Co-Founder & Executive Director, Appetite for Change
When hobbies, passions, and professional opportunities align—magical things happen. For Michelle Horovitz, executive director of Appetite for Change, the intersection of her passion for food and commitment to social change led her to her current food access work.
“My background as a public defender and a professional cook led me to the intersection of food and social change,” Michelle explained. “For me, food justice has been a way to combine my passions for food and racial justice. My family originally comes from North Minneapolis, so I have a desire to impact the area where I have deep roots.”
Michelle co-founded Appetite for Change with partners Latasha Powell and Princess Titus in 2011. Appetite for Change is a North Minneapolis-based, grassroots nonprofit and social enterprise that uses food as a tool for building health, wealth, and social change.
The nonprofit has launched projects like Kindred Kitchen—a shared commissary kitchen open to businesses who need a commercial kitchen to launch or grow their business, and Breaking Bread Cafe—a community driven cafe that employs local youth and focuses on increasing healthy food and community engagement. Breaking Bread Cafe serves dishes inspired by the diverse cultures of North Minneapolis. “Bringing people together around food is one way to build community for creating social, racial and economic justice and change,” Michelle said.
Communities that Cook Together, Stay Together
Of all programs that Appetite for Change has championed, Michelle is most proud of Community Cooks—a program in which new moms, families, and youth cook nutritious, culturally relevant meals, discuss food-related issues and learn about nutrition and culinary skills.
“Community Cooks started out as a way for our organization to ask North Minneapolis’ African-American community how it wanted us to change the food system locally,” Michelle explained. “It has since blossomed into a beautiful program where we come together to cook, eat, dialogue, and build community. The community building happens through peer-to-peer learning around nutrition, culinary techniques, and talking about the changes we want to see.”
Listen to Those Most Affected by Lack of Access
What Appetite for Change has created is special to North Minneapolis, but building community through cooking can be replicated anywhere.
When asked what she would tell others who want to get into food access and availability work, Michelle offered some great advice. “Cook, eat, and talk with your family and friends about these issues and why they matter to you. Educate those around you about the significance of food access and building a local food system.”
And don’t forget to listen to those who are most impacted by lack of access. “I can’t stress enough the importance of having people who are most impacted by food insecurity to be the ones whose voices are leading the movement,” she urged. “Too often, we ignore people who—although they may not have the resources—definitely have the best ideas for solutions.”
Because when we listen, collaborate, and amplify the voices of those most afflicted by lack of access—magical things can happen.