About UsMembershipNews & Action InitiativesRetreat & Conference CenterTHE CSA FARMEducation ProgramsResearch/Advocacy
Organic Farm School

Organic Farm School 2014

Start Date: 
Monday, June 16, 2014 - 6:00pm
End Date: 
Monday, June 16, 2014 - 8:00pm

June 16 - “It’s Alive!”

Dr. Pat Farrell  (UMD-Geography)

Class Description:

Instructor Bio:  I am a soils geographer who teaches geography courses at UMD. I am interested in soil-people relationships, from pre-Columbian environments in the Americas to contemporary backyard composting.

Organic Farm School 2014

Start Date: 
Monday, June 23, 2014 - 6:00pm
End Date: 
Monday, June 23, 2014 - 8:00pm

June 23 - “Weed Management On An Organic Vegetable Farm: Bio-Systems And Tools”

Atina Diffley (Organic Famer and consultant Organic Farming Works) 

Class Description: Successful weed management in an organic system requires much more than good cultivation.  Atina Diffley will discuss weed physiology and management using rotations, seed bed reduction, fertility, stale bedding making, cover crops, habitat for biological life, and tillage equipment, in relation to the agronomic principles of an organic farming system.

Suggested Readings: Ten Steps Toward Organic Weed Control by Vern Grubinger

Instructor Bio:  Atina Diffley is an organic farmer-educator, activist, and author of the 2013 Minnesota Book Award winner, Turn Here Sweet Corn: Organic Farming Works–a memoir based on Atina’s and her partner Martin's experiences running the Gardens of Eagan organic vegetable farm.

All about our CSA: A free informational meeting about Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)

Start Date: 
Thursday, April 24, 2014 - 6:30pm
End Date: 
Thursday, April 24, 2014 - 7:30pm
Location: North Branch Library Community Room, 6355 379th St, North Branch, MN
Description: Join WEI's farm manager, Jacque, for a discussion about our certified-organic vegetable farm and Community Supported Agriculture program. 
Women's Environmental Institute is a non-profit organization in North Branch working for social and economic change through food, farm, and environmental justice. 
For more information: Call 651.583.0705 or email wei@w-e-i.org

Organic Farm School 2014

Start Date: 
Monday, June 16, 2014 - 6:00pm
End Date: 
Monday, August 11, 2014 - 6:00pm


June 16th - August 11th

Location: TBD

The Women's Environmental Institute is pleased to announce registration is open for the 2014 Organic Farm School. Organic Farm School is a unique ten-week educational summer program composed of lectures, related readings, hands-on workshops and field trips related to sustainable agriculture, food justice and today’s local food movement, bringing urban farming and small rural farms together.

The Women’s Environmental Institute is a nonprofit organization with a rural campus in North Branch, MN.  Our mission is to promote environmental justice and sustainable agriculture.  Organic Farm School began in 2006 to educate and inform the public on organic food and farming and to support the expansion of organic gardening and farming in Minnesota. This year’s lectures are listed below:


START DATE DELAYED to Monday FEB. 3-- due to weather

Organic Farming 101   REGISTER NOW!  Limited Space.

Course Coordinator:  Professor Jacquelyn Zita, Farm Manager at the Women’s Environmental Institute
Tuition: $250
Monday evenings: 6:00-8:30,  FEB 3-- APRIL 7
Location: 400 Ford Hall, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN  
Level:  college level adult education

No plot of land is too small. What you need to know. This 10-week course is designed to grow organic farmers and the knowledge needed for whole farm planning and management using the principles and practices of organic agro-ecological farming. The class will provide students an opportunity to design your own organic farm or garden (for this year or in the future), develop the knowledge you need to organic farm or garden management, and create a business and farm management plan for a full farming season.  The class is coordinated by Professor Jacquelyn Zita, farm manager for the Women’s Environmental Institute, and may include a select number of other farmers, certifiers and professors as guest speakers.

COURSE SYLLABUS                               COURSE OBJECTIVES                         READINGS                         REQUIREMENTS                         REGISTER NOW                     

Growing Power Training Weekend at WEI, Oct 5th & 6th, 2013 Report

Our Fourth Annual WEI/Growing Power Training Weekend provided an opportunity for food justice enthusiasts from North Branch, the Twin Cities, and as far away as Ohio and Illinois to join together for hands-on workshops, lectures, farming, and networking! Despite dreary, cold weather, spirits were high and a total of 110 people attended, presented, volunteered, and participated in two days of workshops and fun.

   Over 22 individuals and organizations provided financial support or scholarships for youth and low-income community members to attend this event, allowing WEI to continue its partnership with Will Allen and Growing Power, Inc.  Our goal is to train participants in sustainable community farming methods and food justice as part of our mission as Minnesota’s Growing Power Regional Outreach Training Center (ROTC).

Participants chose from workshops such as hoop house building, mushroom growing, aquagreens and microgreens, aquaponics system construction, composting and vermiculture.  Attendees also had the opportunity to tour the WEI farm campus, harvest apples, and join in a fireplace food justice discussion with Will Allen.

   When asked what aspects of the weekend training they found most helpful, participants shared: “The education was great, the networking was awesome, meeting and talking with people with the same vision for a sustainable, peaceful world is inspiring” “I loved everything”  “I really thought your general hospitality was helpful. Made me feel comfortable networking with the community.”

   Some of the participants shared their goals for the future including:  “Lets use our communities to be independent of wealth so food access is a reality for everyone.” “I want to start a profitable urban farming and composting business that involves the community.”  “Help individuals (everyone) learn how to become sustainable by educating, promoting, and training people to gain access to land and opportunities while also discontinuing all the GMOs.” “We want to grow veggies year-round in our greenhouse and create more jobs for people in the community.”


Amador Sunrise Land Registry 2013 Report

By Registry Program Coordinator, Laurie Allmann

This year, Registry members enjoyed the opportunity to participate in WEI’s Prairie School hikes, led by naturalist Dave Crawford. The autumn gathering was a special event co-hosted by Wild River State Park on the topic of water quality in the St. Croix and Sunrise Rivers, featuring guest speaker Dr. Jim Almendinger, Sr. Scientist at the St. Croix Watershed Research Station. It was a wonderful and well-attended presentation, with important information that is now posted as a feature article on the website St. Croix 360. Check it out at: http://bit.ly/IfEoew

   We also held another “walk-about” with Program ecologist Tara Kelly visiting the property of the Wintz family, newest members to join the Registry. This benefit is at the heart of the Registry program. It’s a chance for landowners to walk their property with an ecologist, have any questions answered, and discuss how they might accomplish their conservation goals.

    As always, it has truly been a pleasure and privilege to connect with the people who are part of WEI’s Registry community of 15 households. It’s inspiring to know that there are people so appreciative of wildlife and natural areas, who are personally dedicated to being good stewards of their own property. There is truly no way to measure the value of the natural treasures contained in the 320+ acres owned by Registry members—the oak savannas, maple-basswood forests, prairies, streams, fern-filled ravines, sedge meadows and ephemeral pools that ring with frog song in the spring. But we can all be grateful to know that they are held in such caring hands.

    The Amador-Sunrise Registry provides conservation education and opportunity for local landowners to connect with others who share an appreciation for the rural and natural heritage of the area.  There is no cost to join, and no obligation. Open to residents of Amador and Sunrise Township in Chisago County. Founded by the Women’s Environmental Institute in 2008. Made possible by funding assistance from Embrace Open Space, with support from the McKnight Foundation.  For more information contact Registry Program Coordinator Laurie Allmann at Laurie@w-e-i.org.