New year, new me -- new volunteer opportunities?
If you love to eat, and if giving back a bit is one of your New Year’s resolutions, here are just a few nonprofits in the Twin Cities that strengthen communities, hone kids’ skills, and more, all through the power of food.
Appetite for Change
This nonprofit covers so much ground with its programming, it’s kind of tough to sum up. There’s Breaking Bread Cafe and Catering, which is a north Minneapolis coffee shop that's open to the public and staffed by youth in the community. There’s Fresh Corners, the urban agriculture initiative, and Kindred Kitchen, the commercial kitchen space made available to small food businesses that need space to get off the ground. Appetite for Change also offers workshops and holds regular events.
1200 W. Broadway Ave., #1800, Minneapolis
Cookie Cart is a nonprofit bakery run by community youth, offering them opportunities to learn leadership skills, gain job experience, hone their financial literacy, and much more. Program participants can also work toward certifications, such as the ServSafe Food Handler Certification and the National Career Readiness Certification. Cookie Cart sells nine different traditional cookies as well as frozen dough and hand-decorated, season- and event-specific treats. Order cookies online or visit the bakery, and consider setting up your own online fundraiser to help out.
1119 W. Broadway Ave., Minneapolis
Frogtown Farm sits in the middle of -- you guessed it -- the Frogtown neighborhood, where it gives residents and visitors alike access to 13 acres of green space including a natural area, recreation, and an urban demonstration farm. Anyone in the community can grow crops, learning permaculture and following organic standards along the way. Frogtown Farm also participates in a neighborhood-wide initiative called The Art of Food that’s all about creating and sustaining a robust community food system.
Office: 941 LaFond Ave., Building D, St. Paul
Farm: 946 Minnehaha Ave. W., St. Paul
The Good Acre
As a food hub, the Good Acre provides “space and the infrastructure necessary to wash, process, and store produce fresh from the field.” They connect growers with wholesale buyers and offer cooking and meal-planning classes, a farm share program, rental commercial kitchen space, and a seasonal farmers market. And they’re hosting a three-evening culinary bootcamp in early January to fine-tune your skills in the kitchen.
1790 Larpenteur Ave. W., Falcon Heights
Hmong American Farmers Association (HAFA)
Hmong American farmers make up 50 percent of the farmers at metro area farmers markets, and without HAFA, that number might not be so high. HAFA was founded in 2011 specifically to support and lift up Hmong American farmers in the area, providing resources and access to their 155-acre farm in Dakota County. Member families can lease plots, grow their crops, and sell their produce to the HAFA Food Hub; the Food Hub then sells the produces to CSAs and other institutions. Members can also take advantage of various trainings and workshops to hone their skills and increase access capital.
941 Lafond Ave., Ste. 100, St. Paul
The North American Traditional Indigenous Food Systems organization is spearheaded by the Sioux Chef, Sean Sherman. A newer nonprofit, it has mighty goals. NāTIFS is focused on education and research to restore and rediscover indigenous foodways that have been destroyed by colonization. To that end, the organization also hopes to increase access to quality food for indigenous people. Down the line, NāTIFS hopes to institute various indigenous food hubs and businesses throughout the country to spread their message and activity.
Since 1996, Urban Roots has been empowering youth on St. Paul’s East Side through education and projects that enhance the community and increase access to healthy foods. Urban Roots runs various internship programs focused on growing food, cooking, and conservation. Much of the food grown by the interns in the garden is packed into CSA boxes or sold to local restaurants and grocers. Cooking interns learn kitchen skills and prepare a weekly lunch for all 60 youth interns -- plus, young people who work in the conservation program remove invasive species from green spaces and replace them with native plants.
463 Maria Ave., Ste. 207, St. Paul