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Summary of Homegrown Minneapolis Action Plan



Name of Report

Homegrown Minneapolis

Location

US: Minneapolis, MN

Date Published

2009, June

Website

http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/dhfs/homegrown-home.asp

Mission Statement

Homegrown Minneapolis is an initiative to improve the growth, sales, distribution and consumption of fresh, locally grown foods in order to positively impact the health, food security, economy and environment of the city and the surrounding region.

Contact Info

Kristen Klingler, Homegrown Minneapolis Coordinator

Minneapolis Dept of Health and Family Support

Kristen.Klingler@ci.minneapolis.mn.us

612-673-2910

612-673-3866 (fax)

Initiated By

The idea for Homegrown Minneapolis was championed by Mayor R.T. Rybak, a long-time supporter of the local food movement. The initiative was meant to bring together the wide variety of local food activists and organizations already working in Minneapolis.

Funding Source

The Mayor requested that the Minneapolis Department of Health & Family Support lead the effort based on its work as part of the Steps to a Healthier Minneapolis grant (a 5-year, federally funded grant focused on obesity prevention through healthy eating and physical activity). The Homegrown Minneapolis Coordinator position is funded by the Centers for Disease Control over a two-year period.

Timeframe

2008-2009

Appendix I

Homegrown Minneapolis: Full Report

http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/dhfs/hgfinalrec.pdf

Highlights:

Portland Similarities

  • City focused, but inclusive of surrounding region

  • Community-wide input

  • Public-private partnership model

  • Report is very comprehensive and details their steps and process

  • Food System conditions and gaps/needs are very similar to those of the Portland region

  • Community Engagement processes are similar to those typically used in the Portland region

Organizational Structure:

 

  • Stakeholders: 100+ members of public and food system professionals

    • Subcommittees: Stakeholders worked on four issues

      • Farmers markets

      • Community, school, backyard gardens

      • Small enterprise urban agriculture

      • Commercial use of locally grown foods

  • Steering Committee: 17 members including three tri-chairs from the community, the co-chairs of each of the four subcommittees, and additional City staff

    • Their purpose is to gather input from the Stakeholder Group and broader community, guide the subcommittees in developing specific recommendations, compile, synthesize the final report and recommendations.

Appendix II

Organizational Structure

Note:

Definitions of “Local” and “Food System”

Definition of “Local”

Although there is no single definition, the word “local” has come to encompass a common set of values and ideas. A comprehensive definition from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation states that local food systems are built around the principle of “good food,” defined as food that is:

  • Healthy, as in it won’t make you chronically ill.

  • Green, as in it was produced in a manner that is environmentally sustainable.

  • Fair, as in no one along the production line was exploited for its creation.

  • Affordable, as in people of all socioeconomic backgrounds are able to purchase it and have access to it.

Definition of “Food System”

The term “food system” includes all the processes that are involved in keeping people fed including growing, harvesting, processing, packaging, transporting, marketing, accessing, consuming and disposing of food. A “local” food system refers to these components at the community, city, or regional level. The following diagram illustrates the major components of a food system and highlights the central role that local government and society can play in facilitating these processes.

Q & A:

Interview with Kristen Klingler, Homegrown Minneapolis Coordinator

 

Questions:

  1. What specific outreach strategies did you use to identify and convene stakeholders?

  2. Was the general public also invited to participate in the process?

  3. What efforts were made to create an equitable environment where all participants had a voice?

  4. What organizing principles were used to guide the development of goals and objectives?

  5. What process did you undergo to determine the four key areas and resulting sub-committees? 

  6. Do you have the city’s commitment to following through with recommended actions?

NOTE: Kristen’s detailed response is attached as Appendix III – offers great insight and best practices related to our own process

Appendix III

Interview with Homegrown Minneapolis Coordinator (10/22/09)

Best Practices:

Stakeholder Input Process, Development of Recommendations

First Phase: Stakeholder Engagement

The goal of the first phase of the Homegrown Minneapolis initiative was to identify and convene stakeholders from across the community to discuss food issues, challenges and opportunities, and develop specific recommendations for ways in which city policies and resources can be aligned to support and expand the local food system.

