Each year at the co-op's annual meeting in October, member-owners select local organizations to benefit through our WedgeShare grant program. WedgeShare—the charitable giving program developed by the The Wedge Community Co-op—has awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants to community nonprofits since its creation in 1997. WedgeShare grants fund initiatives and ongoing work that reflects our shared values of concern for the environment, health and wellness, local economies and the development of sustainable agriculture. This year, $75,000 in grants will benefit ten dynamic organizations working to support fresh food education, community gardening, and local, sustainable and safe food systems.
Today we are pleased to announce the 2013 WedgeShare recipients!
Emergency Foodshelf Network (EFN), Minnesota's local and independent food bank will use the WedgeShare grant to support Harvest for the Hungry—an initiative that brings local farms, individuals, and companies together to bring free, fresh produce to food shelves in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. The program addresses three main goals: increasing the amount of and access to nutritious food in the hunger relief system, engaging local supporters in fighting local hunger, and strengthening local and sustainable agriculture. $10,000
Water Legacy, a non-profit committed to protecting Minnesota's water resources, will use the Wedgeshare grant to preserve local food self-sufficiency and community and children's health in Minnesota by preventing sulfide mining pollution that destroys natural stands of wild rice, Contaminated drinking water supplies, and increases toxic methyl-mercury accumulation in fish. $10,000
Cornucopia Institute, an organization engaged in organic and sustainable agriculture education, will use the Wedgeshare grant to complete two new investigative reports, with accompanying brand scorecards, to continue monitoring and pressuring regulators to uphold organic integrity, and to expand Cornucopia's ongoing advocacy, consumer education, and coalition building efforts. $9,800
Tree Trust improves community environments in the Twin Cities by investing in people. The WedgeShare grant will support Tree Trust's Youth Conservation Corps in 2014. The Youth Conservation Corps is part of the Summer Youth Employment Program and is offered to disadvantaged youth to provide hands-on job readiness training in landscaping and environmental improvement. $8,300
Urban Roots is a Saint Paul-based organization whose mission is to build healthy communities through food, conservation and youth development. Urban Roots will use the Wedgshare grant to support year-round Cooking/Nutrition and Garden programs for youth and families. The Cooking/Nutrition program improves the health of children and parents through cooking and nutrition classes. The Garden Program teaches low-income youth how to grow and market food using sustainable, organic methods and to expand their knowledge of opportunities in fields related to food and ecology. $7,300
Midtown Farmer's Market will use Wedgeshare funds to continue offering a SNAP-EBT (food stamps) token program that enables customers using SNAP benefits to purchase fresh, healthy food from local market vendors. The program requires vendor training, market day staffing, a card-reading terminal with processing costs, and extensive outreach in multiple languages. Its goal is to make healthy food more accessible to low-income communities. $7,000
Cycles for Change, a community bike shop in St. Paul, will use the Wedgeshare grant to support its innovative Community Partners Bike Library. This program offers low-income and under-served community members access to a bicycle as a tool to promote active, human-powered transportation and build healthy, sustainable communities. The Bike Library partners with 19 organizations throughout Minneapolis and St. Paul to provide bicycles and educational programming and support using the bicycles safely and confidently for transportation purposes. $6,600
Minnesota Food Association (MFA) will receive a WedegeShare grant to support general operations, with an emphasis on its Certified Organic Big River Farms training program for immigrant and refugee farmers. Other activities will include outreach and education to the Twin Cities community, and new programming focused on addressing land access for new organic farmers and food access for immigrants in the Twin Cities. $6,600
Farmers Legal Action Group (FLAG) is a nonprofit law center dedicated to providing legal services and support to family farmers and their communities. FLAG will use WedgeShare funds to support its Advancing Immigrant and Refugee Farmers in Our Local Food System program. The program provides training and support to immigrant and refugee farmers by helping them access contracts, leases, and federal or state programs that can stabilize incomes and ensure that their rights are protected in our thriving local food movement. $6,000
Waite House, a community organization serving the Phillips neighborhood of Minneapolis, will use Wedeshare funds to help educate the next generation of food justice advocates through its Community Culinary Arts (CCA) program. CCA will engage youth as community organizers and expose them to lifestyle choices that will impact them throughout their lives, including how they purchase, consume and grow their food. $3,400