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University of Minnesota Extension

Healthy food shelf transformations

SuperShelf transforms food shelves, creating welcoming environments for communities to access appealing, healthy food. Learn more about what we do on the SuperShelf website. 

Extension’s role

As a founding partner of SuperShelf, Extension has been working to transform food shelves, creating welcoming environments for communities to access appealing, healthy food. SNAP-Ed Educators work as SuperShelf Consultants to partner with food shelves across the state using SuperShelf values and methods to make the healthy choice the easiest choice for all. 

Driven by our Values​

Good food: We believe reliable access to healthy, appealing and culturally appropriate food will promote overall health in our communities.

Respect for all: We believe client-centered, welcoming and positive approaches create dignified experiences that further equity in our communities.​

Collaborative partnerships: We believe mutual trust and fully-engaged partners build strong, connected communities working toward sustainable systems change.​

Evidence-based practices: We believe excellence comes from thoughtful, rigorous evaluations, and replicable solutions.

Systemic thinking: We believe influencing policy and processes at all levels drives transformational change in our food system. 

The timeline

In 2016 SNAP-Ed SuperShelf consultants transformed four pilot food shelves in the metro area. This work coincided with an evaluation study on two of the pilot sites by the University’s Department of Family Medicine and Community Healthy, funded by Duke UNC-BECR. 

In 2017 the SuperShelf partnership received National Institutes of Health funding to expand and formally evaluate the project. Building off our previous research on the impact of SuperShelf, we received a 5 year evaluation grant from the to study SuperShelf in a greater number of food shelves and with more rigorous evaluation measures. This NIH evaluation launched in 2017 and runs until 2021.

Also in 2017 SuperShelf, in partnership with Hunger Solutions, launched the first Minnesota Statewide Food Shelf Client Survey. We received over 4,250 responses from 188 food shelves across Minnesota. Results from that survey can be found here: ​2017 Minnesota Food Shelf Client Survey RESULTS

In 2019, Extension SNAP-Ed provided funding to support 14 additional transformations in rural areas of Minnesota, bringing SuperShelf to every region of the state. 

Also in 2019, in partnership with Hunger Solutions and MN Dept of Human Services we also conducted the second Minnesota Statewide Food Shelf Client Survey. Results are expected in Fall 2020. 

Moving forward: SuperShelf has grown as a statewide partnership and now works with food shelves across Minnesota to create a transformed food system where all people thrive. 

The team

Founding Partners

SuperShelf was developed by four founding partners:

  • HealthPartners
  • Valley Outreach
  • The Food Group
  • University of Minnesota Extension and Department of Family Medicine and Community Health 

Founding partners work collaboratively with the SuperShelf Leadership Team composed of local public health and other health and hunger organizations.

Leadership Team

  • Hunger Solutions Minnesota
  • Second Harvest Heartland
  • Channel One Food Bank
  • The Statewide Health Improvement Partnership / Minnesota Department of Health
  • Office of Economic Opportunity / MN Department of Human Services
  • Community Action Center of Northfield
  • Ramsey County Public Health
  • Foundation for Essential Needs
  • HealthPartners
  • Valley Outreach
  • The Food Group
  • University of Minnesota Extension and Department of Family Medicine and Community Health
  • White Bear Area Food Shelf

For more information on becoming a SuperShelf, evaluation results, and statewide work, visit our website

Related resource

360 Communities Healthy Food Initiative — Watch a video of a healthy food shelf transformation that Extension is supporting.

Reviewed in 2020

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