Renowned author Mark Shepard to speak at Sustainable Agriculture Speaker Series


This fall, the Sustainable Agriculture Speaker Series at Minnesota State College (MSC) Southeast will offer a chance to meet several inspiring individuals who are challenging conventional food and farming systems with alternatives that are socially, environmentally, and economically sustainable. Four exciting speakers will come to the college’s Winona campus on select Thursday evenings to share their insights into this important field.

MSC Southeast biology instructor Liz Micheel developed the Speaker Series and is helping launch a new program in sustainable agriculture at the school. She says the common thread among the speakers is a shared value system based upon community, economic security, and environmental protection.

Each event in this series will start with a social hour from 5-6 p.m., followed by the speaker presentation from 6-7 p.m. Each meeting costs $15, or you may purchase admission to all four meetings for $50. MSC Southeast Winona campus is located at 1250 Homer Road, Winona. Register by going to, or calling 507-453-2740.

The first speaker will be Mark Shepard on September 20. “Mark is a sought-after speaker both nationally and internationally,” said Micheel. “He has graciously offered to come to Winona to show his support for sustainable agriculture at Minnesota State College Southeast.”

Shepard is the renowned author of “Restoration Agriculture: Real World Permaculture for Farmers.” He is also the CEO of Forest Agriculture Enterprises, LLC, and founder of Restoration Agriculture Development, Inc. He runs New Forest Farm, a 106-acre perennial agricultural savanna considered by many to be one of the most ambitious sustainable agriculture projects in the United States. In addition to speaking on Thursday evening, September 20, Shepard will present a workshop on local permaculture design concepts on September 21. Registration is limited, and the cost is separate from the Speaker Series.

Sustainable Agriculture Speaker Series events

• September 20: Mark Shepard, author — “Restoration Agriculture: Real World Permaculture for Farmers”
• October 25: Jim Riddle, Blue Fruit Farm — The past, present, and future of agriculture in the Winona area
• November 15: Norm Erickson, Hazelnut Valley Farm, LLC — Growing hazelnuts in Minnesota as a sustainable, environmentally friendly crop
• December 13, Bruno Borsari and Liz Micheel — Introducing the new sustainable agriculture program at MSCS

Micheel emphasizes the importance of starting a college-level program in sustainable agriculture in Southeast Minnesota. “I truly believe that sustainable agriculture can help in solving some of the world’s problems, like climate change and other quality of life issues,” she said. “In this area there’s really a lot of interest in small scale agricultural practices that are protective of our water quality and the unique topography along the Mississippi River bluffs and the Driftless region.”

To register for the Sustainable Agriculture Speaker Series and the permaculture workshop, go to or call 507-453-2740. For more information, please contact Liz Micheel at 507-458-4829 or


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