Welcoming Community: Nutrition Equity

In recognition of multiple September observances related to nutritious foods, including National Fruit and Veggies Month and Whole Grains Month, nutrition equity is the focus of this month’s Welcoming Community newsletter. Nutrition equity involves ensuring that everyone, regardless of factors such as income, location, or background, has access to healthy and culturally appropriate food. The goal is to eliminate disparities in access to nourishing food, which in turn affects health outcomes and overall well-being.

It’s crucial to consider how these themes intersect with equitable access to nutritious food options throughout the Northland that resonate with the diverse cultural needs of our community. We must acknowledge that nutrition inequities exist, particularly among historically marginalized groups. These inequities are not just statistics; they are lived experiences that can result in tangible physical, mental, and cultural consequences if not addressed.

Multiple groups and organizations are working diligently to ensure nutrition equity in northeastern Minnesota. In addition to initiatives strengthening food networks and increasing access to nutritious food in rural communities and food deserts across the Northland, efforts to champion culturally appropriate food and promote food sovereignty have also been gaining traction in our region.

Further welcoming efforts to address nutrition equity might include:

  • Including community members who are directly impacted by nutrition inequities in decision-making about local food policies and programs.
  • Sharing information about the historical and ongoing issues surrounding nutrition inequity in our region.
  • Supporting local and regional organizations that promote food equity through donations, volunteerism, and/or public advocacy.

As we continue to delve into various aspects of community equity, it’s essential to recognize that each issue we discuss is a piece of a large, interconnected puzzle. By addressing nutrition equity, we move closer to creating a truly equitable and welcoming community in the Northland. For more information about current initiatives and stories around food equity, please visit our ‘Resources to Explore’ section below.

Food is the one thing that centers all of us. It’s the one thing that we all have in common, no matter who we are.” – Sean Sherman

Continued Learning

The goal of the Welcoming Community program is to provide continued opportunities for learning and connection related to topics relevant to diversity, equity, and inclusion in our region. In our monthly emails, we highlight a specific equity topic and provide resources related to the monthly theme.

The theme for the month of September is Nutrition Equity. When exploring the learnings in the Resources to Explore section, we ask that you consider the following question:

“In terms of nutrition equity in northeast Minnesota, where have we come from, where are we now, and what steps do we need to take to reach an equitable future?”

Resources to Explore

U.S. Department of Agriculture: Food and Nutrition Security

Minnesota Department of Human Services: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Minnesota Help Me Connect: Food Shelves and Food Distribution

Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency: Food Access Overview

Minnesota Farmers’ Market Association: Find Your Farmers’ Market!

Minnesota Grown: Minnesota Grown Directory

Mayo Clinic: Eating Healthy on a Budget

Health Affairs: Measuring and Addressing Nutrition Security to Achieve Health and Health Equity

Star Tribune: In Tribes Across Minnesota, Indigenous Food Movement Takes Root

University of Minnesota: Gov. Tim Walz Signs Universal School Meals Bill into Law

Sahan Journal: Reclaiming Community Food Security in Lincoln Park

Blandin Foundation: Harvest Nation Brings Locally-Grown, Affordable Food Options to Rural Northeast Minnesota

MPR News: Appetites: End of COVID-Era Nutrition Assistance Increases Food Shelf Need

MinnPost: Hunger in Minnesota: The Numbers Tell Us to Keep Moving in the Right Direction

Heartland Signal: Relief Grants in Minnesota Help Instill Hope in Addressing Food Insecurity

Cloquet Pine Journal: Column: Lack of Nutrition Education Is Physically Hurting US Citizens

Amherst H. Wilder Foundation: New Food Insecurity Data Highlight Minnesota’s Continuing Disparities and the Need for Multi-Sector Solutions

Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder: The Impact of Food Insecurity on Black Women’s Mental Health

Duluth News Tribune: Minnesota Has Path Forward in Fight Against Food Insecurity

Agweek: Doubling Emergency Food Funding Is One Goal of Nutrition Advocates in Next Farm Bill

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Photo Credit: Jeremy Gardner, Ojibwemowining Digital Arts

August 2023 Duluth Lyceum Recap: ‘How Does the Shape of Our City Shape Us?’

