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The Largest Selection of Wholesale Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Products in Minneapolis

When it comes to trying new, exciting cuisine, few foods hit the spot like a deliciously fresh Mediterranean meal. However, we know that it can be very difficult to find authentic Mediterranean grocery wholesalers in Minneapolis, MN. Having lived in metro Atlanta for years, we realized that our customers needed an easy way to find quality wholesale Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food in bulk. That is why we created Nazareth Grocery Mediterranean Market - to give everyone a chance to enjoy tasty, healthy food, desserts, and authentic Mediterranean gifts at wholesale prices.

Founded in 2009, Nazareth Grocery has become one of Minneapolis's leading international wholesale grocery stores. We are very proud to serve our customers and do everything in our power to give them the largest selection of high-quality wholesale goods available.

If you're looking for the freshest, most delicious Middle Eastern wholesale products and ingredients, you will find them here at the best prices in the state. We encourage you to swing by our store in Marietta to see our selection for yourself. We think that you will be impressed!

The Nazareth Difference

At Nazareth Grocery Mediterranean Market, our mission is simple: bring you and your family the largest selection of wholesale Mediterranean products in Minneapolis. When coupled with our helpful, friendly staff and authentic Middle Eastern atmosphere, it's easy to see why we are the top Middle Eastern grocery wholesaler in Minneapolis, MN. We're proud to carry just about every kind of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern product that you can think of, from prepared meals and hookahs to fine seasonings and sweets. We're here for our customers and want each one of them to have a unique, one-of-a-kind experience when they shop with us.

Our loyal customers love our selection of the following wholesale foods and gifts:

  • Fresh Breads
  • OlivesOlives
  • HummusHummus
  • CheesesCheeses
  • SaucesSauces
  • Savory-FoodsSavory Foods
  • DessertsDesserts
  • DrinksDrinks
  • HookahsHookahs
  • TobaccoTobacco
  • SaucesGifts
  • Much More!Much More!

Our Service Areas

Most Popular Wholesale Mediterranean Foods

There is so much more to Mediterranean food than pizza and pasta. The perfect climate combined with delicious foods and amazing wine makes the Mediterranean incredibly irresistible. That's why our customers absolutely love to buy this kind of cuisine in bulk. Every country in this region has its own set of specialties and delicacies, each with its own flavors and styles of preparation.

Mediterranean countries include:

  • France
  • Greece
  • Italy
  • Turkey
  • Syria
  • Egypt
  • Israel
  • Libya
  • Morocco
  • Tunisia
  • Spain
Mediterranean Grocery Minneapolis, MN

So, when it comes to the most popular wholesale Mediterranean products in Minneapolis,
what are we talking about?

 Mediterranean Supermarkets Minneapolis, MN

Feta Cheese

Feta cheese is a classic Mediterranean dairy product that is often enjoyed on its own, in Greek salads, on bread, or mixed with zucchini. Depending on where the feta is sourced and produced, the cheese can be made from cow, sheep, or goat milk, or even a combination of the three. Regardless of the animal it comes from, this delicious cheese is a crowd favorite.

 Mediterranean Grocery Store Minneapolis, MN

Baba Ganoush

This Levantine dish is one of the most well-known Mediterranean dishes to eat in the United States. It typically comes in the form of a dip, served with pita or another kind of dipping bread. Commonly served before dinner as an appetizer of sorts, it usually features tahini, eggplant, garlic, spices, and sometimes yogurt. This tasty cuisine works great as a spread on a sandwich, or you can even eat it with a spoon, all on its own.

 Middle Eastern Grocery Minneapolis, MN


If you have never tried authentic baklava before, get ready to have your mind blown. This dessert is a traditional Mediterranean food that will have your taste buds craving more and more. Once you open a box of baklava from our Mediterranean grocery wholesaler in Minneapolis, MN, you won't want to stop eating! Baklava is made with layers of thin filo dough, which is layered together, filled with chopped nuts (think pistachios), and sealed with honey or syrup. Baklava is so good that its origins are debated, leaving many wondering which country invented the dessert. Everyone from the Turks to the Greeks and even Middle Easterners hold unique takes on baklava. Try each one to discover your favorite!

