areas of crisis intervention, family issues, suicidology and domestic abuse.
Mobile Slaughtering Unit
The U.S. Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) awarded the Minnesota Farmers Union Foundation a $2.9 million grant to purchase mobile meat slaughtering and processing equipment that will be used to facilitate workforce training and meet meat processing needs in central Minnesota. The project launches in 2023 in partnership with; Cass County, Community Development Morrison County, Happy Dancing Turtle, Central Lakes College, the Small Business Development Center, Agriculture Utilization Research Institute and EDA. In support of the agricultural economy, and alongside others, R5DC assisted with the application and communication with EDA and the North Central Economic Development Association (the private sector led lending arm of R5DC) assisted the MN Farmers Union project with $300,000.00 loan to make this important project a reality. To learn more see: http://www.clcmn.edu/meat-cutting-and-butchery/
Community mental health practitioners and community-based healthcare providers refer patients to a CSA prescription, augmented with ancillary programming. Health care professionals, county public health, and ancillary team members work together to refer residents to the program.
The CSA food is aggregated from over 80 low-income local growers by Sprout MN, the regional food hub and delivered to progam participants bi-monthly, adding value to regional businesses and the agricultural economy.
Chefs and U of M Extension nutrition educators deliver cooking classes and education in a relaxed setting. We understand that just because you get a rutabaga in a CSA does not mean you know how to cook it or why you should eat it. This approach offers new life-long skills that change behaviors, new adaptation skills, self-esteem, a greater well-being. Learn more about RxCSA.
We are proud of our partnership with Sprout MN to bring these local foods initiatives to our region.
Read more about Sprout MN and its impact on the community by reviewing the WealthWorks Report.
"These projects are direct outcomes of the ways agencies and organizations are thinking differently due to the evolution of Sprout and the local foods, culture, arts work. These act as pollinators to help create systems change across sectors in our region.”
Cheryal Lee Hills
Region Five Development Commission