Action Alert

Fair trade or free trade? Let your voice be heard on Minnesota’s future!

The Obama Administration is negotiating two new mega trade deals (one with Pacific Rim countries, another with Europe) entirely in secret, with the goal of further expanding the NAFTA-model of free trade. These trade agreements could have major impacts on Minnesota's farmers, workers, small business owners and rural communities. They could limit Minnesota’s ability to support local food and energy systems and grow local businesses. In order to stay up to speed, Minnesota has set up a new Trade Policy Advisory Council (TPAC) to advise the state legislature and Governor.

TPAC wants to hear from Minnesotans: What concerns do you have about free trade? What role could TPAC play in the future? Now is your opportunity to have a say in our future trade policy. Complete the survey and let them know future trade negotiations should be public, not secret. Help ensure the voices of all Minnesotans are heard in the development of trade agreements and that they protect local control and our quality of life. The free trade model has failed for Minnesota and we need a new approach to trade. Help ensure the voices of all Minnesotans are heard before trade agreements are completed, and that they protect local control, our natural resources and our quality of life.

Please take five minutes and complete the survey. To find out more about these trade agreements, go to

Freshest for the youngest: Minnesota launch of Farm to Child Care pilot to serve as national model

By Andrew Ranallo   
Published June 22, 2012

Local FoodFood and HealthFarm to ChildcareFoodHealth

Used under creative commons license from USDAgov.

MINNEAPOLIS – A new partnership between the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) and child-care provider New Horizon Academy (NHA) is delivering fresh, local foods from Minnesota farms to child-care centers around the state.

Beginning this month, 13 New Horizon child-care sites located in the Twin Cities metro, St. Cloud and Rochester areas will serve as pilot locations for a new Farm to Child Care initiative. In 2013, the program will be extended to all 60 of NHA’s Minnesota locations, reaching a total of 7,500 children. After rigorous evaluation of the program, IATP will report its findings nationally and provide tools to encourage others to adopt the model.

Healthy food from nearby farms and experiential learning opportunities, garden-based education, and interactions with farmers will connect young children with local foods and educate them about how their food is grown.

“IATP has helped catalyze the rapid growth of Farm to School in Minnesota and we are now bringing what we’ve learned to child care,” said IATP’s JoAnne Berkenkamp. “Reaching young children, particularly between the ages of three and five, is a golden opportunity to influence lifelong eating habits, all while creating new opportunities for the local farm economy.”

Leading up to the June launch, IATP and NHA have been building relationships with area farmers, revamping menus to include locally grown fruits, vegetables and wild rice, developing curriculum for the children and generating helpful tips for parents. IATP has also released national research on nascent Farm to Child Care programs around the country and the opportunities and challenges in connecting farmers with children in child-care settings.

“We are excited to be on the ground level of such a unique partnership,” said NHA’s Chief Operating Officer, Chad Dunkley. “Given our mission to provide children with the best possible environment for healthy development, providing farm-fresh, local foods is a natural fit for New Horizon Academy and the families we serve.”

“As a farmer, it’s important to me that younger generations know where their food is coming from and how it was grown—that carrots grow in the ground and that apples grow on trees—and that fresh food choices are good choices,” said Chuck Fields, whose farm, Ed Fields & Sons, will be supplying some of the fresh produce to be featured in the pilot program.

IATP’s work to expand Farm to School programs in Minnesota has contributed to an increase from fewer than 20 participating school districts in 2006 to 145 districts by 2011. Read IATP’s report, Farm to Child Care: Opportunities and Challenges for Connecting Young Children with Local Foods and Farmers.


       Sign up for our free newsletter!