Food Solutions Team Updates
The EPNI Food Solutions Team has been hard at work, even through the pandemic, to connect with resources bringing fresh and affordable food to our neighborhood. In the last year they have successfully partnered with the Food Group and the Mobile Market, House of Charity, community owned co-ops, and others.
In partnership with the Food Group and the Mobile Market, the team hosted an outdoor market during the summer of 2020. We are currently working to bring the Mobile Market back to the neighborhood for summer of 2021. After the Mobile Market ended the team was able to connect with House of Charity to create a system of free food drop offs at a few buildings with the highest need. From both the Mobile Market and the House of Charity food drops they were able to better identify the community needs and wants.
The Food Solutions Team worked through 2020 under funding from a Headwaters Foundation for Justice grant. The team focused on researching potential partnerships for short term food resources, resulting in the recent work with The Food Group and House of Charity. The team connected with food co-ops and community owned stores in hopes of applying that knowledge in our own neighborhood. Now, the team recently applied for a grant from Perrigo Foundation to afford continued partnership with the Food Group and others, staff support, and work toward securing permanent access to fresh and affordable food in Elliot Park. Currently the team is working to identify potential locations in the neighborhood to support a store as well as creative alternatives that could become permanent features.
The Food Solutions team meets bi-monthly and is always looking for interested members. If you'd like to volunteer, receive updates from our team, or make a donation, sign up here!
Our Team's History - A Timeline
September 2018: Renter's Meeting
In the Summer of 2018, during a renter's meeting, we recognized that food access in Elliot Park was a steadfast issue in our community. In order to take action, we realized that we needed more resources to get started. Over much discussion and brainstorming, we decided to apply for the Community Innovation Grant from Headwaters Foundation for Justice.
December 2018: Grant Awarded
Three months later, the grant was awarded to EPNI for one year of research and development to learn more about the specific food barriers Elliot Park faced and work on identifying and crafting our solutions. Read our Blog Post here!
January 2019: Food Solutions Team Created
It was not long before volunteer residents came together to assemble the Elliot Park Food Solutions Team. It consisted of eight members representing distinctive areas of our neighborhood and of a wide variety of age, gender, and socioeconomic status (six pictured below).
February - June 2019: Community Outreach & Surveys (Blog Post)
Over the next five months, our Food Solutions Team was hard at work engaging with our community door-to-door and at EPNI-tabled events to survey exactly where residents were getting their food and how they accessed those locations, what food they thought was missing from Elliot Park, and what food options they would like to see in our neighborhood. The results, which you can read in detail here, overwhelmingly showed that our community wanted more fresh, healthy, and affordable options that were closer to home in order accommodate residents without access to vehicles.
July - October 2019: Learning More About Current Food Organizations (Blog Post)
With our neighborhood's ideas and desires being clearer than ever, the team's next goal was to learn more about the food organizations that are currently doing innovative work in their communities. They saw presentations from organizations like Nokomis East Neighborhood and the Minneapolis Healthy Living Initiative and visited others like the Hampden Park Co-op and Appetite for Change.
November 2019: Food Solutions Town Hall Meeting (Blog Post)
Collecting a year's worth of survey data and research from local food organizations, the team gathered business owners and residents for the Town Hall Meeting. They gave a presentation featuring food organizations in Minneapolis and discussed possible long-term and short-term options that could work for the neighborhood. Equipped with community feedback, the team is moving towards creating an action plan.
The Elliot Park Food Solutions team has been continually advocating, researching, and engaging in outreach efforts to bring fresh affordable food into the neighborhood. Since the new year they have been actively recruiting the Twin Cities Mobile Market (TCMM) to make a stop in the neighborhood. TCMM has shown significant interest in making the Elliot Park stop a reality and has been excitedly working alongside the team to determine the best location and solidify details. Neighborhood residents can expect more information on the Mobile Market in the coming months.
The team has also been excited to continue collaboration efforts with many apartments in the area by hosting informational meetings at various properties, gaining support and hearing feedback. Since the Food Solutions Town Hall meeting last November the team has gained support from all over the Twin Cities, and even nationally. They have made connections from all over the US and are finding innovative ways to pursue a permanent solution for the community. They are excited to begin working closer with experts and interested parties to build a better understanding of potential opportunities and brainstorm creative solutions. Stay tuned for updates as they continue advocating for equitable food access!
The Food Solutions Team, in partnership with The Food Group, was gearing up to launch the Twin Cities Mobile Market in the spring of 2020 when COVID-19 forced a change in plans. Fortunately, the Food Group adapted to the need for safe socially distanced shopping by creating a pop-up market experience. We are super excited to host the pop-market in August and September (with plans to figure out food access into the future as well). Please stop by the market on September 10th or September 24th, 11-1 at Chicago Ave & 15th Street. All are welcome - the more the better!
Earlier this summer, EPNI was awarded a grant from the Headwaters Foundation for Justice to support the food solutions team, the market, and outreach to the community. With this grant, we will be adding a community organizer staff member to the EPNI team to support the food solutions work. Stay tuned!
EPNI is excited to launch a new food distribution program as we move into winter. In partnership with House of Charity, we will be distributing food weekly to 150 households in the neighborhood. If you would like to support this work, please consider making a donation to EPNI and/or signing up to volunteer to pack the food boxes (Monday and Tuesday daytime shifts).