Most Popular Wholesale Middle Eastern Foods

Fresh, healthy, aromatic, rich: it's no wonder that the popularity of Middle Eastern cuisine and products has skyrocketed in the United States. This genre of cuisine features a large variety of foods, from Halvah to Labneh. If there were one common theme throughout all Middle Eastern food, it would be the bright, vibrant herbs and spices that are used. These flavorings help create rich, complex flavors that foodies fawn over. Typically, Middle Eastern food is piled high for all to eat, with enough food for an entire republic to put down.

 Mediterranean Food Stores Minneapolis, MN


This refreshing, healthy dish is chock-full of greens, herbs, tomatoes, and bulgur (or cracked wheat), creating a memorable, bold flavor. This dish may be eaten on its own or paired with a shawarma sandwich or helping of falafel. It's best to buy your ingredients in bulk to make this dish because it tastes best freshly made with family around to enjoy. Just be sure to bring a toothpick to the tabbouleh party - you're almost certain to have some leafy greens stuck in your teeth after eating.

 Middle Eastern Market Minneapolis, MN


We mentioned shawarma above, and for good reason - this dish is enjoyed by men and women around the world, and of course, right here in the U.S. Except for falafel, this might be the most popular Middle Eastern food item in history. Shawarma is kind of like a Greek gyro, with slow-roasted meat stuffed in laffa with veggies and sauce. The blend of spices and the smoky meat mix together to create a tangy, meaty flavor that you will want to keep eating for hours. For western-style shawarma, try using beef or chicken. For a more traditional meal, try using lamb from our Middle Eastern grocery distributor in Minneapolis, MN.

 Greek Grocery Store Minneapolis, MN


Traditionally used as a dip meant for fresh pita, hummus is a combo of chickpeas, garlic, and tahini, blended together until silky, smooth, and creamy. You can find hummus in just about any appetizer section of a Middle Eastern restaurant menu. That's because it's considered a staple of Middle Eastern food that can be enjoyed by itself, as a spread, or with fresh-baked pita bread. Hummus is also very healthy, making it a no-brainer purchase from our grocery store.

Benefits of Eating a Mediterranean Diet

If there's one diet that is most well-known for its health benefits, it has got to be the Mediterranean diet. In 2019, U.S. News & World Report listed the Mediterranean diet as No. 1 on its best over diet list. This incredible diet has been cited to help with weight loss, brain health, heart health, diabetes prevention, and cancer prevention.

Whether you already love Mediterranean food or you're looking to make some positive changes in your life, this "diet" is for you. Eating cuisine like Greek food, Persian food, Turkish food, and Italian food is healthy and tastes great. Even better than that? At Nazareth Wholesale Grocery, we have many staples of the Mediterranean diet for sale in bulk so that you can stock up on your favorites at the best prices around.

So, what exactly is the Mediterranean diet?

It is a way of eating that incorporates traditional Greek, Italian, and other Mediterranean cultures' foods. These foods are often plant-based and make up the foundation of the diet, along with olive oil. Fish, seafood, dairy, and poultry are also included in moderation. Red meat and sweets are only eaten in moderation, not in abundance. Mediterranean food includes many forms of nuts, fruits, vegetables, fish, seeds, and more. Of course, you can find at them all at our wholesale Mediterranean grocery store!

Here are just a few of the many benefits of eating a healthy Mediterranean diet:

Reduced Risk of Heart Disease

Reduced Risk
of Heart Disease

Many studies have been conducted on this diet, many of which report that Mediterranean food is excellent for your heart. Some of the most promising evidence comes from a randomized clinical trial published in 2013. For about five years, researchers followed 7,000 men and women around the country of Spain. These people had type 2 diabetes or were at a high risk for cardiovascular disease. Participants in the study who ate an unrestricted Mediterranean diet with nuts and extra-virgin olive oil were shown to have a 30% lower risk of heart events.

Reduced Risk of Stroke for Women

Reduced Risk
of Stroke for Women

In addition to the heart-healthy benefits of a Mediterranean diet, studies have shown that eating healthy Mediterranean and Middle Eastern foods can reduce the chances of stroke in women. The study was conducted in the U.K., which included women between the ages of 40 and 77. Women who stuck to the Mediterranean diet showed a lower risk of having a stroke - especially women who were at high risk of having one.

