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Food Council Honors Six "Homegrown Heroes" at Annual Open House

As a part of our Annual Open House, the Homegrown Minneapolis Food Council recognizes and honors the accomplishments of community partners who help expand the community’s ability to grow, process, distribute, eat and compost more healthy, sustainable, locally grown foods.

Any community member or organization is eligible to nominate or receive a Homegrown Heroes Award. A committee of Homegrown Minneapolis Food Council members reviews the nominations and selects the honorees.

The following individuals and organizations were recognized as Homegrown Heroes at our 2014 Open House on December 3:

ResizedHGMHero_KaySmallProfessors Adam Kay and Chip Small and Students

University of St. Thomas

Adam Kay and Chip Small are professors of Science and Biology at the University of St. Thomas. Adam and his students have been working with the Minneapolis Health Department to pilot a fresh produce procurement system for corner stores that partners a local growing cooperative, a local product distributor, and University of St. Thomas students. Because of this system, stores no longer have to purchase produce from retail venues and can buy produce at wholesale costs in small quantities delivered to their door.

Chip and his students have performed extensive urban compost research and are developing a model for urban composting on a neighborhood scale. Due to their work, we now have the scientific data needed to guide composting efforts on urban farms, community gardens, and market gardens. Both programs seamlessly integrate agricultural research, education, and community development in an urban setting.

ResizedHGMHero_CamaraOusman Camara

K’s Dollar and Grocery

Ousman is the owner of K’s Dollar and Grocery, a corner store and deli in North Minneapolis. He is an active partner with the Minneapolis Health Department’s Healthy Corner Store Program and Healthy Restaurant Initiative, and is committed to transforming his business into a trusted, locally owned neighborhood outlet for nutritious, affordable food options. For example, he has made changes to his store inventory to increase healthy food options such as fresh fruits and locally grown vegetables, decreased sales of sugary drinks, and started to offer healthy meal options in his deli. Additionally, Ousman stopped selling all tobacco products this past June – a business move that could have been detrimental if not executed skillfully – and is proud to say his business is profiting now on healthy options instead of harmful tobacco products.

ResizedHGMHero_HamiltonManorHamilton Manor Community Garden

Minneapolis Public Housing Authority (MPHA) Highrise

Kyle Hanson (MPHA North Area Regional Property Manager) and Connie Porter (MPHA Property Manager) recognize that creating community gardens on available public housing land is an untapped opportunity with many potential health benefits including increased access to healthy affordable foods, increased physical activity, and improved social connectedness.

This year, with help from the Minneapolis Highrise Representative Council and Minneapolis Health Department, a highrise community vegetable garden was piloted in one building – Hamilton Manor (1314 44th Ave N). More than 10 residents have been involved in planting, tending, and harvesting the garden for themselves and other residents, with education and assistance provided by community partners including Gardening Matters, Hennepin County Master Gardener Del Hampton, and the Minnesota State Horticultural Society. Kyle and Connie also worked with their team to successfully build two additional raised beds for the residents’ community garden.

Impacted by their work are not just the 220 low-income residents living at Hamilton Manor, but also other highrise residents who are inspired by what is happening at Hamilton Manor and want to see it replicated at their buildings.


Under the leadership of two CAPI staff – Palee Yang (Human Services Manager) and Rhea Yang (Senior Advocate) – CAPI has made a significant community impact as evidenced by their community gardening projects. Specifically, CAPI sponsored and managed 9 Minneapolis-based community gardens and also worked with 5 churches; as a result, 154 gardening plots were assigned to 300+ Hmong community members.

In addition, approximately 2,300 lbs. of produce have been donated to CAPIs Asian Food Shelf. CAPI’s work continues to increase access to and utilization of healthy foods for Hmong families, build social capital and volunteer leadership, and generate valuable partnerships.

ResizedHGMHero_JaneRussVishJane Shey

Former Homegrown Minneapolis Coordinator

Vish Vasani

Staff, Homegrown Minneapolis Food Council


Last updated Apr 19, 2016



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