Positive Change – Spark-Y

May’s Positive Change recipient is Spark-Y, a local nonprofit organization that empowers over 1,300 Twin Cities youth annually through hands-on school and summer internship programs focused on sustainable agriculture education. Spark-Y’s approach to empowering youth through education rooted in sustainability and entrepreneurship is served through three main programs:

  • School Programming: Spark-Y partners with local schools throughout the Twin Cities to build hands-on sustainable food projects with students, including aquaponic systems, outdoor edible gardens, and vermicompost systems. The process of designing, building, and caring for these agricultural systems reinforces STEM-based (science, technology, engineering, and math) curriculum and develops youth leadership skills.
  • Annual Summer Internships: Each summer, over 30 youth participate in a six-week sustainability “boot camp” as paid interns to gain real-world experiences through community partnerships where students execute projects throughout the Twin Cities. Teams are led by second-year internship graduates to create a culture of youth development and leadership.
  • Urban Agriculture Lab: Spark-Y’s south Minneapolis headquarters is home to 1,300 square feet of aquaponic growing space dedicated to teaching youth how to grow and sell fresh food year-round. The aquaponic systems were designed, built, and receive continual maintenance by youth staff and interns. The Urban Ag Lab is a destination for school students to experience sustainable agriculture practices in an urban environment.

Donations raised in May will be used to build an edible garden and aquaponic systems at Community School of Excellence (CSE), a Saint Paul Hmong culture and language school. Spark-Y and CSE also envision their partnership resulting in the implementation of schoolyard chickens, and the development of outdoor edible gardens, culinary labs, and a garden-to-cafeteria program that will allow students to grow, harvest, cook, and eat healthy produce while attending school.

Learn more about Spark-Y


Positive Change – Frogtown Farm

April’s Positive Change recipient is Frogtown Farm, a 5.5-acre certified organic urban farm located in the heart of Saint Paul’s Frogtown neighborhood. Founded in 2013 by Frogtown residents after a ten-year grassroots effort to raise funds and build community support, the farm sits on a 12.7-acre parcel of city-owned park land.

One of the country’s largest urban farms, Frogtown Farm is an urban agriculture demonstration site for those seeking learning, innovation, reflection, celebration, and authentic community engagement. Rooted in values of equity, social justice, and interconnectedness, this urban farm on the hill serves as a model for cultivating multi-cultural community and as a catalyst for economic development, wealth creation, community pride, and sustainability.

Donations raised in April will support community building through a new work-share program, inviting Frogtown residents to assist with farm work in exchange for access to fresh produce.

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Positive Change – 2018 MN FoodShare March Campaign

March’s Positive Change recipient is the Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign. Each year, Mississippi Market participates in the campaign, a program that provides food, funds, and educational materials to over 300 food shelves across the state. The March Campaign is the largest food and fund drive in the state and has been operating annually since 1982 as a way to restock local food shelves after year-end holiday giving.

This year, Mississippi Market is participating in the campaign along with 15 other food co-ops from around the state. Last year, the “Cooperating MN Food Co-ops” team raised a combined total of 124,464 dollars/pounds of food and ranked 3rd in the state for corporate/business drives!

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Positive Change – Twin Cities Mobile Market

February’s Positive Change recipient is Twin Cities Mobile Market, a grocery store on wheels that brings affordable, nutritious food directly into under-resourced neighborhoods. This mobile food market closes the gap between food shelves and full-service supermarkets by providing a wide selection of fresh foods at or below market prices in areas with limited access to healthful food. Customers can pay using a variety of options, including credit, cash, or SNAP/EBT. Anyone is welcome to shop on the bus; if a person is not able to board the bus due to a disability, a Mobile Market staff person or volunteer will personally shop for the customer. The Mobile Market stops at over 15 St. Paul locations, bringing healthy food directly to those with limited access.

