North Country Food Alliance
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Increasing Access, Reducing Waste


Fresh fruits and vegetables are vital to a healthy diet. Unfortunately, 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. This is why North Country Food Alliance focuses on providing fresh produce to low-income communities. 

North Country Food Alliance is best known for rescuing surplus food that would otherwise go to waste and giving it away to those most in need. A large percentage of produce in this country gets thrown into dumpsters instead of being sold-- most of it is perfectly good fruits and vegetables. This often happens in Co-ops, grocery stores, and distribution warehouses to make space when new shipments of food arrives. We have a multi-million dollar insurance policy & employ food service professionals, allowing us to safely and legally distribute this surplus food, while reducing waste.

We build relationships with grocery stores, food co-ops, farmers markets, food distributors, and local farmers to rescue healthy surplus food. Every week we have regular pick-ups of large amounts of food that would traditionally go to waste. Most of it is healthy fresh produce- the kind of healthy food that is often harder for people in need to find. In 2018, food source partners include: United Noodles, Trader Joe’s, Eastside Co-op, Saint Vincent de Paul, Seward Community Co-op, and Harvest Moon Co-op.

We then partner with many local organizations, from soup-kitchens to neighborhood food shelves, to make sure this food goes to the most disadvantaged. Distribution partners in 2018 include: The Center For Victims of Torture, Keystone, ICA, Hallie Q Brown, Sabathani, and Francis Basket, and many more.



Building Urban Food Sources


Each spring 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 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.

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 now our sole garden project. If you live in the area and are interested in volunteering, please contact us!


Community Meals

Cooking Together, Serving Food


In August 2018 we purchased a commercial food truck, which we will use to serve free healthy meals, teach free cooking classes, and cater community-oriented events that align with our mission and values. Keep an eye out for our food truck in working class neighborhoods all around the Twin Cities!