We hope this update finds you well, and gives you a sense of what we are up to at North Country Food Alliance, in addition to our goals for the coming seasons. Read to the bottom to find out about the exciting news we have regarding our community meals program!
Most of you know us for our foodshare program. Our big green truck is hauling thousands of pounds of food per week! Here are the stores and recipients we are currently partnered with:
East Side Co-op
Seward Co-op Friendship Store
Old Home Foods
Community Emergency Services
House of Charity
HCMC Food Shelf
Groveland Food Shelf
Volunteers Engaged in Assisting People (VEAP)
Inter-Congregational Assistance (ICA)
Center for Victims of Torture
St. Vincent DePaul
The Food Group
Our Saviors Housing
Our garden in north Minneapolis is going strong! Last year we built eight raised beds for the garden, and were granted an additional six. These provided us with plenty of tomatoes, beets, greens, peppers, and herbs throughout the growing season. We also planted some strawberries, and are excited to start harvesting from those this year! (Strawberries in their first year shouldn’t be allowed to fruit, as they should put energy into the root structure instead.)
In addition to the raised beds, we were granted a soil and compost, a tool shed, a couple compost bins, trowels, plants, and seeds! We’re very grateful to be the recipient of all these awesome items to help our garden grow. Thanks to the Minnesota State Horticultural Society, Homegrown Minneapolis, and the Minneapolis Healthy Living Initiative!
Though we’ve had a very snowy April, we hope to get cold-season seeds in the ground soon. These include kale, lettuce, peas, and some herbs. Furthermore, we have again been accepted into the Minnesota State Horticultural Society’s Garden-in-a-Box Program for the 2019 gardening season. This will get us additional raised beds, soil, compost, plants and herbs-- all for free!
Last fall, we purchased a commercial food truck for our community meals program. We got a great deal on it, but that means need to put additional work into it before it will become fully operational. Over the winter we fixed all mechanical aspects of the vehicle. However, we still need to do some work on the windows, emergency brake, and get the interior up to code and inspected. We are hoping to serve our first meal in May, but the second week of June is a more realistic projection.
Our basic plan is to use the truck to cook free hot meals for the community, to teach free cooking classes, and to cater events that align with our mission and values. But we’re brainstorming tons of great ideas for this program, and would like to share them with you!
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.
Entrepreneur Test Kitchen: 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: 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.
Got ideas? We want to hear from YOU on how you think a single food truck can make an impact in your community!