The success of the Mill City Farmers Market’s educational programming, farmer and food maker grants and food access work since the market’s inception in 2006 inspired the creation of a Charitable Fund. While the Market has been funded by sponsorships and individual donations, this new fund will allow the organization to expand the scope, reach and sustainability of its educational and charitable activities.
Our new Charitable Fund supports a healthier community through educational and food access programs, partnerships, and grants for local, sustainable farmers and food makers. Launched as an extension of the successful Mill City Farmers Market, the Charitable Fund shares resources and collaborates with partners to improve community health and well-being.
Ways to Invest
- Donate to the Charitable Fund.
- Become a Friend of the Market. Support the Market’s educational programming, enjoy members-only events and monthly newsletters, and receive exclusive weekly member specials from the market and our vendors. Learn how to become a Friend
- Sponsorships and grants. Support our educational and food access programming or contribute to our grant program. Learn more about opportunities
- Attend the Harvest Social, our annual fundraiser dinner and auction.
When you invest in the Mill City Farmers Market Charitable Fund, you make it possible for us to:
1. Expand experiential learning opportunities to grow a healthier community.
With our partnerships in the local, organic food community, we are uniquely situated to deliver weekly “can do” educational experiences at the Market. Our work inspires children and adults to make informed choices and to invest in food that prevents and reduces chronic conditions like diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Healthy people save millions of dollars annually in health care costs and live fuller, more nourishing lives.
- In 2017, we empowered over 4,000 children to make healthy food choices with vegetable tastings and staged 26 weekly, chef-led Mill City Cooks cooking classes highlighting locally grown produce.
- We offer weekly events focused on heart, brain and gut health as well as free outdoor yoga and “Bike to the Market Day”
2. Increase grants to local farmers and food makers who sustain a healthy, local food system.
Investing in local farmers promotes bio-diversity, reduces pesticide and herbicide use, produces food with greater nutritional content, and benefits the environment. Money spent with local growers and food makers also stays close to home and is reinvested within the community.
- We have granted over 70 grants since 2013
- Projects funded include development and production of packaging and labeling for The Bean Market; testing, development and construction of a CoolBot storage system at Stone’s Throw Urban Farm; grants to help with hardship due to flooding, product loss and equipment failure.
3. Promote access to healthy, local and sustainable, food in under-resourced communities.
All people deserve access to healthy food, but many communities lack equitable access. Your support helps us expand our food donation and access work in our community.
- Annually, we donate more than 5,000 pounds of produce gleaned from market vendors to neighbors in Cedar Riverside and residences and shelters serving elderly and youth
- We accept SNAP benefits (formerly food stamps) with EBT cards and offer $10 match per transaction.
4. Collaborate with partners to leverage our collective resources.
Working together, we have greater impact. With increased investment, we can grow partnerships to support a sustainable, local food economy.
- We partner with Campus Kitchen to collect & distribute excess produce and teach cooking classes.
- Weekly, we sponsor free community booths at the Market to highlight partner organizations.
5. Grow innovative approaches and solutions as a leader in the field.
In this dynamic, rapidly changing industry, we continue to advance innovative ideas to support a robust local food system and share them with other markets throughout the state and around the country.
- We have a history of innovation, from launching our Farmer Grant Program to being the first zero-waste farmers market in Minnesota to our weekly cooking demos.
- Our staff serves in leadership positions with MN Farmers Market Association, Farmers Market of MPLS Collaborative and Slow Money of MN.