Sometimes I wonder if the Wedge has been around for so long that we take it for granted. Yes, the co-op's selection is great. Yes, the co-op is community- and good-food-focused. Yes, they've been around since 1974, serving a diverse population of families, hipsters, activists, and more. We know that having the Wedge in our community makes us all better, but how often do we really think about it?
Last week, the Wedge did one of the great things that they've been doing for a while -- they gave a bunch of money to organizations that desperately need and completely deserve it. We're not taking these grants for granted.
The WedgeShare Charitable Giving Program
According to their press release:
Since 1997, The Wedge’s WedgeShare charitable giving program has awarded nearly $500,000 in grants to community organizations whose work aligns with the cooperative principle that co-ops “work for the sustainable development of their communities.”
WedgeShare awards grants to organizations that work in one or more of the following areas: environmental quality, protection or beautification; natural health and wellness; natural food and sustainable agriculture; community involvement; and/or cooperative-related activities.
From a long list of potential recipients, the Wedge's 15,000 member-owners selected 10 organizations to receive a total of $75,000.00 in financial grants. Here is a list of this year's WedgeShare award winners. The descriptions below come directly from the Wedge's press release, but several of the organizations (like Open Arms and Youth Farm) will be familiar to our readers -- if they align with the Wedge, they align with Simple, Good, and Tasty too:
- The Emergency Foodshelf Network is a local non-profit organization that collects, warehouses, and distributes high quality food and provides essential support services to Minnesota hunger relief organizations.
- The Cornucopia Institute is fighting for the integrity of organic farming and the authenticity of organic food by uniting family farmers with consumers and cooperatives.
- The Youth Farm and Market Project seeks to nurture relationships between urban youth and their families, their communities, and the earth around them by growing, cooking, eating and selling healthy food.
- Open Arms of Minnesota is the only nonprofit organization in the state that prepares and delivers free meals specifically tailored to meet the nutrition needs of individuals living with chronic and progressive diseases including HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, ALS and breast cancer.
- Community Design Center has for 40 years empowered and educated thousands of youth through its Garden Corps, Conservation Corps and Culinary youth internships and cooking and environmental classes.
- Minnesota Food Association’s Big River Farms provides skills, knowledge and experience through training and experiential learning to immigrant and limited resource farmers.
- Mind Body Solutions offers a mind-body approach for people living with physical disabilities together with their caregivers. Through yoga, Mind Body Solutions transforms trauma, loss and disability into hope and potential by awakening the connection between mind and body.
- Southside Family Charter School supports 100 urban Minneapolis youth with a vibrant social justice curriculum. The grant will help expand the school’s Just Food program, enabling its students to learn about issues involved with food and giving them experience growing and preparing healthy food.
- Gardening Matters supports and promotes community gardening in the Twin Cities metro area. Gardening Matters is a clearinghouse for community gardening, helping people join or start a community garden.
- Eco Education’s Urban Environmental Education Initiative empowers urban students to understand their environment and make proactive ecological decisions in their school and community, and ensures successful implementation of environmental issue investigation and service-learning in the classroom.
Congratulations and thank you to the winners and to the Wedge. We appreciate you.
Photos courtesy of the Wedge.