Apple tree

Celebrating our Roots: Sharing the Story of Minnesota’s Agriculture Community

The change of sea­sons from sum­mer to fall is one that many of us at Bell­mont Part­ners love – from the crisp morn­ings and the col­or­ful leaves, to the trips to the orchard and the bus­tle of har­vest. This year, we also wel­comed autumn with two projects that high­light­ed the beau­ty and the impor­tance of this sea­son in Minnesota.

From August through Octo­ber, we had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to part­ner with peo­ple who – like us – have a strong pas­sion for agri­cul­ture and edu­ca­tion, work­ing to share their sto­ries across the state. We enjoyed work­ing on these two projects and learned so much along the way!

The first project, pro­mot­ing ear­ly sea­son apples, was one we were thrilled to dive back into, after also work­ing with the Min­neso­ta Depart­ment of Agriculture’s Min­neso­ta Grown team in 2019. These apples, such as First Kiss, Swee­T­an­go® and Zes­tar!®, offer incred­i­ble taste and are avail­able about one month pri­or to oth­er local vari­eties like Hon­ey­crisp, but many shop­pers don’t real­ize they’re an excel­lent ear­ly option. To help spread the word that fresh, local apples were avail­able for the first time since last fall, we devel­oped and imple­ment­ed an inte­grat­ed com­mu­ni­ca­tions cam­paign. This includ­ed media rela­tions, both in the Twin Cities metro and greater Min­neso­ta, along with an influ­encer pro­gram that fea­tured orchard vis­its and brought vis­i­bil­i­ty of ear­ly sea­son apples to Insta­gram, Tik­Tok and more. While we were already big fans of apples, it’s safe to say we’re even more so now and have enjoyed get­ting to know some of our state’s grow­ers along the way.

The oth­er project we had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to work on this fall was Min­neso­ta Farm to School Month, which brought us into the fold again with the Min­neso­ta Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture along with the Min­neso­ta Depart­ment of Edu­ca­tion. Through this ini­tia­tive, we worked to raise aware­ness of Farm to School Month and how Farm to School pro­grams – big and small – are help­ing pro­vide nutri­tious, local food to kids while also ben­e­fit­ing farm­ers and com­mu­ni­ties. Anoth­er fun com­po­nent of this project was devel­op­ing an info­graph­ic that will help reach Farm to School stake­hold­ers in a new, visu­al­ly engag­ing way. From show­cas­ing the Great Lakes Apple Crunch to school gar­den pro­grams to inno­v­a­tive part­ner­ships, sto­ries from across the North Star State were front and cen­ter through­out the month to bring atten­tion to the school nutri­tion pro­fes­sion­al and pro­duc­ers who are work­ing tire­less­ly to get fresh, healthy food to chil­dren, even dur­ing the pandemic.

For many of us who grew up in agri­cul­ture-based com­mu­ni­ties, both of these projects helped us get back to our roots, cel­e­brat­ing ag and edu­ca­tion and shar­ing sto­ries that make a last­ing impact. A big thank you to the entire Min­neso­ta Grown and Farm to School teams for these oppor­tu­ni­ties – we’re grate­ful for the chance to part­ner with these orga­ni­za­tions and peo­ple who do incred­i­ble things for our state’s ag com­mu­ni­ties and all of Minnesota!

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