The free-food empire strikes back
The suspended nonprofit Partners in Nutrition wins a round in its appeal against the state Dept. of Education. One of three free-food nonprofits suspended in the wake of the Feeding…
The south metro suburban city of Burnsville boasts a population of 64,000 and the ski area Buck Hill. It also contains enough free-food distribution capacity (at least on paper) to feed most of the city’s population, adults and children alike.
Not one person has been arrested or charged in the alleged scandal. The case involves two federal free-food programs aimed at children: the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). In Minnesota, the programs are overseen by the state Department of Education (MDE). As shown in databases maintained by MDE, the following free-food distribution capability exists within Burnsville:
The city hosts schools from more than one public school district. The city has about 7,000 children, and the public schools registered enough capacity with MDE to serve nearly all of them.
Gateway STEM Academy was founded in Burnsville in 2017 by Abdiaziz Farah, a co-owner of the restaurant Empire Cuisine and a subject of FBI search warrant no. 3 (page 16, paragraphs 53 to 67). After the search warrant was made public, Farah stepped aside from his role at Gateway STEM.
Burnsville hosted free-food distribution sites by all three nonprofit sponsors suspended by MDE: Feeding Our Future, Partners in Nutrition (d/b/a Partners in Quality Care) and Youth Leadership Academy (d/b/a Gar Gaar Family Services).
Partners in Nutrition also sponsored the most capacity of providers in Burnsville—
The largest location under the sponsorship of Partners in Nutrition is one hosted by Mind Foundry and is said to be capable of serving up to 2,500 children per day. The name Mind Foundry appears in FBI search warrant (page 14, paragraph 45), but not in connection with a site in Burnsville.
The Nurturing Hands Foundation was established in January 2021 in Minneapolis. It hosts three sites in Burnsville with a total registered capacity of 4,500 children per day.
Feeding Our Future also sponsored a large network within the city—
Feeding Our Future’s Southcross site is discussed extensively in FBI search warrant no. 1 and is “subject premises no. 3” in that document (page 41, paragraphs 128 through 135).
A single location, 1013 Cliff Road East, hosted four separate free-food efforts with a combined capacity of 5,000 children per day at this office building:
The four sites are hosted by four different organizations in four separate office suites. The All Somalis Community of Minnesota and Worldwide Service (suite 200) is based in Minneapolis. The nonprofit Delta Community Care (suite 101) was incorporated in January 2021 and is based in St. Paul. It’s not clear who the other two entities are.