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

Governor Dayton proclaims September Farm to School Month in Minnesota

By Andrew Ranallo      
Published August 29, 2011

Local FoodFood and HealthFoodYouth/Students

Used under creative commons license from GovernorDayton.

 The many benefits that Farm to School brings to K-12 students and the local agricultural economy in Minnesota will be recognized in September.

MINNEAPOLIS – Governor Mark Dayton on Thursday, August 25, proclaimed September as Farm to School Month in recognition of the many benefits that Farm to School brings to K-12 students and the local agricultural economy in Minnesota.

Farm to School initiatives connect school children with locally grown food and the farmers who grow it. Farm to School also helps support children’s health by increasing the use of fresh fruits and vegetables and other minimally processed local foods in school meals, and by providing educational opportunities for students.

The request for the Farm to School Proclamation was initiated by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), a long-running advocate for Farm to School in Minnesota and around the country. “On behalf of all Minnesotans involved in Farm to School, I would like to thank the Governor for recognizing the growing importance of this initiative to our state,” said JoAnne Berkenkamp, Local Foods program director at IATP. “September promises to be an exciting month as Minnesota schools showcase fresh Farm to School foods, educate their students about healthy eating and open up new markets for our region’s small- and mid-sized farmers.”

Participating schools will serve local favorites ranging from sweet corn, tomatoes and carrots to apples, cantaloupe and watermelon. In addition, many schools will provide students with educational opportunities including visits from local farmers and gardening activities.

Participation in Farm to School has grown rapidly, from just ten districts in 2006 to 123 districts around the state in 2010, according to a survey conducted by IATP and the Minnesota School Nutrition Association (MSNA). In response, annual Farm to School celebrations have been expanded from one week last year to the full month of September 2011. Many schools will continue their Farm to School activities throughout the school year.

For more information, see and


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