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A Perfect Pear: Northeast Farmers Market Partnership with Every Meal

As mid-morning approaches on Saturday mornings, the parking lot of St. Boniface Church in Northeast Minneapolis transforms into a farmers market. Stands full of fresh veggies, fruits, and other foods spread out over the concrete floor. The Northeast Farmers Market not only brings healthy produce to local residents but also to children and families across the Twin Cities metro through a partnership with Every Meal.

This summer, the Northeast Farmers Market joins Every Meal in our second season of partnership for our Grow & Give initiative. This unique partnership is an important one in expanding the amount of produce we provide to children and families living with food insecurity.

 

How Produce Gets from the Market to Twin Cities Children and Families

There are two ways Northeast Farmers Market collects produce to donate to Every Meal.

  1. Visitors can purchase produce from vendors and place it in a dedicated donation bin located in the center of the market.
  2. Additionally, vendors can donate any excess produce.

Produce donation stand at Northeast Farmers Market

At the close of the market, a volunteer from Northeast Farmers Market delivers the collected produce to Every Meal’s warehouse in Roseville. This volunteer commitment is a very beneficial one in making this partnership possible. The produce is sorted by Every Meal staff and stored in our cooler to keep it fresh.

The produce donations from Northeast Farmers Market are combined with other produce donations. These come from our other garden partners and individuals. Produce harvested from Every Meal’s Grow & Give garden is also added.

Sorted produce donations

On Tuesday evenings, Every Meal garden interns assemble all the produce collected from the week into produce bags. These are then ready to go for distributions, which typically happen Wednesday mornings in several locations throughout the Twin Cities metro. Any family who needs it is welcome to take produce bags for free. There are no income qualifications and no personal data is collected.

Produce distribution

 

How It All Got Started

This partnership evolved in a similar way that Every Meal was founded, through identifying a need and working with the community to provide a solution.

In 2020, a board member of the market, who was also the previous Director of Development at Every Meal, connected the two organizations. It was obvious from the start that we can make a difference if we put our two missions together.

Last year, in our first year of partnership, the market collected and donated 579.6 pounds of produce. We are looking forward to a successful second year.

 

How to Get Involved

This Grow & Give season, you can help us achieve our goal of distributing over 1,000 bags of fresh produce to local families in several ways.

  1. Attend the Northeast Farmers Market. Buy produce from one or more vendors to donate to Every Meal. The market is open, rain or shine, on Saturdays from 9 am-1 pm.
  2. Donate produce from your home garden, community garden, or Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm box. Drop off produce donations at Every Meal’s warehouse located at 2723 Patton Road, Roseville, MN 55113 on Mondays and Tuesdays through September 30, 2021. Please email our Programs Manager, Christine Weber at cweber@everymeal.org with a brief description of your donation to arrange a time for drop-off.
  3. Encourage your family and friends to donate produce.