Urban Ag Conference

Join the Minnesota Farm Bureau for its inaugural Urban Ag Conference. This conference is made possible by a grant from the USDA Urban, Indoor and other Emerging Agricultural Production Research, Education and Extension Initiative (UIE). 

The free event will be held on Saturday, January 13, 2024 in the Cargill Building on the St. Paul campus of the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities. 

Connect with local and state leaders on the issues facing those involved in urban agriculture and food systems, including land access, water access, funding and more.

Event Information
Urban Ag Conference
Saturday, January 13, 2024
9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Cargill Building, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities St. Paul Campus
1500 Gortner Ave, St. Paul 

Transportation Information
Parking will be available free of charge for attendees who park in the Gortner Avenue Ramp (1395 Gortner Ave., St. Paul) on campus. Attendees will receive a parking voucher at registration.
There is also hourly parking on the streets around the Cargill Building.
The venue is also accessible by public transportation, Metro Transit bus routes 61 and 87. 

Register Today

Conference Schedule (Subject to Change)

9:30 a.m. - Registration Opens

10 a.m. - Welcome 

10:15-11:30 a.m. - Knowledge Share and Networking: Connect with fellow agriculturists, Extension educators and more to learn about resources and practices you can utilize
Tables include:

  • Kajsa Beatty, USDA Farm Service Agency and John Brezinka, USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service
  • Kaytlin Bemis and Pierce Bennett, Advocacy 101, Minnesota Farm Bureau
  • Daniel Handeen, Deep Winter Greenhouse Project, University of Minnesota
  • Lia Spaniolo, University of Minnesota Extension Educator, Urban Agriculture & Small Farms
  • Sai Thao, Senior Lending Specialist, Compeer Financial 

11:45 a.m. - Lunch and Remarks from Agriculture Leaders and Elected Officials
Tentative speakers include:

  • Patrice Bailey, Minnesota Department of Agriculture
  • Minnesota Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan
  • Dan Glessing, President, Minnesota Farm Bureau

1 p.m. - Land Access Panel
Dr. H. Fernando Burga, Assistant Professor, Urban and Regional Planning University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs 
Dr. Burga's research, teaching, and service focus on urban planning, particularly the incorporation of immigrant populations into planning, and urban food systems. His work is informed by three principles: a reflexive inquiry into the ethics of expert knowledge and the use of qualitative research; the application of design to build awareness, harness data, and enable urban planning and public policy advocacy; and a commitment to engage community actors who are disenfranchised from the fields of planning and public policy due to their race, class, and citizenship status. 

2 p.m. - Water Usage Panel
Jordan Bergstrom, Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) Lab, University of Minnesota
As part of the CEA Lab, Jordan focuses on hydroponics growing and the use of these systems to save on water in urban settings (both inside or outside a structure). He will also discuss roof-top agrivoltaics (solar arrays coupled with crop growth) as a way for urban gardeners to work with developers to create greenspace, generate electricity, and reap tax benefits. 

3 p.m. - Technical Assistance: How to Find and Apply for Grants and Other Funding
There are lots of grant and funding options available, but how do you find them and apply for them? Hear from agencies providing funding on where to find the resources, and tips for completing the application process.
Featured speakers include:

  • Kajsa Beatty, USDA Farm Service Agency
  • Maya Benedict, Minnesota Department of Agriculture
  • John Brezinka, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

4 p.m. - Closing Remarks

Register Today

This conference is made possible by a grant from the USDA Urban, Indoor and other Emerging Agricultural Production Research, Education and Extension Initiative (UIE).