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?

two photos from the plenum - nikki and leah pose with their "i heart bipoc farmers" stickers on the left, 5 mfjn leaders pose with Rep. Hodan Hassan on the right

[photos: (left) Policy rockstars Leah and Nikki with their "I heart BIPOC farmers" stickers; (right) leaders meet with Rep. Hodan Hassan to advance support for good food jobs]

We did a new thing this month! On March 5, 70 people representing 25 organizations joined us for 8 deep dive conversations, 9 legislative visits, and 1 committee hearing during the first-ever MFJN Policy In Action Plenum.

What else grew from this event? Read more here...

Continue The Policy In Action

1.  Read the MFJN Policy Platform 1-pager - it includes info on funding bills for culinary workforce, AGRI Farm to School, and LEAFF program. Reach out to your MN House and Senate legislators for support on these bills and issues! (find your people here)

2. Learn about building on Market Bucks to improve access to healthy foods - share the Fresh Bucks 1-pager!

3. Mental health and climate change task force bill:

  • Contact: Jocelyn Leung (
  • Learn more about what's in this bill and how it will support frontline communities facing the 'first' and 'worst' of climate change, such as environmental justice communities and emerging farmers! Tell your reps to sign on!

4. Headwaters community food and water economic resiliency program (HF2881/ SF2940)

  • Contact: Marita Bujold (
  • Learn more about economic infrastructure - the vital combination of public policy and funding needed to operate a just, responsive, and resilient source-to-table food economy! Share this one-pager!
Ellie smiles at the camera in front of a field of orange marigolds

Welcome Ellie, Sustainability & Operations Weaver!

Ellie Leonardsmith (she/her) has been engaged in community building and environmental justice for over 15 years, including following along as a participant with the Metro Food Justice Network since it began. Most recently she was the Health & Environmental Justice Organizer at WSCO, the West Side Community Organization. She also helped convene GROWS ("Growing Resilience on the West Side"), and this collective continues to grow food, share resources, and connect community members. Her graduate work at Brown University deepened her passion for environmental justice state-level policy, and her time at Clean Water Action in Rhode Island solidified her belief that when people come together, they can make systems change. Ellie loves to have deep conversations, grow marigolds everywhere, and photograph the world. She lives on the West Side with her wife and three kids. Say hello at!

Thanks to all who applied to this position - we were so impressed with the experience, vision, and good energy of all the candidates. You all make our food system stronger and better together!

Share gratitude and stay connected to Hilary Otey, outgoing Weaver, by following Queermunity, a new community hub for queer people in MN coming soon.

flyer advertising GROWS upcoming meetings, with lots of happy green and growing things! Next meeting is March 30, 2-4pm at Riverview Library in St Paul

Help a new team emerge:

  • Wasted Food Prevention?
  • Local Government?
  • Faith Communities?
  • Network Evaluation?
  • Small foodshelves?
  • What else...?

Connect with Action Teams!

Join an upcoming meeting:

  • Growing Resilience On The West Side: March 30, 2-4pm @ Riverview Library
  • Policy: TBD - fill out this form to stay in the loop
  • Cross-Campus Food Access Coalition: email Olivia to connect (
  • Prepared Meals: TBD - email Robin to connect (
  • Northside Fresh: Seed/Plant Distribution Check-In - March 20, 2-3pm via Google Meets: or +1 386-866-5206‬ PIN: ‪330 826 061‬#

Be a co-lead or new member:

  • Culinary Workforce Development
  • Urban Ag
  • The Common Table (MN State Fair)
  • Youth
  • Food is Medicine

Reach out to to connect with Action Teams!

[chocolatey goodness made with beets, black beans, and hazelnut oil from Mill City Farmer's Market]

Take a "beet"

What are you hoping to grow in your life this spring? Take a "beet" to ponder and share with us!

Leadership Team Melvin Giles wants to grow his relationship with beets, so we're offering ideas - roast them, smash them into hummus, eat them raw... or turn them into black bean & beet brownies!

Get The Recipe from Appetite For Change - sub beet juice for liquids or sub pureed beets for half the black beans

Openings (it's seasonal hiring season!)