Benefits of Eating a Mediterranean Diet

First and foremost, purchase your Mediterranean and Middle Eastern wholesale foods from Nazareth Grocery - we're always updating our inventory! Getting started on this healthy, delicious diet is easy.

Try these tips:

Try these tips


Instead of unhealthy sweets like candy and ice cream, try eating fresh fruit instead. It's refreshing, tasty, and often packed with great vitamins and nutrients.


Try eating fish twice a week, in lieu of red meat. Fish is much healthier and doesn't have the unfortunate side effects of red meat, like inflammation.


Try planning out your meals using beans, whole grains, and veggies. Don't start with meats and sweets.


They're tasty, but try to avoid processed foods completely.


Instead of using butter to flavor your food, use extra virgin olive oil instead. Olive oil contains healthy fats and tastes great too.


Try to get more exercise and get out of the house. The Mediterranean lifestyle is an active one, best enjoyed in the beautiful sunshine when possible.

Why Buy Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Products Wholesale?

Buying wholesale and retail are quite different. When you buy products from a wholesaler, you're essentially buying from the middleman between a retail establishment and the manufacturer. Wholesale purchases are almost always made in bulk. Because of that, buyers pay a discounted price. That's great for normal buyers and great for business owners, who can sell those products to profit. This higher price is called the retail price, and it is what traditional customers pay when they enter a retail store.

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 Middle Eastern Store Minneapolis, MN

Latest News in Minneapolis, MN

Just how soul-sucking has this April been in Minnesota?

Since 30 Days of Biking began in Minneapolis in 2009, it’s become an annual tradition for cyclists around the world, a way to kick off the warmer season. And because it takes place in April, the month-long commitment is intentionally designed to challenge new riders to embrace the elements, as April in Minnesota is guaranteed to be a temperature roller coaster.As someone who’s been on a bicycle only ...

Since 30 Days of Biking began in Minneapolis in 2009, it’s become an annual tradition for cyclists around the world, a way to kick off the warmer season. And because it takes place in April, the month-long commitment is intentionally designed to challenge new riders to embrace the elements, as April in Minnesota is guaranteed to be a temperature roller coaster.

As someone who’s been on a bicycle only a half-dozen times since last fall, based on my gloomy glances out the window, this April has seemed like a dreary, rainy slog. After another week of gray skies and cold weather, I’ve been wondering how the 30 Days of Biking cyclists were faring. Was this cruel April just my bitter imagination, or was this truly a soul-sucking year for a Minnesota spring?

Here’s what I found out.

A test of spiritual resilience

“This year has been just back and forth [and] we’ve experienced every type of Minnesota weather: snow, terrible rain, crazy wind, and on Friday it was an idyllic spring day,” Jake Scott told me. “On my bike ride home I saw dozens of people walking and biking. Today I biked on the same route and no one was there, it was so cold and drizzly.”

Scott bikes regularly from his home in St. Paul’s West 7th neighborhood to an elementary school in Minneapolis, where he teaches fourth grade. If he wants to fight with traffic, he’ll take the Ayd Mill Road bikeway into the Macalester-Groveland neighborhood; otherwise, he rides along the Mississippi River trails.

But for Scott, like most April cyclists, this year has been a test of their spiritual resilience.

“It’s been crappy and rainy and the wind has been the most annoying part,” admitted Scott, a year-round cyclist who appreciates the solidarity of the 30 Days of Biking crew. “Even those below-zero days are not as bad, not as mentally exhausting as some of the weather we have this spring. You get a taste of the good weather and it’s whipped away and you’re back to being cold.… Everyone is just ready for the good spring weather and it’s not coming.”

This year is so bad that even Scott’s children have refused to join their dad on a cargo bike, save for the one warm April day that fell on a weekend.

Meanwhile in Minneapolis

Jake Scott’s not alone in feeling frustrated.

“You’re waiting and waiting for the weather to become nice, and it just doesn’t,” Kyle Goertz told me this week, describing his experience bicycling through April 2022. “Even if it’s nice and sunny, it’s been really windy. [So] it’s been a challenge, but I think the cool thing about 30 Days of Biking is that it forces you to find creative ways to get on a bike, even though the weather isn’t good.”

