the Minnesota Project logo
Support the Minnesota Project
Local Food: Our Program Initiatives

About The Heartland Food Network

Mission: The Heartland Food Network strives to promote the increased consumption of local foods in Minnesota every year. We believe that everybody deserves fresh, locally grown food, and we work to increase access to this food for all Minnesotans. We support local farmers by increasing the demand for fresh, local products in establishments across the state.

How We Work: We work directly with Minnesotan chefs, caterers, colleges, and other food service professionals to help them purchase and use more locally grown ingredients in their establishments.
We recognize that purchasing and using local food can be a new experience for some chefs and buyers. Therefore, we provide a “toolkit” of information to help break down barriers to buying local food. We have three basic components to our work:

  • Education: Training and technical assistance events to help chefs buy local, a written Guide to Buying Local Food, tips and best practices for using local food
  • Connections: We connect chefs to other chefs and to farmers and food distributors that sell local food
  • Knowledge sharing: We strive to facilitate learning and knowledge sharing by connecting chefs who are “new to local” with those that currently use local for “peer-to-peer” learning

In 2010, thanks to funding from the USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture Minnesota Grown Program, we hosted several local food learning days to facilitate information exchange among chefs. These workshops provided a basis for our recently published guide “Buying Local Food – for Food Service in Minnesota”, which provides chefs with practical information and resources to help them start using local food in their establishments.

  • Local foods in Higher Ed: We work with college campus cafeterias to help them use more local food. We bring together campus cafeteria chefs, farmers, food distributors, and school administrators who wish to use more local foods in their cafeterias.


If you are a farmer that wants to sell to restaurants, we would be happy to pass your information along to the restaurants in our network. Please see our For Farmers page for details.


Are you looking for restaurants, schools, and other places that serve fresh, local food? Please see our For Consumers page for a full listing of restaurants that use local food.

For more information, please contact:
Local Food Coordinator



back to the top
©The Minnesota Project