A St. Paul food shelf is working to create a new model of mutual aid.
Eureka Compass Vegan Food is a community-funded food shelf committed to providing vegan food to neighbors in need. As locally sourced food became less accessible during the pandemic due to supply chain issues, founder Colin Anderson wanted to offer fresher, healthier options than the standard food shelf while supporting the local food industry.
“We need Minnesota to be feeding Minnesota right now,” said Anderson. “We need to support our local soil stewards, we need to support these local food creatives, because we can't continue to ship nourishment to places that already have nourishment. We know that that's not sustainable. We know it's not environmentally friendly. We know it's not smart. The local economy is the most important economy.”
Eureka Compass hosts monthly pay-what-you-can vegan community dinners. Proceeds from the dinners and financial contributions go toward stocking the weekly food shelf. Anderson says he wants to tackle food injustice directly.
“[I realized that] we're in food - we're in the greatest lane possible to be in for any sort of social justice, community care, progressive actions, because we intersect with everybody,” said Anderson. “Disparities in education, disparities in health care, disparities in housing, disparities in community building - it literally all starts with food.”
Anderson believes the mutual aid model is the foundation of communal wealth.
“There's no one coming to save us but ourselves. Personal wealth is an unsustainable life, there's only communal wealth. And whatever it is that you want to do, you're going to need people there to support it, enjoy it, be a part of it,” he said.
Eureka Compass Vegan Food is currently based out of Zion Lutheran Church in Saint Paul. You can find out more about the food shelf and the community dinners on its website.