Neighborhood groups protest at the Seward Friendship Store.

Neighborhood groups and Seward Friendship store agree to agree

It was one of the last hot days of September, and an impromptu group of people gathered underneath a big “EVERYONE WELCOME” sign on the front of the brand new green and beige building for a press conference. The Seward Friendship store was set to open by the end of the week. It was the new branch of one of the largest co-ops in the country, right on the border of the Bryant and Central neighborhoods in South Minneapolis. The area is both home to a critical mass of the city’s low-income communities and long-time home to many of Minneapolis’ people of color.

The press conference was not without tension. Activists from CANDO, the neighborhood group representing South Minneapolis’ diverse Central neighborhood, had spent all summer knocking on doors trying to get neighbors interested in their petition. At the time, earlier in the summer, chances seemed slim that anything would happen.

“We don’t have any leverage,” I remember one of the CANDO faithful telling me at a meeting a few months before.

By July, negotiations had fallen apart between the neighborhood groups and The Seward Co-op. The new store on 38th Street was in the heart of the South Minneapolis food desert and along one of the city’s few historically African-American business corridors. For most of the summer, the parties seemed far apart on the key issues: hiring practices that reflected the diverse demographics of the neighborhood and discounts on food and membership for low-income neighbors. In fact, the two sides couldn’t even agree on what to call a potential agreement: CANDO was demanding a CBA (community benefits agreement) while the Seward staffers had, for a while, offered an MBA (mutual benefits agreement). Neither side was happy with the other’s position, and after a few heated and unproductive community meetings, the official word from Seward was that they were not going to sign anything before the October opening of the new store. Any agreement would wait until next year, months after the crucial hiring had been completed. That timeline did not sit well with concerned neighbors. Continue Reading

North Minneapolis Laotians give garden tour

On Tuesday, August 25, 80 people gathered at Olson Townhomes to participate in the North Minneapolis Laotian Garden Tour. Laotian gardeners led neighbors and fellow gardeners through dense rows of long beans, hot peppers, Vietnamese mint, cucumbers and tomatoes. Channel 5 and channel 11 also came. After the tour participants enjoyed delicious kou pun curry made with vegetables harvested from the garden

The garden tour was organized to highlight the importance of the garden to the Laotian community. The Laotians hope to be able to preserve the garden even when the construction of the Bottineau LRT and related development comes. Continue Reading

The Sioux Chef opening highly anticipated food truck

The city of Minneapolis is anxiously anticipating the opening of The Sioux Chef’s first venue: Tatanka Truck. Sean Sherman (Oglala Lakota) made waves over the last year by introducing his unique approach to Indigenous cuisine. Born and raised on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota, he attended college at Black Hills State University. Part of his drive to create an Indigenous cuisine, free of processed sugars, dairy or flour, came from just being a chef in Minneapolis since the early 2000s,

“I had been cooking since I was 13 in the Black Hills, in tourist restaurants. And I thought It was silly that there was no Native restaurants,” Sherman said. Continue Reading

Union Organizers Call McDonald’s Wage Raise “Publicity Stunt” – April 15 Strike Still Looms

 Organizers of a fast-food worker strike scheduled for later this month say the strike threat prompted McDonald’s to announce it is giving workers a pay raise. However, the strike is still on because the raise is not enough and most McDonald’s employees won’t get it.McDonald’s President and CEO Steve Easterbrook announced on Wednesday that the company would be paying workers at least $1 more than the local minimum wage starting in July. McDonald’s will also let workers who have been with the company for more than a year earn up to five days of paid time off each year. However, that only applies to corporate owned stores. There are three corporate owned stores in the Twin Cities area — two of them in Minneapolis — with the rest owned by franchisees. Continue Reading

Breakfast smoothies a hit at Cooper High School

Students at Cooper High School were given a new option on the breakfast menu last week, and if the first few days are any indication, smoothies have hit the spot. The fruit and yogurt smoothies were first served on March 4, when 100 of the beverages sold out in the first eight minutes of serving. During breakfast on March 6, 175 smoothies sold out in less than 10 minutes.”This week is National School Breakfast Week, and it was our goal to serve the smoothies for the first time this week,” said Child Nutrition Program Assistant Michelle Sagedahl. “Cooper has worked hard to get the program up and running. Child Nutrition works hard to offer choices that are popular with students and that coincide with current trends. A wide variety of options were already being offered daily for breakfast, but smoothies offer one more choice for students.”The school is able to provide the smoothies due to a partnership with the Action for Healthy Kids, a national nonprofit that fights childhood obesity, undernourishment and physical inactivity by helping schools become healthier places. Continue Reading