Action Alert

Fair trade or free trade? Let your voice be heard on Minnesota’s future!

The Obama Administration is negotiating two new mega trade deals (one with Pacific Rim countries, another with Europe) entirely in secret, with the goal of further expanding the NAFTA-model of free trade. These trade agreements could have major impacts on Minnesota's farmers, workers, small business owners and rural communities. They could limit Minnesota’s ability to support local food and energy systems and grow local businesses. In order to stay up to speed, Minnesota has set up a new Trade Policy Advisory Council (TPAC) to advise the state legislature and Governor.

TPAC wants to hear from Minnesotans: What concerns do you have about free trade? What role could TPAC play in the future? Now is your opportunity to have a say in our future trade policy. Complete the survey and let them know future trade negotiations should be public, not secret. Help ensure the voices of all Minnesotans are heard in the development of trade agreements and that they protect local control and our quality of life. The free trade model has failed for Minnesota and we need a new approach to trade. Help ensure the voices of all Minnesotans are heard before trade agreements are completed, and that they protect local control, our natural resources and our quality of life.

Please take five minutes and complete the survey. To find out more about these trade agreements, go to

Minnesota FoodShare program to lead Mini Farmers Market Network

Published July 30, 2012

MINNEAPOLIS – The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) has selected Minnesota FoodShare, a program of the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches (GMCC), to serve as one of four organizations to assume leadership of IATP’s network of mini farmers markets in Minneapolis.

Minnesota FoodShare will lead a network of seven mini farmers markets, located and managed by staff at Glendale Townhomes, Augsburg College, Brian Coyle Community Center, Abbott Northwestern Hospital, and three locations managed by Fairview Health Services.

The Mini Farmers Market Network has become an integral part of the local food system in Minneapolis. With support from the City of Minneapolis, IATP developed and launched the network in 2006 as a way to improve access to fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables in neighborhoods across the city. Each market is hosted and managed by a community organization.

“We are thrilled to have Minnesota FoodShare and GMCC as a Mini Farmers Market Network leader,” says JoAnne Berkenkamp, director of the Local Foods program at IATP. “They have a long history of community engagement and impressive expertise on hunger issues and food access that will serve the participating farmers markets well.”

Since the project’s inception, more than 20 organizations have hosted mini markets. Most markets are open one day a week throughout the summer. Nearly all accept WIC and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) coupons and WIC Fruit and Vegetable vouchers. Many markets will also accept food assistance (SNAP/EBT) benefits.

Since 2006, IATP has assisted the markets with city and state regulatory processes, promotional support, evaluation, recruitment of farmers to sell at the markets and other services. Beginning in mid-2012, Minnesota FoodShare will provide technical assistance to the seven markets under their purview.

“These mini markets are a great opportunity for Minnesota FoodShare to support the health and well-being of Minneapolis residents at the neighborhood level,” says Sara Nelson-Pallmeyer of Minnesota FoodShare at GMCC. “We are committed to expanding access to fresh, local food.” 

The other organizations selected to serve as Min Farmers Market Network leaders in other parts of Minneapolis are the West Broadway Community and Area Coalition, Northeast Minneapolis Farmers Market and Kingfield Farmers Market.

This project is funded in part by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota.


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