Eating local, healthier in Minneapolis

A community meeting Thursday, Dec. 9 gives Minneapolis residents a chance to learn about how Minneapolis is making progress in helping residents eat and grow more healthy and local food. Over the last two years, these initiatives have been a part of " Homegrown Minneapolis," which is a City-community vision that unites efforts to get more healthy, local food grown, processed, distributed and eaten in Minneapolis. Local food is good for our local economy, our community’s health and the environment.

At the meeting City staff will also unveil the draft of the City's new Urban Agriculture Policy Plan and kick off the plan’s public comment period. The plan will guide City land use and zoning to support local food-related activities. Homegrown Minneapolis successes so far include ordinances changed to allow indoor farmer’s markets; require grocers to sell fresh, whole foods; and permit beekeeping in the city. A Minneapolis Department of Health and Family Support State Health Improvement (SHIP) obesity prevention grant also helped expand the use of food stamps (EBT) to two farmers market locations to make fresh produce more easily available.

Funded by the SHIP grant, the Urban Agriculture Policy Plan culminates 10 months of public meetings, focus groups, and city/community-led work groups studying community-based food activities, from community gardens to farmer’s markets to food canning and preservation.

Small groups at the community meeting will discuss the Urban Agriculture Policy Plan and the following topics:

Launched in December 2008 by Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and the Minneapolis Department of Health and Family Support, Homegrown Minneapolis has engaged more than 130 Minneapolis residents working alongside City staff to forward more than 50 recommendations to the City. The City's efforts complement many business and individual projects already occurring across the city.  A primary aim of the first two phases of Homegrown Minneapolis has been helping residents across the city build skills and find the tools to grow, process, distribute and eat more vegetables and fruits. Key to the work accomplished by the initiative thus far has been the Minneapolis Department of Health and Family Support’s SHIP and Communities Putting Prevention to Work funding.

Any questions about the initiative can be directed to Homegrown Minneapolis website.

The Urban Agriculture Policy Plan and opportunities for comment are available through Jan. 31, 2011 at.

Published Dec 9, 2010