 

Process:

Over 100 stakeholders representing the City, schools, parks, local businesses, neighborhood organizations, non-profits, community residents and other organizations met regularly from January 2009 to April 2009 to develop recommendations related to four key areas:

  • Farmers’ Markets

  • Community, School, and Home Gardens

  • Small Enterprise Urban Agriculture

  • Commercial Use of Local Foods

A tremendous effort by each subcommittee resulted in 72 recommendations and 146 detailed action steps, which appear as appendices in the full report (see Appendix I). The Homegrown Minneapolis Steering Committee organized, synthesized, and refined recommendations into six overarching recommendations, each with sub-recommendations that offer greater detail and guidance for implementation. This set of recommendations was presented for public comment during May 2009. These overarching recommendations are organized into the following categories:

  • Policy

  • Systems/Tools/Education

  • Green Jobs

  • Land Use and Development

  • Communications

Best Practices:

Establishing the Role of Local Government

The City of Minneapolis has the opportunity to take deliberative action to improve and support the complex network of people, facilities, and processes that make up the local food system.

  • Though city government neither grows, processes, nor distributes food, its policies and regulations can foster (or inhibit) a hospitable environment for these activities within, and surrounding, its city limits.

  • The City of Minneapolis can create the environment needed to sustain a strong local food system by setting citywide policies and regulations, especially in the areas of land use, zoning, and food safety.

  • In addition, the City of Minneapolis can direct financial and human resources; convene stakeholders; and coordinate local foods efforts and information -- all of which can greatly impact residents’ and businesses’ abilities to grow, sell, distribute, and consume healthy, local food.

The Homegrown Minneapolis initiative begins to address these dynamics and the specific roles of the City in growing the local food system.

Best Practices:

Community Engagement Efforts

Community Engagement efforts

The Homegrown Minneapolis Steering Committee solicited comments on the draft recommendations from Minneapolis residents and other key stakeholders through:

 

Online Feedback:

The draft recommendations were made available to the public on the Homegrown Minneapolis website (http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/dhfs/homegrown-home.asp). Interested residents were invited to review the draft recommendations and submit their feedback during the month of May 2009. Approximately 45 comments were received through the online feedback process.

 

Public Meetings:

Minneapolis residents were invited to attend two Homegrown Minneapolis public meetings (held during the evening) to learn about the initiative, talk about their barriers to accessing healthy food, review the draft recommendations, and offer feedback. The first public meeting was held in North Minneapolis on May 12, 2009 at the North Commons Park Recreation Center. The second public meeting was held in South Minneapolis on May 18, 2009 at the Martin Luther King Park Recreation Center. Approximately 45 individuals attended each meeting.

 

Stakeholder Meeting:

More than 110 partners who had been involved in the Homegrown Minneapolis initiative since December 2008 were invited to a Stakeholder meeting on May 12, 2009 to closely examine the draft recommendations and offer any final suggestions or comments. Approximately 50 partners participated in this process.

 

Presentations to City Advisory Groups:

An overview of the Homegrown Minneapolis initiative along with the draft recommendations were presented to various City Advisory Groups and other community partners including: Environmental Coordinating Team (ECT), Citizens Environmental Advisory Committee (CEAC), Public Health Advisory Committee (PHAC), and Hispanic Health Network (HHN).

 

Community Partners and Neighborhood Organizations:

A number of neighborhood associations and organizations within the community submitted formal letters of support for the Homegrown Minneapolis initiative and offered comments on the draft recommendations, including Eureka Recycling, Minnesota Food and Justice Alliance, students from the University of Minnesota’s Environment and Agriculture program, Southeast Como Improvement Association, Armatage Neighborhood Association, and the Phillips West Board of Directors.

Best Practices:

Community engagement processes are similar to those typically used the Portland region

In each of these settings, participants were asked:

  1. What do you like about the draft recommendations?

  2. What ideas are missing from the draft recommendations?

  3. What issues should we consider as we move forward toward the implementation of these draft recommendations?

  4. What other questions, comments, or concerns do you have related to this initiative or the local food system in general?

Their comments were integrated into six overarching recommendations and specific sub-recommendations that offer more detail and guidance for implementation.

