UMD Cultural Entrepreneurship class finds artistic answer to Morgan Park meals insecurity


DULUTH, MN – University of Minnesota-Duluth students studied food insecurity in Duluth’s Morgan Park neighborhood last semester. Now they are working on bringing their creative solutions into play.

There are several communities in Duluth known as the food wasteland. As defined by the USDA, a food wasteland is a low-income area more than a mile from the nearest grocery store.

The UMD Cultural Entrepreneurship class focused on Morgan Park.

You are working with community members who are already directly addressing this problem.

This includes Karlisha Clark, who has made it her business to serve her neighbors free lunches.

CONNECTED: The Clark family provides free lunches for Duluth’s Morgan Park community

“We’re trying to help and guide her in developing a strategy for a business that can be profitable while serving the community,” said Madison Brenengen, a UMD senior studying cultural entrepreneurship and Spanish.

During their research, the students found that access to transportation was a major problem.

“The folks at Morgan Park do a lot of their shopping on one trip each month,” said Kameron Stone, a UMD senior studying marketing analytics. “So they don’t get a lot of fresh produce and fresh food because of the process.”

So your solution is to bring fresh groceries to Morgan Park.

“We call them ‘Little Free Lunches’ and they are designed to act like the Little Free Libraries,” said Brenengen.

A creative idea for a complex topic that is still in the planning phase.

Adam Pine is an Associate Professor of Geography at UMD and has done research on deserts and food insecurity in Duluth for the past 10 years.

He says solving food insecurity has no right answer, but such ideas are on the right track.

“All of these problems will require different solutions,” said Pine. “They’re going to try something and it won’t work and then they’re going to try something else and it will create a stir of ideas about what is the only way that things like this will be solved.”

Everyone works together to get one step closer to solving a problem while educating the community at the same time.

“Before I started this course, I didn’t even know what a food wasteland or food insecurity was,” Brenengen said. “I think it’s important that people realize it.”

The students say they will continue to work with Clark in the coming semesters to make their ideas a reality.