#11 Appetite for Change (Michelle Horovitz and Rabbi Hartman)

Rabbi Hartman talks with Michelle Horovitz, an advocate for justice whose career has seen her move from the public defender’s office to now the kitchen, garden, and restaurant. Michelle, who grew up in Minneapolis, partnered with northsiders LaTasha Powell and Princess Haley to create Appetite for Change and Breaking Bread. Their mission is to help communities use food as a tool to build health, wealth, and social change. Please subscribe and share this episode with a friend. Comments and questions can be directed to tmoss@templeisrael.com. Talk with us!
An edited excerpt from this week’s Temple Talks follows below. 

Rabbi Hartman
Michelle, my understanding is that Appetite for Change really brings together your passions for cooking, food, and social justice. Tell us about how AFC and Breaking Bread got started.

Michele Horovitz
At the time, I wanted to use food as an organizing tool. To learn about what interventions or programs might be helpful, we really felt that we had to ask the community. I was able to partner with LaTasha and Princess, both African American women, both northsiders. 

Princess is from Chicago—she calls herself a refugee from Chicago—and LaTasha was born and raised on the northside. Even they felt like they couldn’t speak for the whole community. So we brought people together to cook, to meet at the cutting boards and at the stovetops, to have conversations about what change people wanted to see in themselves, in their families, in the community, centered around food. But because food touches so many parts of our lives, we also learned about what community members and young people want to see change in the broader society. 

Rabbi Hartman
If I remember correctly, you bring youth in to do gardening, work, and training. It feels like more than a restaurant, like it’s a community project.

Michelle Horovitz
Totally. Most people know us because of our Breaking Bread catering and restaurant but the Appetite for Change programming—our cooking workshops, our youth gardening and farming, the farmers’ market—that all came before Breaking Bread.

Regarding our community meal program, we used to do just a little bit of community meals for housing or for youth programs, now we are doing 10,000 meals per week through Minnesota Central Kitchen.

Our efforts have always been about leadership development, workforce development, getting people to a place where they can go out and make more money. If they’re interested, they can go climb this ladder which can be a great ladder to climb in food service management and hospitality. But there are more career paths than that coming out of this.

With the minimum wage rising in lots of cities, food services is a great place for people—youth, people who’ve been incarcerated, etc.—to have a first job or re-enter the workforce.

It is great how we can be a holistic resource for the community. We just built a greenhouse on the northside and are able to do some farming training for Black growers who are starting their business. It’s great to be working now so upstream. It is hard work what we do, but it is hopeful and uplifting.
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