Minneapolis Food Council
Recently, the City Council voted to create the first-ever Minneapolis Food Council, an advisory group to the City on issues regarding food and food policy, especially regarding local food. This group will continue to oversee and drive the work of the Homegrown Minneapolis initiative.
There is real excitement in the community for this work – ninety-eight people applied for fifteen seats! Four Second Ward residents have been chosen to be on the Food Council: Tracy Singleton, owner of the Birchwood Café; Kurt Schreck, Chief Operating Officer of At Last! Gourmet Foods; Rhys Williams, Buyer for Coop Partners Warehouse, a fruit and vegetable distributor; and Sarah Nelson-Pallmeyer, Director of FoodShare for the Greater Metropolitan Council of Churches. I thank these folks for their willingness to serve, and thank all of the many other Second Ward residents who applied for seats on this commission.
Other appointees to the Council: small grocery store owner Neil Oxendale, Alison Rotel from Blue Cross Blue Shield, Giving Tree Gardens owner (and master composter) Russ Henry, Kristine Igo with the U of M's Healthy Food Healthy Lives initiative, Mill City Farmers Market manager Aaron Reser, urban farmer Eric Larsen, Phase I Homegrown Co-Chair Julie Ristau, Author Beth Dooley, Northside Fresh Coordinator Mustafa Sundiata, Zenteotl Project Director Deborah Ramos, and Rebecca Reed with Sustology.
These folks represent a well-balanced diversity of voices. As a group, they include diversity of food system expertise, with commercial growers, community gardens, processors, restaurateurs, grocery store owners, distributors, farmers markets, food shelves, and composters represented. They include strong links to the Latino, African American and American Indian Communities. The slate builds relationships with the philanthropic and academic communities, and include diversity of experience with the Homegrown initiative (people who have been involved to date and people who have not). And all sectors of Minneapolis are represented: folks on the Food Council live or work in North, Northeast, South, Southwest and Downtown.
The Food Council slate was developed by a nominating committee that included the following people: Grover Jones from the Northside Economic Opportunity Network (or NEON); John Brosnan from Gardening Matters; JoAnne Berkenkamp from the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy; Neisha Reynolds from Hennepin County; Migdalia Loyola, Blue Cross Blue Shield Center for Prevention; Susen Fragrelius from World Tree, consultant for Little Earth; Ross Abbey, chair of CEAC; Collie Graddick, consultant with the MN Department of Agriculture, the Coop Project; Taya Kaufenberg; Megan O’Hara, co-chair of the first phase of Homegrown; June Mathiowetz, Homegrown Coordinator; Erica Prosser from the Mayor’s Office; Robin Garwood from my office. I want to thank them for their great work - I know it wasn't easy to winnow such a large number of very qualified applicants to the final list, but they were successful.
I am confident that this new Food Council will carry forward Homegrown's work, and continue to make Minneapolis a leader on local food policy.