Building a New Food Economy

Food Building:
Kieran’s Kitchen Northeast & A-Frame Farms

Despite a lifetime of successful entrepreneurial endeavors, Kieran Folliard says his aspirations for Food Building in Northeast Minneapolis – an urban food production hub connecting farmers, makers, purveyors, and eaters in Minnesota’s food community – qualify as the most challenging work of his life. Food Building houses three artisan food businesses, each of which buys ingredients directly from Minnesota farmers and transforms them into award-winning products like salumi and cheese sold next door at Kieran’s Kitchen restaurant and elsewhere. Kieran says, “Our work is about collaborating to unite common goals. Broadly speaking, most people don’t recognize the value of being self-sufficient within one’s region. Adding value to Minnesota products can make a difference in our marketplace long term.” 

As Kieran strives to influence the economic puzzle facing small producers, his passion for helping underdogs fuels his fight. He says, “Not all small farms are underdogs, but they certainly face numerous challenges finding space in the marketplace.” One of Food Building’s many A-list farm partners is Luke Peterson of A-Frame Farms in Dawson. Kieran says, “Luke is a shining example of the extraordinary farming talent here. His curiosity, thoughtfulness, and vision for his land and products are inspiring.”

Luke turned to farming seeking a better quality of life. He and his wife Ali, a nurse practitioner, approached farming with fresh eyes and eager to make a positive impact, committed to agricultural practices to enhance human health. Today they farm five hundred acres of certified organic crop land, and their diverse crop rotation includes corn, a variety of small grains, Kernza ®, alfalfa, perennial pasture, grass fed beef, and much more. Following their cash crops, they leave crop residue over winter and incorporate as many cover crops as possible: clover varieties, purple top turnip, sunflower, annual rye, and more. Luke says, “In growing crops and beef this way, we create an ecosystem that promotes habitat for wildlife, protects water, and keeps nutrients and profits as local as possible.” About Kieran, Luke gushes, “Kieran is building a new food economy that promotes creativity, longevity, healthy soil, and happy farmers!”