Appetites: Nonprofit makes sure perfectly good food won't go to waste

Seward Co-op
Seckel pears from Washington and California persimmons for sale at a Minneapolis co-op.
Jennifer Simonson | MPR News File

Food insecurity and food waste are two issues being confronted by the North Country Food Alliance (NCFA). The nonprofit organization works with local food distributors like co-ops, grocery stores and warehouses to get excess food to people who need it the most.

"It is all perfectly sellable food," said Nick Solem, food share coordinator for the NCFA. "It is overstock, not expired."

NCFA's mission is to reduce waste while increasing access to health food for people, regardless of their socio-economic status, Solem said. "So we're trying to change attitudes towards waste and diet."

Along with their food distribution work, the NCFA works in communities to create gardens where people can grow fresh food.

"We have a pattern of starting community gardens, handing them over to the community and then stepping out," said Solem.

"These are not traditional community gardens in the sense that people are leasing plots from us. This is again completely free," he said. "People in the community are free to help garden if they are able and otherwise just eat whatever they want from the plots."

For more information on the NCFA, check out their website here.

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