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Minnesota Grown Directory celebrates 30 years of promoting local foods

The 30th anniversary edition of the Minnesota Grown Directory will be available to consumers in April, marking a major milestone for this popular local foods guide.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) began promoting local foods by publishing a statewide directory in the early 1980s - long before the "buy local" trend became fashionable. The directory was created to highlight Minnesota grown products over those being shipped in from thousands of miles away. Consumers looking for fresh, local foods will find more than 800 farms and markets in the 2011 edition.

"The success and longevity of this publication is testament to the creativity of our growers and the quality of their products," said MDA Commissioner Dave Frederickson. "We're happy to serve Minnesota specialty crop growers, farmers, ranchers, and consumers by again publishing the Minnesota Grown Directory."

Last year, 190,000 copies of the free guide were distributed by tourist information centers, farms, libraries, real estate agents, retailers, and other supporters of local growers. The printed directory is made possible by the participation of many listed growers, more than 20 advertisers, and repeated sponsorship by the Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU).

"The Minnesota Farmers Union is proud to once again be the major sponsor of the directory because we share the Minnesota Grown Program 's goals of educating consumers and developing economic opportunity for farmers," said MFU President Doug Peterson.

The directory pre-dates the Minnesota Grown Program, a statewide partnership created in the late 1980s between the MDA and specialty crop and livestock producers. The Minnesota Grown Program now boasts more than 1,100 members, including Sindie Holmberg owner of Holmberg Orchard in Vesta, Minnesota.

"There's no question that the Minnesota Grown Directory is one of our best marketing tools. We get many new customers every year by listing our orchard in the printed and online directories."

Producers are encouraged to join Minnesota Grown before March 1, 2011 to be eligible for listing in the 30th Anniversary Minnesota Grown Directory. They may do so by clicking on the "Members" box at , or by calling 651-201-6469 and leaving a message with a complete mailing address to receive an application by mail.