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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.