Strategies

Agriculture and food research, technologies, and practices

Increase public funding for agricultural research and development at higher education institutions and Extension (including breeding plants for key food and feed crops for Minnesota markets, developing new cropping systems and related technologies, improving sustainable agricultural practices, and understanding the effect of existing practices on human, animal, and environmental health).

Ensure adequate resources for public/private partnerships that support pollinator health.

Increase investment in systems for season extension, season moderation, food preservation systems and technologies, including financing and grants for growers.

Encourage farmers to use farming practices and technologies that protect the health of people, animals, soil, air, and water.

Create policies, technologies, and incentives that reduce food waste or transform it into compost or energy.

Provide resources, support, and incentives for farmers who want to use food production methods, such as sustainable and organic practices, to increase their customer base.

Physical and financial infrastructure

Establish viable, robust mechanisms for healthy food and farm-related enterprise development, such as angel investor tax credits, start-up funding aggregated from public and private sources, as well as public investment in research and development and technical assistance for business planning.

Promote the development of cooperatively owned businesses related to healthy food and farms.

Establish enterprises that can provide healthy food to nearby communities and institutions.

Create tribally controlled, small incubator farms with shared equipment and water access.

Secure resources for tribal nations to purchase equipment and develop businesses that support harvesting wild rice; catching, gathering, and preserving fish, plant foods, and berries; and tapping, processing, and storing maple syrup.

Local Markets

Establish annual voluntary food pricing agreements that Minnesota farmers develop together, and participating wholesalers and vendors agree to honor.

Create technical assistance and training opportunities for farmers to sell new products and access new markets.

Farmland access and preservation

Establish an easy-to-use farm ownership transition program to transfer farm ownership from one family to another.

Implement farmland-access recommendations developed by organizations that serve farmers. For example, prioritize family farms in local comprehensive plans, building codes, land use and restrictions, taxing structures, and other local policy initiatives.

food_system

Farmer training and resources

Establish affordable statewide liability, specialty crops, and health insurance programs for small farmers.

Create and offer training (classes and written materials) in multiple languages, with a focus on basic farm ownership, food production, and farm management skills.

Ensure adequate, ongoing investment in a wide array of farmer-focused technical assistance and training.

Provide comprehensive, culturally appropriate training for small entrepreneurs who sell foods at cultural events, such as powwows, community feasts, and farm-based dinners.

Labor and pay

Support research, policies, and programs that address food-infrastructure labor and pay issues, such as support for organizations that provide independent verification of labor and pay conditions in agriculture and food-related enterprises.

Share information and conduct training for food and farm-related employers on federal and state labor laws, with accompanying promotion and materials in multiple languages.

Disseminate information and conduct training for food and farm-related workers on federal and state labor laws, with accompanying promotion and materials in multiple languages.

Improve enforcement, training, and dissemination of federal and state labor laws and workplace and food safety regulations—including promotion and materials in multiple languages.

Strengthen whistleblower protections for food and farm-related workers—including legislation and worker organization.

Develop comprehensive policy and related resources to ensure adequate housing for workers employed seasonally in agriculturally-related businesses.

Healthy Food and Agriculture Policy

Encourage the Statewide Health Improvement Program, state agricultural grant programs, and other state resources to implement Food Charter strategies.

Create state-level policies and investments that support and minimize risk for Minnesota farms that grow healthy, costly and/or vulnerable crops, such as fruits and vegetables.

Encourage federal agriculture and nutrition policies and priorities to reflect the stated needs and solutions described in the Minnesota Food Charter.

Strengthen relationships between federal agencies and tribal communities to increase access to agency resources that support tribal communities’ traditional foods practices.

Food Labeling, Regulations and Marketing

Address consumer food labeling concerns at the federal and state levels.

Reduce marketing of unhealthy food to children.

Streamline food safety and licensing protocols, and provide training for small and emerging businesses (such as growers and processors) on good agricultural practices, food safety, licensing, inspections, and related regulations.

Give inspectors flexible tools for the type, size, and risk of food business.

Meet sovereign tribal nations’ stated needs for food safety education, food protection, and foodborne illness response.

Develop interagency workgroups and trainings to ensure clear, consistent enforcement of food safety and inspection codes.

Influence and decision-making

Support food policy councils at local, regional, and state levels.

Invest in development and implementation of effective food systems planning for communities and regions across Minnesota.

Establish councils of traditional foods gatherers to advise tribal communities on food-related needs and issues.

Encourage the Minnesota Department of Agriculture to develop long-term plans for Minnesota’s agricultural infrastructure.

Minnesota Food Charter