New produce market is an oasis in urban a ‘food desert’

Minnesota may enjoy being among the top five healthiest states in the country, but for the poorest among us, there is a different side to that coin. We rank seventh-worst in the nation for access to healthy food, in rural and urban communities that researchers often refer to as “Food Deserts.”

But now, the N. Lyndale Ave. Salvation Army, 2024 Lyndale, is teaming up with Loaves and Fishes to do something about it.

Every Monday from noon to 1 p.m. the community is invited to a produce market at the N. Lyndale Ave. Salvation Army, where they can pick up a box and fill it with the fruits and vegetables of their choice. The offerings vary week to week, but can include anything from potatoes and onions, to watermelon and oranges. On one particular day, there was even organic milk and yogurt available. All of these foods are offered free of charge to anyone who wants to come, whether they live in the neighborhood or not.

“We buy this food at very low cost from Second Harvest Heartland, and we can’t use it all up at our dining sites, so we thought, why not just offer it to the public to take home?” said Rachel Friesen of Loaves and Fishes.

All of the food is fresh, and local produce is offered whenever it is available. “It’s really high-end stuff that was in excess at local warehouses,” Friesen explained. “It’s getting to people in pristine condition, it tastes great, and it will last.”

While programs like this can’t take the place of local grocery stores offering healthy food at an affordable price, the goal is to make it more accessible to everyone. Join the Salvation Army by volunteering or making a donation to support our local community.

Article submitted by Julie Borgen