This article was published in the October/November 2013 Wedge newsletter. The following information may be outdated.

WedgeShare 2013

The Cornucopia Institute

The Cornucopia Institute empowers consumers and cooperative grocers to stand with family farmers protecting authentic organic, sustainable, and local food.

Past WedgeShare grants enabled Cornucopia to expose "organic" factory farms that pose a threat to family farmers. Our scorecards rating brands of organic dairy, eggs, soy foods, breakfast cereals, and infant formulas empower you and your co-op to reward the true organic/local heroes in the marketplace and avoid the profit-seeking scofflaws (www.cornucopia.org).

Continued support from Wedge members will keep Cornucopia championing your interests—not those of Big Ag and Big Food. Your support will help us watchdog and educate organic regulators in Washington as well as complete new investigative reports—including one distinguishing truly healthful organic/natural yogurt brands from gimmicky fakes loaded with risky ingredients and additives.

Your partnership also helps uncover the corporate DNA of brands spending millions of dollars to fight your right to know if GMOs are in your food.

Cycles for Change

Cycles for Change (C4C) is a nonprofit community bike shop whose mission is to be an open, accessible space to educate and empower people to use bicycles as transportation, helping to build a sustainable environment and community. C4C's Community Partners Bike Library collaborates with 20 Twin Cities nonprofit and social service organizations to provide refurbished bicycles to low-income and underserved community members, along with educational programming to build individuals' confidence and skills for using bicycles as transportation.

Cycles for Change seeks funding for the Bike Library's Learn to Ride, safe cycling, and mechanics classes, and our Train-the-Trainers workshops for participants to develop leadership skills and become bicycling advocates and educators in their communities. By supporting emerging leaders in underserved communities, C4C helps to broaden and diversify the movement for healthy, sustainable communities, helping make Minneapolis a model city for sustainable urban living and transportation equity.

Emergency Foodshelf Network

Help bring thousands of pounds of locally grown vegetables to our neighbors experiencing hunger. Harvest for the Hungry, a program of Emergency Foodshelf Network (EFN), partners with 30+ local community-supported agriculture (CSA) farms, individual donors, and businesses to increase the amount of nutritious food in the hunger-relief system. In 2012, Harvest for the Hungry distributed 105,000 pounds of free fresh produce. With your help, we can continue to bring this important resource to our neighbors. Harvest for the Hungry engages the community in local solutions to hunger, promotes organic and sustainable agriculture, and most importantly, promotes the health of at-risk populations. A WedgeShare grant will support the program's growth. Harvest for the Hungry produce is distributed for free to food shelves. More than three million visits were made to food shelves in Minnesota in 2012. EFN, founded in 1976, is the Twin Cities' local, nutritious and innovative food bank.

Farmers Legal Action Group

Farmers' Legal Action Group (FLAG) seeks funding from the WedgeShare program to support our work, namely, advancing immigrant and refugee farmers in our local foods system; improving our region's immigrant and refugee farmers' access to the contracts, leases, and assistance they need to succeed; and ensuring that their rights are protected and their voices are heard in our developing local foods system. The Twin Cities region is fortunate to have a thriving farming community in its midst. But immigrant and refugee farmers' prominence, and their importance to local foods production, exists despite significant language, cultural, legal, and administrative obstacles. Few have access to the resources they need for their fragile businesses to endure. FLAG, a 27-year-old nonprofit law center in St. Paul, has helped tens of thousands of family farmers succeed in their struggle to stay on the land, and is helping our region's newest farmers to succeed as well.

Midtown Farmers Market

The Midtown Farmers Market features local products from Minnesota- and Wisconsin-based food producers and artists in a vibrant community forum in South Minneapolis. The market strives to provide equal access to healthful, locally produced food; support reinvestment in the community; and provide for the long-term viability of the local foods system.

A WedgeShare grant would support a SNAP-EBT (food stamps) token program that enables customers using SNAP benefits to purchase fresh, healthful food from local vendors at the Midtown Farmers Market. The grant would fund the vendor training, market day staffing, card terminal processing costs, and extensive outreach that the program requires in order to be successful. It would support an Outreach Organizer position that would expand the market's capacity to promote the program in the community. The SNAP-EBT program will make healthful food more accessible to low-income communities served by the Midtown Farmers Market.

