When nearly 100 Minnesota nonprofit leaders were asked to name the agencies doing the most to give people access to healthful foods in the state, the answers were surprising.
The Top 15 list included the Youth Farm and Market Project of Minneapolis, the Eagan Resource Center, Farmers Legal Action Group, and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit best-known for its international work.
They are interesting additions to the usual suspects, such as the Second Harvest Heartland and Hunger Solutions Minnesota.
“If you’re looking at all the different ways that people access healthy food in Minnesota, these are examples of the high-impact groups,” said Sharon DeMark, program officer overseeing food security at Minnesota Philanthropy Partners in St. Paul.
The Philanthropy Partners, a network of funders including the St. Paul Foundation, commissioned the study to help combat hunger in our state. One in 10 Minnesotans don’t know where their next meal is coming from, studies have shown.
The top vote-getter was the Emergency Food Shelf Network, a hunger relief network serving the Twin Cities. It was followed by Second Harvest Heartland, the state’s largest food bank, the University of Minnesota and Hunger Solutions Minnesota, a St. Paul-based advocacy and research group.
The remaining nonprofits showed the rich diversity of anti-hunger efforts in Minnesota. They range from Gardening Matters, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit that promotes community gardens, to Dream of Wild Health, a Hugo farm that grows produce from American Indian heirloom seeds.
The research was done by Philanthropedia, an arm of Guidestar, the national charities rating system. It was based on a survey of nearly 100 state health and human service leaders.
DeMark said she was pleased it put the spotlight on organizations big and small that were doing exemplary work.
“It’s always good to offer high-impact nonprofits a chance to be known,” she said.