Free meal boxes for youth

The Farm to School and Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) are continuing to incorporate thousands of pounds of locally grown food into the district’s weekly meal boxes, which are free to all youth 18 and under.

Since 2013, MPS Culinary & Wellness Services (CWS) has partnered with local farmers to source local, sustainable food for their school meals. The program is a win-win for the farmers, who can count on a market for their products, and kids who get to enjoy the fresh food. While MPS CWS’s food service operations look very different this year during distance learning, the district’s commitment to Farm to School remains steadfast. Since September, MPS has served more than 35,000 pounds of local produce in weekly meal boxes.

MPS meal boxes provide a full week of meals that meet MPS CWS’s high standards for nutrition and quality ingredients, such as Farm to School items. Families can pick up free meal boxes at 29 school sites across Minneapolis, Monday-Friday. Most sites are open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and a handful of sites have extended hours of 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. All youth are invited to participate in this program and do not need to be enrolled in MPS to receive food boxes. Youth, parents, or siblings can pick up one box for each child in their family, per week.

You can pick up meal boxes at the following Northside schools: Jenny Lind, 5025 N Bryant Ave;

Henry, 4320 N Newton Ave; Lucy Laney, 3333 Penn Ave N; Cityview, 3350 N 4th St; Hmong Academy, 1501 N 30th Ave; and Nellie Stone Johnson, 807 N 27th Ave.

In October meal boxes featured different local foods such as watermelon radishes, kohlrabi, Brussels sprouts, rutabaga and even whole delicata squashes. The district also revived their Minnesota Thursday tradition by serving an entirely locally-sourced meal, including a free-range turkey burger from Ferndale Market, Farm to School butternut squash, and more. To accompany local items, MPS provided information about their partner farmers as well as written recipes and cooking videos for how to make dishes such as Honey Roasted Delicata Squash or Rutabaga & Carrot Mash. These efforts expand students’ palettes, teach about Minnesota-grown foods, and promote healthy and seasonal eating.

For info about free meal boxes for youth, visit Learn more about MPS’s Farm to School Program at