The Foundation

Our Story

Farm Table first opened its doors nearly eight years ago. At that time, it was a cluster of nonprofit enterprises with interlaced missions about rebuilding soil health, supporting local farmers and providing the area with delicious, highly nutritious foods.

These ventures included a farmers’ cooperative, restaurant, commercial kitchen and teaching space, and an art gallery. It was an intentional and aspirational effort to demonstrate the tight linkages between the health of the land, of our food, and of our community’s culture and vibrancy.

Today, Farm Table draws visitors into these connections through experiences and menus linked to sustainable farms in the surrounding St. Croix River Valley. This watershed is laced with rivers, hundreds of streams and creeks, sloughs and wetlands – all affected by agricultural practices, homeowner habits, and industrial activities.

The farmers Farm Table works with are committed to rebuilding soil health, encouraging biodiversity, reducing inputs and waste, and increasing farm financial stability.  Their regenerative practices feed the land while feeding the community.

They include family operations where beef herds, sheep and goat flocks sequester carbon as they graze. Pastured pigs get the gleanings from vegetable CSA acres, as well as the whey by-product of farmstead cheese made from the milk of a grass-fed dairy herd.
Pastured chickens and turkeys scratch through grasses and herbs. Mushrooms grow on hand-cut logs, and berries are produced in organically managed fields. Many of the farms use cover crops as well as low-till or no-till planting techniques to mitigate erosion and build soil fertility.

In the peak season, Farm Table’s restaurant sources about 80% of ingredients from farms within 45 miles of the kitchen.  By storing, fermenting and canning local foods when they’re plentiful, Farm Table provides local flavors even when fields are under a foot of snow.

Every food lover is critical to building a healthier farm-to-plate food system. We enjoy highlighting the important roles of both consumers and growers. Our gallery provides a view of agriculture from the perspective of local artists, and our teaching space opens visitors to learning and hands-on experiences.

Due to COVID and budget challenges, Farm Table is currently focusing its energies on its popular restaurant. We will grow our programming from there.

We hope you’ll visit and partner with us in our mission to build local food culture.

Farm Table Mission

Farm Table Foundation supports local food culture through partnerships with farms using sustainable and regenerative practices, visitor experiences, and education.

Research

With recent insights into food quality, microbial life in soil and the human body, bio-availability of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes, and the health profile of pastured animals and their products – there is clearly no end to research and discoveries regarding farm practice, food production, and human well-being. The Farm Table seeks to contribute to this body of research by supporting the in-field research crafted by the farms from whom we purchase our ingredients.  Regenerative farming practices promote habitat sustainability and community resilience.

Heritage Breeds

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The value of genetic material in heritage breeds is of profound importance. Animals that have lived for hundreds of years supporting our ancestors, building soil, and becoming integral to the landscape are being lost in the current rush toward industrial farming practices. 

Farm Table supports efforts to preserve and grow heritage breeds on small farms, by purchasing our proteins from them. Heritage animals are central to healthy farm ecology.

Seeding Local Production

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Seeds are one of the most compact treasure chests on earth, capable of transforming landscapes, culture, and human history while needing only a little care, soil, and water. Yet seeds are under threat from laboratory alterations, corporate control, and government regulation.

The Farm Table is committed to purchasing from farmers who strive to select, grow and harvest seeds adapting to our climate and location.

Some growers work with ancient varieties that exhibit vigor, productiveness, and flavor. By doing so, the Foundation is driving our seed varieties toward regional specialties that are unique, resilient, and abundant. 

 

Working across our Watershed

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Recent decades have witnessed a decided change in how America produces, distributes, and consumes food by divorcing communities from their local food roots.

Farm Table believes using local food production as an economic driver in farming communities is more efficient and synergetic. 

Farm Table is committed to encouraging sustainable farmers in the Lower St. Croix Valley watershed to protect and restore the surface and below-surface waters critical to our homes, agriculture, recreation and industry. 

Education

People learn in so many ways — through reading, watching and hands-on experiences. Farm Table seeks to tap every mode, at every age, to help us become familiar with the arts of growing soil health, food production, and farm research.

If you care about soil health, local food varieties, or food preparation, contact us about private classes for family, friends and colleagues. 

Instructors

Terry Kelzer

CULTURE & TRADITIONS

Bonnie Warndahl

flower ARRANGEMENT & PLANT CARE

Erin Link

SOAP MAKING

sue katt

VICTORY GARDENS

jackie montpetit

MIXOLOGY

carolyn smith

CULINARY & MEDICINAL HERBS

nancy garden

HERBALIST

Our Team

Sylvia Burgos Toftness

INTERIM EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

lynn Blomstrand

ADMINISTRATIVE DIRECTOR

Sarah Mittelstadt

RESTAURANT MANAGER & HEAD CHEF

Megan Olson

SOUS CHEF

Jillian Norton

SERVICE MANAGER

Nicolas Hodgson

SERVICE & RETAIL MANAGER

Board of Directors

Peter Henry

CHAIR & CO-FOUNDER

Michelle Wuellner

SECRETARY

Katy Ellefson

BOARD MEMBER

Kari Wenger

FOUNDER/EX OFFICIO

Leslie Svacina

BOARD MEMBER

David Toftness

TREASURER

Lisa Murphy

BOARD MEMBER

Tours

The Farm Table Foundation offers tours of our facility on an on-going basis.

To schedule a tour or arrange a group visit, please contact info@farmtablefoundation.org  info@farmtablefoundation.org