At Food of the North, we believe food can change the world. Our mission is to celebrate, connect and empower our local food community in Fargo-Moorhead, and beyond.
In August of 2015, I was hanging out with two friends: Megan Myrdal and Jeff Knight. We ended up watching a YouTube segment by John Oliver that featured the devastating amount of food wasted in the United States. We were shocked to learn that 40% of food resources are wasted each year, while nearly 50 million Americans live in food insecure households. We have an abundance of food, but a huge amount of it is not reaching those who need it.
A large portion of that waste is comprised of perfectly good fruits and veggies that never make it to groceries and farmers markets because they aren’t aesthetically pleasing. [spoiler alert: this concept is how our original name, Ugly Food of the North, was later born]
Inspired, we decided to host an event in conjunction with a local farmers market and encouraged vendors to bring produce they wouldn’t typically try to sell. We asked people to buy this imperfect produce, make a dish to share and join us for a community potluck. We weren’t sure what to expect but over 100 people showed up and wanted to know more. We saw a need for continued conversation about creating a more sustainable food system in Fargo-Moorhead - and essentially, that’s how Ugly Food of the North was born.
There is a national movement underway to bring awareness to the issue of food waste and how ugly food (cosmetically imperfect) contributes to waste. We see Ugly Food of the North as an opportunity for people to get involved with a national conversation on a local level. In the past year, we’ve hosted 23 different events (and counting!) including several educational community potlucks, a pop-up farmers market, a documentary screening and multiple panels featuring area experts on farming, composting and urban agriculture.
Last spring, we launched the Little Free Garden project. Its goal is to foster communities committed to growing, sharing and cultivating food in small, raised-bed gardens, designed to fit in residential spaces.
Throughout the past year and a half, we’ve been encouraged by the support and interest our community has shown in being part of conversations about sustainable food systems. We believe food has a universal ability to unite people, and in today's world - that shared sense of community has never been more important.
- Content written by Gia Rassier - Co-Founder, Food of the North