A north Minneapolis group that uses food as a community development tool was among seven regional organizations awarded the 2017 Bush Prize for Community Innovation, the foundation announced Tuesday.

Appetite for Change, a community-based effort to build health, wealth and social change on the North Side, was awarded nearly $471,000 to help transform an area that has been called one of the largest “food deserts” in the country into a culturally based, community-driven food center. Since it began programming in 2012, the organization has used a combination of community cooking workshops, job training programs for youth, a cooperative commercial kitchen and a business incubator for more than 50 food entrepreneurs to improve the North Side food landscape. It also runs a restaurant — Breaking Bread Cafe and Catering — and sells produce grown by youth interns to area stores and restaurants.

The Bush Foundation innovation prize will allow Appetite for Change to expand office space in the short-term and to serve more people, and perhaps replicate its workelsewhere, said Michelle Horovitz, who co-founded the program with Princess Titus and Latasha Powell.

“We’re excited about being able to grow and expand our model,” Horowitz said.

Two St. Paul organizations, the Hmong American Farmers Association and the Latino Economic Development Center, also received awards, $247,425 and $500,000, respectively.

Now in its fifth year, the Bush Prize organizations that “are extraordinary not only in what they do but in how they do it. As models of true problem-solving, they work inclusively, in partnership with others, to make their communities better for all,” the foundation announced. The Bush Prize is awarded annually in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and the 23 American Indian nations within that geography.

The foundation received 127 applications for the 2017 Bush Prize.