Cogwheel Archive

Rotary Cogwheel | December 21.2017

December 19, 2017

Today’s Program | Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017

Today: Laura Turek, Northfield Promise Literacy Team (Weber)

Next Week: No meeting next week. But come back on January 4 to hear from Pau Ortemberg, our inbound exchange student from Spain (Chavie).
Birthdays: Vicki Dilley and Blake Abdella (12/21), Virginia Kaczmarek (12/22), William Carlson (12/23), Sera Shin and Neil Lutsky (12/27) and Jake Conway (12/28).
Statement of Purpose: Northfield Rotary Club is dedicated to promoting peace and understanding through service and shared experience. We invite people from all corners of the community to join us as we partner with others to support youth, build sustainable infrastructure and preserve our planet.

Last Week:
Better living through farming might be Andrew Ehrmann’s credo. He and his wife, Betsy Allister, run Spring Wind Farm, a 20-acre Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) enterprise in Waterford Township, just north of Northfield. Two Macalester grads with no farming background have made a commitment to building community through growing healthy food for people they know.

“It really all boils down to health,” Andrew said, “on multiple levels.”

They have been at it for eight years now and have not regretted their choice. They enjoy the lifestyle of working and raising a family close to home, the idea of providing friends and neighbors with healthy food, and the community engagement that comes with all of that.

“The fun is working with our patrons and building connections between people and the land,” said Andrew.

The CSA movement started on the east coast in 1986 and has spread across the country. There are now several CSAs in the Northfield area. At Spring Wind Farm consumers pay up front for a full share, two-thirds share or half-share and then pickup their produce once a week during a 20-week growing season. It provides producers up-front capital which allows them to avoid taking out operating loans. It spreads the risk between consumers and the farmers, and it builds strong relationships between patrons and producers.

Two-thirds of his business is based on the 180 subscribing households. The other third is from wholesale sales to grocery stores, the colleges and others. He said Northfield has been really supportive of the idea of locally-sourced produce.

Andrew believes there is room for more CSAs in the area. Access to land can be a barrier, however. The established CSAs work collaboratively to build their businesses. He sees a need to expand the market so future generations will be able to follow in his and Betsy’s footsteps.

Bruce Morlan said sustainability and resilience have been bedrock principles in his approach to civic life. Keeping farm land close to the consumer is good for food and good for the community, he said.

Guests: Patricia Richardson (S. Richardson), Jean Callister-Benson (Spethmann) and Jane Obertree (Will).

Scholarship Enhancement: Penny Hillemann

The Rotary board approved a one-year pilot project to provide an evening meal once a month for youth at The Key. The hope is there will be an opportunity to weave some life-skills training into the program on topics such as cooking and nutrition. If you are interested in contributing to this effort, contact Janine Atchison, Virginia Kaczmarek or Scott Wopata.

The International Film Forum at Carleton College will focus on focus on ecological and civilization sustainability in a 10-week series beginning Monday, Jan. 8, 7 to 9 p.m. and extending through February. For more information, go to: or contact Alan Anderson.

If you are interested in delivering Meals-On-Wheels during our week in January, see Jim Pokorney or Betsy Spethmann. There will be another opportunity in June.

Nominations for this year’s Rotary Good Neighbor Award are due by Thursday, Jan. 4. Nomination forms are available on the club’s website, or see Erica Zweifel for one.

The Copper Street Brass sent a “thank you” for the warm reception of its performance earlier this month. Jan Stevens said the Brass is considering opening their holiday season here in Northfield on a regular basis.

Steve Wilmot, a former member of the club, died Sunday, Dec. 10, at the age of 50. His funeral was last Friday, Dec. 15, in Minneapolis.

Our 2017-18 outbound students are:
Madison Asp — Finland
Joan Erickson — Argentina
Annika Fisher— South Africa
Bergen Hoff — Czech Republic/Slovakia
Emma Iverson — Spain
Alex Kovach — Japan
Joseph Kreis — Italy
Benjamin (Ben) Mohlke — Brazil
Piper Nelson — Germany
Jenna Olien — South Korea
Jack Overstreet — Brazil
Gregory Pelletier — Argentina
Espen Richardson — Norway
Elizabeth (Betsy) Schuerman — Denmark
Allison (Al) Weise — Thailand

Coming Up:
January 11 — Patricia Fenswick, Refugees in the Workplace (Blaha)
January 18 — Jenni Ronni, Classification, (Zweifel)
January 25 — Beatriz Rebello, Exchange Student ( Stevens)
February 1 — Human Trafficking (Thompson)