Food for the People is a nonprofit that distributes free farm shares to BIPOC residents in the Twin Cities. Co-founder and Program manager, Nick Knighton, says Food for the People began in 2020 during the pandemic when food access gaps began to widen. As inflation and isolation continued, BIPOC and low income residents faced increasing disparities. Knighton says he was living and working at Whetstone Farm in Amery, Wisconsin with a few team members who wanted to use the resources of the farm to serve the communities in need. He says the uprising following the murder of George Floyd compelled them to fast track the idea. Knighton says the need for support, nourishment, and healing became even more imperative in the Twin Cities.
“We were doing a lot of food relief from the farm, bringing farm food into the cities. The uprising that summer was a really intense time,” he said. “Food is one of the things that I feel colonization and our systems of oppression really target. Especially for poor people and folks of color. So we're trying to do our part, to right those wrongs. Also, supporting local farms is really important. The industrial food system is changing, even collapsing in some ways, and becoming really expensive and inaccessible in other ways.”
Food for the People is hosting a benefit party on July 22nd, from 6-10pm, on the patio of Seward Cafe in Minneapolis. All funds will go towards meeting their goal of raising $80,000 this year. The organization's funds go towards paying local farmers a livable wage for their contribution to the free distribution of nutrient dense, local farm food. Last year, they distributed over 3,500 free CSA boxes to the BIPOC community, while contributing over $97,000 to the local farm community.
The event will feature a free dinner provided by Whetstone Farm, free farm fresh produce and music. Knighton says dancing will be encouraged. He says the event is more than just a fundraiser - it’s also a celebration recognizing the many contributors that make the work of Food for the People possible. Volunteers often transport food from rural Minnesota and beyond to the homes of BIPOC residents in the Twin Cities.
“There's a lot of food farmers have access to, but don't know how to get the food to people's doors.” Knighton explained. “I think the end goal is for there to be a really self-sustaining food system within all the farms around the Twin Cities, that makes nutrient dense food grown by local farmers accessible, no matter your income, and that pays farmers a living wage.”
The benefit party takes place at 2129 E Franklin Ave. Donations and sliding scale admission are accepted at the door, but no one will be turned away.