USDA Farm Service Agency Q&A

Are you new to farming? U.S. Department of Agriculture can help you get started – everything from helping you register your farm to getting financial assistance and advice.

The Farm Service Agency offers financial assistance to help farmers start a farm, expand their operation, improve natural resources or recover from natural disasters.

Jennifer King, County Executive Director, serving as the County Executive Director (CED) of the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) in Carver, McLeod and Sibley Counties, will be at the market on Wednesday, August 3rd, from 3pm to 6pm to answer questions and provide assistance.

Getting Started as a Beginning Farmer

Farm Loans Overview Fact Sheet


Bongards Farmers Market Hits 10 Year Milestone

Our market was recently featured in the local Sun Patriot “Best of Carver County” section b

“It’s there every Wednesday, in the parking lot of St. John’s United Church of Christ. Some of you know the place as Bongards Church, because, hey, it’s right by Bongards, at the crossroads of Highway 212 and County Road 51. We’re talking about Bongards farmers market, known officially as Bongards Market – it turns 10 this year.”

Click here to view the full article.

Story Time at the Market

Starting June 29th, St. John’s United Church of Christ will be partnering with Usborne Books & More to offer “Story Time at the Market with Pastor Scott.”  Each week, there will be a different theme and new Usborne books.  We will share the selected titles prior to Market Day.  Story time will be planned for 5pm.  Here are the themes for each week:

  • June 29th – Monsters
  • July 6th – Hero/USA theme
  • July 13th – Manners
  • July 20th – Dinosaur Day
  • July 27th – Farm day
  • August 3rd – Back to School
  • August 10th – Princess/Superhero
  • August 17th – Feelings
  • August 24th – Friendship
  • August 31st – Under the sea

Watch for more details on Facebook, Instagram, and our website.

PoP Club Activities at the Market

Primary LogoHere’s a list of our summer 2022 in-person market activities for our PoP Club families.  All activities are free.


  • 1st – Seed Planting with take-home Care Directions and “Seed to Plant” Coloring Page
  • 8th – Garden Pot Painting with take-home Pollinator Coloring Page 
  • 15th – Farmer McGregor’s Mixed-Up Seeds & Seed Chart with take-home magnifying glass
  • 22nd – Why do we Need Bees? Book and Game with take-home Bee Coloring Page
  • 29th – Play the game “How Does it Grow?” with take-home “Where Do Fruits and Vegetables Grow?” Coloring Page


  • 6th – US States Super Foods Map Puzzle with take-home Fruit Maze & States Super Foods Crossword
  • 13th – Family Peas in a Pod with take-home “Give your Foods a Good Home” Coloring Page
  • 20th – Make and Take Home a Fabric Carrot with take-home Carrot Coloring Page
  • 27th – Play the Game “Is it a Fruit or a Vegetable?” and sample a cucumber


  • 3rd – Paint a Garden Rock and take-home your rock
  • 10th – Herb Smelling with take-home “Herbs & Spices” Word Search
  • 17th – Seed Art Picture and take home your art
  • 24th – Market Scavenger Hunt with take-home nature/garden scavenger hunt
  • 31st – Make a Thank You Card for Favorite Farmer with take-home pencil for Back to School

It’s Opening Day!

IG Post Opening Day

Everyone’s welcome to join us for the fun!
Sunny Days Comfort Foods is our featured food truck.  Click here for their menu.

Kids (ages 4 to 12) can sign up for PoP Club, plant their own seeds to take home, and play a game with Pastor Scott to win a prize.

Sign up for either PoP Plus (seniors 65+) or PoP Club and get a free Bongards Market reusable tote and a $2 token for produce.  Our featured produce this week is asparagus.  Click here for your recipe.

In celebration of our 10th season, each week the 50th and 100th shopper will also get a free Bongards Market tote with $6 in Bongards Bills for produce.

It’s been a cool spring, so produce will be limited this week.  However, our vendors will be plenty of canned goods like pickles, jellies, jams, salsas, and cottage baked goods. Honey, maple syrup, and eggs will be available.  Click here for a listing of our vendors.

