North Market: Creating Partnerships with Purpose

How it All Began

The idea for North Market initially came about as a solution to address a critical need in the North Minneapolis community—the need for better access to healthy foods and basic healthcare; the need for better education on the relationship between food and health; and, a better experience around shopping for food in general. At the time the North Market idea was born, the 67,000 residents of North Minneapolis were served by only one grocery store and many residents had to do their shopping at the over 30 convenience stores throughout the neighborhood. For others, grocery shopping meant taking long bus rides or driving to other nearby suburbs to find healthy, fresh foods. The lack of access to nutritious food has substantial consequences, from high rates of diet-related illness to students who are less prepared to learn. By putting good food and wellness services within reach of all North Minneapolis families, North Market has the opportunity to nourish the neighborhood from the inside out. 

How it all began
About three years ago, Pillsbury United Communities (PUC) was working with Hunger Free Minnesota and the State of Minnesota to understand the underutilization of WIC in North Minneapolis. When engaging with community around WIC, a program that helps families with children aged five or less provide basic foods like milk, cereal and bread, Pillsbury United Communities learned that many families found the program difficult to use because they lacked convenient access to a grocery store. 

Finding a solution
PUC wanted to find a way to fill the needs of the community, but wanted the solution to be one that was sustainable. First, it was the idea of a mobile WIC bus, that drove through the neighborhoods equipped with items that families could by with their vouchers as well as Hennepin County staff who could help families make healthly choices or changes to their vouchers. 

North Market
When the mobile bus was not a viable option, the PUC team used Human Centered Design to go back and think about other innovative ways they could solve the issues around food access. Watch the video for the story of how this concept iterated after some intital roadblocks. It was from this that North Market was born, a place for the whole community to access fresh and healthy foods and access to health care. 


Throughout this E-Case you'll hear from Adair Mosley, CEO of Pillsbury United Communities and Vanan Murugesan, Director of Innovation at Pillsbury United Communities. Adair and Vanan worked closely together to execute the market with Vanan managing fundraising, design, contracting, visioning and community engagement. 

 

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  1. NMKT Intro