For five years I owned a home in north Minneapolis. When we wanted to go to a restaurant, we drove downtown. If we wanted a coffee shop we went Uptown. If we wanted a bar, we went Uptown or downtown or to St.Paul. If we wanted to buy groceries we went to St. Louis Park. There were no walkable options for any of the above, and in one of the world's most bikeable cities we were as tethered to our cars as Los Angelenos.
Almost every other part of the Twin Cities enjoys a wealth of access to good food, but in north Minneapolis, if you're hungry for something other than Cheetos, a silo of Coke, or a bacon double with cheese, you're fairly well out of luck. That's about to change next year.
Good restaurants have been slow in coming to the area, but now Victory 44 has a good stronghold, Breaking Bread just moved in, and Travail is up Robbinsdale way, but doesn't quite count in terms of accessibility to the neighborhood.
Convenience stores and fast food joints are in thick profusion, and good produce can be difficult to come by.
But after several years of planning, Wirth Co-op is set to open on Penn Avenue and Golden Valley Road in January 2016. The project has received a half-million-dollar federal grant, and the board is currently in search of committee members.
According to the Star Tribune, this push for a northside co-op is the third steady effort -- two others fizzled in the planning stages.
According to the 2012 Strib article "Activists Aim to End 'Food Desert' by Opening Co-op":
"Craig Cox, who wrote the book on Twin Cities food cooperative history, said opening a co-op in an economically mixed area can be difficult. It's tough to straddle the demand for organic and specialty products from upper-middle-class shoppers and the affordable staples sought by low-income consumers. He encountered that conflict when he worked with a group that tried and failed to organize a co-op at 38th Street and 4th Avenue South. 'It's tough to get people involved. It's not at the top of the list of things that are important,' Cox said."
Co-op membership is available now. Join here.
Wirth Co-op Penn Avenue and Golden Valley Road in the Commons at Penn January 2016
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