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March 27: Social Innovation Lab on Sustainable Food Systems in North Minneapolis

March 27: Social Innovation Lab on Sustainable Food Systems in North Minneapolis

Late April Updates – Check out: What we learned from participant survey feedback and What we learned from our own experience.

Click on the image to see a larger size. Thank you to Joan McIntosh for her graphic facilitation!

Videos from the event:

Introductory presentations:

Working group reports:

Reports from many people about their next steps

Congressman Keith Ellison’s comments

More notes and next steps from the meeting coming soon!


This lab supports the development of a sustainable food system in North Minneapolis. Participants will explore the relationship between a sustainable food system and the emergence of a more sustainable and inclusive community. Many people working in the food and community development systems of North Minneapolis were present. We heard about existing and emerging initiatives across North Minneapolis that are growing food, getting healthy food into corner stores, launching new grocery stores or coops, developing processing capacity within North Minneapolis as an engine of food system re-design, engaging young people in the urban agriculture movement, and much more.
We imagine a future of North Minneapolis in which every household has access to fresh, locally grown, processed and purchased food. We imagine the active engagement and leadership of residents and entrepreneurs of North Minneapolis in making this vision a reality. At the lab we fertilized what is already happening, seeded new possibilities by designing activities or services that enhance the transition of North Minneapolis toward a sustainable food system and a sustainable and inclusive community, and fostered a broader network of agents, united around a common vision of the future for the community.
Activities included:
  1. Context-setting on the relationship between a sustainable food system and a healthy, sustainable and inclusive community
  2. Short presentations on existing and emerging initiatives
  3. Diagnosis of the existing food system of North Minneapolis
  4. Envisioning of a healthy food system
  5. Beginning an action planning process, to be picked up and continued by a coalition within the community that fosters movement from the food system we have now, toward one that we envision.
 The over-arching purpose of this lab was to build on the network that has been fostered through three social innovation labs that occurred in 2012, and engage that network as support for a community to set conditions to realize concrete social innovations over both the short and long term.
This lab occured on March 27th from 1:30 to 5pm at the Minneapolis Urban League, 2100 Plymouth Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55411, in the basement conference room.


In 2014, the Social Innovation Lab helped launch Impact Hub Minneapolis St. Paul. Join us on Nov. 17 for the annual Impact Hub event that celebrates social impact in Minnesota. more
Release of the RFP for Maternal Wellbeing Lab Pilots
The Maternal Wellbeing Innovation Lab is now at the stage of testing out ideas generated by the community innovation process. See the announcement below for the request for proposals. The more