University of Minnesota
College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences
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Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives

Uniting Researchers and the Community to Find Innovative Solutions around Food and Health

Welcome to the Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives (HFHL) Institute!  Our mission is to increase and sustain the University's impact in the interdisciplinary arena of food, agriculture, and health by building the University's capacity in research, learning, and community engagement.

This website is your portal for learning about what’s going on at the Institute, gathering health and wellness resources, and becoming a part of the Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives community.

SAVE THE DATE: Food Access Summit 2015 - Networking for Change

HFHL - 2015 Food Access Summit UPDATED logo

We are happy to announce the Food Access Summit 2015, Networking for Change!

500 participants from agriculture, anti-hunger, tribal, community development, education, retail, health and philanthropy sectors will gather for a two-day conference to build upon existing partnerships, collaborations and alliances that strengthen and expand the work of individuals and agencies. Workshops, networking and issue area strategic discussions will be utilized to energize and connect participants so that they are ready to act, implement and operationalize strategic priorities that create an equitable food system for all, from the producer to the consumer. The conference will be held November 8th-10th, 2015 at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center
We have some great rates already setup at several hotels in Duluth, so book your hotel through our website:

Cost for registration is $125 and you’ll be able to register in August.

Speakers and tentative schedule to be announced soon!

Planning Committee:
American Indian Cancer Foundation, Center for Prevention - BCBS, Farmers Union, Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives Institute - UMN, Hunger Solutions Minnesota, Latino Economic Development Center, Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, Minnesota Department of Health, Minnesota Department of Human Services, Minnesota FoodShare, Neighborhood House St. Paul, Public Health Law Center, The Food Group (formerly Emergency Foodshelf Network), University of Minnesota Extension

 2014 Food Access Summit: Minnesota Food Charter Launched

HFHL - Food Charter Cover PageOver 500 people working on Minnesota’s fight against hunger gathered in Duluth late last fall at the 2014 Food Access Summit, and were presented with the Minnesota Food Charter--a shared roadmap for how all Minnesotans can have reliable access to healthy, affordable, safe food in the places they work, learn, live, and play. The Minnesota Food Charter was the centerpiece of the three-day gathering and shares the challenges and solutions for healthy food access identified by people participating in an 11 month-long public input process, involving more than 2,000 people, including educators, elected officials, farmers, and recent immigrants among many others.

HFHL Institute Director, Mindy Kurzer interviews with WDIO of Duluth at the 2014 Food Access Summit to talk about the importance of the newly unveiled Minnesota Food Charter.

In addition to serving as one of the co-sponsors for the Food Access Summit, Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives (HFHL) Institute convened the Minnesota Food Charter Steering Committee which was responsible for guiding the process and compiling and summarizing data from the statewide input.  The Steering Committee was comprised of representatives from a broad spectrum of the food sector, including state and county commissioners, hunger community leaders, University of Minnesota faculty and staff and members from the health care community.

Read more about Food Access Summit 2014.

Research Spotlight: A new project is bringing more training to farmers, which means better produce for kids

HFHL-Kid from MPS HFHL ProjectIn January of this year, in partnership with Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) Culinary & Nutrition Services, the University's On-Farm Food Safety Program was awarded a HFHL Community-University Partnership Research Grant to expand the procurement of fresh produce from small, beginning, immigrant and/or minority farmers in the region for Minneapolis students' school meals. The following article, written by the project's University partner, Annalisa Hultberg, was recently posted on the Simple, Good, and Tasty blog.

Did you know that Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) is buying free-range, hormone-free turkey from Ferndale market, carrots and red potatoes from the Hmong American Farmers Association, squash from L & R Produce, and kale from Gardens of Eagan?

Farm-to-school is booming at Minneapolis Public Schools, thanks to an innovative new partnership with the University of Minnesota. The university's On-Farm Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) Education Program and the Minneapolis Public School Culinary & Nutrition Services are teaming up to provide training and technical assistance to farmers selling to MPS for the school meal program in an effort to boost the amount of fresh, local produce MPS can procure.

It all started two years ago, when MPS began buying large quantities of fresh produce directly from farmers for use in their school meals. While the produce was delicious, MPS quickly realized that they needed to provide some standard, hands-on training to the farmers who were supplying the food.

For small farmers, selling to a large wholesale customer like MPS can be challenging, and quite different than a farmers’ markets or restaurant. Given its scale of operation (40,000 meals a day), MPS and their vegetable processor partner Russ Davis Warehouse require that vegetables be graded into sizes and packed in certain industry-standard boxes. Given that young children will be eating the food, best practices for harvest, washing, storing and transporting produce to reduce the likelihood of contamination must be followed.

(Read More...) 

Governor Dayton and Minneapolis City Council Recognize October 24, 2013 as FOOD DAY


HFHL - Food Day Logo 2013 croppedGovernor Dayton and the Minneapolis City Council both recognized Thursday, October 24, 2013 as Food Day in the state of Minnesota and the City of Minneapolis.  Read the Governor's state proclamation here.  Read the Minneapolis City Council resolution here.

