Prairie Oaks Institute

cultivating the earth, rejuvenating the spirit

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Work Day May 9th

It’s going to be beautiful weekend to get some much-needed spring cleaning, repair and yard work done out on the Prairie Oaks campus.

Most exciting – the Gustavus Habitat for Humanity group will be back to start assembling the hermitage building that was constructed last spring.

Volunteers welcome and much appreciated.  Noon to 4 pm on Saturday, May 9th.

Refreshing Prairie Oaks Institute to a New Spring – Washing Away Winter
Saturday, May 9 from Noon to 4
Rain Or Shine
Gather at Harvest House
The more the merrier, the more the fun, the quicker it’s done. See anything you’d like to help with?
1. Raking out gardens, clipping old stalks
2. Touch up painting: smoke house, farmhouse porch trim, inside trim
3. Wash windows in pairs
4. Put out the rain barrels
5. Uncover the AC
6. Indoor thorough cleaning – push a vacuum, push a dust cloth, wash a floor, wash a door
If you can, bring a rake, clippers, a bucket, cleaning materials.

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Registration Ends Soon! Join us for the Power of Story & the Courage to Change the World


There is still space available for this May Day program on the Power of Story!

We are the stories of our lives, and story is how we seek to understand who we are and how we should live. In this retreat we’ll explore the power of story to:

• shape our sense of identity and calling

• illuminate our relationships with others – especially those whose perspectives and worldviews may be different from our own

• create and sustain a more just and peaceful world

We’ll gather in the beauty of the vibrant spring landscapes at Prairie Oaks Institute in Belle Plaine, Minnesota, on the southwest outskirts of the Twin Cities. Space is limited, so register early (by April 15 at the latest)!


Visual artist, photographer and author John Noltner (

Musical artist, singer/songwriter Neal Hagberg (

Listening artist, Courage and Renewal® facilitator Chris Johnson (

COST is a steeply discounted $110/person, including meals, program, and materials.

Overnight lodging (in shared bedrooms) and Saturday morning breakfast are also available for a low additional cost of $45/person.

Tickets at The Power of Story  or mail to Prairie Oaks Instititute, 1200 W South Street, Belle Plaine, MN 56011.  Questions, please email us at


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(Re-)Uniting Soul and Role: Soul-sustenance for Change-makers

Spring cleaning for the soul!

Please join us March 19-21 for a special retreat led by Dr. Chris Johnson and Rev. Sarah Ciavarri.  Retreat begins Thursday, March 19, 6 pm and ends Saturday, March 21 at 2 pm. Meals and shared lodging included.

Why should I come? How will it help me? Key leadership “take-aways” of this winter-into-spring-themed retreat will include:

  • enhance your sense of calling, initiative, and confidence to address complex challenges
  • replenish the inner reservoirs of courage and resilience that are necessary to sustain crucial, change-making work over the long haul
  • deepen your integrity and authenticity by reconnecting what you do with who you really are
  • practice self-development by reflecting upon and learning from both success and failure
  • understand the power of paradox and strengthen your capacity to hold tension in lifegiving ways
  • view your life, work, and leadership in the context of an interconnected world • revive, renew, restore; come back to life from the long dormancy of winter.

Bring a journal or notebook and an object that connects you to a place that is important to you. Dress comfortably and be prepared to be outside.

PicMonkey Collage

Facilitators: Dr. Chris Johnson has more than 20 years of experience in facilitating retreats & workshops, teaching, speaking, consulting, and deep listening in higher education, faith communities, and the business and not-for-profit sectors. He is founder and principal of The Milkweed Group, whose work is to create safe, courageous spaces that that nourish inner wisdom, sharpen clarity of purpose, and fuel capacity to live and lead for a better world. Chris is a Circles of Trust® facilitator in association with Parker Palmer and the Center for Courage and Renewal. For more about Chris and his work, please

Rev. Sarah Ciavarri is a Daring Way™ Facilitator and Consultant who leads retreats and works with people who are looking for transformation in their vocation, relationships, and leadership. Sarah is the Director of Spiritual Care at Augustana Health Care Center of Apple Valley and the Apple Valley Villa. Sarah was a parish pastor for six years and has been a care center chaplain for nearly 15 years. For more about Sarh and her work, please visit

Corporate/Government – $365/person; Individual/Non-profit – $285/person. Register at or email us at

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Thank you for your generosity!

We are so thankful for the generous donations our friends and family gave on Give to the Max Day.  Together we raised over $2,000 to support our facilities, programs and initiatives!

As a non-profit start-up we depend on the support of others who are committed to our mission to provide a place where people can learn, grow and connect.  Our work could not continue without you!

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On Give to the Max Day – Give a Crap about POI!

Give to the Max Day is coming soon! It’s a fact that Prairie Oaks is a special place, one that you have experienced and enjoyed.  Keeping the many acres and buildings up-to-date and beautiful is important and essential to POI’s vision of being a catalyst for rejuvenation. Maintaining the space matters, especially when that space has toilets.
This year, we need to replace the septic pump to keep our plumbing functional – a $2,500 expense.For Give to the Max Day, coming soon on November 13th, we ask you to Give a Crap About POI.  Will you help us pay for maintenance projects like the new septic pump so we can continue to offer wonderful (and functional!) accommodations?
Gifts of any size are welcome and important!
Thank you for supporting POI.
Prairie Oaks is a 501(c)(3) organization and donations are tax deductible.

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Give Thanks for Local Food Producers at our November 18th Potluck!

Join us on Tuesday, November 18th for our last Community Potluck of the season.  We’ll be serving a Kale and Bean soup featuring ingredients from our local producers. Farmer Sonya Ewert of A Place at the Table CSA will talk about the economics of local food production. Learn how changing federal and state farm policies can support local food and farmers.

Gather at 6 pm, eat at 6:30 pm at Harvest House, 1200 W South Street, Belle Plaine.  We’ll provide the soup, bread and beverages, you bring great conversation, a dish to share, if you like and a friend.  If you RSVP on Facebook it helps us know how much soup to prepare.

Community Potluck

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Belle Plaine Garden Club at September Potluck

Did you know that Belle Plaine has a Garden Club?  Come out for the potluck on September 16th and get to know these fine folks and learn about their varied gardening interests.

As always, we’ll gather at Harvest House at 6 and eat at 6:30 pm.  You bring your friends, ideas and interests and we’ll provide the soup, bread and beverages.  Bring a dish to share, if you like.

RSVP on Facebook to help us make sure we have enough soup on hand!