Goertz is in his mid-30s, lives in Northeast Minneapolis and sometimes bikes to his job downtown at a financial services firm. This year, dealing with the cold and wind, he’s been keeping his bike pledge with shorter trips to neighborhood stores or breweries.

“If the weather is overly inclement I’m going to reward myself by stopping and having a beer somewhere,” Kyle Goertz said. “The highlight was last Thursday; it was super nice, and I actually got out and did 20 miles on a whim after I was done with work.”

Goertz’s other trick has been altering his routes to explore Northeast’s many murals on his new Surly Bridge Club, challenging himself to discover as many new ones as he can this spring. Even a short trip keeps the everyday bicycling streak alive, which is the whole idea behind the 30 Days of Biking challenge.

“There’ve been a few cold and wet rides, but I did them,” Goertz said. “One of the biggest things about biking more frequently is that, even though the weather is not always cooperative, if you’re willing to put up with it or dress right, it’s not a big deal.”

Introducing the Gloom Index

One final note: Curious about whether my negativity about this April was a reflection of meteorological fact, or something more subjective, I looked through the last 10 years of April weather. I came up with something I call the Gloom Index, meant to calculate how many days are particularly nice or particularly horrid. I assigned one point for every sunny day, one point if the temperature hit 60º F, and gave a bonus point if both those things happened simultaneously. Then I subtracted points for every day with rain or snow, or when the high temperature failed to hit 40º.

To me, anyway, the results were surprising. This year’s April was only the third-gloomiest in the last decade, surpassed in bleakness by the bipolar April of 2018, when the weather was either quite warm or quite chilly. But the most soul-sucking April of the last 10 years was back in 2013, when the mercury never once hit 60º and it was legitimately cold for half the month.

The lesson here is a Minnesota truism: It could always be worse.

“St. Paul and Minneapolis have some of the most magnificent places to ride,” Jake Scott told me when I asked him if he had any last words of bike advice. “St. Paul has really opened a lot of nice new stuff in the last couple of years and makes it pleasant to ride around and support your local bike shops.”

There’s probably a bike in your garage right now, and the next time the sun peeks out from behind a gray cloud, you might consider putting some air in the tires. As they say, April showers bring May flowers, and the sun will come out tomorrow.

Hail, tornadoes, heavy rain pummel Minnesota — and more to come

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Video (01:05) : Twin Cities morning weather forecast for Thursday, May 12

Severe weather brought a mix of hail, tornadoes and heavy rain to Minnesota, causing widespread power outages, flooding and dangerous traveling conditions.

Tornado sirens went off across the metro area, including in Minneapolis, on Wednesday evening. Widespread power outages were reported, with about 80,800 Xcel Energy customers without service. Heavy rain flooded streets and parts of highways across the Twin Cities, stalling cars and hydroplaning vehicles.

A National Weather Service warning told residents in affected areas to beware of "destructive" winds of up to 80 mph and to seek shelter.

In Minneapolis, a flash flood warning was issued, and cars were stalled and partly submerged in Minneapolis at 50th Street and Nicollet Avenue, 28th Street and Lyndale Avenue and 42nd Street and 38th Avenue. Flooding at the Mall of America also caused the light rail to temporarily stop service, and Metro Transit temporarily halted Green Line service due to high winds.

Some traffic lights and streetlights were also out across the metro area. The soccer field at Allianz Field in St. Paul also flooded, suspending Wednesday's game between Minnesota United and Colorado. The Bloomington Fire Department tweeted that firefighters responded to numerous incidents, including removing trees from roadways.

Near-record highs of 90 degrees and humid conditions will likely fuel more storms Thursday when most of the state will be under an enhanced risk for severe weather — including another possibility of tornadoes, hail and high winds.

"We're expecting severe weather [Thursday] — strong damaging winds, large hail and possible tornadoes," said Melissa Dye, meteorologist at the Weather Service.

Earlier Wednesday, storms dumped more than 3 inches of rain near Waseca, Minn., and hail 1 inch in diameter or greater was reported in Plainview, Kasson, Pine Island, St. Michael and Cottonwood. The largest stones — 2½ inches in diameter or the size of a tennis ball — fell in Oronoco, just north of Rochester, the Weather Service said.

Some Xcel Energy customers lost service in the St. Cloud area after morning storms rolled through Stearns County.

