The University of Minnesota Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives (HFHL) Institute was founded in 2007, evolving from a 2003 University of Minnesota Presidential Initiative of Robert Bruininks. Dr. Mindy Kurzer, Professor of Nutrition, is the founding Director of the Institute. The founding units are the College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS), the School of Public Health (SPH), the College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM), Extension, and the Medical School. A 25-member Advisory Board including faculty and staff from across the University was established in April 2008.
The Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives (HFHL) Institute administers four grant programs. Two rounds of Requests for Proposals and Letters of Interest (spring and fall) are conducted each year. HFHL is currently accepting applications for the Faculty Grant Program and the Graduate and Professional Student Grant Program.
Since 2009, HFHL has hosted and co-sponsored research symposia within the realm of health, food, and agriculture. A major focus of these convenings is to provide broad perspectives through examples of real-world applications. Certificates are available to food and nutrition professionals seeking continuing education credits from institutions like the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Native American Nutrition Conference
In an effort to develop and improve relationships between Western Science and indigenous people, and as a result of a generous gift from the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, HFHL has helped and organize an annual conference on Native American nutrition since Fall 2015 that draws researchers, government officials, funders and key people within various Native American communities.
HFHL offers a hands-on cooking course for students and cooking classes for UMN staff and the general public. Cooking for Wellness classes are open to anyone who wants to learn the skills to prepare healthful, delicious whole food meals that are budget-friendly. The interdisciplinary, experiential student courses FScN 2001 (A Food Systems Approach to Cooking) & FSCN 2002 (Cooking on Student's Budget) provide students with the knowledge, critical thinking, and technical skills necessary to make food choices based on nutritional, environmental, and local and global societal issues.
Minnesota Food Charter
Beginning in the fall of 2013, HFHL was proud to convene a 27-member Minnesota Food Charter Steering Committee which was responsible for guiding the development of the Minnesota Food Charter—a shared roadmap for how all Minnesotans can have reliable access to healthy, safe, and affordable food. HFHL continues to serve as the host for the multi-partner work related to the Minnesota Food Charter.