Kickoff Event

Monday, July 25, 2016
4:30–6:30 p.m.

Fulton Brewery
414 N 6th Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55401

Join us for an exclusive event to kickoff A Celebration of Minnesota’s Waters on July 25 hosted by U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance® and the Farm and Food Alliance of Minnesota. Water quality is top-of-mind for residents in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Concerns about conservation, usage and sustainability are just a few of the topics that have made it into the conversations of citizens.

You’re invited to participate in an intimate conversation with influential players vested in finding a solution to this issue. Hear from:
A local Minnesota brewery
U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance

Food Dialogues Event

Tuesday, July 26, 2016
Event Registration: 1:00 p.m.
Panel Discussion: 2:00 p.m.

Weisman Art Museum
333 E River Parkway
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Join us the following day, July 26, for a panel discussion on water quality and the issues surrounding it. As an important decision maker and influencer in Minnesota, you have a distinctive role to play in this essential issue. Together, we can identify solutions to improve this important, finite resource.

To register for either event, click here.

Enter to win a Sun Dolphin Aruba Sit-in Kayak simply by attending the Food Dialogues Event! Enjoy your summer in style and embark on your own adventure in the great outdoors. Register to attend now!*

*By registering to attend, you acknowledge that you have read and agree to the terms of this promotion.


  • Valerie Earley, National FFA Officer Candidate - Minnesota View Full Bio

    Valerie Earley is a senior at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities studying Agricultural Communications and Marketing. Valerie served as the 2014-2015 Minnesota State FFA Secretary and is currently the Minnesota candidate for National FFA Office. She is originally from Wykoff, Minnesota and has a passion for sharing the story of agriculture. This passion led to her organizing the annual Rochester Urban Agriculture in the Classroom event held by local FFA chapters in elementary schools in Rochester. She has also interned for Minnesota Pork Board and Minnesota Pork Producers Association, CFANS Admissions, Minnesota Farmers Union and Christensen Farms.


  • Rebecca Kenow, Sustainability Officer View Full Bio

    Land O' Lakes

  • Jeff Merriman, Dakota County Technical College instructor of Brewing and Beer Steward Technology, Regional Retail Manager - Northern Brewer View Full Bio

    Jeff joins the DCTC as the instructor of their newest program, Brewing and Beer Steward Technology. He has a diploma in Brewing Science and Engineering from the American Brewers Guild in Middlebury, Vermont. Jeff is also a Certified Cicerone®, the beer equivalent of a wine Sommelier.

    Jeff has 15 years of experience in home brewing, wine making, mead making and cider making.

    He is currently the regional retail manager for Northern Brewer, the largest home brewing and wine making company in America. He oversees two highly successful retail stores and supervises a staff of 25 retail team members. Jeff has a track record of implementing strategies for training, customer service and salesmanship.

    In his free time, Jeff likes to frequent some of his favorite tap rooms with friends. He enjoys cooking and pairing food with beer and wine and is always dreaming about his next trip to Europe to continue his search for the world's greatest lagers.

  • Rebecca Flood, Assistant Commissioner, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency View Full Bio

    Rebecca Flood joined the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) in 2008 as the assistant commissioner for water policy matters. In this role she oversees the agency's programs and activities to maintain and improve the quality of Minnesota’s lakes, rivers and wetlands.

    Rebecca serves as the liaison to the agricultural sector. In addition, she assisted the Minnesota Department of Agriculture with the development of the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program, which is a voluntary program designed to expedite adoption of agricultural best management practices specifically designed to protect water quality. Nationally, Rebecca is Minnesota's representative on the U.S. EPA’s Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Task Force.

    Prior to joining the MPCA, Rebecca was employed by the Metropolitan Council for 30 years in a variety of clean water programs, most recently serving as the Environmental Compliance Manager for the Council’s seven municipal wastewater treatment facilities in the seven-county St. Paul/Minneapolis metropolitan area. In this role, she also represented the Council on a wide variety of statewide water policy committees, and led the development of both the Council’s phosphorus and mercury reduction strategies.

    Rebecca received a Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife Biology from Michigan State University.

  • Nathan Collins, Murdoch, Minnesota Farmer View Full Bio

    Nathan Collins farms with his brother and dad in western Minnesota, raising corn, soybeans and beef cattle, as well as operating a silage chopping business. He serves on the Minnesota Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Water Quality Certification Committee as Minnesota Farm Bureau’s representative. He and his wife have three kids. His wife works as a nurse in Willmar.

  • Vanessa Perry, Ph.D Student at the University of Minnesota View Full Bio

    Vanessa is currently pursuing a PhD in Natural Resource Science and Management in the Department of Forest Resources at the University of Minnesota. Her course work focuses on policy, water management and behavior/decision making. Her current research focuses on community capacity to respond to natural resource challenges, in particular water management. Previous research included rural landowner conservation decision making, local agency outreach, and increasing diversity and equity in natural resource management. 

    Vanessa has a wide range of experience in natural resources management and sustainable land use. Prior to returning to grad school she was a program director with Envision Minnesota and lead a technical assistance program for communities throughout the state. Before coming to Minnesota she worked as a rural and natural resources planner in Montana where she lead a successful conservation easement bond program to preserve working lands and wildlife habitat. Vanessa has a passion for inclusive public participation, a skill initially developed during her service as a Peace Corps Volunteer In Macedonia. Facilitation and public process design runs as a theme through her work. 

    Other experience includes youth environmental education, wetlands research, watershed management, multi-use trail planning, and project planning and design.