We’re taking a moment to reflect on the Movement. We hardly need to be reminded of the events that made 2020 an extraordinary year—one for Doing The Work. Appetite For Change joined its people, healing and growing our work in new ways to use food as a tool to build health, wealth, and social change in North Minneapolis and beyond.
The pandemic and uprising in Minneapolis catalyzed change and offered an invitation to look at our food system differently. With the support of so many people, partners, and much passion, AFC has been able to continue making fresh and nutritious food accessible so Black and Brown communities can thrive.
Programming at AFC is centered around food and connection. Our favorite ways to do that—café meals, cooking workshops, and farmers markets—didn’t fit the moment so we grew toward other avenues where we could further our mission despite the circumstances. Weekly meal box deliveries, daily hot meal distribution, grounding ourselves in the garden—the answer is often right in front of us, if we take the time to listen.
Growth, healing, and change are rooted in food, how we nourish our bodies. This season, we’ve embraced our roots, expanding our urban agriculture practices on the Northside, growing more than 11,000 pounds of chemical-free produce across 6 plots and building two new green houses. We believe that being in touch with where food comes from, a plant’s history and the soil it’s grown in, is an important part of long term change. During a time when so many of us stayed inside, AFC’s urban garden plots were a welcoming green space to connect with the earth and grow some good food.
Connection has been essential to healing and growth at Appetite For Change this year. In collaboration with the Metro Food Justice Network (MFJN), we created the Community Cooks Meal Boxes. The program is an iteration of AFC’s Community Cooks workshops where participants gather to learn, cook, and eat in community. In 2020, we delivered 6,550 boxes filled with locally-sourced ingredients to prepare 2 full meals for a family of six. That’s 78,600 meals, or as we like to look at it, 78,600 opportunities to explore the art and joy of cooking with family and friends.
With MFJN and its network of partners, we can expand our geographic impact and audience through food. Each Community Cooks Meal Box offers recipes and cooking tips, and an intentional mix of ingredients to prepare a variety of flavors and cuisines. Recipes and tips feature information both new and familiar so participants can build on what they know or explore new ingredients. In the program’s first 22 weeks, we distributed 44,353 pounds of local and chemical-free produce!
We have also been strengthening local foodways, preparing and distributing fresh chef-inspired meals in partnership with Minnesota Central Kitchen. In 2020 AFC directed kitchen capacity and staff skills to prepare, cook, and distribute more than 238,361 meals. These fresh prepared meals are made with the lives of the people enjoying them at the center. We are inspired and excited by the opportunity to share real food with real people at more than 26 distribution sites in neighborhoods across St. Paul and Minneapolis, each with distinct communities, cultures, and culinary preferences.
Share food with us at home. Try recipes from the Appetite For Change community at afcmn.org/recipes. Show us how they turn out and tag @appetiteforchange!