Minnesota Organic Conference 2014

organic conference 2014

Time to get educated!

A few weeks ago I had the awesome opportunity to attend the Minnesota Organic Conference in St. Cloud, Minnesota.  It was insanely cold, but holy cow!  What a mecca of learning for a newbie like me!

This conference had it all!

Classes about grant writing, organic certification, crops, animals, high tunnels, legal issues, marketing – the list goes on an on!  All of the classes were taught by organic certification specialists, organic farmers, university professors and researchers, and other industry professionals.  I seriously filled over half a notebook with all of the information I learned.

There was also an expo with exhibitors of all kinds, like organic certification, plants and seeds, animals and feed, water, soil, equipment, research, co-ops, and government agencies.  I am not ashamed to say I brought home a two foot pile of information (it’s making for inspiring winter reading)!  The nice folks manning the booths were so friendly and incredibly helpful, especially for someone with as little experience as me.

The food they provided was fantastic!!  All locally grown and/or organic food.  Let me tell you, I’ve worked quite a few trade shows in my day, and we never had food this good.  The lunch the first day was a complete roasted chicken dinner.  Delicious!!

If you’ve never attended a conference like this, I highly recommend it.  Whether you’ve been farming forever, or haven’t even been successful at container gardening, if you have an interest in all things organic and sustainable, fire up Google and search for conferences or groups in your area.  The ticket prices vary based on the size of the conference, but it is so worth it for everything you learn, the new things you discover, and the awesome people you meet.  I’ve never been involved in an industry that is so friendly, non-competitive, and willing to help newbies.  Small, organic and sustainable farmers have such a welcoming community.

I’m already looking forward to the 2015 conference, and I’m checking out others within driving distance.  Maybe I’ll see you there!

(Stay Tuned:  Tonight I start the Living on the Land Workshop Series offered by the University of Minnesota Extension’s Small Farms Program.  I am so excited!  I’ll keep you updated on all of the fun stuff I learn over the next 8 weeks!)

uncovering the barn, part 1

While we are not up at the farm full time yet, there is still a lot to do.  Trees to move here, a well to fix there.  One of the first projects we are working on is fixing up our barn.

cleaning up the barn3

The “barn” is actually a huge pole building with a retail space and upstairs apartment in the front.  It will be a great building to store equipment and other stuff, as well as provide additional work space as we grow.  Right now it’s got a few holes in the walls and roof that we need to get fixed up, among other things.

cleaning up the barn2

But first things first…

The barn is currently engulfed in various trees, vines and weeds.

cleaning up the barn4

Never fear!  Captain Chainsaw and Wonder Weedwhacker to the rescue!!

cleaning up the barn 1

Ok, not-so-Wonder Weedwhacker.  Battery powered power tools are great for around the house, but really only cover about 100 square feet of tough weeds before the battery dies.  This is as far as we got after 2 days…

cleaning up the barn5

Time to invest in a gas powered weedwhacker and head back to the farm to uncover the rest of the barn.  Stay tuned to see what it actually looks like under all of that beautiful greenery!


welcome to o’farmstead!

Greetings! We are so happy you stumbled upon our little blog!

Mr. O’ and I are a Minnesota couple who currently reside in a little 50’s rambler in the suburbs of Minneapolis.  We met almost 10 years ago, and have been happily chugging along through life, but have both felt the need for something more. A little more space. Maybe a small farm. Could we grow our own crops? Raise some small farm animals? Drive a tractor?

We are about to find out!

After lots and lots (and lots) of searching, we have found our future in a chunk of tree-covered land less than an hour north of here. So, now we have our little rambler on the market, and are working to design a house for our new place in the world.

We hope you follow along with us on our adventure.  And if you have any farming advice, please (PLEASE) share it with us!

OH!  And we have trees for sale – tons of them.  Beautiful Blue Spruce and other evergreens.  So, if your in the Twin Cities area and are in need of trees for your home, business, or other landscaping needs, check out the “trees for sale” page above, and let us know!