February Positive Change donations will ensure Twin Cities Mobile Market’s shelves remain fully stocked with fresh, healthful, affordable foods. The Twin Cities Mobile Market is a program of the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation. Since the organization subsidizes the cost of the food it sells, it depends on donations from individuals like you, in addition to food sales, to make the Mobile Market financially viable.

Overall goals of the Mobile Market include:

  • Increased access to healthy foods.
  • Increased consumption of healthy foods.
  • Increased community health equity.
  • Increased knowledge about healthy eating and food preparation.

Learn more about the Twin Cities Mobile Market

Positive Change – Youth Farm

January’s Positive Change recipient is Youth Farm, an organization that provides year-round urban farming programs for youth ages 9 to 24. Since 1995, they’ve cultivated youth leadership by planting, growing, preparing, and selling food throughout the Twin Cities. Youth Farm currently engages well over 200 youth in St. Paul to increase their food skills and knowledge while providing greater access to healthy food through cooking classes, school activities, and community events.

Donations raised at the register throughout January will support school year programming in the Frogtown and West Side neighborhoods of St. Paul. Youth Farm school year programming focuses mainly on nutrition education and healthy eating classes, youth leadership activities, and food growing to promote healthy bodies and minds. Children who participate develop and nurture healthy relationships with the food they eat while contributing to their communities and creating neighborhood connections.

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Positive Change – Keystone Community Services

December’s Positive Change recipient is Keystone Community Services, a St. Paul organization that provides the public with a variety of food access programming and human services. Through these offerings, they strengthen the capacity of individuals and families to improve their quality of life.

Founded in 1939, Keystone began as a small neighborhood community center. Today, they reach over 30,000 individuals throughout Ramsey County. The Keystone name comes from the central wedge-shaped stone of an arch (a keystone) that locks each part of the arch together and supports the whole, a fitting description for the organization since they support and strengthen our community.

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Positive Change – Midwest Food Connection

November’s Positive Change recipient is Midwest Food Connection (MFC), a local nonprofit that empowers young school children to make healthy and responsible food choices. MFC was founded in 1993 by Mississippi Market and Wedge Community Co-op as a community outreach initiative to educate children about natural foods. Since then, the initiative has grown and flourished as a non-profit.

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Positive Change – Dream of Wild Health

October’s Positive Change recipient is Dream of Wild Health, an organization that restores health and well-being in the Native community by recovering knowledge of and access to healthy Indigenous foods, medicines and lifeways. Operational since 1998, they have a strong reputation in the community as a safe environment where youth, young adults, and their families receive community support and increased connectivity to bolster their leadership, dreams, and ambitions.

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Positive Change – CLUES

Comunidades Latinas Unidas En Servicio (CLUES) es una organización sin fines de lucro diseñada por Latinos, para Latinos. Nuestros programas y servicios conectan familias a recursos, clases, instituciones y sistemas y crean un ambiente para que nuestros clientes aprendan, se involucren y sean fortalecidos,  incluyendo inmigrantes recién llegados y familias de bajos ingresos quienes sueñan con un futuro mejor.

September’s Positive Change recipient is CLUES – Comunidades Latinas Unidas en Servicio (Latino Communities United in Service), a social services organization dedicated to advancing the capacity of Latino families to be healthy, prosperous, and engaged in their communities. Headquartered on the East Side of St. Paul just down the block from our East 7th store, CLUES provides an array of programs and services to engage and empower residents. These offerings advance health, education, and economic equity for Latinos in the Twin Cities metro and throughout the state. During 2016, CLUES served nearly 12,000 individuals through direct services and another 10,300 through outreach activities and community events.

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Positive Change – Land Stewardship Project

August’s Positive Change recipient is Land Stewardship Project, an organization dedicated to transforming our food and farming system from the ground up, using core values of land stewardship, social justice, and democracy as tools for change. LSP’s sustainable agriculture work has a broad and deep impact, from new farmer training and local organizing to federal policy and community-based food systems development.

Read more …

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