Prairie Oaks Institute

cultivating the earth, rejuvenating the spirit

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Support POI during Give to the Max — November 1 – 16, 2017

GTMD17LogoVerticalReverse_previewBe a catalyst for change by supporting Prairie Oaks Institute, a community grounded in the work of caring for the earth and the human spirit.

Click here to support POI now!

Prairie Oaks Institute is again participating in Give the the Max, 2017!  

This year, we have a special need in the form of significant time sensitive, county-mandated updates to the septic-system infrastructure for both the Harvest House and the Farm House. Your donation will directly impact our ability to make the required updates.

Will you help support our work? The Give to the Max campaign begins November 1, 2017, and ends on November 16, 2017.

Community is at the heart of Prairie Oaks Institute (POI) at Robert Creek. The mission of POI is to cultivate ways of living and leading that affirm the interdependence of all living things and connect self, spirit, community and earth for a resilient, renewed future. Our 20-acre farm campus is framed by the natural beauty of magnificent bur oaks and graceful prairie grasses; truly a place to pause, refresh and join together with a renewed commitment to our world and each other.

We put our mission in action by sponsoring educational and leadership programs, offering our 20-acre farm campus for retreat and renewal, and connecting with other organizations and communities to promote sustainability.

This year our emphasis is on three areas:

– Care, maintenance, and upkeep of the campus

– Expanding programming efforts

– Developing sustainable ecological practices

In this coming year, we hope to take POI to the next level, which will include major changes to campus infrastructure to support an expansion of community and programming.

Join us at POI for a program, retreat, or walk in the prairie. You are always welcome at Prairie Oaks.


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Finishing Strong! Join us to explore “What’s next?”

A retreat for mature individuals interested in intentionally directing the next stage of their life. Tickets found here.
March 24-26, 2017
Prairie Oaks Institute

What’s next? Would you like to be intentional about your next steps? Whether it is leaving a lifetime career for retirement / re’fire’ment or transitioning to new ventures this workshop will guide you in thoughtfully creating a plan for directing this transition. Throughout the weekend we will use meditation, writing, sharing, movement and music to create a setting for mindfully crafting what’s next. Are there unrealized dreams that need voice or do you simply need an open canvas on which to paint next steps? We will use life maps, visioning and time outdoors to examine who we were, who we are and what really matters as we move forward. Join Michele and Cindy to explore what is next in your life, ‘finishing strong’.

Cost: Participants pay for meals and lodging ($175 for the full weekend) and are asked to make a tax-deductible tuition contribution at the end of the weekend based on the value they received from the workshop, ability to pay and interest in supporting Prairie Oaks Institute. (Bring a checkbook or credit card.)

Times: We will start at 7 pm Friday evening and finish by 1 pm on Sunday. Participants are asked to minimize usage of electronic devices during the workshop to facilitate full immersion and intentional cultivation of contemplative and creative space.

Michele Rusinko
is a teacher, writer and resiliency coach. Michele has spent her entire career integrating the life of the mind with the wisdom of the body. Navigating her cancer diagnosis gave her new skills which allowed her to feel empowered and joyful as she adapted to the changing landscape. It is these skills, and this dance, she enjoys sharing with students of all ages and backgrounds.


Cindy Johnson is Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota. She holds sacred all things wild and is especially interested in conservation. Reconnecting with the natural world and cultivating these connections in the “next stage” of life is vital to transitions. Lessons from the natural world enrich our understanding of transitions / change. To live deeply within the natural world is to savor the breath within each of us that cycles among all living beings, rocks and clouds.

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Give Thanks for Local Foods and Farmers November 15th

Join us for our November Community Potluck on Tuesday, November 15th at Harvest House, 1200 W South Street, Belle Plaine when we Give Thanks for Local Foods and Farmers!

We’ll honor and recognize local farmers for their contributions to our local food economy and sustainable agriculture.

We provide the Black Bean, Squash & Kale soup and delightful bread from wheat grown on the adjacent Devine farm by Farmer Ben Penner. Beverages also provided.

You bring your friends, great conversation, and a dish to share, if you like. Bonus points if that dish is sourced from your own garden or local food producer!

