Northfield Food Rescue Program

The City of Northfield and Carleton College’s Food Recovery Network (FRN) obtained a grant from the MPCA in 2018 to reduce wasted food in their community and increase access to healthy food options for people facing food insecurity. They partnered with the Community Action Center of Northfield (CAC) and used the grant to expand their food shelves. This led to an increase in the amount of food they were able to save by including more cold storage at their food shelf.

The SuperShelf model transforms food shelves, creating welcoming spaces for users to access appealing, healthy food.This food shelf uses the SuperShelf model which promotes healthy eating by providing fresh and culturally appropriate food in an inviting space. In order to provide fresh milk and eggs, the Northfield CAC and Carleton FRN partnered with local farmers who donated their surplus and put it into the cold storage of the SuperShelf. These groups are leaders in their community when it comes to preventing wasted food. Northfield is a GreenStep City, the Carleton FRN transports 100,000 pounds of food each year, and the Community Action Center of Northfield rescues 250,000 pounds of food annually. Together, they did education and outreach about proper ways to store food and some easy recipes for food available at the food shelf.

With the expansion of cooling space CAC was able to work with local farmers to take produce, milk, and eggs that farmers weren’t able to sell to stock their shelves for their customers. This helped to ensure more access to food needed by the community and increased food shelf access by 30%. With the grant from MPCA, changes made to the food shelf allowed for an increase in recovered food by 51,000 pounds annually plus an additional 14,283 pounds from farm donations. In total they saved 314,790 pounds of food. By recovering this additional food, the city of Northfield was able to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 56,710 kg.

Open Hands Farm is a family-run organic farm located just outside of Northfield, and they donated their surplus products to be picked up by students with the Carleton FRN.