Minnesota Food Association

Minnesota Food Association (MFA) builds a more sustainable food system based on social, economic and environmental justice through training, education, and partnerships. Our Certified-Organic Big River Farms training program offers a comprehensive approach to teaching new immigrant and refugee farmers organic methods and includes workshops, one-to-one mentorship, and a land-based incubator program that provides new farmers, primarily from Asia, Latin America, and Africa, with the infrastructure and experience they need to get started. We also use the rich resources of Big River Farms, located within the Twin Cities Metro area, to educate and engage our community directly in the lives of organic farmers and the production of the food we all eat. A grant from WedgeShare will support continued operation of Big River Farms and help us to address emerging issues around land access for small-scale organic farmers and food access for immigrant and refugee communities in the Twin Cities.

Tree Trust

Tree Trust will use a WedgeShare grant to support the Youth Conservation Corps program in Hennepin County. The Youth Conservation Corps is offered to disadvantaged youth ages 1421 to provide hands-on job-readiness training and outdoor educational enrichment. Youth participants face a variety of barriers to success in employment and education, including low family income, disability, basic skills deficiency, being in foster care, and possessing limited English ability. At Tree Trust, they have the opportunity to learn job skills through building environmental-improvement projects. They also earn a paycheck, earn school credit, participate in positive activities during the summer months and work as a team, all while improving their community.

In the words of a 2012 participant:

"It's been a really good experience working with everybody, meeting new people, just learning how to have responsibility. It's just been a really fun time." Shawn

Urban Roots

(formerly Community Design Center of Minnesota)

Our 44-year old organization has empowered, inspired and educated thousands of young people and residents through gardening, cooking, entrepreneurship and conservation via youth internships, classes and community-building projects. Participating youth develop skills, confidence, career pathways and improved health through these innovative programs.

With WedgeShare support, we will provide paid internships to 35 economically disadvantaged teens and cooking or gardening education to at least 1255 children and parents. Garden Corps youth interns will operate beautiful, organic vegetable gardens on St. Paul's East Side, sell garden produce through a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program, and market stands and share gardening knowledge with peers and neighbors. Nutrition Corps youth interns will teach cooking classes aimed at local youth and families using healthful recipes and vegetables from our gardens.

We provide access to healthful food, hands-on training and career inspiration. Your support will cultivate a healthy, thriving community and young ambassadors for good food!

Waite House

Waite House delivers culturally relevant initiatives in the Phillips community of South Minneapolis that build on peoples' strengths, enhance community members' capacity to care for one another and address injustices. Because the Phillips community is presented with numerous environmental factors that impact healthful eating, Waite House convened residents to craft a coordinated response to this dilemma. Among the strategies identified was Community Culinary Arts (CCA), an intensive program that educates the next generation of food justice advocates, engages youth as community organizers, and exposes them to food choices that will impact them throughout their lives. Waite House's approach is asset-based, recognizing that youth already possess the skills, knowledge and resources that can produce powerful change. WedgeShare funding will help illuminate the connection youth have to the world food system and foster personal agency to work towards a fair food system—environmentally, socially, and economically.

WaterLegacy

WaterLegacy, rated Minnesota's #1 new environmental nonprofit, works to prevent harms from copper-nickel sulfide mines in the Lake Superior and Boundary Waters watersheds. With over 5,000 members, we advocate for clean water, children's health, uncontaminated fish and natural wild rice.

WaterLegacy combines scientific and legal expertise with grassroots organizing and partnerships among tribal governments and environmental, consumer, and civic organizations. (See WaterLegacy.org)

This year, WaterLegacy won the wild rice sulfate standard lawsuit, protecting the standard in district court and the Court of Appeals. We received an Environmental Stewardship Award from a panel of U.S. and Canadian judges for the Lake Superior Binational Forum.

We will use WedgeShare funds to:

Advocate and organize to prevent Minnesota's first sulfide mine, the PolyMet project, from contaminating drinking water, streams, and rivers.

Work with tribes to preserve and enforce legal standards to protect natural wild rice and prevent mercury contamination of fish.