OKT gardens are growing!

OKT has distributed the thousands of heirloom food plants grown at Blandford Farm. Approximately 40 households are doing OKT gardens at their homes this year. In addition to providing each household with a grub box of nearly 40 food and herb plants, OKT also brings them containers or raised beds and organic soil–all at no charge. Also, each household has an assigned OKT garden coach who meets with them every week to ensure their garden thrives. OKT is also contributing plants and know-how to many school, agency and community gardens.

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Free! Cook, Eat & Talk Monday evening at Sherman St. Church

1011141022aCOOK, EAT & TALK
6 – 8 p.m. Monday May 18
Sherman Street Church
1000 Sherman St. SE 49507

Join OKT cooking coach, Fonda Kingsley, for a fun and informative evening of cooking, sharing ideas and tasting healthy, delicious dishes! Emphasis will be on in-season produce and inexpensive yet nutritious options that are easy to make for yourself and your family.

Get out. Get moving. Get the Golden Shoe.

Golden Shoe Map – Garfield Park Routes – English – Print_Page_1After another cold winter, the Kent County Health Department (KCHD) wants people to get out and enjoy their neighborhoods. To get people moving in the right direction, KCHD is pleased to announce a fun initiative designed to encourage healthy communities and promote the health benefits of walking. As an added bonus, participants could find themselves walking away with a new pair of athletic shoes.

Designated walking routes have been established in the Roosevelt and Garfield Park neighborhoods. Beginning

May 6 and ending June 29, 2015 a golden shoe will be hidden somewhere along the one of the routes every week. Walkers who find one can exchange it for one free pair of athletic shoes (valued at $100) at Gazelle Sports located at 3930 28th Street SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49512.

“We have chosen to focus our efforts on the Roosevelt and Garfield Park Neighborhoods because we knowthat these areas are underserved when it comes to access to safe areas for physical activity.” says Jill Myer,supervisor of the Kent County Health Department’s Obesity Initiative.Many of the people living in the targeted areas are Hispanic or African American. “We know that these groups are not enjoying good health in the same percentages as their white counterparts in Kent County. We also know that a simple thirty minute walk everyday reduces obesity and diabetes risks dramatically.” said Adam London, health officer for the Kent County Health Department. “Our hope is that people who take up walking during the Golden Shoe campaign find it so enjoyable that they will continue for a lifetime.” Route maps in English and Spanish will be placed in local businesses, libraries, the West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce as well as Gazelle Sports. The maps will describe points of interest along the way and provide walking safety tips.

Walkers can further connect with their community by sharing photos and joining the conversation onFacebook and Twitter using the hashtags #GoldenShoeGR and #ZapatoDeOroGR. More information can be found at http://www.kentcountyhealthconnect.org

The Golden Shoe or Zapato de Oro campaign is made possible through a $13,900 grant from Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Active Living Grant Project.

OKT & The Literacy Center teamed up for healthy eating

Throughout April, Our Kitchen Table had the fabulous opportunity to share its Cook, Eat & Talk activities with Latino families involved in The Literacy Center of West Michigan’s family night events. This short video shares one Literacy Center teacher’s reaction to this joint effort.

Held at various area public schools, the events provide opportunity for adults who are learning English to bring their families for an informal dinner and activities that help them build their language skills. OKT shared how to sprout seeds in jars, how to prepare a delicious kale salad and how to become involved in its residential food gardening program.In addition, OKT shared some basics about food justice and the need for improved access to healthy food in Grand Rapids’ income challenged neighborhoods.

Free “Food Justice Primer” class Monday May 11

storyimages_1323208706_img3894Food Justice Primer
Monday May 11, 6 to 8 p.m.
Garfield Lodge, 334 Burton St. SE 49507 

Have you heard the term “food justice” and wondered just exactly what that meant? This two-hour introduction to the concept introduces you to the causes of food injustice, how the agri-business industry works against it and proposes actions we can take to make healthy food accessible to all.

Please join OKT food garden coaches, Camilla Voelker and Jeff Smith for this interesting conversation. Knowledge is power!

You might also want to check out OKT’s Food Justice Series. To date, OKT has created eight of these brief introductions to different food justice topics. You can view and download them here for free. And please, feel free to print and post wherever you think the message could be relevant.

OKT tabling at Kent County Resource Fair

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11 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 7, 2015 at the Paul I. Phillips Boys & Girls Club, 726 Madison Street SE, 49503

Come to the Kent County Resource Fair to learn about the resources available in our community. Dozens of local organizations will be on-site to discuss a wide-range of low-cost and free services. There will be light refreshments and toiletry gift bags will be given out to community members.  A giveaway drawing will also be held!

For more information, please contact Bryana Hopkins at bhopkins@family futures.net or 616.855.5461