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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The 2014 Michigan Good Food Summit

The Third Michigan Good Food Summit Returns to Lansing!

(East Lansing, MI)   The third Michigan Good Food Summit will be returning to the Lansing Center on Tuesday, October 28th, 2014  Hosted by the Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems, the Summit will build on the momentum and success around the Michigan Good Food Charter. The six-goal charter is roadmap for a food system rooted in local communities and centered on good food, food that is healthy, green, fair and affordable. More than 600 organizations and individuals have signed a resolution of support for the charter.

Registration is $40 including an evening reception and film October 27th and $30 for October 28th only.  Registration is now open at:  You can also find information on lodging, transportation, and exhibitor opportunities at the registration link.

Who attends the Summit? Anyone who wants to develop a good food system in Michigan and work with others to further the Michigan Good Food Charter.

What is the goal?  Consumers, growers, buyers, advocates, educators, policymakers and others learning from each other and growing Michigan’s collective capacity to implement and track progress toward good food.

A reception and film will precede the Summit on the late afternoon of October 27th at the Lansing Center.  The Summit itself begins at 9:00 a.m. on the 28th, with a keynote conversation on Growing and Buying Good Food, featuring Detroit Public Schools’ food service director, Betti Wiggins and farmer/community organizer, Barbara Norman.  Two sets of interactive workshops will be held during the day and the closing keynote will feature Dr. Oran Hesterman, president and CEO of the Fair Food Network.

For more information, including how to become a sponsor or exhibitor, contact Kathryn Colasanti or Diane Drago at

This evening! Edible Tree Walk at Garfield Park



Friends of Grand Rapids Parks is proud to announce a tour of the beautiful, edible, and toxic trees of Garfield Park with Citizen Forester & OKT Urban Forester Laura  Casaletto.  Learn some of the strange and amazing things trees do for us and for their own vitality.  Receive easy to learn self-guided materials to help recall what you saw and use year-round. Kids and adults alike will be encouraged to put new things in their mouths! Eat a tree! 

Meet at the Garfield Park Pavilion.

Southeast Area Farmers’ Market and Food Justice

Mr. Henry selling organic collards, kale, mustard and sweet potato greens at the Southeast Area Farmers' Market.

Mr. Henry selling organic collards, kale, mustard and sweet potato greens at the Southeast Area Farmers’ Market.

While most farmers’ markets have a business goal in mind, the Southeast Area Farmers’ Market’s main goal is food justice. Increasing access to healthy food in Grand Rapids’ southeast neighborhoods is the market’s food justice goal.

Food Justice grew out of the Environmental Justice movement, where communities of color and poor working class people began to realize that their lack of access to healthy and affordable food was not the result of their own behavior, but of a food system that was motivated by profit. It’s not that our neighborhoods are food deserts. Rather, they are victims of food apartheid.

If you’d like to discover more information about food justice, visit the OKT website to see the entire OKT Food Justice Series. The series includes information on the Farm Bill, GMOs, food workers’ rights, climate change and food justice, the impact women of color have had on the food justice movement and more.

The Southeast Area Farmers’ Market is open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays at Gerald R Ford Academic Center through November 8. The market warmly welcomes SNAP/EBT, Double Up Food Bucks (DUFB) and WIC & Sr. ProjectFresh as well as cash and debit cards.

OKT yard gardeners reaping bountiful harvests

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Before blooming, the sunflower in the slideshow had been broken almost in two. Our grower, Fonda, put aloe on the severed parts and set it upright again using a band-aid, twist ties and a stick to help hoist it up! Now it’s blooming!

Southeast Area Farmers’ Market not open over Labor Day Weekend

seafm logoDue to our vendors’ holiday weekend plans, the Southeast Area Farmers’ Market will not be open this coming weekend (Friday Aug. 29 and Saturday August 30). As the Garfield Market site was scheduled only through August, the market will only be open at the Gerald R Ford Academic Center site Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. through the end of market season (Nov. 8). 

Please join us there Saturday September 6 for a large variety of chemical-free, locally grown produce and a free, urban foraging workshop! 

Free September market activities!

  • Sept 6 Urban Foraging How-to, 12 – 2 p.m.
  • Sept. 20 Art at the Market Attention local artists! Display the fruit of your labor at the market!
  • Sept. 27 Food Landscapes Bike Tour, 3:30 – 5:30 p.m. Meet at G R Ford Academic Center after the market (851 Madison SE, south of Franklin). Dress for the weather & bring a water bottle.