Food Charter Champion Spotlight: Mini-Guide Champions

Organizations and individuals across the state are working diligently on advancing Food Charter strategies in various settings. To help with this important work, we’ve developed seven setting-specific mini-guides to help stakeholders learn more about healthy food access issues in places they live, learn, work, and play. The mini-guides offer recommendations and strategies to help implement policy and systems changes for creating the healthy food environments we need to ensure a legacy of health for future generations.

If you’ve been reading about the work of the Food Charter but aren’t sure how to get started implementing strategies, the mini-guides can be a big help. Consider convening a conversation with your colleagues or community, to discuss changes you can help make in you area of interest. Take full advantage of the mini-guides and other tools and resources available on—we’re here to help!

Each of the mini-guides also contain case studies, profiling individual organizations already hard at work advancing strategies in these environments. They are:

Farm to Head Start – Child Care

Modeled after a farm to child care pilot program developed by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), the Farm to Head Start program connects Head Start-enrolled children between the ages of 3 and 5 with fresh, local foods, while supporting area farmers. The program is unique, strengthening community bonds with local growers in a lasting, culturally responsive manner. Learn more.

Commons Health Hospital Challenge – Healthcare

Recent changes in healthcare legislation place an increased emphasis on prevention, wellness, and public health. Addressing these efforts requires collaboration among hospital leadership, clinicians and the community. The Commons Health Hospital Challenge is one such example: working to foster cooperation among different stakeholders around the shared goal of creating a health-promoting environment that extends beyond hospital walls. Learn more.

The Food Group – Hunger Relief

As Minnesota becomes more ethnically and culturally diverse with increasing numbers of immigrants and refugees, food needs met by the hunger relief system have changed. The Food Group works to meet these shifting demands, working with its network of agency partners to implement additional strategies to meet the needs of a changing population. Learn more.

ANACH co-op – Individual

The residents of Milan, Minnesota, embraced the power of food to revitalize a community when, in the early 2000s, this rural town of approximately 250 people experienced a rapid influx of new residents from the Pacific Island nation of Micronesia. The establishment of the ANACH co-op has boosted the local economy. Chuukese growers learned to successfully grow, process, and sell new foods in the spirit of their agricultural heritage. Other local growers have taken advantage of the ANACH facility to increase production of value-added goods. Learn more.

BearPower and Festival Foods – Retail

A new initiative called BearPower uses strategically placed food kiosks in Festival Foods grocery stores to make healthy choices easy for busy parents. White Bear Lake families, schools and the YMCA joined forces with HealthPartners and Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota to launch BearPower in 2013. The collaboration is focused on supporting the healthy growth and development of children by fostering healthy family eating and physical activity habits. Learn more.

Campus Cupboard – Schools & College/University Campuses

Eating well is associated with better school performance, including higher test scores and greater classroom engagement among younger students. Older students also need adequate nutrition, but can experience challenges in balancing the demands of a healthy diet, coursework, jobs, family responsibilities, and budget constraints. A 2011 survey of Normandale Community College students revealed that nearly 25 percent of respondents did not have enough money to buy food on campus—and the school and their hunger relief partners responded with The Campus Cupboard, an on-campus food shelf that provides students with single-serve, nutritious items such as nuts, dried fruit and canned vegetables. Learn more.

Lakeshirts, Inc. – Worksite

Work environments that promote employee health by offering opportunities to eat healthfully and participate in physical activity are beneficial to workers and employers. Happy, healthy employees tend to be more productive and cost companies less in health care spending, which translates into a stronger bottom line for employers. In Detroit Lakes, the owners of Lakeshirts, Inc. understand that employee wellness is also good business. In 2012, the Lakeshirts facility underwent significant renovations in the name of employee health, and the owners continue to make improvements today. Learn more.

You can find the full list of mini-guides, in addition to our other downloadable resources, by visiting We encourage you to Share the mini-guides with your colleagues, Learn more about healthy food access in key settings, and Act to ensure policy and systems changes get made!