The Crow River Food Council

The Crow River Food Council promotes healthy eating that maximizes the use of local, regional, and seasonal food produced with sustainable practices and enhances the general welfare and prosperity of individuals and communities in our region.

We focus on strategies and policies that make it easier to purchase fruits and vegetables, support local farms, grow our local food system, and address the wide range of challenges and disparities faced when trying to eat a healthy diet.

This endeavor is part of a growing network of efforts across our region and across the country that aim to improve healthy eating and address issues of food equity while building strong, prosperous communities.

The Crow River Food Council, a non-profit 501(c)(4), is supported in part by funding from the Minnesota Department of Health Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP).

Food Council Working Groups

Program and outreach work is done by our working groups.
Learn more and consider joining one of the Working Groups.


The Crow River Food Council is a fun and active group helping create more opportunities for all residents in Wright County and the greater Crow River area to enjoy healthy, local food.

We are not currently accepting new members at this time, but please watch for news regarding our next application opportunity on Facebook and by subscribing to our newsletter.

  • Education

    The Education Working Group has created strong partnerships with the Buffalo Hospital/Allina Healthy System. Together we coordinated a series of cooking classes. We’re also proud to support the Montrose Cooks! classes at Grace Place in Montrose.

    Additionally, we received a grant to facilitate connection between institutional buyers and farmers/producers. This included hosting a workshop and hosting subsequent meetings.

  • Farmers Market Coalition

    The Farmers Market Coalition has been working to promote and strengthen the great farmers markets in our area. Our work has included establishing the Power of Produce Club at local markets and hosting meetings for Farmers Market leaders.

  • Mapping the Crow River food system

    We are developing a comprehensive directory of local food producers, retailers, distributors and other facets of our region’s food system.
    Stay tuned!

Upcoming Events


No Events


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Meet the Food Council Members


Jeff Aldrich

Jeff grew up on a dairy farm in Buffalo, studied, lived, and worked elsewhere for several years, and returned to Buffalo with his family in 2003. He has had his own software consulting business since 1995, but recently most of his projects and focus have been in food+tech. He co-founded Pollin8r, a resilient food system collaborative, and Provender, a farm-to-restaurant start-up based in Montreal. He and his family recently started a market garden business, Mana Gardens, dedicated to growing and providing healthy food to the local community.


Stacy Besonen

I am a Clinic Exercise Physiologist and Mom of 3 active boys! Passionate about Food As Medicine and the impact of food on the health and wellness of our community! I work at Buffalo Hospital in the Wellness Department and I have seen the impact food has on Chronic Diseases, preventing, reversing and causing the disease itself! I believe there are foods that harm and foods that help, and your body will always let you know, becoming your own advocate when it comes to food is freeing and healing!


Colleen Wolbeck

Colleen Wolbeck started Colleen's Greens in 2015 after growing up on a farm and earning a degree in Horticulture. Colleen specializes in growing microgreens, which she grows all year round. She also has a large garden where she grows a variety of produce. She also had an ever expanding brood of chickens. Although not certified organic, Colleen uses only organic practices and non-GMO organically sourced seed. She is also the Manager of The Rockford Farmer's Market, along with being a stay at home mom, which she loves.


Jamie Stang

Jamie joined the CRFC because food access is an issue she is passionate about. The group was a natural fit with the work she does around food policy as a professor in the UMN School of Public Health. As a Registered Dietitian, Jamie has worked throughout her career to assure people have access to healthy food. As a UMN Extension Master Gardener, she helps children and families learn to grow their own fruits, vegetables and herbs. She is an avid cook and gardener and is working to restore much of the acreage at her home into native prairie to support pollinators and wildlife.


Ellie Vanasse

During her undergrad at the College of St. Benedict, Ellie discovered a love for growing, cooking, and sharing local food while working at Common Ground Garden. After graduating from the nursing program, she moved from western Wisconsin to Buffalo and works for Wright County as a Public Health Nurse. Part of her job is to pioneer and support initiatives that promote healthy eating in the community. Ellie enjoys cheering for Wisconsin’s sports teams, reading, playing volleyball, and spending time at her family’s cabins.


Katie Henson

Katie Henson is a Registered Dietitian and is employed at General Mills. She enjoys learning about the food industry as well as food labeling, claim regulations and regenerative agriculture but is also passionate about eating for health, including locally sourced whole foods. She enjoys gardening, reading, camping and beach days with her husband and three children.


Rachael Lawler

Rachael is a lifelong resident of the Crow River region and currently lives in Buffalo where she works as a graphic designer and marketer. A love of food and eating led her to seek out the best local foods and along the way, she realized the lack of access to fresh, local food for everyone in our region. Rachael enjoys gardening, yoga and spending time with her husband and two children.


Connie Carlson

Connie lives and works in Buffalo as a marketing and communications professional. Food, farming, the land and community have been a part of her life since growing up on a farm in west central Minnesota. She serves as president of Local Roots Food Co-op and sits on the Crow River Sustainable Farming Association board as well. Connie thrives on building on good ideas, creating connections and finding solutions that make our community more livable for everyone.


Sue Eull

As a Registered Nurse and Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, Sue supports clients to navigate a healthy path. She believes education about healthy food options is vital for individuals to live and achieve healthier lifestyles. Her hope and vision is to have people understand what real food is, where it comes from, and how it can impact the health of individuals, families, and communities. Additionally, Sue is owner of Eull’s Health Coaching, LLC, serves on the Wright County Public Health Task Force, plus, co-founded and co-directed an educational non-profit.


Sue Spike

Sue works for BHM Schools in the kitchen, striving to provide students with healthful food through the school year and during summer food programs.


Kristi Varner

A Buffalo resident, Kristi has worked in the restaurant industry for over twenty years. Kristi has worked in Portland Oregon, Minneapolis, and the Wright County area. Kristi is currently the the co-operator of Squeaky Willow Farm, located in Buffalo. Which is a chemical free produce farm that specializes in heirloom varieties and wild foraged products, especially mushrooms!