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American Family Insurance Invests in Farmers of Color to Combat Food Insecurity and Uplift Underrepresented Farmers in Minnesota

Nov. 20, 2023 —This Thanksgiving season, the American Family Insurance Institute for Corporate and Social Impact (AmFam Institute) is directly tackling food insecurity in marginalized communities by contributing $250,000 to Route 1, an organization helping farmers of color in Minnesota grow their farms.

In Minnesota, people of color who represent just 1% of the state’s farmers, are disproportionately affected by food insecurity. Across the state, 1 in 15 people experience food insecurity, but for communities of color, specifically Black residents, this rate is as high as 1 in 4.

“These farmers are producing food that will be consumed in their own communities through farmers’ markets and local stores. Helping them grow and thrive ensures a local source of quality food in Black and indigenous communities, which are far more likely to live in food deserts,” said Nyra Jordan, the Social Impact Investment Director at AmFam Institute. “Our partnership with Route 1 is a powerful business solution to a pressing social issue. By combining our resources and expertise, we’re not just addressing food insecurity and supporting farmers of color, but also demonstrating how strategic business collaborations can effectively tackle societal challenges.”

Route 1 supports Minnesota’s farmers of color with land access, farm share distribution, access to agricultural financing options, and equipment access.

”Addressing the racial hunger divide is not just a matter of providing food, but is a crucial effort for building a Minnesota that is inclusive and prosperous for everyone,” said Marcus Carpenter, the founder of Route 1. “When one segment of our community faces a higher rate of food insecurity, it highlights deeper systemic inequity, including in our farming sector and food system. By actively working to close this gap, we’re not only nourishing bodies but also nurturing a society where equality and dignity are accessible to all.”

Route 1 also runs the Emerging Farmer’s Institute and Youth Academy to inspire and cultivate the next generation of farmers of color, and the Route 1 Farmers Market provides a supportive environment for farmers to transition their business dreams into reality.

In order to address the challenges emerging farmers have in accessing affordable insurance, AmFam Institute is also working with Route 1 to enhance the inclusivity of its farming insurance products and train its agents on how to better serve farmers.

Route 1 has secured strategic partnerships with some of Minnesota’s largest brands and food distribution partners, including The Food Group, UCare, The Finnovation Lab, Be the Match, and Catholic Charities;  Minnesota’s largest homeless services provider. These collaborations not only underscore the broad-based support for Route 1’s mission but also amplify its impact across the area.

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