Community Building: Appetite For Change
In 2011, three women from different backgrounds found themselves sitting around a kitchen table in North Minneapolis. Michelle Horovitz was a public defender who loved to cook and wanted to combine her passions for food and racial justice. But Horovitz worried she would be perceived as just another white woman telling residents of predominantly Black North Minneapolis what they needed. She had heard native Northsider Tasha Powell speak about the community and reached out. Then Horovitz met Princess Haley, who had lost her son a year prior to a stray bullet. The three connected over the idea of feeding their community, and in 2012, that passion gave birth to Appetite For Change, a nonprofit whose overarching mission is access to healthy food and building community capacity to make it through youth and workforce development programs, social enterprises, and policy initiatives.
“I really feel like the Black community has been so far removed from the natural way of growing, hunting, gathering, fishing—we’re so dependent on someone feeding us,” says Powell, president of AFC.
What started with a series of cooking workshops and a $25,000 operating budget has blossomed into a $4 million operation that offers numerous food-related programs, including seven urban farms that supply fresh fruits and vegetables to area stores and the West Broadway Farmers Market, cooking workshops, meal box delivery, and the social enterprise Breaking Bread Cafe and Catering. Appetite For Change employs 81 people, plus 10 paid youth trainees.
As the community struggled through the pandemic and social uprising, Appetite For Change worked overtime to meet needs. In 2020, the group launched AFC Meals, which cooks and distributes chef-inspired, culturally familiar meals to those in need in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Since then, AFC has served nearly 412,000 meals, and the organization invested more than $3 million locally in 2021.
Reflecting on the group’s 10-year anniversary, Powell says, “We’re no longer a startup. I just didn’t want to be an organization that came around just for a couple of years as a resource and disappeared, because that tends to happen in marginalized communities. I want to make sure that this organization will be sustainable for the future.”
Recognized for its innovative work to address food inequities, AFC now leads a local food equity collaborative called the Metro Food Justice Network, coordinating a more strategic response to community needs including support for farmers, healthy food distribution, and job training.