April Showers = Rain Garden
Accompanied at times by a few snowflakes, the April showers have arrived. Although an essential ingredient in a thriving ecosystem, it's possible to have too much of a good thing. Excess water takes the form of runoff which can cause flooding and pollute nearby water sources. In many cases, a rain garden is a feasible solution which not only prevents runoff but provides an abundance of other benefits.
Rain gardens, by design, are strategically placed depressions in the ground that are typically lined with native plants and grasses. Placement near runoff sources (rooftops, streets, and other impervious surfaces) allows the raingarden to capture and processes the runoff which would otherwise contaminate nearby waterways. The plants and soils found in rain gardens break down the pollutants found in runoff which results in a greater supply of fresh water. Rain gardens hydrate the soil and can potentially provide fresh, healthy water for surrounding plants.
As your plans take shape for another growing season take a look at the runoff sources around your property and consider adding a rain garden. The How To Manual for Homeowners is a great resource to get you started. bluethumb.org offers video tutorials and other tools to aid in designing your rain garden.
What is a CSA?
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a partnership between producers and consumers. Consumers purchase a membership share for which they receive a portion of the harvest on a regularly scheduled basis (the schedule may vary by CSA).
By purchasing shares, consumers help defray the costs of farming and assume some responsbility for the risks associated with farming. In exchange for their membership, consumers are supplied with a wide variety of locally-grown produce throughout the growing season.
CSA membership supports the local economy, builds community, and increases food security through local food systems. In turn, the producers focus on growing quality products for CSA members. The size and products within a share will vary by CSA. Check out these area CSAs to find out more and sign up for a summer share.
Redfern Gardens (Sebeka)
Great River Gardens (Aitkin)
King Gardens (Hackensack)
Gardens Gourmet (Henning)
The Farm on St. Mathias (Brainerd)
Lakes and Valleys CSA (Park Rapids)
For more information on local foods check out the following websites:
The Sustainable Farming Association is working on a project to expand availability of locally raised meat and poultry in Minnesota. Please take a few moments to respond to this consumer interest survey if you live in Northern MN - and if not, please circulate to any friends, family or colleagues who are Northern MN residents (North of Hwy 210/ Fergus Falls, Wadena, Brainerd, Duluth and further North). These survey results will help SFA understand consumer interest and preferences for purchasing locally raised meat and poultry in Northern Minnesota.
Complete the survey to be entered in a drawing for great prizes. Three copies of the Minnesota Homegrown Cookbook and two Sustainable Farming Association caps will be given away to survey respondents entered in the drawing.
This survey is being conducted by the Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota (www.sfa-mn.org) with assistance from the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture at the University of Minnesota (www.misa.umn.edu).