Strengthening Community Food Systems Full Lives

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Access to healthy food, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, varies across the metro. This has been a challenge in North Minneapolis, a vibrant community where residents have lacked consistent access to nearby grocery stores and affordable, healthy food.

To address this, United Way launched an innovative grantmaking program known as Full Lives – through a strategic partnership with the General Mills Foundation – to strengthen food access by investing in nearly a dozen community-based nonprofits in North Minneapolis.

Over the past two years, organizations like Appetite for Change, Green Garden Bakery and Pillsbury United Communities have been supporting and strengthening a healthy and equitable community food system, including a youth-run bakery, a farmer’s market and farm plots to grow food, as well as a new grocery store called North Market – all of which are making a big impact in the community.

Lalah, Full Lives ParticipantHigh school sophomore Lalah lives in North Minneapolis. Through funding made possible by the Full Lives program, her organization, Green Garden Bakery – a youth-run bakery promoting health and sustainability through vegetable-based desserts – was able to grow and expand its gardening and youth programming.

Lalah originally thought the opportunity sounded intriguing, as her neighborhood didn’t have any gardens at the time. “There isn’t a grocery store within a mile of here that I can walk to and get fresh produce.”

That prompted Lalah to also work in the garden near her home, where she discovered she could grow her own fruits and vegetables.

Lalah said she has learned much more than how to weed or use an oven. “Without this program, some of us would never meet or connect. It teaches our community to come together and make things like the garden happen.”

Thank you, General Mills, for your ongoing commitment to ensuring all residents can access the food they want and need in order to thrive!