Healthy Food Access

Making healthy food choices feasible for every community member is important. Because Valley Natural Foods’ mission is a healthy community, we want to be at the forefront of this effort.  Increasing the access, availability and affordability of healthy foods is a complex process.  It involves everyone from educators, parents, employers, public health professionals, policymakers, gardeners, local farmers, local producers and concerned citizens.

Part of increasing food access means connecting people and empowering them to develop direct consumer-grower relationships along with giving them the resources needed to build their own gardens. A sustainable food system is based upon trusted relationships, cooperation and good stewardship. Improving upon this system will further benefit our community as a whole, helping keep a larger portion of each food dollar in the local economy.

The current healthy food access programs at Valley Natural Foods are:

 Food Shelf Donations

Connecting those in need to fresh local foods is the first step to self-sufficient communities.

The Open Door Pantry is a hunger relief organization dedicated to ending local hunger through access to healthy food. Through its collective programs, The Open Door serves more than 14,000 Dakota County residents each month and distributes over 2 million pounds of food annually, 70% of which is fresh and/or perishable. Clients are able to access healthy food choices through a fixed-site food pantry in Eagan, multiple Mobile Pantry sites, the Mobile Lunch Box, and the Garden To Table program.

360 Communities is known for its network of five food shelves in Burnsville, Apple Valley, Farmington and Rosemount but the organization does so much more. In works with families or individuals going through difficult times to develop a road map for future success at school, at home and in the workforce. Food shelf volunteers pick up fresh produce and grocery items at Valley Natural Foods three times a week to aid those in this first step toward self-sufficiency.

Community Garden Support

In 2020, The Open Door Pantry’s Garden to Table program took over the management of our former community garden plots. Through their network of volunteers, their clients will be able to grow and harvest their own food and will also provide fresh garden produce to patrons of The Open Door Food Pantry. Our mission here at Valley Natural Foods is to support health and well-being in the South Metro Community, and in doing so, we want to be sure we are making the biggest impact possible for the most number of people.

The garden spaces have been well cared for and we are excited to see how the gardens are addressing hunger issues with the hope to provide greater food access in the South Metro. For information on volunteering at The Open Door, visit their website HERE>>>