Finland Farmers Market Summer 2023 Recap

November 17, 2023

by Kyle Flack, Finland Farmers Market Coordinator

The Summer Farmers Market this year was a great success for everyone involved. A variety of wonderful vendors were here each weekFarmers Market vendor offering their delicious products for sale at a great price. But that’s just one aspect of our amazing market. Many customers are drawn to the market because of one or more of our food programs. Our patrons are also treated to live music while they shop from one of many of our very talented local musicians. In addition, we have food demonstrations that feature locally sourced food with recipes and free samples.

This year our attendance numbers were well over 1300 for the season. Many of those were people taking advantage of some of our programs that are offered at the market. There were over 100 SNAP/EBT purchases this summer that totaled over $1,100. Those that spent over $10 on a SNAP purchase received an extra $20 to spend on food at the market through the Hunger Solutions program. That means we were able to give out an extra $2,000 to those customers.

Farmers market kidWe also were able to continue our Power of Local program this summer in which youth and seniors receive $4 each market to spend at the vendor of their choice. We had over 250 Power of Local disbursements throughout the summer, totaling over $1,000. The kids really love this program… it gives them the opportunity to make their own decisions on what healthy snack they would like to spend their money on.

Also, this year the Finland Farmers market helped to get the S/FMNP program started here in Lake County. This program distributed $30 to seniors and WIC recipients to be spent on fresh produce at farmers markets. All of these programs not only help people get the best bang for their food bucks, but also help bring in new money to our local economy.

There were many compliments this year regarding our musical lineup. It really can’t be overstated just how great it is to enjoy live music from truly talented artists. Many people stick around the entire market just for the free show. And what a show it is! Whether you like country, classic rock, folk, or even genres that defy definition, our musicians leave no room for disappointment. Special thanks to artists Katee Ristuccia, Robin Sunquiet, Jeffrey Mitchell, Steven Solkela, Paul Deaner, Slim Stone, Riley Coyote, H Casper, AbbyZak, and Austin Englehardt for the awesome entertainment over the summer season!farmers market vendors

Our food education demos are always a delight. Not only can you learn a new recipe and see first hand how it’s made, but you also get a free sample or two so you can try it for yourself before embarking on a new culinary adventure. Some delicious examples of this year’s food demos include rhubarb salsa, chanterelle mushroom dip, homemade pasta, vegan pancakes, microgreens, coleslaw, and of course, fresh-pressed apple cider. There was also a demo by our Finland Wild Rice House on how to make your own pole and knockers for harvesting rice yourself.

Another fun thing we did this year was a free raffle drawing at every summer market for one of our Finland Farmers Market t-shirts and tote bags. Folks really seemed to like this new addition to the market!

Thank you to everyone for making our market such a wonderful place to be! We hope to see you at the upcoming winter markets! Thanks especially to our 2023 sponsors, Lovin’ Lake County and the North Shore Federal Credit Union, as well as past sponsors North Shore Age to Age and the Organic Consumers Association. 

farmers market vendorSAVE THE DATES! The Finland Farmers Market Winter Markets will be held indoors at the Clair Nelson Center on the third Sunday of November and December from 12:30-2:00 pm. These markets are a great way to get out of the cold and do some much needed winter socializing, so come join the fun!Winter market poster 2023-2024

Friends of Finland Strategic Plan

September 29, 2023

Our community has always drawn its strength from the spirit of helping that we inherited from the community ancestors that settled in this area. Those early settlers had to work together in order to survive, and over time they created systems and organizations to make Finland and its surrounding area an inviting and vibrant place. It’s from that spirit that Friends of Finland was born. And through that spirit, our community has achieved amazing things. In an effort to create an even brighter future, Friends of Finland worked with the community to create a Strategic Plan, and we are very excited to share the final result of that process!

Please take a moment to review the plan, then let us know how you’d like to help make this plan a reality. Because individuals setting aside their differences and working together to get real work done is the only way our community has made it this far, and it’s the only way we will thrive into the future.