Director of Partnerships and Outreach | Forever Green Initiative

Farm Workers | R&R Cultivation

Market Lead & Staff | Twin Cities Flower Exchange

Farmer's Market Data VISTA (Americorps) | FM360

Operations Specialist  | Land Stewardship Project 

SNAP-Ed Health and Wellness Regional | Coordinator U of M Extension

Field Tech (email your resume)| Twin Cities Berry Company

Seasonal Farm Steward | Sharing Our Roots

Farm-to-Table Youth Program Leader (email resume and cover letter) | Cimarron Community Farm 

Seasonal Operations Coordinator | Big River Farms

Waste Reduction & Recycling Compliance Specialist (includes wasted food!) | Hennepin County

Multiple Positions | TC Food Justice

Multiple Positions (remote) | Food Corps

Multiple Positions | Hmong American Farmers Association

Multiple Positions | Dream Of Wild Health

Board / Committees

Learning & Connecting

A grid of beautiful fruits and veggies packaged and waiting to find a new home

Every Tues/Thurs

Zion Community Commons 1697 Lafond Ave. STP, MN

The Twin Cities Vegan Chef Collective

  • Every Tuesday, 11a-8pm: Community Dinner.
  • Every Thursday: “Hybrid” Food Justice Program. Meals and groceries distributed from 1-3pm Pastries & beverages & social atmosphere from 11a-1p.
  • Every Thursday: All Vegan Open Market. 5-8pm

March 21, 1-2pm

Let This Radicalize You Book Club

Hamline Center For Justice and Law, East Hall 316a

Join the student group reading Miriame Kaba and Kelly Hayes' new book Let This Radicalize You: Organizing and the Revolution of Reciprocal Care. If you are interested in joining our discussions starting March 21st, please email Read through Chapter 4 and come ready for good conversation!

East Phillips Urban Farm graphic with veggies growing underneath a sketch of the roof depot water tower on a yellow background and "no more pollution" scrolled at the top

March 24, 1-3pm

Little Earth Gym (2501 Cedar Ave S, Minneapolis) 

This month’s East Phillips Urban Farm community meeting will be focused on sharing information and gathering feedback for the outdoor farm proposal. Come learn more about this component of the project and all the cool organizations partnering with us. Questions? Email

illustration of two people kneeling down to grow a plant with text saying "let's grow together"

March 26

Collective Models & SARE (Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education) Organizing Groups

Join a monthly guest speaker series on collective land efforts!

Next up: We'll meet on Tuesday, March 26th at 11:00am CT over Zoom (meeting link HERE), and will be welcoming Kristin King-Ries back to share more about equity-building in CLTs and other collective land efforts. Stay tuned for more info as we get closer!

Mar. 31 + last Sundays of the month

Farmers of Color Social Hour

Register here!

Meet each other, strengthen our network and get updates from the Midwest Farmers of Color Coalition Coordinating Team and each other. Bring announcements and opportunities to share. This is a farmer and gardener of color space only.

Seeking Farmers Market Vendors!

Come sell your wares....... The Peoples' Market MPLS accepts various vendor types including food trucks. We still have OPEN VENDOR SPACES for those who may be interested.

Saturdays, 12-4pm; June 15, June 29, July 13, July 27, August 10, August 24, Sept 7, Sept 21, October 5 and Oct 19th, 2024

Fee: $50 per week, per vendor

Location: PUC Campus 3658 Fremont Ave N. Mpls, MN. 55412

The Peoples' Market MPLS logo with orange, red, green outline heart graphic and "Market En Noire" phrase on the bottom

Apply here by April 1

Attention MN High School Students:

The Minnesota Youth Institute (MNYI) challenges high school students to solve local and global food security issues, by connecting science, economics, agriculture, social justice, and more. MNYI is an interactive half-day program where high school students from across the state participate in immersive experiences while having the opportunity to connect with research and industry leaders and gain hands-on exposure in a variety of fields. We are excited to host this educational in-person experience at the University of Minnesota’s Twin Cities’ College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences in St. Paul on May 15, 2024. 

We'll also be hosting a writing webinar for students/mentors to learn more if they'd like on Wednesday, March 20 at 7:00 - 7:45 PM CDT on Zoom. Folks can RSVP by Tues, March 19 via this form

Participating students will receive a guaranteed $1,000 scholarship to attend CFANS and are eligible for additional fellowships, international + domestic internships, and an opportunity to represent Minnesota at the Global Youth Institute and World Food Prize International Borlaug-Dialogue Symposium. For any questions, reach out to

Registration is due April 1, papers are due April 8.