View photos from the U of M Food Day 2013 celebration here:


Thank you to the U of M Food Day sponsors for making the event a success:

U Students Like Good Food
Office for Student Affairs
TCF Bank Sponsorship Assistance Fund
Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture
University of Minnesota Extension, Cooking Matters, Simply Good Eating
PEACE Coffee
Small Planet Foods
Animal Rights Coalition
Gardens for Humanity
Compassionate Action for Animals
Whole Foods
Grain Up Minnesota
U Students Like Good Food
Down in the Valley Bakehouse
FScN club
Do It Green Minnesota
Open Arms MN
Cooking Matters
MN Nice Spice
Bergin Fruit and Nut Co
Kirschner Colection
Cornercopia & MN institute for sustainable agriculture
Dice n spice
Second Harvest Heartland
PB Crave
Bee Free Honee
Sustainability Services- It all adds up
University YMCA
Bonus Vivus
IonE sustainability Department
Minneapolis Public Schools
Blue Diamond Nuts
Bare Fruit
Angie's Kettle Corn

Spring 2013 HFHL Grant Recipients Announced 

HFHL is pleased to announce that over $200,000 was awarded in the spring grant cycle to nine projects within three of our grant programs: University (faculty) Research (2), Graduate and Professional Student Research (4) and the first-time Planning Grant Program (3). While each grant program has its own focus, the overarching goals of all of our grant programs are to fund high-impact research that utilizes and helps to build the strengths of the University in the area of food and health, that advances scientific and public knowledge and that influences public policy.

The University Research Grant award winners includeHFHL - Playful Design Photov2 a research team that is developing a tool to calculate and measure the variety and nutritional quality of food purchased by local food banks. Another faculty research team is exploring how playful design can be used to encourage children to eat more fruits and vegetables.

Graduate student grant HFHL - 2012 Food Day Dining Servicesv2recipients will be exploring research topics such as: Whether or not there is variation in the health and dietary behaviors of international students adapting to US culture and what role acculturation plays in spreading obesity among this student population; another student project may have important implications for agricultural programs in developing countries that seek to promote economic development through cash crop production programs that in turn adversely affect household health and nutrition. 

The Planning Grant program is being piloted this year and it supports the development of authentic and sustainable community-academic partnerships related to food, health and nutrition. Project members from the three Planning Grant teams that were awarded are expected to utilize community-based participatory action research and other community-engagement strategies to address community-identified problems as well as prepare and submit a grant proposal this fall to our Community-University Partnership Grant Program. The focus of the planning grant projects include:

Full descriptions of awarded grants can be found here.

HFHL is very excited about the work that was funded this past grant cycle and we wish researchers much success.

Congratulations to our 2012 Grant Recipients

Photo: Participants in one of the projects awarded in 2012 - the Harvesting Healthier Food Project: A program of safe food handling practices for immigrant farmers.  Farmers are attending a hand-washing station building session.

HFHL-HmongFarmersMINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (01/31/2013) —Childhood obesity prevention, food safety practices for immigrant farmers and a study of how cruciferous vegetables affect tumors in mice are among the topics funded through a new series of eight grants from the University of Minnesota’s Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives Institute.

One set of grants involves partnerships between university researchers and community groups; the other group involves researchers from across the university. All of the roughly $50,000 grants are aimed at funding start-up projects that will have a significant impact on food, health and agriculture.  Read more here...

View a PDF of the 2012 awarded grants and learn about our current RFPs here


Soy foods can help reduce 
hot flashes, University of Minnesota study finds

HFHL Director Mindy Kurzer co-authors analysis

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (04/09/12) — Menopausal women can find relief from hot flashes by taking soy isoflavone supplements, a new study from the University of Minnesota and other research institutions has found.  Past studies have yielded similar results but individual studies were considered inconclusive.  For the new analysis, researchers evaluated 19 past trials from 10 countries to reach broader conclusions.  The statistical analysis of the findings involved trials that included 1,196 women for hot flash frequency and 988 women for hot flash severity. The results are published in Menopause, the Journal of the North American Menopause Society.

Read UMNews article here.
Read other headlines here.
Read more about the study here



Reimbursable up to $200 & 50 Wellness points



Are Home Economics Classes Back at the University of Minnesota?

HFHL - Student on a Budget Column Photo 

CityPages food blogger Mecca Bos in her most recent write-up feels that HFHL's FScN 2002, "Cooking on a Students Budget", ought to be a requirement before anyone ever even gets to go to college". Read here.

FScN 2001
A Food System Approach to Cooking

Lecture: Mondays 9:35 - 11:30am, labs same as 2002
McNeal Hall
Questions? Contact Kris (
Click here for more details and to view course syllabus.

FScN 2002
Cooking on a Student's Budget

Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives:
Cooking on a Student's Budget
Mon 3-6pm OR Fri 11am-2pm
McNeal Hall
Questions? Contact Kris (
Click here for more details and to view course syllabus.

Hunger Day on The Hill 2015

HFHL - Hunger Solutions logo

Join Hunger Solutions on February 4th at 10am for Hunger Day on The Hill 2015 at Saint Paul’s Best Western Plus Capitol Ridge (formerly the Kelly Inn) 161 St Anthony Ave, St Paul, MN 55103.

This is an opportunity to advocate for specific hunger issues that matter to you and to let representatives know that hunger is a top priority for Minnesotans. Click to read up on Hunger Solutions' 2015 Priorities and review the whole Legislative agenda here.

The American Medical Association Recognizes Obesity as a Disease

HFHL - AMA Obesity Announcement
Mamta Popat/AZ Daily Star, Associated Press

 The American Medical Association has officially recognized obesity as a disease, a move that could induce physicians to pay more attention to the condition and spur more insurers to pay for treatments - both efforts would would help in the fight against heart disease (via Andrew Pollack, New York Times).

Students STAND UP to be AGvocates!

Connect with other Researchers on Campus!

Fill out this brief form describing your research interests in Food Policy, Food Safety or Obesity/Chronic Diseases.

Student Opportunities & Resources

Check the Student Opportunities and Student Resources pages for info about other food, health and agriculture-related student organizations, internships, volunteer opportunities and more.