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University of Minnesota Extension

Extension is expanding its online education and resources to adapt to COVID-19 restrictions.

Cultivating powerful participation: food justice facilitation workshops

One way of defining food justice is simply that the act of eating should not cause harm to others, to ourselves or to our planet. Being in service to a vision of food justice requires a new way of working that focuses on transforming the food system so that it feeds and nourishes everyone, not just those privileged enough to make a living wage or with access to a grocery store that sells affordable and healthy food.

The University of Minnesota Extension and food justice leaders around the state are working together to equip people with the skills and tools to cultivate meaningful dialogue that leads to action in service to a vision of food justice.

Acknowledging our past

The food system we currently have is founded on land stolen from Native Americans, on an economy jump-started by the enslavement of Africans, and to this day, on the exploitation of  migrants, immigrants, and others working across a system that does not pay a livable wage in almost any sector. For all of these reasons, it must be noted that there is no food justice without racial justice.

The time is now

Minnesota and the world are at a critical time. As days pass, the inequities in our food system are becoming even more clear. In order to create a better food system for everyone, we need leaders who are prepared to facilitate collaborative work for food justice. With work moving rapidly to an online setting, we are creating space for leaders to not only learn how to facilitate but to do so virtually!


This collaboration began in October 2019 when a team of leaders from outside the University came together with Extension staff for four days to strengthen their facilitation skills and co-create a curriculum to help others learn how to bring people together more effectively to cultivate powerful participation.

A series of eight two-day in-person meetings workshops took place from November 2019 - February 2020. And when COVID-19 hit, the team adapted and hosted a series of six mini-workshops to help participants learn how to apply their skills to a virtual setting. 

Attendees walked away with practical tools and partnerships that would help them to pass these skills on to others. You can find all the virtual workshops catalogued below in the “Past Workshops” section of this page and materials from the in-person workshop stored in this open Google Drive

Upcoming workshops

The team is currently in “planning mode” to determine how this work will move forward in 2021 and beyond. Stay tuned for future workshops and offerings.

Past workshops

Find out more about the history of our workshops and what participants had to say about food justice facilitation. 

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