our farmers

 
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jim riddle

Jim Riddle grew up on a small, diversified farm in Iowa, and has been involved in farming since graduating from Grinnell College in 1978. In addition to operating Blue Fruit Farm, Jim has been involved in the organic sector for more than 30 years as an organic inspector, consultant, educator, speaker and activist. Jim was founding chair of the Winona Farmers Market and the International Organic Inspectors Association. He served on the National Organic Standards Board and on the boards of the International Organic Accreditation Service and the Organic Farmers Association. Jim currently serves as chair of Minnesota's Organic Advisory Task Force, which advises the MDA and UMN on organic policy and research priorities.

On the farm, Jim is involved in all aspects of the operation, from propagation and pruning to harvest and sales. He maintains our equipment and helps us all remember to clean our tools after use.


 
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joyce e ford

Joyce E. Ford started her career as an organic vegetable farmer in the 1970’s. She and her husband, Jim Riddle, helped organize the Winona Farmers Market. She was an organic inspector for over 20 years, and helped organize the International Organic Inspectors Association (IOIA). She has trained organic inspectors for the IOIA and was the first inspector to monitor pipeline construction on organic farms, enforcing MN’s Agricultural Impact Mitigation Plan’s Organic Appendix.

Joyce served on the MOSES board of directors for 6 years. More recently she helped develop a Healthy Food Charter for the State of Minnesota. In 2013, Joyce and Jim were awarded EcoFarm’s Stewards of Sustainable Agriculture. In 2019, they will receive the MOSES Farmer of the Year award.

At Blue Fruit Farm, Joyce is involved in every aspect of the farm, but especially marketing and keeping organic certification records. She loves to weed and hand harvest. She also manages pest monitoring activities and post-harvest handling. She is learning about Food as Medicine through the healthy benefits of the fruits that are grown at Blue Fruit Farm.


 
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katie lange

Katie Lange is Farm Manager. She is learning numerous aspects of the farm from pest control to customer service. Katie was born and raised in Winona where she lives with her partner, Luke. She has a degree in Community Health Promotion with an emphasis in Child Advocacy from Winona State University. She has interned with Gundersen Health System in the Global Partners division, studied pre-medicine, and worked as a clinical Research Fellow in community and preventive care. It did not take Katie long to discover that she could fix a symptom with a prescription, but it is much more challenging to fix the cause of a health problem. Katie then set out on a journey of discovering the actual causes of health disparities. She has coached holistic living and weight loss as well as educated on nutraceuticals. This has led to her mission of growing organic food and educating on the powerful health benefits of food and sustainable living practices. Katie's vision is that, through Blue Fruit Farm and the organic fruit grown here, she can help provide people healthy foods and practices to reach true wellness of the mind, body and soul.