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Fare for All

Posted 9/3/2015 12:29pm by Ann Houghton.

Local residents can purchase low cost food through the Fare Share, or Fare For All, program regardless of where they live or their family income. Once a month the New Creation Church (located at 1053 Jefferson Street, Shakopee, Minnesota) opens their doors to provide this service as one of 30 locations in the greater Twin Cities metro area where their food packages are sold once a month.

Fare For All is a great way to save money on quality, nutritious food. They buy fresh fruits, vegetables, and frozen meat in bulk to save shoppers up to 40% off grocery store prices. They select the best food from their shipments, pre-packaging it to give the greatest deals.

The Food Group, formerly the Emergency Foodshelf Network, manages the program. Customers pay a low fee to purchase food packages each month. Fare For All is community supported and open to everyone with no paperwork required. A0ll locations are cash and carry – there is no need to register in advance. 

How it works

Fare For All buys fresh produce and frozen meat in bulk from wholesalers and manufacturers to find the best deals available. Volunteers at their warehouse pre-pack the produce and meat into food packages that range in price from $10 – $25. These packages are for sale at all of Fare For All locations. Because they buy food in bulk, the more people who participate the better.

Fare For All accepts cash, credit, debit, and EBT cards. Visit their FB page for more information or go to their website and sign up for email reminders. www.fareforall.org/

Fare For All began in Minnesota in 1986 as Fare Share, part of a nationwide network of Cooperative Food Purchasing programs. It was run locally by Ramsey Action Program (RAP), a non-profit in St. Paul.  RAP started Fare Share to encourage volunteerism and stretch food budgets. When it first began, there were twenty host sites; this number grew to over 200 sites in a five-year period. The program began to experience tough times in the mid-1990s due to high rental and food costs. In August of 2002 RAP asked Emergency Foodshelf Network (EFN) now The Food Group to take over Fare Share.

EFN renamed the program Fare For All and in 2007, launched a new version of the program, Fare For All Express. This enabled customers to buy their food packages without ordering and paying in advance. This initiative has resulted in new growth for the program.

Fare For All partners with community organizations (schools, community centers, faith organizations, etc.) to bring the program to various communities within 75 miles of their warehouse in New Hope.

Fare For All works hard to offer value, variety, quality, and nutrition in their food packages.  The exact contents of the packages change throughout the month. Fare For All makes sure their packages contain healthy staples – items like fresh produce and lean meats that are usually most expensive at the grocery store.  In addition to sourcing products with nutrition in mind, their on-staff dietician provides easy recipes and nutrition tips to eat healthy on a budget.

The following packages are available at all locations:

Produce Pack $10 – Often contains potatoes, onions, carrots, along with additional varieties of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Mini Meat Pack $11 – (Formerly known as Meat Only) Includes a variety of 3-4 frozen meat items, such as: turkey, beef, chicken or fish. This pack is most often pork free.

Combo Pack $20 – (Formerly known as Regular Pack) Save an extra $1 by combining the Produce Pack and the Mini Meat Pack.

Mega Meat Pack $25 – Includes a variety of seven to eight frozen meat items, such as: beef, chicken, fish, pork or turkey.

Holiday Pack $30 – Available in November and December, holiday packs contain most of the fixings for a holiday meal, including a turkey in November and a ham in December.  


Tessa Lehto is a Shakopee resident and garden enthusiast. This article is funded in part by Scott County’s Statewide Health Initiative Plan to promote healthy eating in the county and Local Harvest Alliance to promote awareness of local foods. Comments or Ideas? Contact me at tessalynn.lehto@gmail.com.