“Food sovereignty is the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems.”
– As defined by La Via Campesina
North Country Food Alliance (NCFA) is a worker-run non-profit that takes action to strengthen food sovereignty in the Twin Cities Metro Area. With your help, we share healthy, culturally appropriate food; build community gardens; support local farmers; and reduce commercial and local food waste.
Join us in providing nourishing food for body, mind, and place. Give now to help end food waste and empower our neighbors with abundant access to healthy, sustainable, and culturally appropriate foods. Thank you!
Every weekday (and some weekends!), we pick up surplus food from farms, grocery stores, and distribution centers across the Twin Cities area. All of this food would otherwise be thrown away, either because it’s overstocked or visually imperfect. Most of it is fresh produce, which is often less available to people facing food insecurity. Food donors in 2023 include Trader Joe’s, United Noodle, East Side Grocery Co-op, and more.
In 2020, we grew our local food recovery efforts by launching a gleaning program. Gleaning is the act of harvesting fresh produce that would otherwise go to waste at orchards, gardens, and farms. This is high-quality, seasonally grown food that would rot in the field if not for outside efforts—due to constraints on time, storage, or budget. Gleaning partners in 2022 include Dream of Wild Health and the Saint Paul Farmers’ Market.
We also began to purchase food from local farmers directly in 2020, focusing on BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color)-run farms. By doing so, we support the local food system, provide additional funds to underrepresented farmers, and select specific culturally-appropriate foods for our foodshare program. As always, all food is given away completely free-of-charge!
To ensure that we are in relationship with communities that are most marginalized, we partner with local nonprofit organizations such as soup kitchens, food shelves, and community-based mutual aid sites. Our work provides them with reliable access to fresh foods. 2023 food recipients include Grace Place Assisted Living, the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, Groveland Food Shelf, and Southside Foodshare.
Each year, we build and maintain community gardens in neighborhoods with restricted access to fresh foods. These gardens do not follow the traditional model of leasing out parcels to individuals -- instead, everything is communally worked, and the produce is free for community members to enjoy. Any surplus produce is given away completely free-of-charge to Metro Area food shelves and distribution sites. We currently manage two gardens: a site in North Minneapolis built on a former vacant lot owned by the city and the community garden at New City Church in South Minneapolis.
North Country Food Alliance is a worker-run nonprofit. This means that the people doing the work on the ground are the ones making the decisions. We have no executive director or upper management, and everyone falls under the same pay structure.
At NCFA, each individual is empowered to bring their talents to the organization, and we work together as a team to get everything done. This model keeps workers accountable to each other, improves interpersonal relations and team morale, and brings greater transparency to the workplace. We encourage you to support worker democracies—at your workplace and ours!
Join North Country Food Alliance in strengthening food sovereignty in the Twin Cities Metro Area!
As a community-funded non-profit, we rely on your generous contributions to distribute food completely free-of-charge. With your help, we share healthy, culturally-appropriate food with thousands of our neighbors every week.
Thank you for your ongoing support!