For over 30 years, the Fare For All program has worked to make frozen meat and fresh produce items extra affordable and accessible to our communities year-round. Over time, as our program participants have become more health-conscious and environmentally-aware, we were asked with increasing frequency if Fare For All could possibly do for local, minimally-processed, and in some cases, organic meats and produce what we already do for large-scale producers – utilize our bulk purchasing power to bring such otherwise unaffordable items to Fare For All participants. We are pleased and honored that a recent grant from the USDA was awarded to The Food Group specifically to help the Fare For All program explore these new food options.
To start, an infrastructure portion of the grant accelerated completion of The Food Group’s additional freezer, so space shortages would not interfere with adding new items to Fare For All’s offerings. The grant is designed to facilitate our goal of supporting local producers and growers as we strive to bring higher-end, local products affordably to our participant base.
We are now in the process of piloting more expensive, yet locally produced food items with six of our Fare for All sites – Red Wing, St. Paul at the West 7th Community Center, Elk River, St. Cloud, Buffalo, and Minneapolis at Holy Trinity Church. Four rural and two urban sites were selected to begin with in the first year, with an additional fifteen sites to be added during the second and third years of the grant period. Of the total fifteen sites, five will be new rural locations, preliminarily identified for the distinct communities they serve.
This grant gives us the opportunity to test local foods in the Fare For All program to see what kind of customer reception they get, while simultaneously supporting local farmers, ranchers, and producers. Our first product item, piloted in May, was locally grown/produced beef patties from Unparalleled Farms in Plainview, MN. In June, the pilot sites will be offered Kelly G’s wild rice burgers produced on the Iron Range.
This post was written by our Fare for All Team. Questions? Contact Lisa Sabourin, Fare for All Manager