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Action Learning Seed Fund

2019 Action Learning Seed Fund cohort

We are excited to announce the 2019 Action Learning Seed Fund cohort! These change agents are working hard throughout Minnesota to share their gifts and create a food system that is better for everyone. By engaging deeply with their communities and with one another, members of the Action Learning Seed Fund cohort are helping to ensure that everyone in Minnesota can take part in building and benefitting from a healthy food future. Please join us in congratulating these champions for food justice!

Funding for the following projects is provided in part by the University of Minnesota Extension and USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – SNAP – with funds received from and through the Minnesota Department of Human Services. SNAP provides nutrition assistance to people with low income (see below for full statement).

Growing Blue Corn

Zachary Paige of Vergas and Eduardo Rivera

Working together with latino farmers and food processors, we are making value-added products (tortillas) from blue corn that was originally from mexico, organically bred to thrive in Minnesota.

Year-Round Indoor Salad Gardening

Lee Olson of West Saint Paul

The goal is to teach people how to grow microgreens. I want to empower people with free access to fresh, delicious, nutritious, and environmentally sound sprouts/microgreens that they can grow in 10-12 days in their home, apartment or dorm. The larger goal is to decrease food insecurity issues and to increase healthier eating.

MNyou Inc

Nate Erickson of Willmar

MNyou Inc. is an organization working with underrepresented youth to address food insecurity in the Willmar community through a "One for One" CSA initiative. 

Guardin’ Roots - North Minneapolis

Mohammed Ali Ojarigi and Queen Frye of Minneapolis

Guardin' Roots is an urban market garden co-developed with Ojarigi Art, Just Write Now and Appetite for Change. The garden is co-developed based on the vision of the play "Guardin Roots,” a play with a call to action component to educate underserved community’s on the possibility’s that one community garden can have.

Cleveland Neighborhood Farm

Kristel Porter of Minneapolis

Provide Vegetable and Hand washing Stations for 4 community Gardens in the neighborhood. Work with Folwell Park to find ways to convert their kitchen into a community FDA approved kitchen.

Wild Plant Walking Trail

Colleen McKinney of Onamia

We hope to create an accessible public walking trail where traditional and beneficial wild plants are identified and where education is provided as to where wild plants can be found and how they can be used for food or medicine. Funding will be used to plan and construct a walking trail; identify, mark and provide information about wild plants as well as promote the trail as an opportunity for learning about Ojibwe traditions and diet.

Embracing the North Side

Meg Allen

Bringing youth, disabled, seniors together to grow food together, tell stories together, eat together and learn together. We will lift one another up as we embrace one another.

Bee Hives at Frogtown Farm

Shelby Rutzick

Frogtown Farm is establishing two bee hives at our urban farm in the Frogtown neighborhood. This project provides opportunities for community beekeeping training sessions, beekeeping and pollinator education and connecting with community members about the many layers of our food system.

NRRC Medicinal Garden

Lydia Maendel

NRRC will establish a medicinal garden to showcase food as medicine. Several experts in herbal medicine will host summer workshops highlighting the herbal medicine traditions of Native American, Hmong and African American cultures.

Newport Farmers Market

Maria Bonilla

The project is the pilot of a farmer’s market in the city of Newport. The objective is to improve food access in this town which is often referred to as one of the communities with the highest density of lower-income households in Washington County. This area is also classified as a food desert by USDA standards. The market will bring in local produce to the community plus create a new retail opportunity for local farmers and vendors.

The Diamond Project 

J. Grant of North Minneapolis 

The Diamond Project is Minnesota’s first solar-powered crop farm. Using innovative technology, Real Estate and agriculture, the project sets to introduce a new generation of BIPOC farmers to a new way of growing, collaborating & healing. Lead by J. Grant, new growers will navigate from land ownership to crop production via solar energy! 

Race and Reconciliation in the Frogtown-Rondo Food System: Taking a Deeper Dive

Melvin Giles of St Paul and Megan Phinney of St Paul

We are the Urban Farm and Garden Alliance (UFGA) and the Reconciliation Lunch Group (RLG), two interconnected networks of peace activists, government employees, Rondo and Frogtown residents, Ramsey County Master Gardeners/Land Connectors, Elders, food justice advocates, and students who believe that food justice, peace, health, and reconciliation are all intertwined and interdependent. Together we are proposing a Seed Project that would allow us to build a more equitable food system in the Rondo and Frogtown communities by creating relational connections across individuals and organizations with ties to Rondo and Frogtown through the facilitation of deep conversations about race and reconciliation and offer tools and learning opportunities.

Increase Healthy Eating at Minority Owned In-Home, Day Care Centers

Pakou Hang of St Paul

The Hmong American Farmers Association (HAFA) is receiving support from the Action Learning Seed Fund to help subsidize the cost of community supported agriculture (CSA) boxes for minority owned, in-home, day care centers located in the Twin Cities who serve low income families. The problem is that low income children of color often lack access to healthy food which can increase their risk of obesity and other long term and life threatening health issues. Investing in minority owned, in-home, day care centers and helping them register for the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), a federal program that reimburses day care centers anywhere from $.45 to $3.31 per meal for providing nutritious meals to low income children, is a great way to increase healthy eating among vulnerable young children as well as grow intergenerational and community wealth in communities of color.

Sustainable Village

Fernando Anderson of Minneapolis

We will create and share a mixed media performance that inspires, uplifts, and brings public awareness to various issues surrounding environment, health, sustainability, and preservation. We will integrate real food into the performances to express the value of food to our health and the overall well being of Mother & Father Earth - the soul that supports all of us in how we live and breath every day.

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