OKT kicks off “Prescription for Health” program

RxOur Kitchen Table, Kent County Health Department and Mercy Health are developing a new program to increase  Browning Claytor Health Center patients’ access to fresh, locally grown produce, Prescription for Health. The “prescription” forms, filled out by Browning Claytor physicians, can be redeemed for fruits, veggies, edible flowers and herbs at the Southeast Area Farmers’ Market.


Baxter quilt show: “A Piece of Textile, Culture, and Tradition”

quiltThe Threads Sewing Program at Baxter Community Center presents its 2014 Quilt Show, A Piece of Textile, Culture, and Tradition on September 5 and 6 (Friday and Saturday) from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Baxter Community Center, 935 Baxter ST SE, Grand Rapids.

Learn about quilts,textiles and the history of African American quilting. This family friendly event will also feature arts and crafts, sewing demonstrations, a silent auction and storytelling–Anansi the Spider directed by Jonell Moore.

For information, contact Erica Millbrooks (616) 881-3385.

Department Of Agriculture Cracks Down On Seed Libraries

Some of our local libraries have seed libraries. Are you ready to rally for them to continue to be available?

Re-posted from Popular Resistance

It was a letter officials with the Cumberland County Library System were surprised to receive.

The system had spent some time working in partnership with the Cumberland County Commission for Women and getting information from the local Penn State Ag Extension office to create a pilot seed library at Mechanicsburg’s Joseph T. Simpson Public Library.

The effort was a new seed-gardening initiative that would allow for residents to “borrow” seeds and replace them with new ones harvested at the end of the season.

Mechanicsburg’s effort had launched on April 26 as part of the borough’s Earth Day Festival, but there were plenty of similar efforts that had already cropped up across the state before the local initiative.

Through researching other efforts and how to start their own, Cumberland County Library System Executive Director Jonelle Darr said Thursday that no one ever came across information that indicated anything was wrong with the idea. Sixty residents had signed up for the seed library in Mechanicsburg, and officials thought it could grow into something more.

That was, until, the library system received a letter from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture telling them they were in violation of the Seed Act of 2004.

“We did talk to the county extension office before establishing the seed library,” Darr told Cumberland County commissioners at their meeting Thursday morning. “We were never apprised of the Seed Act.”

The commissioners were equally flabbergasted by the change of events, as well as with how the agriculture department handled the investigation — sending a high-ranking official and lawyers to a meeting with the library.

Darr explained that the Seed Act primarily focuses on the selling of seeds — which the library was not doing — but there is also a concern about seeds that may be mislabeled (purposefully or accidentally), the growth of invasive plant species, cross-pollination and poisonous plants.

The department told the library it could not have the seed library unless its staff tested each seed packet for germination and other information. Darr said that was clearly not something staff could handle.

“This is not our core mission,” she said. “We thought we were doing a good thing in helping the Cumberland County Commission for Women (who requested the idea and the library’s participation).”

Darr said she believes the library system’s proximity to Harrisburg, as well as media coverage of the seed library, prompted the Department of Agriculture to act in this case.

She said the department indicated to her that it would continue to crack down on seed libraries that have established themselves in the state.

Some of the commissioners questioned whether that was the best use of the department’s time and money, but commissioner Barbara Cross noted that such seed libraries on a large scale could very well pose a danger.

“Agri-terrorism is a very, very real scenario,” she said. “Protecting and maintaining the food sources of America is an overwhelming challenge … so you’ve got agri-tourism on one side and agri-terrorism on the other.”

Cross said it made sense that the department would want to tackle the issue now while the efforts were small.

Though the seed library is no longer an option, Darr said the department has left it open to the library to host “seed swap” days where private individuals can meet and exchange seeds. As long as the library system itself is not accepting seeds as donations, Darr said such an event would meet the requirements of the act.

Join OKT at the Rhythm Run Saturday Aug. 16

2013 Rhythm runners. Photo , GRAAHI

2013 Rhythm runners. Photo , GRAAHI

Run the streets and celebrate health and fitness in the Grand Rapids African American Community.

This year’s GRAAHI Rhythm Run 5K will focus on healthy living, getting fit and enjoying the Michigan summer heat with the overall goal of raising awareness of the benefits of making the right healthy choices for YOU.Our Kitchen Table will be there to share information and locally grown produce from select Southeast Area Farmers’ Market vendors.

This fun, rhythm filled and lighthearted event starts at 8:00 a.m., August 16th, beginning at Martin Luther King Jr. Park, 800 Fuller Ave. SE. Activities will run from 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and will include a Kid’s Fun Run, food, refreshment, entertainment, games and more. You can register at the Run at 8 a.m. Fee is $25.

Awards will be handed out to individuals, businesses and churches with the highest fundraising goal achieved.

Eastown Food Garden Walking Tour Monday August 18

Last stop! The Childrey's garden.

Last stop! The Childrey’s garden.

Eastown Food Garden Walking Tour
6-8 p.m. Monday Aug. 18
Meet at Eastown Community Association, 415 Ethel Ave. SE.

Join OKT for a fun walk around Eastown to see the delicious foods growing in backyards and community gardens. The tour starts with a look at the large community garden rowing behind Eastown Community Association, 415 Ethel Ave. SE. After visiting several other food gardens, it will conclude with refreshments in Mrs. Childrey’s exceptionally lovely gardens. Dress for the weather and bring your water bottle.

Vincent Mcintosh, OKT guest chef

IMG_5162Seventeen-year-old Vincent Mcintosh served as OKT’s guest chef during one of four healthy eating classes OKT facilitated for income-challenged residents of Weston and Herkimer Apartments in downtown Grand Rapids. “I’ve been cooking since I was 11. My last two years in high school I did Career Tech school which expanded my cooking knowledge,” Vincent says. “I love to cook and love the restaurant business even more.”

Vincent heads to Great Lakes Culinary School in Traverse City Michigan this fall. “I would like to  travel and work with some of the best chefs worldwide and learn even more. After that, I would like to move on to becoming an restaurateur and opening restaurants in my home city of Grand Rapids,” he says. “I find that food is an amazing way to connect people and this is why I love doing it.”


IMG_5171Chef Vincent Mcintosh’s

Easy Sweet Potato Salad


  • Sweet potatoes
  • Ranch dressing
  • Chopped scallions
  • Red & yellow peppers


1. Steam or boil and cool potatoes, cut into 1/2” cubes.

2. Add chopped scallions, peppers and ranch dressing. Mix well.

3. Seasonings: Salt and pepper to taste.




Saturday’s “Ride to Market” was a fun filled day!

On Saturday August 9, She Rides Her Own Way, GRAAHI & Our Kitchen Table collaborated to bring a fun “Bike to Market Day ” event to Grand Rapids southeast side and the Southeast Area Farmer’s Market. Here’s a peek at some of the fun!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.