Wednesday's wild weather came two days after powerful storms ripped down power lines, toppled scores of trees and damaged buildings in Chisago County and in Polk County in western Wisconsin. Residents in Lindstrom, Minn., were still cleaning up damage from Monday's storms. There was damage throughout Chisago County, the sheriff's office said.

Behind the storms, temperatures will fall back into the upper 70s Friday and low 70s Saturday and Sunday.

Staff writer Vince Tuss contributed to this report.

Wednesday Night Storm Shatters Record In The Twin Cities

The massive overnight storm set a new daily precipitation record for the Twin Cities metro.TWIN CITIES, MN — It turns out that Wednesday night's rain deluge in the Twin Cities was historic. The storm set a new daily precipitation record for the metro.A total of 1.94 inches of rain was recorded at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, according to the National Weather Service. That number broke the previous May 11 record of 1.55 inches set in 1935.The storm overnight caused hundreds of power outages, pro...

The massive overnight storm set a new daily precipitation record for the Twin Cities metro.

TWIN CITIES, MN — It turns out that Wednesday night's rain deluge in the Twin Cities was historic. The storm set a new daily precipitation record for the metro.

A total of 1.94 inches of rain was recorded at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, according to the National Weather Service. That number broke the previous May 11 record of 1.55 inches set in 1935.

The storm overnight caused hundreds of power outages, property damage, and plus urban flooding.

More storms are possible Thursday in the metro and across central Minnesota.

"Another Enhanced Risk for Severe Weather is expected today, with some elevated storms in western Minnesota possible early in the morning and a better chance for more widespread severe weather during the afternoon and evening," NWS said.

"All hazard types are possible, with strong winds expected to be the biggest concern right now."

Here's the full NWS forecast from the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport:

Thursday: Patchy fog before 8am. Otherwise, mostly sunny, with a high near 89. East northeast wind 5 to 10 mph becoming south southeast 10 to 15 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 30 mph.

Thursday Night: Showers and thunderstorms likely, mainly before 1am. Some of the storms could be severe. Partly cloudy, with a low around 65. Southeast wind 10 to 15 mph becoming south southwest in the evening. Winds could gust as high as 30 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New rainfall amounts of less than a tenth of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.

Friday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 79. West southwest wind 10 to 15 mph.

Friday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 57. West southwest wind 5 to 10 mph.

Saturday: Sunny, with a high near 79. South southwest wind 5 to 15 mph.

Saturday Night: A 20 percent chance of showers before 1am. Partly cloudy, with a low around 54. West northwest wind 5 to 10 mph.

Sunday: A 20 percent chance of showers after 1pm. Sunny, with a high near 72. West wind 5 to 15 mph.

Sunday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 51. West northwest wind 5 to 15 mph.

Monday: Sunny, with a high near 66. Northwest wind 10 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph.

Monday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 47. North northeast wind 5 to 15 mph.

Tuesday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 67. North wind 5 to 10 mph.

Tuesday Night: A 20 percent chance of showers. Partly cloudy, with a low around 50. East wind 5 to 10 mph.

Wednesday: A 30 percent chance of showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 67. Southeast wind around 10 mph.

Minneapolis Rents Drop, Bucking National Trends

I’ve worked on housing affordability since 1997. That whole time, the Twin Cities has been losing ground, with homes becoming steadily less affordable. Rents have been rising — sometimes very rapidly. The portion of people paying more than 30 percent or even 50 percent of their income in rent (the definition of “housing cost burden”) is stubbornly high, especially for Black households. While we increase public funding for...

I’ve worked on housing affordability since 1997. That whole time, the Twin Cities has been losing ground, with homes becoming steadily less affordable. Rents have been rising — sometimes very rapidly. The portion of people paying more than 30 percent or even 50 percent of their income in rent (the definition of “housing cost burden”) is stubbornly high, especially for Black households. While we increase public funding for Affordable Housing — the subsidized kind — the number of unsheltered people grows.

The first step in turning that around is to stop losing the most common kind of affordable home, “Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing” (NOAH) apartments. The Twin Cities population grew by 314,000 more people between 2010 and 2020, and we haven’t built enough homes to shelter everyone. As a result, people looking for a place to live unknowingly bid up rents on the homes that exist. In Minneapolis, and across the Twin Cities, we’ve seen owners flipping NOAH properties, pushing out renters and jacking up rents.

