A grass-roots, nonprofit organization serving the communities of greater Grand Rapids, Our Kitchen Table (OKT) seeks to promote social justice and serve as a vehicle that empowers our neighbors so that they can improve their health and environment, and the health and environment of their children, through information, community organizing and advocacy.
OKT believes that building a viable, neighborhood-based, resident-led advocacy group is fundamental to achieving this mission. We primarily target urban neighborhoods located within the Grand Rapids Southeast segment.
Founded in 2003 as a call to action, OKT mobilizes low income women so that they can build capacity by utilizing an adapted version of a community transformation model. Learning begins with an understanding and analysis of the root causes of oppression and its manifestations in our daily lives. Elements of oppression include structural barriers, race and gender bias and disparities in wealth and power.
Group work has been identified as a successful strategy for developing strong social networks among individuals who have suffered from social isolation and alienation. OKT seeks to create a space where women build individual capacity through participation in a self-empowerment model that emphasizes (1) knowledge, (2) purposeful action on individual and collective levels and (3) leadership. This model equips women with the understanding and skills to effectively assess problems and seek solutions.
OKT’s Food Diversity Project
OKT’s Food Diversity Project is working to strengthen the capacity of neighborhood residents in Eastown, Baxter, SECA and Garfield Park. We are addressing food and environmental health disparities impacting vulnerable children, families and individuals with health issues by providing educational and garden resources to residents who are planting their own food gardens.
The Southeast Area Farmers’ Market
OKT and our partners, The Greater Grand Rapids Food Systems Council and the Kent County Health Department, co-sponsor the market. OKT’s functions as the on-site manager at both market location. We oversee vendors, dispense debit card, EFT and DUFB tokens and providing nutrition education opportunities.