Seminar 3 began on Tuesday, January 17th at the Minnesota Department of Agriculture in Saint Paul. We were welcomed by Mike, Eriks and Olga.
The Commissioner of Agriculture, Dave Frederickson stopped by and introduced himself and explained some insight on what a typical day is like for him. The key message he wanted MARL participants to take away was the importance of a bi-partisan approach to agriculture and agricultural policy.
Class IX in action with “Ag in the Classroom” projects
Next on the agenda was “Growing Ag Literacy”. Sue Knott and Keri Sidle, Education Specialists with Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom were the presenters. The Vision for MN Ag in the Classroom is “Agriculture Valued by ALL” Sue and Keri were very passionate about their positions and really got us thinking about how we can become more involved with Ag Literacy, which they demonstrated to us through a typical activity that grade school children would use as a learning tool.
After our lunch break sponsored by Hmong American Famers Association, we traveled to The Good Acre a non-profit organization that is helping small local farmers sell their produce in a more conventional way with access packaging their goods. We were able to tour the facility and learned about their operation and how farmers are growing for the local market. We listened to a panel, of which one of the panel members Pakou Hang was a MARL Class VIII member. She expressed that one of the biggest trends is consumers wanting organic foods.
Next on the agenda was traveling to Peking Garden where we enjoyed an authentic Chinese dinner sponsored by AURI. Our last stop of the evening was a Tour of the Capitol.
We had a fantastic tour guide who was very knowledgeable and had many insightful facts for us. After the tour we met with Representative Paul Torkelson (Class IV), Representatives Poppe and Hamilton, and lobbyists from Farmers Union and Farm Bureau. MARL members were able to ask some behind the scenes questions. The seminar was off to a fantastic start and we are looking forward to our Legislative appointments the next day.
Submitted by Jill Manthei, Class IX