Creating Food, Music for Change

Aaliyah Demry hauls a crate of newly picked okra, while talking to friends Arieana Moore, left, and Omariasha Houston.

In 2016, youth involved with a North Minneapolis-based nonprofit called Appetite for Change created a music video called “Grow Food.” The five-minute video, (embedded below) which was uploaded to YouTube, addressed problems the neighborhood was facing with nutrition and community health. 

Three years and more than half a million views later, the organization is releasing an album. 

Aaliyah Demry is one of the teens in North Minneapolis working with Appetite for Change to create new music for the album. Demry’s work is an example of the variety of ways AFC raises awareness and creates change in its community.  

“It’s like a family,” Demry said of the organization. 

Appetite for Change was created in 2012 as a response to a lack of healthy food options in North Minneapolis. At the time, there were 38 fast-food restaurants in the neighborhood and only one grocery store.  

“The people that own these restaurants, they’re not even from our community,” Demry said. “They don’t even eat the food they serve us.”  

Appetite for Change is working to solve these problems. From community gardens to a cafe, AFC is serving people fresh kale, turnips, tomatoes and other vegetables the community didn’t have access to in the past.  

AFC also works to uplift its community with a strong focus on youth. Demry sees the change AFC is making in North Minneapolis, but also how it is helping her friends succeed. 

“They want to open their own business,” she said. “Appetite for Change has taught them that.” 

The “Grow Food” video is evidence of the impact that AFC’s youth have already had. What started as a fun youth project ended up having what Demry said was a genuine impact on the community and others like it around the country. 

“While we were making it, I didn’t think it was going to go viral,” Demry said. “I thought people were going to laugh at us.”  

It took two weeks to plan, record and edit the video. As the video became more and more popular on the internet, Demry saw the affect it was having. 

“Little kids were singing all the words to our songs,” she said. “I knew they were actually listening to what we were saying.”  

The video’s quick production and great success show the potential for Appetite for Change’s new album, which Demry and others at AFC are hoping will be a hit.  

Music is just one of the ways that Appetite for Change creates change in North Minneapolis. Since its beginning, AFC has grown and is now able to help more people in the community. There is no better way to do this, said Demry, than through food. 

“We’re all connected, because everybody’s got to eat,” she said. “Food affects you in so many different ways.”  

Appetite for Change’s impact shows the different ways food can affect a community. From improved nutrition to youth empowerment, AFC is reaching more youth across North Minneapolis.   

One of these young people is Demry, who is thankful for all the ways Appetite for Change has helped her.  

“They believed in my dream,” Demry said. “They helped me get where I want to be.”

Appetite released its second music video in January 2020 for “Trap or Grow.” Watch the video: