In designing the food systems there one of two goals we try to accomplish. Either a volunteer core group from the community, or other entity such as a church or non-profit owns the project and manages it after a start up period or we help to establish a businesses to generate income to support someone to operate the project. In low-income communities establishing small businesses to help support community food systems helps to sustain the growth of the projects while offering entrepreneurial jobs. For example, income from selling transplants, market stands buying and reselling produce from local farmers, or small neighborhood CSAs can provide income to establish part-time jobs for youth, families, or community non-profits. These micro businesses can sustain community food systems establishing a more effective SROI (Social Return on Investment). Our projects have evolved with years of hands on work within the communities. OCFP has been working on sustainable system models that could be replicated in other communities. If interested in learning more about these projects and if they might work in your community please contact Ann at email@example.com.
Fresh Green Buck$
As part of her involvement with the Land Stewardship Program, Ann partnered with Washington County, Minnesota and began Fresh Green Buck$ in an effort to provide more fresh produce in local area food shelves. This program allows grocery store patrons to purchase coupons (Fresh Green Buck$) that serve as a donation to local area food shelves. The food shelves can then use the Fresh Green Buck$ to purchase fresh produce to offer at their location. Ann began this program in 2011, and it is now continuing through Washington County, MN. To learn more, visit Fresh Green Buck$.
Our Community Kitchen
The doors of Our Community Kitchen opened in 2011 from a desire to create community and social responsibility through food. Our Community Kitchen is a donation based breakfast program for all those in the community. The food is prepared fresh by community volunteers using locally produced ingredients. Breakfast is offered at a certified kitchen at the Ascension Church in Stillwater, Minnesota. The program is sustained by a team of dedicated volunteers and amazing partners in the St. Croix Valley. To learn more, visit Our Community Kitchen.
Lake Elmo Market Corner Store: Fresh ‘n Healthy-Good Food Closer to Home
Our Community Food Projects along with Washington County Public Health and Environment partnered with Lake Elmo Market, a gas station in Lake Elmo to develop a Corner Store. Located in ‘food desert’ the Lake Elmo Market is a perfect opportunity to give the community access to healthy, affordable food. The store’s owner Ramiz Saadeh, enthusiastically welcomed the fresh produce into his store and in November of 2013 the ‘Fresh ‘n Healthy, Good Food Closer to Home’ project was born. The Lake Elmo Market accepts EBT/SNAP benefits.
Prior to Our Community Food Projects, Ann founded ecoEnvelopes, LLC as a Social Enterprise company to support reducing paper waste in the mail. Many Minnesota Cities are using ecoEnvelopes for their utility bills.