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Contact: Katryn Conlin, Communications Director
kconlin@southeastmn.edu, 651-385-6364

For Immediate Release   

MSC Southeast hosting Sustainable Agriculture Speaker Series this fall; renowned author Mark Shepard will be featured guest on September 20

Download high resolution photo of Mark Shepard (2.3 MB)

Mark ShepardWinona, MN (September 4, 2018) -- This fall, the Sustainable Agriculture Speaker Series at Minnesota State College Southeast will offer a chance to meet several inspiring individuals who are challenging conventional food and farming systems with alternatives that are socially, environmentally, and economically sustainable. Four exciting speakers will come to the college's Winona campus on select Thursday evenings to share their insights into this important field.

MSC Southeast Biology instructor Liz Micheel developed the Speaker Series and is helping launch a new program in Sustainable Agriculture at Minnesota State College Southeast. She says the common thread among the speakers is a shared value system based upon community, economic security, and environmental protection.

Sustainable Agriculture Speaker Series
5-6 pm Social Hour, 6-7 pm Speaker Presentation
MSC Southeast Winona Campus
1250 Homer Road, Winona, MN
Cost: $15 per meeting; $50 for the series of all four meetings
Registration: www.southeastmn.edu/training, 507-453-2740

September 20   Mark Shepard, author 
Restoration Agriculture: Real World Permaculture for Farmers

October 25   Jim Riddle, Blue Fruit Farm
The past, present, and future of agriculture in the Winona area

November 15   Norm Erickson, Hazelnut Valley Farm LLC
Growing hazelnuts in Minnesota as a sustainable, environmentally friendly crop 

December 13   Bruno Borsari and Liz Micheel
Introducing the new Sustainable Agriculture program at MSCS

The first speaker will be Mark Shepard on September 20. "Mark is a sought-after speaker both nationally and internationally," says Liz Micheel. "He has graciously offered to come to Winona to show his support for Sustainable Agriculture at Minnesota State College Southeast." 

Mark Shepard is the renowned author of Restoration Agriculture: Real World Permaculture for Farmers. He is also the CEO of Forest Agriculture Enterprises LLC and founder of Restoration Agriculture Development, Inc. He runs New Forest Farm, a 106-acre perennial agricultural savanna considered by many to be one of the most ambitious sustainable agriculture projects in the United States. (In addition to speaking on Thursday evening, September 20, Mark will present a workshop on local permaculture design concepts on September 21. Registration is limited for the Permaculture Workshop and the cost is separate from the Speaker Series.)

Liz Micheel emphasizes the importance of starting a college-level program in Sustainable Agriculture in Southeast Minnesota.   "I truly believe that sustainable agriculture can help in solving some of the world's problems, like climate change and other quality of life issues," she says. "In this area there's really a lot of interest in small scale agricultural practices that are protective of our water quality and the unique topography along the Mississippi river bluffs and the Driftless region."

To register for the Sustainable Agriculture Speaker Series and Permaculture Workshop, go to southeastmn.edu/training or call 507-453-2740. For more information, please contact Liz Micheel at 507-458-4829 or emicheel@southeastmn.edu.

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Detailed speaker information: Sustainable Agriculture Speaker Series

September 20   Mark Shepard, author
Restoration Agriculture: Real World Permaculture for Farmers

Mark Shepard will debut the Speaker Series in September. The author of Restoration Agriculture: Real World Permaculture for Farmers, Mark is a sought-after speaker both nationally and internationally. In addition to speaking on Thursday evening, September 20, Mark will present a workshop on local permaculture design concepts on September 21. Registration is limited for the workshop and the cost is separate from the Speaker Series. 

October 25   Jim Riddle, Blue Fruit Farm
The past, present, and future of agriculture in the Winona area

Jim Riddle, along with his wife Joyce, are the owners of Blue Fruit Farm located just outside of Winona. Blue Fruit Farm exists as part of the Wiscoy Valley Community Land Cooperative, a 360-acre organically-managed land cooperative with 20 adult members including Jim and Joyce. In the 1980s Jim and Joyce raised organic vegetables and helped start the Winona Farmers Market. Now, Blue Fruit Farm covers five acres of certified organic blueberries, elderberries, aronia berries, black currants, blue plums, honey berries, justaberries, juneberries, and cherry plums. With his strong local connection, Jim offers us his perspective on agriculture in the greater Winona area. 

November 15   Norm Erickson, Hazelnut Valley Farm
Growing hazelnuts as a sustainable, environmentally friendly crop

Norm and Mary Erickson are the owners/operators of Hazelnut Valley Farm LLC in Lake City, where they produce roasted hazelnuts, hazelnut oil for skin care, and seedlings. Norm will explain the potential of hazelnuts in Minnesota as a sustainable and environmentally friendly crop yielding a variety of products including food, oil, feed, and biodiesel. In addition to nut production, Norm's farm also boasts a unique greenhouse with innovative use of solar energy and energy storage.

December 13   Bruno Borsari and Liz Micheel
Introducing the new Sustainable Agriculture program at MSC Southeast

Bruno Borsari of Winona State University and MSC Southeast instructor Liz Micheel will announce the roll out of MSC Southeast's Sustainable Agriculture degree and certificate options. For two years, Liz has been researching, developing, networking, and building relationships with a number of influential organizations and award winning farms.  She and Bruno will introduce the program and several of amazing local farms and regional organizations that will serve as program partners and internship locations.  

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About Minnesota State College Southeast

Minnesota State College Southeast is a two-year technical and community college that prepares students for a lifetime of learning by providing education for employment, skill enhancement, retraining, and transfer, to meet the needs of students and the community. The Winona campus opened in 1949, merging with the Red Wing campus in 1992 and updating its name to Minnesota State College Southeast in 2016 with the change of mission to offer both technical training and the associate of arts degree. Minnesota State College Southeast is a member of Minnesota State. For more information, visit www.southeastmn.edu.



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