Friends of the Finland Community Strategic Plan

About the Strategic Plan

The Friends of Finland Community (FoF) benefits from the strong community that calls this place home and is honored to be able to serve that community through its work. During 2019-2020, FoF went through a restructuring process to enable it to “put the mission in the middle” to co-create a thriving future. With this restructuring process under way, FoF held off making a new strategic plan until the new structure was in place. In the summer of 2021, the FoF board began to gather community input for the 2022-2025 Strategic Plan by tabling at the farmers market, leaving out comment boxes, and posting at various local establishments for thoughts on how FoF can best reach its mission. Culminating at a community potluck, FoF was given incredible ways the organization can reach its mission of helping make Finland and its surrounding area an inviting and vibrant place

Keeping the FoF mission and community input as the guiding forces, the FoF core staff and board created the 2022-2025 Strategic Plan. While each and every community desire was not able to be reflected directly within the plan, FoF made sure that each community identified need was addressed in some capacity through the 6 goals of the plan. Some of the biggest themes that came through this process of how FoF meets its mission were:

  • Nurturing future generations.
  • Providing resources and finding champions that are ready to serve community needs.
  • Invest in people through capacity building (Capacity-building is defined as the process of developing and strengthening the skills, instincts, abilities, processes and resources that organizations and communities need to survive, adapt, and thrive in a fast-changing world).
  • Share stories of this place that showcase, build pride, and show what’s possible.

Thank you to everyone who has helped to build this plan and to those who will help FoF reach these goals. Nothing happens without the many people invested in this place and community!


How will the Plan be Used?

To guide the board and staff in their actions to serve the Finland and surrounding area community. 


How will the Plan be Implemented?

Teams within the organization consisting of FoF board members, staff, and/or volunteers will collaborate to develop work plans to implement each of the goals and outcomes. The work plans will describe timelines and measurement to know when the goal has been met successfully.


About Friends of Finland Community

We are a non-profit entity in the Northern Lake County area providing space for youth, senior citizens, community groups, events, rentals, small business support and incubation, community education classes, social programs, community recreation, free wi-fi internet, public computers, trail maps and information, all in one location!

FoF was formed after the creation of the Crystal Bay Comprehensive Community Plan. A group of citizens realized that the formation of a nonprofit such as the FoF could help carry on the momentum started by the Comprehensive planning process and work towards making the community’s vision a reality.

A board was created and the first meeting was held in March of 2007 to incorporate. We then applied to become a nonprofit organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code. We received our official nonprofit status in April of 2008.



The Friends of the Finland Community’s Mission is to help make Finland and its surrounding area an inviting and vibrant place by:

  • Creating community spaces and connections,
  • Supporting economic initiatives,
  • Implementing social programs,
  • Enhancing natural surroundings, and
  • Demonstrating sustainable practices.



Friends of the Finland Community value that:

  • Bonds between people strengthen a community.
  • Strong partnerships between people and organizations foster shared vision, action and collective impact


Goal 1: Operate the FoF organization and the Clair Nelson Center as adaptive and accessible resources for the community.

  1. Being aware of the community landscape in order to connect community members with needed services.  
  2. Maintaining a regular presence in the Clair Nelson Center
  3. Upkeep facilities in order to host community events and programs
  4. Cultivate a financial strategy that allows access to the Center and programs
  5. Maintain open forms of feedback with the community


Goal 2: Build and strengthen our partnerships with the community and community organizations to identify and achieve collective goals.

  1. Strengthen and deepen FoF partnerships with Township and County and advocate for our community needs (i.e. housing and/or a recycling program).
  2. Examine current partnerships and look for new strategic partners (govt as well as community)
  3. Provide a platform for networking between people and local organizations


Goal 3: Invest in and empower people and the community itself in order to make and keep our community accessible as a viable place to live, raise a family, and age well in.

  1. Plant seeds of possibilities for entrepreneurial opportunities that would serve community needs (i.e. laundry & shower facilities, campground, sauna, etc)
  2. Sustain framework/process for community members to bring forth their ideas and get the ball rolling in partnership with FoF.
  3. Promote opportunities for people/youth to do community service
  4. Coalesce stakeholders around identified community needs


Goal 4: Prioritize investing in local community capacity.

  1. Invest in FoF employees & employee development
  2. Regularly invest in community leadership and/or capacity building work
  3. Provide educational offerings that empower local leaders (including youth) to share knowledge and support
  4. Foster mentorships, apprenticeships and tutoring opportunities that support technical, leadership, and cultural development


Goal 5: Uplift and empower community stories in a way that builds pride and participation.

  1. Use multiple forms of media to share community assets and activities.
  2. Collaborate with existing organizations (ex. historical society) to amplify their stories and impact.


Goal 6: Ensure the long term viability of the FoF for future generations of the community.

  1. Safeguard financial sustainability for the organization
  2. Use Community Conversations to guide long-term organizational goals 
  3. Intentionally invest in the leadership capacity of the next generation

Announcing the 2023 Clair Nelson Vocational Scholarship Recipients!