Gather at 6pm, eat at 6:30pm. Hope to see you there!

RSVP on Facebook.

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Carnival de Resistance Artivists at Praire Oaks!

Prairie Oaks Institute is excited to host the merry artivists from the Carnival de Resistance for 10 days as they train and prepare for their residency at Redeemer Lutheran in north Minneapolis, September 13th to 26th.

The Carnival de Resistance is a traveling arts carnival and ceremonial theater company, a village demonstration project exploring ecological practices, and an education and social outreach project; all focusing on ecological justice and radical theology.

You’ll find the complete schedule of events here.

We are honored to host the coming together of the 2016 Carnival de Resistance!



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Children’s Day Camp at Prairie Oaks on July 22!

It’s not too late to sign up for Time on the Land a children’s camp sponsored by the Minnesota Farmers Union and Prairie Oaks Institute on Friday, July 22nd.

Learn about bees and bird song, then get the kinks out with some outdoor yoga! After a light lunch we’ll head out on the hay wagon to the Granary where those fun MFU camp counselors will lead the group in cooperative leadership games and crafts.

Time on the Land will be held Friday, July 22, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Prairie Oaks Institute in Belle Plaine at the Farmhouse, 1100 W. South Street.

The day camp is for children ages 5 through 12. The camp is $5/child, 2 or more children from the same family, $10. Please pre-register by July 19th. Campers can register at Eventbrite. Or leave a message at 888-472-7110 or email and fee will be collected on the day of the camp.

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Full Voice: A Day with Barbara McAfee

How can you speak so people will listen?

Are you using the full capacity of your voice in service to your intentions, visions, and purpose?

What gifts reside deep inside you that are yearning for expression?

These complex, challenging, and exciting times are calling you to “show up” with authenticity, integrity, and courage.  As important as our voices are, few of us know how to use them to their full potential. Working with your own full voice makes you a more skillful listener as well.

We’re thrilled to welcome Barbara McAfee back to Prairie Oaks Institute. Please join us for this extraordinary day, Saturday, July 30, 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.   Then stay (and invite your friends and family to come too!) for a fantastic, free potluck meal and community sing with Barbara at the Granary, on the edge of the prairie overlooking Robert Creek.

For more information and to register (on a “sliding scale suggested donation” basis), please visit today!  Optional overnight lodging is also available Friday and Saturday in either the Farmhouse or Harvest House, with a light breakfast the following morning. Come early, stay late, or make it a full weekend!

More about Barbara:download (1)-003

Barbara McAfee is a voice coach, singer/songwriter, keynoter, and author who merges lessons from 12 years in organization development with the transformative power of sound.  Her book, Full Voice: The Art & Practice of Vocal Presence (Berrett-Koehler Publishers) was a #1 Amazon bestseller in Business Communication. The book is based on her 25 years of supporting people from many professions in learning how to access the full power and expression of the voice in service to their work and relationships.

Barbara’s work blends practical content, sophisticated humor, and thought-provoking questions on topics including voice, leadership, and engagement.

She was “the band” for Margaret Wheatley’s Women’s Leadership Revival Tour, which visited 15 North American cities. She also appears with author Peter Block.  Barbara has produced seven CDs of mostly original music and is founder of the Morning Star Singers, a volunteer hospice choir in the Twin Cities.

She lives across the street from the Mississippi River in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

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On the Commons with Jay Wallsjasper

Join us for our May Community Potluck with our inspiring special guest Jay Walljasper. Editor of Commons Magazine and a noted writer, speaker and thought-leader on  building and sustaining strong communities. This night is sure to stimulate some great conversations!

Here’s a link to an article on Jay’s book on the Commons, All That We Share.

We provide the soup, bread and beverages. You provide the great company and interesting conversation (and a dish to share, if you like.)

Gather at 6pm, eat at 6:30pm at Harvest House, 1200 W Main Street, Belle Plaine.

We’d like to extend a particular welcome to our volunteers and will be serving an ice cream cake in honor of all their work.

Please RSVP on Facebook so we can make sure we have enough soup!