Best Practices:

Minneapolis food system conditions are similar to those of the Portland region

as are the identified gaps and system needs

 

The current food system in Minneapolis

Minneapolis currently boasts a strong foundation of existing local foods resources that address certain components of the food system outlined above, particularly small-scale production and distribution of locally grown foods. Examples of these resources include:

  • 15 farmers’ markets and mini farm stands

  • Over 120 community gardens used for food production, youth programming, and beautification

  • 5 Health food co-ops

  • Numerous regional CSA (community supported agriculture) farms with dozens of local drop-off points serving hundreds of Minneapolis residents

  • Local restaurants serving local food

  • Rich environment of local food-supporting non-profit organizations

  • Local food-focused educational opportunities

  • Urban gardening-focused youth training programs

  • Strong community support for local food values and activities

Despite its many strengths, gaps remain in Minneapolis’ current food system including:

  • Inequitable access to healthy, affordable, local foods across Minneapolis communities

  • Lack of small- and mid-size processing, aggregation, and distribution infrastructure necessary to connect food growers with consumers

  • Perceived and real barriers to urban food production and consumption (including soil contamination issues and remediation options; cost of local, healthy foods)

  • Lack of communication and coordination among farmers’ markets throughout the city

  • Disconnect between rural and peri-urban food producers and urban consumers

Outcomes & Accomplishments:

Long-term Planning that Inspires Immediate Action

 

Emerging Projects

While the recommendations presented in the preceding chapter are meant to lay the foundation for long-term planning and action, it is important to highlight that Homegrown Minneapolis was also able to inspire immediate action and new partnerships. Four emerging projects are highlight here to demonstrate the energy with which the local foods movement is moving forward under the leadership of Homegrown Minneapolis:

 

Minneapolis Public School – School Garden Policy: After participating in the subcommittee on Community, School, and Home Gardens, representatives from the Minneapolis Public Schools convened a work group to examine existing policies around school gardens and gardens on school property. As a result of these meetings, there will be a clear policy in place for these types of gardens and defined procedures for assisting community members in accessing school land.

 

City-owned land for community gardens: In response to growing demand for land suitable for community gardening and urban agriculture, the department of Community Planning and Economic Development (CPED) is working to make available city-owned land that could potentially be used by community organizations as short- and long-term community garden spaces. In addition, CPED is developing a fact sheet to clarify policies and procedures for community residents interested in obtaining city-owned land for food production purposes.

 

Emerge Youth Garden: Youth workers participating in the City’s Step Up summer employment program, in partnership with Emerge and the Institute for Agriculture & Trade Policy, have been recruited to help start and maintain a new youth garden on the Northside. These youth will spend the summer of 2009 building raised beds, developing healthy soil, and planting a variety of vegetables.

 

Gardens on fire station land: In response to the demand for land suitable for food production, 16 fire stations throughout Minneapolis have coordinated staff volunteers to help plant and maintain vegetable gardens located on their property. Produce will be used on-site to feed employees with the possibility of expanding distribution to the community in future years.

Next Steps

To implement the recommendations presented in the previous chapter, the Homegrown Minneapolis Steering Committee identified a list of first steps that the City of Minneapolis can take to improve the local food system. They include:

  • Establish an Implementation Task Force to oversee the implementation of short- and long-term recommendations. The Task Force will include City staff and community experts and will focus on recommendations directly under the City’s control.

  • Explore the idea of a Community Garden program that allows organizations to lease non-developable city-owned property for food production and distribution purposes.

  • Explore state legislative agenda items that highlight the need for policies at all levels that are supportive of the local foods movement and urban agriculture.

  • Create a City sustainability indicator to measure progress toward local food goals.

  • Develop a citywide Topical Plan focusing on urban agriculture (including community gardens, farmers’ markets, and small food production/distribution enterprises).

  • Facilitate the implementation of a citywide Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) system that will allow residents to use food stamps at any farmers’ market or farm stand in the city.

  • Complete an inventory of community kitchens, canning and preservation facilities, and storage/aggregation facilities and develop strategies for linking residents with these opportunities.

Note: In July 2009, the Minneapolis Health Department received a two-year, $2.6 million grant to work on policy, systems, and environmental changes related to obesity prevention and tobacco cessation. Approximately $375,000 will be directed toward implementation of Homegrown Minneapolis recommendations and related projects.