Big River Farms Programs

Hands-on and classroom training in organic farming.

Growing Farmers. Growing Food.

Big River Farms helps participants learn to cultivate crops for organic production and develop the basics for launching a farming business or community program. The Grower Training Program is three years of growing farm and business skills. The Incubator Program offers growers an opportunity to access land, resources, and transition their farm business to the next phase. Big River Farms is intentionally designed to support immigrant, limited resource, and historically underserved individuals.

Grower Training Program

The program operates year-round with winter coursework planning, seasonal land-based training and in-field workshops.  Winter classes are held in the Twin Cities, with topics focusing on organic production techniques and practices, available produce markets and how to farm as a business.  Starting in April, the education program transitions to Big River Farms, located 30 miles from the Twin Cities in Marine on St. Croix.  This is where participants are able to put what they’ve learned in class and in meetings to practice on their own plot of land.  Throughout the season, skill sessions, in-field classes and field trips to other farms are key in demonstrating important techniques and practices.  Unique to this program is the one-on-one assistance available throughout the season, both in-field technical assistance and planning/business assistance. 

3-Year Program Focus:  

Level 1 – Starting your Farm Plot 

Level 2 – Starting your Market 

Level 3 – Starting a Business Plan 

Farm Incubator Program 

Upon completing the 3-year Grower Training Program, growers can apply to transition to the Incubator Farm to operate their independent farming business.  In the Big River Farms incubator program, farmers operate independently, bearing their own costs without subsidies. The emphasis shifts from merely farming a plot to fully managing an independent farm business. Participants handle their own cover cropping, fertility management, tractor operations, Organic Certification, and market strategies. Additionally, each farmer is expected to lead at least one education session or farm tour.  Most incubator farmers spend 3-6 years on average at Big River Farms before transitioning to their own farm or other opportunities.   

Growers with prior farming & market experience are eligible to apply directly to the Incubator Program by providing some work history and conducting an interview with farm staff. 

We Value Nutritious Food
Working with our community partners, The Food Group buys, gleans, grows, and processes fresh produce.

Food Bank
or Food Shelf?
The Food Group is a food bank that supplies other hunger relief agencies with fresh produce, frozen meat, grocery staples, and other household necessities. Food shelves distribute free food to individuals and families in their local communities.

The Food Group believes in food equity. They believe in culturally specific foods. They believe in meeting people where they are at. And most of all, they believe in dignity.

The Food Group volunteer and donor

Did You Know?
Over 20% of Black households and 19% of Latinx households report food insecurity, compared to 10% of white households.

Interested in Farmer Education?

Email us to connect and learn more!

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The Food Group

We’re a nonprofit working at the intersection of equity and access to fresh, sustainable foods. From farming to distribution, we provide fresh food across MN and WI.

The Food Group is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. EIN 41-1246504 Contributions are tax-deductible to the full amount provided by the law.

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