Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Initiative Awards $1.2M Annually to Increase Access to Healthy, Affordable, and Culturally Relevant Foods

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Blue Cross’ Center for Prevention will support twelve organizations to advance food justice and create equitable changes to local food systems.

The Center for Prevention at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota (Blue Cross) has awarded $1.2M in funding per year for up to three years to 12 Minnesota nonprofit organizations. This funding is part of the Center’s Food Justice Initiative, which seeks to advance food justice by ensuring access to healthy, affordable, and culturally relevant foods without barriers. Funded projects reflect community-led strategies to address food insecurity and support Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) leaders in creating equitable change to local food systems.

“Communities most impacted by health inequities are the best equipped to lead work to overcome the systemic barriers faced in accessing healthy food,” said Sarah Senseman, Director of Tobacco Settlement Operations and Community Funding at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota. “Investing in community-led efforts to address food insecurity, increase food sovereignty, and support greater participation in decision making on policies related to food justice are critical to advancing racial and health equity.”

The following organizations were awarded Food Justice Funding. Learn more here.

  • American Indian Community Housing Organization (AICHO) will provide opportunities for multigenerational community members to participate in traditional Indigenous food production, activate additional growing spaces, and advance policies that support Indigenous food sovereignty.
  • Appetite for Change (AFC) will use funding to connect hundreds of food-insecure families with weekly deliveries of nourishing meals, free of cost and barriers.
  • Central Minnesota Community Empowerment Organization (CMCEO) will work to increase access to traditional foods and engage East African immigrant community members to learn more about healthy food choices and the importance of physical activity.
  • Dream of Wild Health will use funding to expand the work of the Indigenous Food Network (IFN) and increase access to and consumption of healthy Indigenous food.
  • Foundation For Essential Needs (FFEN) will use funding to advance a culture in hunger relief centered on shopper (food shelf client) priorities.
  • Hmong American Farmers Association (HAFA) will use funding to support their innovative Farm-to-Family Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, which advances health equity, racial equity, and social connections for low-income, food insecure children and families.
  • Hallie Q. Brown Community Center, Inc. will strengthen efforts to dismantle systemic barriers that prevent BIPOC and/or low-income individuals and families from obtaining food that aligns with their needs.
  • Minnesota Seeds of Justice will work to increase access to culturally appropriate foods for immigrant communities facing food insecurity in Southwest Minnesota.
  • Prairie Rose Agricultural Institute for Research, Innovation & Education (PRAIRIE) will strengthen their efforts to support immigrant and refugee farmers involved in the New Roots Farm Incubator Cooperative to increase the consumption of culturally appropriate, fresh, healthy foods in the Fargo-Moorhead area.
  • Sharing Our Roots (SOR) will expand the work of their Community Connectors across Rice County to increase equitable access to land and nourishing foods.
  • University of Minnesota Morris will advance access to healthy, affordable, and culturally appropriate foods without barriers for BIPOC and low-income students and rural community members, as well as grow the next generation of food sovereignty leaders.
  • Urban Roots MN will use funding to empower local youth through nature, access to healthy food, and community.

About the Center for Prevention 

The Center for Prevention at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota advances racial and health equity to transform communities for a healthier Minnesota. Funded through proceeds from Blue Cross’ historic lawsuit against the tobacco industry, The Center invests in community funding programs, public awareness campaigns, and actively advocates for policies, systems and environmental changes to advance community health and health equity across the state. Visit for more information.

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota

For 90 years, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota ( has supported the health, wellbeing and peace of mind of our members by striving to ensure equitable access to high quality care at an affordable price. Our 2.5 million members can be found in every Minnesota county, all 50 states and on four continents. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.


Contact Information:
Sasha Houston Brown
Senior Communications and Advocacy Consultant
(651) 662-3174

Original Source: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Initiative Awards $1.2M Annually to Increase Access to Healthy, Affordable, and Culturally Relevant Foods

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