But, recently, it seems like something has started to shift.

Each year, I revisit the rents in the fourplex I own. For a while, the rents in similar apartments were inevitably higher. A couple of years ago, I noticed they weren’t going up anymore. In fact, they were a little lower — and when I renewed leases, I dropped my rents (even though my property tax and insurance costs increased by thousands of dollars).

Then there was the story of my longtime neighbor. He mentioned to a couple of the other owner/managers on the block that he wanted to move. A few weeks ago he told me that he’d signed a lease just up the block for $300 less per month than what he’s paying next door.

Is something shifting or is it my own wishful thinking? Are we on track with Policy 1 in Minneapolis 2040: Access to Housing: Increase the supply of housing and its diversity of location and types? Has visible support for building homes and the tax base resulted in a net gain of homes? Have early 2040 zoning reforms made it more predictable to build the homes we need?

In 2018, writer Anton Schieffer asked, “How many homes does Minneapolis need?” He showed we need to build roughly 4,000 homes per year. That makes up for Minneapolis’ shortage of homes and accommodates our growing population. Alex Schieferdecker tracks the number of homes approved by the Planning Commission. Last year he shared that Minneapolis leaped from 2,600 unit approvals in 2015 to 5,077 approvals in 2020. HUD data on construction permits pulled shows 14,960 units permitted between 2018 and 2021. That averages 3,740 per year. It is plausible that owners and managers are having to lower asking rents to find renters.

The best Minneapolis data on rent changes is HousingLink’s monthly Minneapolis Rental Housing Brief. Other sources are for the seven-county metro area or are self-reported rent paid for buildings with 20-plus units (per this MinnPost article). That misses many people’s experience, given that one in three renters in Minneapolis lives in one- to three-unit buildings, licensing data show.

HousingLink’s Rental Housing Brief uses advertised rents by apartment size. That is what renters see when looking for a new apartment, although we can’t know if owner/managers find renters willing to pay those prices. Each month is shown compared with one year prior. But smallish sample sizes and outliers skew the monthly data. What I really want to know is how things have changed over the past five years.

This spring, I pulled all the median advertised rent information from the Minneapolis Rental Housing Brief into a spreadsheet. I didn’t adjust it for inflation. I used three-month rolling averages to smooth out the monthly noise. Check out these results.

The actual advertised median rents for one- and two-bedroom apartments are lower — in actual dollars — in 2022 than they were in late 2018. Three-bedroom rents went up 2 percent over the four years, while inflation went up 11 percent over the same time. These shifts started more than a year before the pandemic. “Post” pandemic increases look big due to the atypical and extremely low rents during summer 2020. But trends show that Minneapolis rents have simply returned to pre-pandemic levels.

This is a notable shift, diverging from national trends that show spiking rents (shown in the graph above), and it’s promising for renters.

We have a regional housing market, so I pulled the data for St. Paul, too. Until voters passed rent stabilization by a comfortable margin last November — the ordinance became effective earlier this month, on May 1 — new housing construction had been growing in St. Paul, with permits pulled for 6,369 units from 2018 through 2020. I hoped that the pattern would hold in both core cities.

Median advertised one-bedroom rents in St. Paul are flat. But two-bedroom rents are up a little, and three-bedroom rents increased twice as much as in Minneapolis. St. Paul rents are trending in the opposite direction from Minneapolis.

There’s always been a rent premium to live in Minneapolis or, put another way, a discount offered to people willing to rent in its smaller twin city. Has that changed over the past four years?

No matter the apartment size, while renters likely can save a bit by living in St. Paul, the median savings has shrunk from hundreds of dollars per month to $50. In a surprising shift, median advertised rents were actually lower in Minneapolis than St. Paul for one-bedroom and three-bedroom homes both in February and March 2022.

These trends suggest that owners have less ability to flip more NOAH properties, increase rents and still find renters. Most NOAH owners will have to keep their rents flat, or maybe even drop them, to keep them filled. If we’ve staunched the loss of NOAH units, building new subsidized homes can help shrink the number of people who need a place that fits their budget. Unfortunately, tens of thousands of people currently need an affordable home.

