The Minnesota Food Charter is a roadmap made to guide community leaders and policymakers in providing the people of Minnesota with equal access to safe, healthy and affordable food irrespective of where they live. This access helps improve the overall health and wellbeing of the residents and also has the potential to enhance the state’s economy significantly.
However, the Minnesota Food Charter Network has become inactive without staff and is now in a state of transition. A Transition Team, comprising former Action Team members, was charged with recommending directions for statewide collaborative work for the future of the town. After reviewing several existing evaluation documents and conducting a National Convening of States with Food System Plans, the Transition Team came up with the following recommendations. These recommendations were formulated for the whole of Minnesota, but are applicable to all the counties under Minnesota, including the Clay County.
- A shift in focus to invest in regional and local groups working to enhance the food system in Minnesota, focusing on collaborative efforts to build capacity and connectivity, particularly across differences, sectors and scales.
- Support the emergence of developing skills, new leadership, connectivity, and experience; with increased priority on communities that are under-represnted and Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC).
- Continue to allow connectivity to flourish through the existing communications channels, which includes the Minnesota Food Charter website, social media, and blog.
- Set the stage for the next chapter of statewide collaborative work. Statewide, collaborative food systems need to be re-envisioned to emphasize equity-based food systems work with efforts already being made in communities across the state. The future of these continued statewide collaborative efforts will ultimately be shaped by those who will be working together.
The Response Of The Minnesota Food Charter Network In Supporting The Proposed Recommendations
The Minnesota Food Charter Network has so far:
- Contributed a sum of fifteen thousand dollars worth of scholarships to the Food Justice Summit in order to support the new leadership, particularly among the Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) communities.
- Provided financial support to build facilitation and leadership skills from communities across the counties of Minnesota, in partnership with the University of Minnesota Extension staff. More information about the Facilitation and Leadership training programmes provided by the Clay County can be found online.
- Pledged financial support for a second cohort in order to participate in the Action Learning Seed Fund through a shared gifting process. This was done in partnership with the staff of the University of Minnesota Extension.
- Continued to host the website for the Minnesota Food Charter and promote the fantastic food systems work taking place across the state through contributions to email, website and social media for further collaboration and peer learning.