Food Shelf & Meal Program Support
Bulk Food Program
Buying together. Saving together.
The Food Group buys food staples and hygiene items in bulk and partner agencies can order weekly at below retail cost. Bulk purchasing offerings include fresh produce, frozen meats, culturally specific food items, and other necessities. The Food Group is committed to offering quality food items with a focus on nutrition. Free delivery is available to partner agencies that purchase more than 400 lbs.
Questions about our Bulk Food Program? Please contact Trica Leland.
Providing food that feeds the soul.
The Food Group partners with agency partners to distribute culturally appropriate food to our diverse communities. Recent census data shows the percentage of Minnesotans who identify as Hispanic, Asian and African is on the rise—this change in demographics is also being seen in families in need. Culturally Equity programming provides foods that are not only nutritious, but also familiar and enjoyed by the families receiving them.
For information on how to get involved, contact Sarah Schmidt – 763-450-3883.
Healthy food for everyone.
The Food Group has a full time registered dietitian on staff who provides nutrition education and consulting to partner agencies and the people they serve. These services include recipe creation, food demonstrations, product merchandising, and technical support in creating healthy food policies. The dietitian also provides nutritional analysis to all of The Food Group’s programs.
For more information about the Nutritional Outreach program, please contact Karena Gacek.
Direct Service Programs
Fare For All
Pooling Our Buying Power.
The Fare For All program purchases fruits, vegetables and frozen meat in bulk to provide balanced, nutritious options at 31 sites across the metro. By buying in bulk, food is available at up to 40% off grocery store prices. Community-supported and open to everyone, Fare for All’s structure means the more people who participate, the more buying power we have, and the lower the overall price. Fare For All sites accept cash, credit/debit cards and EBT.
Nourishing kids to learn.
The Food Group partners with schools, faith organizations, and other community groups to provide small packages of food that school aged kids can take home over the weekend. For many students who qualify for free lunch at school, finding enough food to get through the weekend can be a real challenge. The Food Group ’s dietician helps ensure that each kid pack contains a good balance of protein, dairy, fruit, vegetable, and whole grain snacks to give children the nutrients they need to be successful.
If you are a school, faith organization, and other community group interested in purchasing kid packs through The Food Group, please contact Sarah Schmidt.
Ensuring access to nutritious food.
A significant number of low-income individuals and families have trouble accessing emergency food from traditional food shelves due to lack of transportation, limited mobility, social stigma, or cultural reservations. The Food Group’s Mobile Foodshelf is a partnership with public and subsidized housing complexes. The program delivers a three-to-four day supply of free supplemental food directly to housing complexes in the Twin Cities.
Any organization interested in becoming a Mobile Foodshelf location can contact Sarah Schmidt
Fresh Produce Programs
Fruits of the City/Garden Gleaning
Helping communities grow and harvest fresh, local produce for those in need.
There are thousands of fruit trees growing in backyards and orchards throughout Minnesota. Many of these trees produce more fruit than their owners can manage to pick, eat, preserve, or sell. Fruits of the City makes use of this fresh fruit, that would have otherwise gone to waste, and shares it with those in need. We match teams of trained volunteer gleaners with local fruit tree owners to harvest surplus fruit for our network of partner food shelf agencies.
Harvest For The Hungry
Putting locally grown produce on every table.
Many Minnesota families cannot afford fresh, locally grown produce. The Food Group’s Harvest for the Hungry program purchases produce from Minnesota and Western Wisconsin farmers, donating the fruit and vegetables to our network of food shelves, on-site meal programs, and hunger relief agencies. This program supports local farmers, offering them a secondary market, and local food shelves, providing top quality produce free of charge.
Questions about Harvest for the Hungry? Please contact Andrea Hills.
Fresh produce saved from a landfill.
Millions of pounds of quality, fresh, USDA-inspected fruits and vegetable are thrown into landfills each year after being grown in Mexico and shipped for retail sale in the U.S. The Food Group’s Lost Harvest program partners with Food Providers of America in Arizona to rescue top-quality, in-season produce and distribute it through our network of partner agencies for free.
Produce Rescue at the Minneapolis Farmers Market
Saving local produce.
The Food Group is partnering with Hunger Solutions Minnesota to collect surplus produce from farmers, vendors and customers at the Minneapolis Farmers Market to distribute to food shelves and meal programs in the Twin Cities metro area.
Big River Farms (MN Food Association)
Through operation of certified organic farm land we offer land based farmer education for immigrant and minority farmers, youth and community farm programming, urban ag development, and an annual farmer education conference. This program area is new to The Food Group and recently became a part of our work through a merger. There are not many examples of food banks partnering with small-scale, sustainable farms, and we are excited to open the door to the many new possibilities this partnership will present. We will find innovative ways to work together that support local farmers and help alleviate hunger in our community. Learn More Here.