RRPI and its staff would like to thank its members and associates – Governmental, Educational and Industrial for the uniform support that we have had and are currently receiving.

As the year proceeds we are steeped in projects. For the absence of our normally scheduled new year offerings accept our apologies. We are changing our focus of training due to a large COOP training project. The scope of which is being gauged. We are orientating towards certification offerings. As you well know, protecting the ever fragile asset of energy is our mission. Energy management and more secure alternatives will be the only focus of our trainings for certifications.

We are proud to mention we will retain our popular marketing training. What if you launched a sustainable food program without a marketing plan? The key to any successful initiative is getting the word out, and the RRPI marketing team has been teaching free green marketing classes to our members for as long as RRPI has been in business. The impacts of these efforts have been felt and appreciated is the feedback we have garnered. We thus have decided it exists as a core class we intend to keep offering. We will add to it an element of sustainable plan writing. We will utilize “Building a Sustainable Business- A guide to Developing a Business Plan for Farms and Rural Businesses” developed by the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture (MISA). Stay on the look-out for new three day class starting in May.

“Green Marketing is an essential skill to be taught,” said Christopher Elpers our Marketing Training instructor. “Though niche marketing, a successful customer acquisition campaign can increase the bottom line while simultaneously creating more cost-effective energy constructions and savings than a program with minimal customer communication. This is the teaching we have been imparting for the last couple of years.”

Our other trainings will be re-organized and what is retained will remain free and without certification.

With regards to the Community Food Cooperatives (CFC), we are involved with the energy management piece of the sustainable development and growth. The idea is to proliferate the cooperatives within the CFC with a a Basic Platform of Understanding (BPU) in energy efficiency and renewable energy. We also intend to develop from within the system certified technicians with assistance from the state of Minnesota. Other forms of assistance for the CFC organizational system in general and particularly the Community Food Table-North (CFTN) is imminent with the Commissioner for Agriculture’s input.

The CFC organization presently comprises of four food system cooperatives CFTN being the pilot with the business piece in place. Things are progressing rapidly as they ought to considering the intention to produce and process 200,000 lbs of crops this year. The focus of farmers are local and there is a projection towards bringing in the urban farmers as soon as issues constitutionality are addressed. The is in the works and the issue is expected to be resolved soon within the Urban Agriculture Policy Plan. For now sourcing of farmers and seed distribution was initiated at 6th Immigrant and Minority Farmers Conference‐5, 2011 in St. Paul, MN. The St. Paul Food Association and USDA Minority Farmers Conference on February 4th at the Council of Carpenters Event Hall, 710 Olive Street, St. Paul, MN. The theme of the 2011 Conference was “Planting Seeds for Success on your Farm.” Coop representatives were officers from the USA and State Ag. Dept that graced the occasion.

With strong liaisons such as with the USDA the State Ag. Dept, and suggestions of alliances with AgStar , the Risk Management Agency the CFTN and all the CFC sub divisions are off to an excellent, applaud-able start.

Speaking of accolades, RRPI staff are here congratulated (note from Hope4Homeowners Co. for the assistance in relocating. (Energy Audit). Keep up the good work engineering.