In a state where the majority of our agriculture is in non-edible export crops, like corn and soy, it is critical to support our local food producing farmers and businesses. The COVID-19 public health crisis is showing us that it is more important than ever, for our public health, food security and economic stability, to support sustainable and resilient regional food systems. The Twin Cities-based coalition has developed a collective of diverse stakeholders working towards that goal.
In 2016 over 40 stakeholder organizations began to talk about the power that purchasing has to make meaningful changes for communities impacted by the industrial food system. Early on some initial research was done by Pete Huff (Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy/IATP), Claire Stoscheck, a graduate student, and Food Justice Organizers Zoe Hollomon and Dylan Bradford-Kesti, looking at the Good Food Purchasing model and learning more about institutional food procurement locally. In November 2016 our coalition was formed, including the Minneapolis Public Schools Culinary Wellness Services, which has since taken its second procurement assessment, and is working with the coalition and national partners to implement the Good Food Purchasing Standards and values at the district level.
In 2018 and 2019 we learned more about how the industrial food system has and continues to impact our communities in meat packing plants, on small farms, in rural and urban communities, through teach-ins and farmer listening sessions. We began using a teaching tool, a timeline of food system policies from the 1400’s-2000’s, to highlight areas of policy that need investment and action in order to create greater equity in our food system. We’ve adopted a racial equity framework, calling for reparative investments for communities of color to access to land, nutritious food, cultural food practices, political representation and wealth-building opportunities.
In 2020, we’re collaborating with the Midwest Farmers of Color for Racial Justice Collective, and local worker, environmental justice and community health partners, in our commitment to transform, not just tweak, our food system. With our coalition and support from our national partners we’re working to make healthy, fair, local, sustainable, and humane food the regular choice, one institution at a time. Interested in contacting us? Email our Coalition Organizer, Zoe Hollomon, at firstname.lastname@example.org
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LOCAL ORGANIZATIONS INVOLVED
The following organizations made their formal public commitment to the Twin Cities GFPP Coalition at our meeting in November of 2016. In addition, many other organizations are working with us locally and nationally to move the work forward.
- Hmong American Farmers Association
- Institute for a Sustainable Future
- Minneapolis Public School Culinary Wellness Services
- Pesticide Action Network North America
- Ramsey County Food and Nutrition Commission
- St. Paul Public Schools Nutrition Services
- The Good Acre
- The Homegrown Minneapolis Food Policy Council
- United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1189