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Alumni Spotlight:
Graduate Makes a Difference Locally

MAPL is designed for people who are energetic, enthusiastic and deeply committed to making change happen. People in the MAPL program want to make a difference in their communities.

Take, for example, MAPL graduate Lisa Luokkala (cohort 5).  Luokkala, director of the Healthy Duluth Area Coalition (HDAC), was concerned with the lack of access to healthy food options in the Lincoln Park neighborhood in Duluth. There are no major grocery stores or farmers markets in Lincoln Park. For many low-income families and seniors faced with transportation challenges, this means most of their food shopping must be done at the corner gas station or fast food restaurants -- not exactly a healthy or economical solution.

So Luokkala decided to take action. With the help of seventeen local organizations, she was able to secure a $25,000 State Farm "Cause the Effect" grant which will be used to support a newly designed Fair Food Access (FFA) campaign. Luokkala hopes the Fair Food Access campaign will “engage the community in defining the issue for themselves and shaping appropriate solutions.”

Later this summer, FFA organizers will be door-knocking all houses in Lincoln Park and talking one-on-one with residents.  Organizers hope to learn first hand about the food access issues these Duluthians are facing and generate some creative solutions. Long-term, the organizers will help to form a neighborhood leadership team and implement community-specific solutions that will best meet the needs of the residents.

For more information about the Fair Food Access Campaign, or to volunteer for the door-knocking campaign, call Lisa Luokkala at 218-722-4745 or visit the Healthy Duluth Area Coalition website.