North Country Food Alliance


Increasing Access, Reducing Waste


Fresh Berries

We received boxes of these beautiful berries from Trader Joe’s. As overstock items, they couldn’t be sold in the store. Unfortunately, many businesses throw away perfectly good food such as this.


The Problem

Fresh fruits and vegetables are vital to a healthy diet. However, a diet rich in fresh produce is more expensive than one high in processed foods, making it cost-prohibitive for many people. In addition, fresh foods (which spoil relatively easily) are more difficult for food shelves and soup kitchens to carry.



Percent of our food is wasted



Billion pounds of food goes into the landfill annually



Million Americans Face Hunger


Meanwhile, food waste is a huge problem in the US. It is estimated that between 30 to 40 percent of our food ends up in a landfill, or about 133 billion pounds annually (source). With 41 million Americans facing hunger (source), this is an unconscionable misuse of resources.

Our Impact

Every week, we pick up surplus food from grocery stores and distribution centers across the Twin Cities. All of this food would otherwise be thrown away, either because it’s overstocked or visually imperfect. Much of it is fresh produce, which is often less available to those in need. Food donors in 2019 include Trader Joe’s, United Noodle, St. Vincent de Paul, Urban Organics, and more.

For a full list of recent food donors, see our partners page.



Days a week, we deliver food to charities that serve people in need



Thousand pounds of food saved every week



Organizations served in the Twin cities metro area


In order to serve communities that are the most disadvantaged, we partner with local nonprofit organizations such as soup kitchens, homeless shelters, and food shelves. Our work provides them with reliable access to fresh foods. 2019 food recipients include Keystone Community Food Shelf, Community Emergency Service, VEAP, and Groveland Food Shelf.

For a full list of recent recipients, see our partners page.



Building Urban Food Sources


Our current garden in North Minneapolis

This is the sixth garden we’ve managed in our six years of operation.

Many people take food for granted, assuming they can purchase whatever they need at any time. However, obtaining fresh, quality produce can be difficult for those living far away from grocery stores, as well as people of low wealth, people experiencing home insecurity, and people facing other hardships. Additionally, people who live in cities often have little connection to their food supply, not knowing how to grow food or what their food even looks like before it’s harvested and packaged. We at NCFA believe that a strong connection to food improves the health of our communities and its members.

This is why we build and maintain community gardens in working class neighborhoods in the Twin Cities. These gardens do not follow the traditional model of leasing out parcels to individuals; rather, everything is communally worked, and the produce is free for community members to enjoy. We also offer donation-based workshops, giving people the opportunity to learn how to grow their own healthy food, and hold neighborhood events to bring people together. Any surplus produce goes toward our foodshare program and is given away completely free-of-charge to Metro Area food shelves, homeless shelters, and soup kitchens.

When NCFA first began, we built gardens at our office and in community member’s yards. Our program has since expanded; we now take advantage of Minneapolis’ program of leasing vacant lots for the purpose of growing food. We started one such garden in North Minneapolis in 2017; this is our sixth garden project in our six years of operation. If you live in the area and are interested in participating, please contact us!


Current Garden Site

Past Garden Sites


Community Meals

Cooking Together, Serving Food

Call for submissions: all chefs, cooks, bakers, restaurateurs, entrepreneurs, nutritionists, dietitians, homeopaths, natural medicine practitioners, non-profit workers, and more! Please send an email to with your idea on how NCFA could use our new truck to disrupt hunger and malnutrition.


The Food Truck

In Fall 2018 we purchased a 1995 Chevy Utilimaster step van and spent the winter dreaming about how we can use it to make a difference in our community. This summer, in between piloting new programs, we want to hear how you think a single food truck can make an impact in your community!

Here are some programs we may pilot this year:

Culinary skills programming

NCFA will partner with a high school (TBD) and provide students management and cooking classes with the opportunity to gain real world experience working in and operating a food truck. Students in this program will accrue internship hours, practical kitchen skills, and business acumen.

Holistic healing events

Food needs to be a part of the conversation about health care. A staggering percentage of the most common diseases are directly linked to diet. By partnering with traditional Western and alternative healing experts, participants at our holistic healing events will gain exposure to a variety of ways to heal the body and spirit.

Nutritionists, dietitians, chiropractors, acupuncturists, massage therapists, homeopaths, energy workers, and more will converge to give concentrated care to those most in need. This model will flip conventional health care upside down - caretakers will be waiting to see YOU, not the other way around.

Entrepreneur Test Kitchen

Have you ever thought of running a food truck? Do you know someone who should? Send them our way! The NCFA community meals program is looking for local cooks who have a passion and vision for feeding their communities. We provide the kitchen, equipment, and food, you supply the vision and community.

Operation Green Bodega

Do you love your neighborhood corner store? What about your CSA? What if they were one and the same?

We are currently searching for a corner store and CSA to partner with to host a cooking competition. The corner store’s selection will be supplemented by the CSA’s offerings. Competitors in the tournament will pass a qualifier working on the NCFA truck. Those competing will be challenged to only use ingredients found in the store to cook a meal on our truck. They will be judged on how delicious, healthy, and easy to prepare the meal is. Winners will have their meal featured at the Bodega for a year.

Catering Events

The NCFA truck will be provide catering to events and groups that align with our mission. Minimum $500.


  • Install a Salamander Broiler

  • Working generator