But building affordable homes will never be enough. This problem has no single solution. We also need more tenant protections, like just-cause eviction and rent stabilization. We need to ensure that every person has the income to afford a home whether from increased wages, making housing subsidy an entitlement or social housing. Minneapolis minimum wage hasn’t yet reached $15 per hour, and $15 is a long way from the NLIHC-calculated $17.27 housing wage needed to afford just a studio apartment in the Twin Cities.

I’m left with more questions: Why are advertised Minneapolis rents dropping compared with St. Paul rents? Why are Minneapolis and St. Paul rents flat compared with national trends?

Median rent trends hide what’s happening for people in the toughest situations: people with very low incomes, those who are facing discrimination or who need accessible homes. There’s plenty we can’t see here.

What do you see in these data? What questions do you have?

Photo at top of story courtesy of MPR News

Minneapolis educator receives national award for culinary teacher of the year

After going back to school, Ben Rengstorf launched a pilot program at Minneapolis' Roosevelt H.S. in an effort to educate students about the entire food system.MINNEAPOLIS — A few years after a Minnesota teacher went back to school to earn a culinary degree, a national culinary training program has named him its teacher of the year."It was quite surprising and very humbling," said Ben Rengstorf, a teacher at Roosevelt High School in Minneapolis, who started his career a long way from the kitchen."I w...

After going back to school, Ben Rengstorf launched a pilot program at Minneapolis' Roosevelt H.S. in an effort to educate students about the entire food system.

MINNEAPOLIS — A few years after a Minnesota teacher went back to school to earn a culinary degree, a national culinary training program has named him its teacher of the year.

"It was quite surprising and very humbling," said Ben Rengstorf, a teacher at Roosevelt High School in Minneapolis, who started his career a long way from the kitchen.

"I was an English as a learned language teacher," Rengstorf said.

But after teaching English abroad a few years ago, he had an idea that led to a slight career change.

"In Turkey, where I didn't speak the language, food was a way to connect — and is a way to connect with students no matter what our backgrounds are."

Rengstorf decided to reduce his teaching to part time so he could attend culinary school. Once he graduated, he pitched his principal on the idea of offering culinary classes after school and as part of his ELL courses.

"I was thinking about how I could possibly broaden what I did in education into that space through food, culinary arts and food systems," he said.

Soon, Minneapolis Public Schools agreed to let Rengstorf launch a pilot program for ProStart Culinary Training, a two-year high school curriculum, developed by the National Restaurant Association Education Foundation.

The program has grown exponentially every year since.

"This is our Level One class and they are making a fruit crisp, or cobbler of their choice," Rengstorf said as he showed KARE 11 around his classroom on Wednesday. "And they're also making their own ice cream. We'll be eating that on Friday."

The program is supported, in part, by Hospitality Minnesota — and some hungry teachers.

"We do sell food to the teachers on Fridays," Rengstorf said. "We have to raise all of our own money. Our budget just comes through donations and what we can raise through fundraising."

That hasn't stopped the class from thriving. Rengstorf launched a nonprofit, Roosevelt Culinary Arts, to raise those funds for the class and incorporate lessons on sustainability.

"We have an urban farming program as well here, so we work as a department to help the kids understand the entire food system," he said. "So we compost to the urban farm and they provide ingredients to us."

That kind of dedication and creativity is what caught the eyes of the National Restaurant Association Education Foundation, and it's why his list of students keeps growing.

"I think it's well-deserved," said Zara Ridenour. "He's an absolutely lovely teacher."

"He's very nice to people," Saada Abdulhay said. "He actually opens up a lot to us in class and actually encourages us to be a whole team together."

"I think he definitely deserves it," said Amen Denwiddie. "He taught me a lot of things that I didn't know, and I just really think it's a useful class. It kind of opened my mind to a new idea to maybe look further into cooking and things like that."

Rengstorf says that kind of excitement from his students is what keeps him going.

"I have several students who have now started internships at restaurants," he said. "They are working directly under chefs, learning the business."

And even if most end up cooking for fun, his recipe for that appears to be working, too.

"It's so popular here that we have a waiting list," he said. "That's really gratifying. It's definitely why I'm teaching."

If you'd like to learn more, or donate to, the Roosevelt Culinary Arts, click here.

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