colored letters that read "MFJN" in green, aqua, yellow, and blue with "metro food justice" written in small black letters underneath

What's New from MFJN?

"So the question is not whether we will be extremist, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate, or will we be extremists for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice, or will we be extremists for the cause of justice?"


Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Letter From Birmingham Jail


We're beginning our 4th year of work together. Can you believe it? In 2020, local food justice leaders set out to create a re-imagined metro food justice network that built off the work of MFAN, MN’s Social Gastronomy Movement, the Minnesota Food Charter Network, and a robust community engagement process. Since then, our 6 Backbone organizations, 20 + Leadership Team members, 10+ Action Teams, 150+ plenum attendees, and all 1500 of you newsletter subscribers have moved MFJN towards our vision:


a support system to increase capacity of Twin Cities Metro Area Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities in reclaiming ownership and control of the food system‒ the right to grow, sell, access, and eat food that is fresh, nutritious, affordable, culturally-appropriate, and grown with integrity for the well-being of the people, land and animals.


Does that vision make us "extremists for the cause justice?" It sometimes feels that way when we bump against ever-present barriers to shifting the status quo. Doing things differently is hard. Transforming systems can feel extreme. But we also encounter so many ways we (and you!) are already turning that vision of justice into an everyday reality.


Where do you experience that vision of justice already being real? How do you want to see MFJN evolve further towards it this year? How will you be a part of that? Tag us on social media with #MFJN2024 and watch for more opportunities for conversation and action together! 

MFJN Deep Dive


Learn more about the evolution of this network:



(On the right: flashback to one of many planning sessions!)

Welcome Urban Roots to the MFJN Backbone


With a unanimous Fist-to-Five vote, The Leadership Team welcomed Urban Roots onto the Backbone this month. Our Backbone organizations come together with trust and a shared commitment to “throwing a different kind of party” and shifting the social context within which the food justice community has been working. We're especially grateful for Urban Roots taking the lead on collaborative grants this winter so we can get closer to our dream budget.

Urban Roots has been an energetic members of the Leadership Team and co-leads for the Youth Action Team and new Common Table Action Team. We're excited for all the ways Urban Roots will keep this party going!

A farm field overlooking downtown St Paul with the Urban roots logo in the corner
Urban roots farm coordinators and youth work in field of lush crops together

Action Team & Leadership Team Updates

Check out these 2023 reflections on our Network Stories!


  • The Youth Action Team shares highlights from collaborative youth event (complete with pizza!).


  • GROWS had successful seasons with their Free Farmstand and the West Side Farmers Market.


  • Leadership Team member Derek Nicholas reflects on global connections, clay, and feasting!


Ready to connect with an Action Team? Fill out our Interest Form!

a group of youth gather around a. long countertop to assemble homemade pizzas
fresh garden veggies laid out on a green table cloth

March 5 MFJN Plenum & Day On The Hill

Mark your calendars and look for registration and details soon!

Event announcement on blue and yellow swirly background with a green outline of the state capitol. "Spring Plenum & Day On The Hill, Mach 5, 2024 - connect, grow,advocate"A QR code links to more details

Opportunities and Events

Job Openings

Agroforestry and Water Program Manager | Savanna Institute (remote)

Grant Manager, Farm Manager, & 2024 Farm Crew | Women's Environmental Institute

Seasonal Farm Laboror | Wozupi Tribal Gardens

Market Garden Youth Coordinator | Urban Roots

Farm Coordinator | Urban Roots


Board / Committee Openings

  • Got any to share? Send them to info@mfjn.org!

Connecting

three seeds, each one growing a sprout that gets bigger. Text reads "National Seed Swap Day"

Saturday, Jan. 27

Seed Swap

@ Como Streetcar Station

1-3 pm


Bring your seeds and arrive early for some epic trading, great garden conversations, snacks and more. For more information check the event listing here!

