Feb. 5, 2007

Delano farmer to receive distinguished service award

By Ryan Gueningsman
Managing Editor

Greg Reynolds of Delano will be awarded the 2007 Sustainable Farming Distinguished Service Award from the Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota this month.

Sustainable Farming Association, a non-profit grassroots organization that supports family farms, rural communities and a healthy environment, chooses one Minnesota farmer each year from a pool of nominees to receive this award.

Reynolds and his wife, Mary, operate the 80-acre Riverbend Farm, which is located about three miles west of Delano. The farm provides quality organic produce to restaurants and food co-ops in the Twin Cities.

Some of Reynolds’ main products include tomatoes, eggplant, salad greens, and red mustard, he said.

Reynolds grew up in Anoka, and has spent time living in Saint Paul, as well as Connecticut for 12 years, before finding land and making Delano their home.

As an advocate for sustainable family farms and healthy local foods, Reynolds has served on the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture board, testified before the state legislature, and currently serves as coordinator for Crow River Sustainable Farming Association.

“I’ve been a part of that for quite awhile,” he said, noting the association branches from Hutchinson to St. Cloud, and east to Wisconsin.

“Local is becoming the new organic trend,” he added. “It doesn’t make a lot of sense to ship lettuce from California to Minnesota when you can grow it here.”

More recently, he has taken on the job of food coordinator for the Minnesota Garlic Festival, which happens at the Wright County Fairgrounds in Howard Lake in August.

“I think we figured 600 people came through the cafe last year,” Reynolds said, adding that about 1,000 people attended the first event last year.

The award will be presented to Reynolds during a ceremony at the Sustainable Farming Association annual conference in St. Peter Saturday, Feb. 17.

“It’s certainly an honor to be recognized that way,” Reynolds said. “It’s nice that they did that. I don’t think it’ll change what I do or how I do it. To be honest about it, I’m more interested in being able to make a living on a small farm, without having to own 3,000 acres.”

Even with the cold of winter, Reynolds is still hard at work preparing for the upcoming growing season.

He said he sells winter squashes and potatoes up until the first of the year, and also uses this time of the year to catch up on mechanical work and meet with his customers to plan for the upcoming year.

“Now, I’m also just wrapping up getting seeds ordered,” he said, adding that he’ll start his greenhouses in a couple months.

“It certainly slows down a lot, but it’s not like there’s nothing to do,” Reynolds said.

For more information on SFA and the conference, visit www.sfa-mn.org.

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