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Goat meat project in St. Cloud is about more than food

October 7, 2020

University of Minnesota Extension strongly supports building local food environments that are culturally, ethnically and religiously reflective of local communities.

Group of people standing together in front of a barn.
Somali community members meet with local goat farmers at a farm in St. Cloud.

The Somali community in St. Cloud wants to know where their meat is coming from, and how it was raised and processed. According to Abdiaziz Odiriye, the Executive Director of Community Grassroots Solutions (CGS), Muslims are obligated to eat only halal meat.

The Somali community is establishing trusting relationships with local goat farmers. They hope to secure financial resources to build a halal-only meat processing facility. Ultimately they want to build a sustainable halal meat supply chain in Central Minnesota.

CGS, in partnership with Extension, received a grant from the Central Regional Sustainable Development Partnership. The team will conduct a series of listening sessions with the larger Somali community to include their voices and develop a collective pathway on how to make their dream a reality.

"For many Somali community members the consumption of halal meat may be seen as an expression of their Muslim identity," said  Extension educator Serdar Mamedov, who works with a group of Somali community leaders to address this issue.

Expected project outcomes:

  1. Increase the capacity of the leadership group to facilitate community listening sessions.
  2. Connect and develop partnerships with organizations and institutions who are interested in supporting this project.
  3. Incorporate the voice of the Somali community into the project.
  4. Create a plan that will provide a clear guidance on how to bring this project into a life.
  5. Increase policymakers' awareness and knowledge about this issue.

For more information about the halal goat meat project contact Serdar Mamedov smamedov@umn.edu.

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