OKT presents at national Black Urban Farmers & Growers Conference

20141018_112729On Saturday Oct. 18, OKT team members traveled to  Detroit to present three workshops to an international audience at the Black Urban Farmers &Growers Conference. OKT garden coach and policy point-person, Jeff Smith, shared the seven pillars of Food Justice, as developed by participants in OKT’s Food Justice class series over the past several years. Garden coach Camilla Voelker led a skill-share on Creating Edible Urban Foodscapes. OKT cooking coach, Toni Scott, and communications officer, Stelle Slootmaker, talked about How to Dialogue on Diet: Fostering Healthier Eating through Popular Education. Executive director, Lisa Oliver-King, pitched in at all three sessions and board member, Anita Moore, served as a great support person. All three presentations enjoyed great attendance and lively discussions. The team felt like they made a real contribution to an important gathering.


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Seed Swap and Potluck

Let’s save plant diversity–and save money! The Greater Grand Rapids Food System Council invites all area resident gardeners to meet for a Garden Gathering, Seed Swap and Potluck, 5 p,m. Saturday, Oct. 25 at the Grand Rapids Child Discovery Center, 409 Lafayette S.E 49503. Bring your organic,heirloom or non-gmo seeds and trade them with other local gardeners. The event also includes a potluck, so bring a dish to pass (if you can) and your own place setting.

“I am looking forward to swapping some of my seeds with fellow gardeners, says event organizer, Leslie Powers. “Also, I am excited to connect with people who are also saving seeds and to educate others about the importance of plant diversity and how saving our seeds accomplishes that.”

Leslie also notes that by swapping, you don’t have to buy a whole package of seeds when you only need a few for limited garden space. RSVP to Cynthia Price, skyprice@gmail.com  or (231)670-6059.

LINC offers civic engagement opportunities

lincOn Mondays, LINC invites city residents to gather at the LINC Gallery at 5 p.m.,  eat dinner take a 6 p.m. bus to the 6:30 p.m. GRPS school board meeting. On Tuesdays, gather at the LINC Gallery at 5:30 p.m.,  eat dinner take a 6:30 p.m. bus to the 7 p.m. GRPS school board meeting.
Residents taking part  will look at specific action issues that they may want to work on. “It isn’t just attending the meetings for the sake of attending the meetings,” says Stephanie Gingerich, Real Estate Development Director for LINC Community Revitalization Inc. “Although I do think that people’s presence in the audience is a statement in and of itself.”
For information, call LINC at 616-451-9140 and see how you can get involved.

Canning skill-share a fun success! Next one is Nov. 1.

1011141022a“My mother used to can everything, but I never really learned and I even gave away all her canning jars. Looking back, I wish I hadn’t done that.”
This comment was overheard at OKT’s canning class on Saturday. Co-facilitated by OKT’s cooking coach Ms. Toni and garden coach Jeff Smith, this particular Cook, Eat & Talk session shared how to can applesauce. Every one of the participants said they had never canned anything before, but were excited to learn about the process.
Everyone took part in peeling a cutting up the apples, necessary before cooking them down to make sauce. They made a batch of plain applesauce and one batch with honey and cinnamon. Once all the apples were cut and cooking down, they had an opportunity to talk about the canning process a bit more and discuss techniques for preserving food.
During the discussion, participants were able to enjoy some food that Ms. Toni prepared. This made the conversation about food preparation even more meaningful.
Once the apples cooked down, they put the sauce in jars and did two rounds of hot-bathing, one for the plain and the other for the spiced applesauce. Everyone took a turn at filling jars and then taking the jars out to cool down. Every time one of the jars made a popping sound, people expressed excitement about how quickly the jars were sealing.
By the end of the session, people felt like new friends brought together by great conversation and food. Each participant went home with two pints of canned applesauce. People were so enthused that they gave input on what they might like to learn to can in the November. Suggestions included pickled veggies, pumpkin, apple butter and sweet potatoes. Stay tuned for the next session, which will be held on Saturday, November 1.

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Learn to can at Saturday’s Cook, Eat & Talk!

Cook Eat & Talk presents Preserving the Harvest: Canning
10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Oct. 11, 2014
Sherman Street Church kitchen
1000 Sherman St. SE 49506

As the food industry separates us farther from the sources of our foods—and the nutrients real food
provides—people seeking more sustainable and healthier mealtimes are taking up the nearly lost art of home
canning. Some of us remember the jars of peaches, pickles and tomatoes lining our grandmother’s pantry shelves. Sadly, others have been brought up on foods jarred, canned, boxed or frozen in factories—and know nothing else.

As the industry’s mouthpiece, the news media has Americans convinced that it’s difficult to cook from scratch and
dangerous to can your own foods. But guess what? It’s easy and it’s safe. You don’t have to worry about those six-syllable food additives poisoning your family. And, canning your own food can save you bushels of money. (That can mean less time working to live and more time working at life.)

Learn how this Saturday, Oct. 11, at OKT’s Cook, Eat & Talk. It takes place from 10 a.m. to noon at Sherman Street Church kitchen, 1000 Sherman St. SE. OKT cooking coach, Toni Scott, will be joined by veteran”canning-man” and OKT garden coach, Jeff Smith. Together, the group will can applesauce and learn canning basics that can be used for any number of produce items.