New Listening For Learning & Leisure

Islamically Inspired Solutions on Food System & Food Justice Issues

Islam & Earth Podcast - Ep.17, Dr. Tammara Soma, Research Director of the Food Systems Lab

Landback For the People Podcast

Season 2: Hosted by NDN Collective President & CEO Nick Tilsen (Oglala Lakota)

The Transcendent Farmer Podcast

Multiple episodes featuring stories from MN and beyond: Hosted by Emily Reno, designed to inspire and empower farmers and future farmers

Finding Your North Star

The Spotify Playlist that's been the soundtrack for newsletter, gleaned from AORTA

Funding Opportunities

One of the ways MFJN is working to shift the social context of food justice work is to write collaborative grants for collective impact in our food system. Interested in collaborating? Let's connect!

Support for USDA Funding

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition have compiled this very helpful roundup of 2024 USDA funding opportunities. If your organization needs assistance applying, consider this related note from NSAC:

This spring Seed Change Strategies is launching an effort to provide comprehensive coaching and support to organizations applying for USDA LFPP, FMPP, and RFSP grants. Their goal is to make these grant programs less daunting and more equitably accessible. Interested in applying for one of these grants but need some help getting started? Visit their website and see if they are a fit to help you access this funding.

Due March 30

Produce Safety Mini-Grant

Here’s one more grant from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture to know about right now: the Produce Safety Mini-Grant. This grant helps reimburse produce growers who farm in Minnesota for expenses that improve on-farm food safety systems. Growers can apply to be reimbursed for up to $800 per farm. Eligible expenses include harvest totes, waxed boxes, water testing for generic E. coli, sanitizer, and more. 


To be eligible, growers must farm in Minnesota and: 

  • Grow and sell one or more of the following crops: Leafy greens, apples, berries, carrots, cucumbers, garlic, green beans, herbs, melons, microgreens, mushrooms, onions, peppers, sprouts, summer squash/zucchini, tomatoes.
  • Have completed the Minnesota Department of Agriculture Produce Safety Program Grower Questionnaire at least once between 2021-2024. (This can be completed along with your application, if you haven’t previously completed it.)
  • Be in good standing and not debarred or suspended to receive state or federal funds.

No matching funds from the applicant are required. For more information and to apply, visit the Minnesota Department of Agriculture website. Applications are due March 30. Questions? Please contact the Produce Safety Program: or 651-539-364.

Due March 31

Twin Cities Urban Agriculture Micro-grants

Renewing The Countryside, in collaboration with USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and other partners, is seeking to enrich urban agriculture in the Twin Cities through 3 new grant opportunities! The goals of these micro-grant programs are to help urban farmers and gardeners expand their production ability, access land and markets, use conservation practices, and increase their resilience to the various risks of farming in an urban setting. 

We are excited to announce that the application period for all 3 of the Twin Cities Urban Agriculture Micro-grants are now open! Micro-grant applications will be accepted through March 31st, and include grants for the following:

  1. Individual or community gardens/farms
  2. growing for home consumption or sharing: $200-$10,000/microgrant
  3. growing as an income source: $2,000-$10,000/microgrant
  4. Organizations that support urban farmers/gardeners $5,000-$40,000/microgrant
  5. People’s Gardens creating or improving educational, community, non-commercial gardens in accordance with the People’s Garden Initiative: $3,000-$15,000/microgrant

Application materials and instructions can be found here 

For questions or assistance with your application, please contact us at:

Due April 3

Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure (RFSI) Grant Program

The Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure (RFSI) Grant Program offers competitive grants for Minnesota businesses and organizations operating middle-of-the-food-supply-chain activities that support local agricultural products. Up to $9.6 million in funding is available as part of a cooperative agreement awarded to the MDA by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service.

Grants will fund projects that expand capacity and infrastructure for the aggregation, processing, manufacturing, storing, transportation, wholesaling, or distribution of locally and regionally produced food intended for human consumption, including specialty crops, dairy, grains, aquaculture, and other food products (except meat and poultry, as they are funded through other programs). Awards will be between $100,000 and $3 million, and a 50% match of the total project cost is required.

Visit the MDA’s Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure Grant web page for full program and application details, as well as information on technical assistance available for developing grant proposals.

Due April 24

MDA Cooperative Development Grant Program

Now accepting applications from new cooperatives looking to finance business development strategies that will aid in the successful production, processing, or marketing of agricultural commodities, products, or services produced in Minnesota. The program was created through legislation passed during the 2023 Minnesota legislative session.

The MDA will award up to $375,000 in this round of Cooperative Development Grants. Applicants may request between $2,500 and $50,000 per project, and must commit to matching at least 50% of the total project cost. Projects must be completed by June 30, 2026.

Grant applications must be submitted by 4 p.m. Central Time on Wednesday, April 24, 2024. Review the request for proposals (RFP) posted on the Cooperative Development Grant Program web page for full application details.

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