May 5, 2023

We are excited to announce the 2023 Clair Nelson Vocational Scholarship Recipients!

Chase Hipple of Silver Bay

Residential Electrician Certificate at Lake Superior College

Samuel Peterson of Silver Bay

Marine and Power Sports Technician at Alexandria Technical College

Grayson Peterson of Two Harbors

Electrical Lineworker Diploma at MN State Community and Technical College

Ethan Swartout of Two Harbors

Heavy Equipment Operator at Central Lakes College

Congratulations to these young folks! We wish them success in their future endeavors and hope that they always feel supported by their community.

When Friends of Finland took over managing the Clair Nelson Vocational Scholarship in 2011, the Fund was just over $14,000 and had only a few regular donors. We gave out 4 scholarships of $250 each annually to students or adults in the Lake Superior School District who are pursuing education in vocational fields. 

Now, in 2023, the scholarship fund has grown to over $48,000, we have many regular donors, and we give out $3000 annually. We have plans to continue increasing the amount of the scholarship to better support students in the future. 

Since its creation in 2007, the scholarship has supported a total of 53 students in the pursuit of their vocational career education. 

View past Clair Nelson Vocational Scholarship recipients here.

Tax deductible donations to the Clair Nelson Scholarship Fund are always appreciated. Donations can be made online here or checks can be mailed (payable to the Friends of the Finland Community memo Clair Nelson Scholarship Fund) to:

Friends of the Finland Community
PO Box 582
Finland, MN 55603

New Faces at the Clair Nelson Center!

April 7, 2023

We want to welcome two new staff members to the Friends of Finland Core Staff: Kyle Flack as the new Operations Lead, and Jenni Yandrasits as the new Finance Lead.

In Kyle’s own words:

My love of the North Shore goes back as far as I can remember. My father would bring us to the Shore from the Cities each summer for family camping trips. I moved to the Finland area in 2014 and couldn’t be happier. Living here allows me the opportunity to not just follow my passions of sustenance hunting/fishing and growing/preserving my own food, but live them. I am honored to be in such a unique position to help our community.

Kyle is taking over the position recently vacated by Nancy Anselment-Olson’s retiring. He’s already diving into the job with enthusiasm, scheduling rentals and figuring out maintenance issues. Welcome Kyle!

In Jenni’s own words:

My name is Jenni Yandrasits. I’m a transplant from the twin cities. I moved to the area in 2019 to join forces with the man and the community I fell in love with. We’ve spent the last few years learning about homesteading and life on the North Shore. I am excited to have an opportunity now to enjoy my interest in numbers while also developing myself as an individual and a community member.

Jenni is taking over from Lucy Carlson who is moving on to a new position with the Grand Marais Arts Colony (Lucy plans to continue working for the Finland Community Youth Program as well as writing grants for Friends of Finland on a contract basis.). We are sad to see Lucy leave the Finance position, but excited to welcome Jenni to the position.

We are really excited to welcome Jenni and Kyle to the Core Team of Friends of Finland. The Core Staff Team is charged with running the Friends of Finland organization together so that all of the other programs and services we provide to the community can thrive!Honor Schauland and Kaare Melby are the two other Core Staff. Honor is the Program Lead and the Director, and Kaare is the Communications Lead.

Clair Nelson Vocational Scholarship Deadline Extended Until May 1st, 2023

April 5, 2023

The deadline for the Clair Nelson Vocational Scholarship has been extended through May 1st. Clair Nelson Vocational Scholarships offer financial assistance to high school seniors and adult residents of School District 381. Applicants must be interested in pursuing a career in a vocational or technical field. Vocational career fields are usually considered to be those that require two years or less of postsecondary education or training. Three scholarships of $500 each are awarded annually. Applications are accepted January 1st to April 1st of each year, but this year we want to give extra time. Applications can be obtained through the guidance offices at the high schools in Two Harbors and Silver Bay, Two Harbors and Silver Bay Service Centers, and are also available here.

When Friends of Finland took over managing the Clair Nelson Vocational Scholarship in 2011, the Fund was just over $14,000 and had only a few regular donors. We gave out 4 scholarships of $250 each annually to students or adults in the Lake Superior School District who are pursuing education in vocational fields.

Now, the scholarship fund has grown to over $50,000, we have many regular donors and we give out 3 scholarships of $500 each annually. We have plans to continue increasing the amount of the scholarship to better support students in the future.

Since its creation in 2007, the scholarship has supported a total of 49 students in the pursuit of their vocational career education.

Read about recent recipients here.

More info on the scholarship here.