The Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture (MISA) was established in 1991. It is housed within the Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics at the University of Minnesota. MISA’s structure is a partnership between the University of Minnesota; University of Minnesota Extension; and the Sustainer's Coalition, a network of community organizations.
MISA originally had a five year charter. 'Sunset Reviews' in 1996, 2000-2001, 2006, and 2011 culminated in decisions by the University and the Sustainers’ Coalition to renew MISA for another five years. University of Minnesota Extension became a formal partner organization with MISA in 2006. The next Sunset Review will take place in 2016.
MISA has always focused on promoting sustainable agriculture, but the tools used to accomplish its goals have changed over time. In past years, grant money was awarded to groups working on a variety of efforts. Many of those efforts have since grown and matured into programs such as:
- Farm Beginnings
- The Monitoring Toolbox
- Whole Farm Planning
- The Sustainable Agricultural Systems Student Programs
MISA has also produced an impressive array of publications on sustainable agriculture topics, fostered student programs in sustainable agriculture, supported the Alternative Swine Program, administered the Endowed Chair in Agricultural Systems, and provided support for the Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships. MISA has been and will continue to be a strong contributor to Minnesota’s sustainable agriculture community.