Ecolution #1: Food Security and Appetite for Change

e·co·lu·tion / e ko looSH(e)n / noun A co-created story-sharing revolution, amplifying innovators working toward equitable economies and sustainable ecosystems
Carl Childs, Savannah McCullough, and LaTaijah Powell volunteer to help distribute meal boxes for 200 households.

About Food Security

We launched our Ecolution Collective series with food security as the central topic because:

  • 1 in 8 Minnesotans will experience food insecurity this month, including 112,000 children — data from McKinsey & Co, collected on behalf of Second Harvest Heartland, September 2020
  • The hunger crisis hits Minnesota, and it’s about to get much worseSahan Journal
    “Despite how well the state’s emergency food system is working, a rise in food insecurity still has major implications for the overall health of the state.”

Action Step #1

Ecolution Collective, as the name suggests, is a collective effort. This new communication tool about equitable and sustainable economies AND ecosystems is driven by reader engagement. Take our survey about topics to start: tinyurl.com/EcolutionPoll1

Question for Ecolutionaries

What solutions have you seen around the state that are improving supply lines between healthy foods and those who need access? Do you work with data or research that illuminates this issue? Reach out to ecolution@womenspress.com with “food security” in the subject line.


Resources

Interested in getting involved with sustainable food networks in Minnesota?

Hunger Relief 
The Food Group MN, providing resources to food shelves and direct food access programs.
Minnesota Central Kitchen, Second Harvest Heartland, brings together restaurants, caterers, and hunger-fighting organizations to tackle hunger and service-sector layoffs brought on by the pandemic.
MN Food Charter, a roadmap designed to guide policymakers and community leaders in providing Minnesotans with equal access to healthy food.
Metro Food Access, creating a re-imagined metro food justice network that uses a robust community engagement process. 

Food Skills
East Side Table, empowering individuals to improve food skills, awareness, and access to healthy foods.

Hubs
The Good Acre, improving the local food system for diverse, independent farmers and to increase access to healthy produce for all consumers.
Farmers Market Hub, expanding produce sales through farmers’ market aggregation

Rural Renewal & Sustainable Agriculture
Renewing the Countryside, renewing the countryside through sustainable and innovative initiatives, businesses, and projects.
The Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture, bringing together the diverse interests of the agricultural community with interests from across the University.
Land Stewardship Project, founded in 1982 to foster an ethic of stewardship for farmland, to promote sustainable agriculture and to develop healthy communities.

Have resource suggestions? Get in touch: ecolution@womenspress.com


What We Are Reading and Watching

Farmers and animal rights activists are coming together to fight factory farms, Vox
“If the Farm System Reform Act passed, how much would really change?”

These small dairy farms are a model for a resilient food system, Yes! Magazine
“These farmers don’t operate alone. They band together in cooperatives, sharing resources for the benefit of all.”

Hmong farmers use Minnesota roots to bolster the state’s farmers markets, Duluth News Tribune
“Having diversity in vendors at the market is the only way that it should exist.”


Resilient Food SystemsPeople and Planet Episode 3 ,

Next Steps

In this final installment of our Food Security series, we offer recommended resources and suggested action steps on behalf of food issues in Minnesota.

From Mark Ritchie at Global Minnesota: Attend the Oct. 16 World Food Day 2020 virtual conference about hunger relief, regenerative agriculture and sustainable development, food security and safety, impacts of climate change, and more. 

From Secondhand Harvest Heartland and the Wilder Foundation:

  1. Anyone who needs help stretching their food budget can find options listed at the Hunger Solutions interactive map.
  2. Advocate for SNAP and other food access programs. Find out if you are eligible, and apply if so.
  3. Donate financially to food banks. Volunteer to work with food assistance providers.
  4. Before you donate, consult the website of the place you plan to give to see what foods and products they need most. 
  5. Advocate for SNAP expansion and food access support. The Food Research and Action Center is asking for people to contact their legislators to help strengthen SNAP benefits in the next COVID-19 response package.
  6. Help to destigmatize food assistance use by talking about hunger and program options. Anyone can be impacted by food insecurity, especially in the pandemic and because of affordable housing issues.
  7. Support initiatives and policies that reduce barriers for food security. Be part of conversations about stable housing, transportation, livable wages, and healthcare.
  8. Can you be part of the team that tracks and informs the Ecolution Collective about related legislative bills in January? Contact ecolution@womenspress.com

Profile #1: Appetite for Change

AFC operates a youth program that runs an urban farm on seven sites, grows and harvests food, and distributes meals through fresh grocery boxes and recipe kits. It works largely with small local farms and farmers who are immigrants, Black, Indigenous, and people of color. Its weekly meal kits are free, and include two recipes and locally grown produce for 12 meals that are delivered to families. Taronda Richardson explains the program:



AFC makes 1,000 meals on weekdays out of its Breaking Bread kitchen in North Minneapolis and Station 81 in St. Paul’s Union Depot.

The pandemic has prohibited some of AFC’s other work, yet its central mission remains intact: to break down systemic barriers to healthy food.





About Ecolution Collective

The #EcolutionCollective is a newsletter series in four weekly installments focused on different topics. The inaugural theme explores food security and the work of Appetite for Change (AFC), which provides equitable access to healthy foods.

Join the Ecolution Collective.
Sign up here: tinyurl.com/joinecolution


Upcoming Themes

  • October 2020 — Collective Economies & 40 Acre Co-Op
  • November 2020 — Air Quality
  • December 2020— Regenerating Habitat

More details about what the Ecolution Collective is about, and why you might want to become part of this new statewide community.

Minnesota Women’s Press has been sharing the voice and vision of women since 1985, as one of the longest running feminist platforms (print and digital) in the U.S. Our Vision: We are all parts of a greater whole. Our stronger future will be built from the collective energy of women who shift narratives to effect change. Click here if you are able to support our story sharing and free distribution.

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