Want to fight hunger? Log in to the foodosphereEach year, $85 billion is spent on food-related health care costs. That, says Mustafa Sundiata, is a major reason behind the Healthy Eating Minnesota Network, an online networking community aimed at connecting people concerned about eating right and food access in the state.
By: Sarah Alabsi, Duluth Budgeteer News
Each year, $85 billion is spent on food-related health care costs.
That, says Mustafa Sundiata, is a major reason behind the Healthy Eating Minnesota Network, an online networking community aimed at connecting people concerned about eating right and food access in the state.
A community nutrition educator with the University of Minnesota Extension, Sundiata spoke at the Food Access Summit at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center Wednesday.
“If you’re concerned about where your food comes from or want to be involved along the food spectrum at some point in time, this is the website to go to,” he said. “It’s a place to come together on common issues of the community.”
The website was started by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota with the hopes of increasing access to healthy foods for Minnesotans. A year and a half later, the website has more than 800 members who contribute information.
The network tries to reach people from across the state and from different social and financial backgrounds. Many communities are represented, says Sundiata, and he’s not just talking about city or county communities. These groups provide a hub for various ideas, experiences, photos, news items and advice to be shared.
“There are so many that you can tap into to see what you can learn or contribute,” said Sundiata who is the convener, or leader, of the food justice community.
You can also come up with something new of your own.
“If you have an idea of your own that you want to put out there in the ‘foodosphere,’ this is the place to do it,” said Sundiata.
What Sundiata is talking about is the ability for members to start communities on the website. These communities are made up of like-minded people who come together to discuss problems and goals around their specific issues. Through networking and discussion, these communities use their experiences to try and help the underserved in Minnesota.
“I’d recommend the website to anyone interested in food system development and healthy food access,” said Michael Latsch, program manager for Seeds of Success at Community Action Duluth, who attended the Food Access Summit. “I’ve put up some pictures from the work I’ve done with Seeds of Success.”
The site can also be helpful for those in the private sector.
“We’re all about local, and the network helps people know about that,” Duluth Farmers Market chairperson and convener of the Minnesota Farmers Market community Lois Hoffbauer, who was a co-presenter with Sundiata at the summit.
“I’m just a tiny little person here and it’s showing to the big state of Minnesota.”
Both Sundiata and Hoffbauer spoke about the Healthy Eating Minnesota Network on Wednesday, encouraging the audience to join, share content and spread the word.
If you’re interested in joining the Healthy Eating Minnesota Network, visit www.healthyeatingmn.org and click ‘Sign Up.’