Growing in the Community Since 2013


Norwood-Young America, MN. May 27, 2022.

The Bongards Farmers Market, sponsored by St. John’s United Church of Christ, is celebrating our 10th year as a community gathering place for farmers and other vendors to sell their fresh locally grown fruits and vegetables, eggs, baked and canned goods, honey, maple syrup, and a variety of handicrafts and other items. This market held in the parking lot of St. John’s UCC has also served the community as a place to give information about and for local charitable and /or service programs. 

During this celebratory year we are continuing the activities for Power of Produce Club for children and Power of Produce Plus for adults 65 plus. These programs promote healthy eating through fun educational activities. Participants receive a $2 token each week to shop for fresh produce at Bongards Market. Each participant will also receive a free reusable shopping bag with the Minnesota Grown logo. 

Yes, we have joined the Minnesota Grown membership of farmers markets. Check the Minnesota Grown website and you will find our market!

We are celebrating our shoppers. A free reusable shopping bag along with $6 in Bongards Bills to spend at Bongards Market to buy fresh fruits and vegetables will be given to the 50th and the 100th shopper each week. 

We are pleased that on an alternating schedule (see website for specific dates) Fatbellies BBQ, Sweet Winks, and Sunny Days Comfort Foods will be serving their specialties.

Come join us at Bongards Market every Wednesday June 1 through September 28 from 3 pm to 6 pm.

A Day in the Life of Dairy Farmer

Have you ever wanted to see what a day in the life is like on a dairy farm? “Breakfast on the Farm” is June 11th from 7am to 11am. Free will donations will benefit the local food shelf.

Activities include: Breakfast, tour of the farm, petting zoo, farm machine, farm technology, and free meat and dairy samples.

Since public parking is not available at the farm, a free shuttle will run from Cologne Academy the day of the event, from 6:45am – 1:00 pm.

Cologne Academy
1221 Village Pkwy, Cologne, MN 55322

Pollinators of the Spirit

We are excited to share that St. John’s is featured in this week’s COMMAntary, the weekly eNewsletter from the MN UCC Conference.  Click here to view the article.
Feel free to share!  Thanks to Vicki Moteelall and our Market Team (Larry Bachmann, Jeannette Bachmann, and Sarah Schneewind) for all their work and dedication!  Opportunities to volunteer at our market are available.  Reach out to Vicki for more information.

Cottage Food Law Updates Effective August 1, 2021

Click here to view online.

On May 17, 2021, the Minnesota House and Senate passed SF 958 that contains the policy portion of the House and Senate Agriculture Committee omnibus bills. Policy items passed in the bill included updates to the Cottage Food Law (MS Sections 28A.152 and 25.391) effective August 1, 2021. Key changes included:

    • An exemption for cottage food pet treats (MS section 25.391) for individuals who prepare and sell home-processed pet treats for dogs and cats, provided certain conditions are met.
    • A higher cap on Tier 2 annual gross receipts of $78,000.
    • An increased cap on Tier 1 annual gross receipts. This amount is currently $5,000 but will be adjusted by January 1, 2022, based on the consumer price index using 2002 as the index year. This means the Tier 1 gross receipts cap will increase in 2022.
    • Individual registrants may organize their cottage food business as a business entity recognized by state law.
    • Labeling must include the individual’s name and registration number OR the individual’s name and address.
    • All product labels must also include the statement, “These products are homemade and not subject to state inspection.”
    • Water activity value of .85 specified in what makes a food non-potentially hazardous.

The on-line training for Tier 1 producers has been updated to reflect the recent changes in Cottage Food Law and will be available on August 1. In addition, Tier 1 producers must pass an exam based upon the updated training material annually to register.

Please take time to familiarize yourself with these changes. More information can be found on the MDA Cottage Food Registration page and the Cottage Food Law Guidance page. If you have questions regarding this announcement, please email