Since March 2022, Northspan’s Welcoming Community program, in partnership with the Lyceum Movement, has hosted monthly Duluth Lyceum gatherings. Originating in the 19th century, the Lyceum Movement once boasted over 3,000 active forums across the United States. The Duluth Lyceum is part of an effort to bring life back to this tradition, aiming to engage communities in inclusive, meaningful dialogues that extend beyond the confines of government or academia and address topics of both local and national importance.

Welcoming Community’s most recent Duluth Lyceum was held on August 24 at the Duluth Folk School and focused on the theme: ‘How Does the Shape of Our City Shape Us?’ The evening kicked off with a keynote from Vice President of Northspan Karl Schuettler, who holds a master’s degree in urban and regional planning from the University of Minnesota and is a thought leader in community development. His insights on the history of Duluth’s urban planning set the stage for a lively discussion on the intricate ways in which our city’s physical landscape impacts our lives and the well-being of our community.

If you missed the live event, you can watch the recorded Lyceum video. To dive deeper into Karl Schuettler’s views on Duluth’s urban planning, read his works on The Zenith City’s Blurred Red Lines and A Duluth Neighborhood Typology.

Stay tuned for details on upcoming Duluth Lyceum events and learn more about how you can participate. We look forward to welcoming you!

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Photo Credit: Jeremy Gardner, Ojibwemowining Digital Arts

Welcoming Events Across the Northland

Many initiatives are ongoing to support Welcoming across northeast Minnesota. Listed below are some opportunities to explore and participate in!

Do you know about a connection opportunity we could highlight in an upcoming newsletter? Submit events to alewis@northspan.org by October 10, 2023.

Sustainability Week
October 2-5, 2023
Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College
Cloquet, MN
Learn more here

Third Annual Equity Summit:
“Belonging in Northeast Minnesota”
October 4, 2023
Iron Trail Motors Event Center, Virginia, MN
Learn more here

Fifth Annual Iron Range Pasty Festival
October 7, 2023
Mountain Iron Community Center
Learn more here

Third Annual Bridging the Gap Women’s 10 Mile
October 7, 2023
Duluth, MN
Learn more here

The Reif Film Festival
October 7-8, 2023
Reif Center, Grand Rapids, MN
Learn more here

Community Action Duluth Dream Big Fundraiser
October 13, 2023
Bent Paddle Brewing
Duluth, MN
Learn more here

Senior Go Show
October 17, 2023
Duluth Entertainment Convention Center
Learn more here

Our Climate Futures: Equity & Inclusion at the Center
October 2324, 2023
University of Minnesota Duluth Campus
Learn more here

Non-Traditional Lenders Forum
October 30, 2023
Minnesota Discovery Center
Chisolm, MN

Learn more here

Ongoing Events

Minnesota Council of Non-profits
Various Events
Learn more here

Minnesota Department of Health:
Mental Well-Being and Resilience Learning Community

Learn more here

Boundary Waters Connect: Hello Neighbor
Learn more here

Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa:
Ke Go Naa! Language Lessons
Learn more here

Arrowhead Area Agency on Aging:
Classes, Workshops, Trainings

Learn more here

Age & Disabilities Odyssey Minnesota
Free Webinar Series
Learn more here

Entrepreneur Fund: Stride
Learn more here

Minnesota Women’s Press Changemakers Alliance
Learn more here

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Invite a Friend

If you know others in your community who are interested in participating with Welcoming Community programming, please forward this email so they can learn more & Click Here to join our email list.

Contact Northspan’s Welcoming Community Program Coordinator Amber Lewis at alewis@northspan.org with any questions.