Farmers market shoppers stroll through multicolored tents on the blacktop

Due Feb. 9

Neighborhood Roots Vendor App



Vendor applications for Fulton, Kingfield, and Nokomis Farmers Markets are open! These markets are operated by Neighborhood Roots in South Minneapolis. We're so excited to head into another season supporting local farmers and makers. More information about Neighborhood Roots markets can be found on our website

two word bubbles, one orange with three white dots in a row on the left, one yellow with horizontal white lines on the right

Due Jan. 24

Metro Area Farmer Survey



The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) and the Metropolitan Council are working together to learn more about the needs of farmers in the 7-county metro region through this 6-question survey. The information gathered will be used to inform two things: 1) the Metropolitan Council’s agricultural and land use policies in its upcoming Regional Development Guide, and 2) farmland preservation work at the MDA.


A female farmer in a sun hat kneels down in a field

Tuesday, Feb. 6

Extension Women in Ag Conference

St. Cloud Holiday Inn

Info and registration here.


The conference will provide insightful discussions and dynamic presentations specifically geared toward farmers on the pivotal role of "planning" – a cornerstone of any farm business. Early bird rate ends January 22, so don’t delay!

two people prepare seed trays together in a conference room

Feb. 22-24

Marbleseed Organic Farming Conference

LaCrosse, WI

Click here to register.

Now in its 35th year, the Marbleseed Conference draws a diverse range of farmers, homesteaders, and food system professionals for three days of special programming on a wide range of food and farming topics. This year’s theme is Roots and Rhizomes: Growing Together.

Learning

Tuesday, Jan. 30

MN Farm to School Roadshow: Building Farm to School Relationships

@The Good Acre

12-4pm, Click here to register


Attention nutrition professionals, early care providers, and farmers: join this interactive networking and trainings and share your own experiences and ideas for how to grow and strengthen Farm to School and Early Care in Minnesota. Not in the metro area? Check details for future dates in locations across the state.

graphic illustration of a variety of colorful vegetables on a dark green background

NEW Food Security Strategic Plan published

The 2024-2025 Food Security Strategic Plan for Ramsey County is available. This plan lays out how Ramey County will work with partners to improve food security with a systems lens approach. More information is also available on the Food Security page

Funding

Just Launched: Federal Grants Database

To help potential applicants find and understand a range of federal grant opportunities, ReFED and NRDC partnered to create a database of federal grants that could be used to fund food waste reduction work. Visit this page and scroll down to the bottle to check out the database. We hope this compilation of grants helps folks find funding. If you know of a federal grant opportunity that is not listed in the database please let us know by emailing grantsdatabase@refed.com.

USDA and Renewing the Countryside To Support

Urban Agriculture in the Twin Cities

Renewing the Countryside is excited to work with USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA),

Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), and other partners to enrich urban agriculture in the Twin Cities metropolitan area through 3 new micro-grant opportunities for individuals, organizations and People’s Garden.


The application period for all 3 micro-grant programs will be open early January 2024.

Microgrants will be awarded in the spring of 2024. Keep a lookout for application materials and instructions .


Join the mailing list to receive the grant and all other announcements!

Due Jan. 19: Ramsey-Washington County Food Recovery Grants

These Food Recovery Grants grants support programs that recover surplus, edible food from businesses, organizations and/or farmer’s markets for distribution to people in need. Recovery Grants are open to businesses (food donors, including food producers, distributors, grocers and cafeterias), nonprofit organizations and college food shelves in Ramsey and Washington counties.

Due Jan. 31: Lakewinds Organic Field Fund Grants

Lakewinds Food Co-op is excited to announce that our farmer grant program, the Lakewinds Organic Field Fund, is kicking off its 12th season this year, and applications are now open! Sustainable and organic farmers in MN, western WI, and northern IA can request grant funds up to $8,000 each to help with projects on their farm that improve efficiency or safety, boost environmental stewardship, help with transitioning to organic or gaining certification, or other projects that benefit the farm. Application materials are available in Spanish, Hmong, French, and Somali, in addition to English.

 

Find out more and submit your application at lakewinds.coop/community/loff/. Please help spread the word to other farmers in your networks, and feel free to email Jenniferd@Lakewinds.coop with any questions.

Got something to share with the network?

Pass it along to info@mfjn.org!

Metro Justice Food Network | mfjn.org

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