Register to vote at the market Saturday!

Southeast Area Farmers Market:  11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Saturday Aug. 8
MLK Jr. Park, 900 Fuller SE 49506

On Saturday August 8, staff from the Urban Core Collective will be at the Southeast Area Farmers Market to offer voter registration.

59e817b183c1d90001dd359d_YellowBus_Mockup_UCC 3Urban Core Collective’s mission is “Uplifting historically marginalized communities to a place of greater self sufficiency by unifying communities of color in order to reduce the effects of systemic racism.”

If you are already registered to vote, please think about the young people in your life that have turned 18 and could make a difference in this next voting cycle. Following is UCC’s Aug. 2 blog post for your consideration.

AUGUST 2, 2020


Even though Clarissa Mata was only 12 years old at the time, she remembers the night of November 4, 2008 like it was yesterday. She and her family were gathered around the television set in her home in Jenison, Michigan watching the election results come in state by state. Watching America elect their very first Black President forever marked her life.

“I watched the country turn a different color [Republican-led red to Democrat-led blue] and I just remember thinking it was so cool that people get to determine the future of this country,” she says.

Today, Clarissa is 18 years old and is planning to vote for the first time in a presidential election this November. Although this may be the first presidential election Clarissa can vote in, she has been engaged in local politics since she was 16 years old. Using her Facebook, Instagram and Tik Tok profiles, she is constantly posting content to remind her followers and friends to register to vote.

“I want to live in a country that reflects the people and what the people want,” she explains.

Through her social media content she talks about politics and the politicians that she likes. “If I can reach the people who can vote there, that’s me being informed and helping other people be informed,” she adds.

Clarissa believes that her vote matters and she wishes more people believed that they too have the power to make a change.

“I think a lot of people think it’s just one vote and that their vote doesn’t matter, but that thinking at a large scale can become dangerous. Those hundreds of votes can make a difference—especially in local elections where there have been so many times where the results are determined by a few votes,” she says.

As a member of the LGBTQ+ community and first generation Mexican-American immigrant, Clarissa says she cannot vote for a candidate who doesn’t want to address the current climate crisis, ensure equal rights for LGBTQ+ people, fight for reproductive rights and comprehensive immigration reform for undocumented immigrants.

“Sometimes it gets a little hard to find a candidate that encompasses my values because of my identities and beliefs,” she explains.

Clarissa is part of a new generation of Americans known as Generation Z. According to data from the Pew Research Center, one-in-ten eligible voters in the 2020 electorate will be a part of generation Z. Generation Z is more ethnically and racially diverse than any previous generation and is most likely to believe that Black people are treated less fairly than people of other races and ethnicities.

When it came to registering to vote, Clarissa did it the day she turned 18. She says she thought it was going to be a really long process, but she simply went to and was able to quickly register to vote.

“It took me five minutes and it was done. And two weeks later I got my voter’s registration card. It seems silly, but I treasure my voter’s registration card,” she adds.

Advocacy for Clarissa comes easy. As a digital native, she has grown up surrounded by smartphones and computers. Back in 2018, she did not hesitate to use the internet to educate her mother about the candidates running in the midterms. “My mom was hesitant to vote because it was 6:30pm on the day of election and she didn’t know who was running and why… but I sat her down and I told her we were going to learn about the candidates and then I would drive her to the polls,” she remembers. That day, her mother voted thanks in part to the encouragement from Clarissa.

Although Clarissa is only 18 years old, she has already made waves advocating for the election of Milinda Ysasi, the first Latina commissioner of the city of Grand Rapids, and more recently for the election of Bryan Berghoef, Democrat candidate challenging Republican candidate Bill Huizenga for a congressional seat. Knowing more about Clarissa, it’s no surprise that three years ago Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss called Clarissa “the next Mayor of Grand Rapids” after hearing about her ten year plan.

“In 2017, we were at Lions and Rabbits for an award ceremony. I went since my mom won an award and I met Mayor Bliss there. I talked to her about everything I was doing and what I plan on doing and she said, ‘Wow. The next mayor of GR right here!’”

Clarissa wants to fight for the rights of her West Michigan community and plans to run for office in ten years after finishing law school.

“I think a lot of people my age want to leave this town and this state and I can understand why. But, I think if you can take the time to find your people you will find that we can all co-create a place of belonging for all. If it’s not here yet—we can imagine it and create it,” she shares.

Clarissa may not be a lawyer yet, but until she is she will be focusing on her studies at Grand Rapids Community College and participating in local elections while working part time at her mother’s business, Lindo Mexico Restaurante Mexicano.

Written by Michelle Jokisch Polo

Support New Legislation to Extend and Expand Online SNAP Sales

Please support this bill by signing here …. and share with others!

SNAP-logo-png-300x300SNAP benefits cannot be processed electronically with independent markets, grocers, or farms. The only approved vendors in Michigan are currently Amazon, Walmart, and few larger stores.

However, new federal legislation (“Expanding SNAP Options Act of 2020“) was introduced last month to expand online redemption of SNAP to retailers and markets of all scales. To help advocate for this bill, Taste the Local Differencehas collaborated with a community partner to create the above linked sign on letter. 
With the pandemic this year, many consumers have turned to web platforms for essential purchases, including food. Online sales have also become critical to many producers and markets in our local food system. While these systems have many benefits, one challenge operators of online local food markets have repeatedly expressed is accessibility.
Please support this bill by signing here …. and share with others!

Southeast Area Farmers Market at MLK Jr. Park Saturday!

locations seafmStop by for organic, fresh, local produce from Groundswell Farm, tasty cottage kitchen goods, and handcrafted personal care items and crafts.

Be sure to say hello to our new farmers market manager, Belinda Henderson. Ms. Belinda also serves as an Our Kitchen Table Food Garden Coach in the Program for Growth at MLK Jr. Leadership Academy. Special thanks to vendor Yvonne Woodard for stepping in as manager in the interim!

Thursday Farmers Market at Joe Taylor Park – July 30

20200711_110529Southeast Area Farmers Market
6 – 8  p.m. Thursday July 30
Joe Taylor Park, 1038 Bemis St. SE 49506

The Southeast Area Farmers Market. takes place at Joe Taylor Park this Thursday at 6! Stop by for organic, fresh, local produce from Groundswell Farm, tasty cottage kitchen goods, and handcrafted personal care items and crafts.

Be sure to say hello to our new farmers market manager, Belinda Henderson. Ms. Belinda also serves as an Our Kitchen Table Food Garden Coach in the Program for Growth at MLK Jr. Leadership Academy. Special thanks to vendor Yvonne Woodard for stepping in as manager in the interim!

Friends of Grand Rapids Park sharing resources at Saturday’s market

Southeast Area Farmers Market:  11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Saturday July 25 
MLK Jr. Park, 900 Fuller SE 49506


In addition to local, fresh organic produce from Groundswell Farm, home baked cakes, and craft items, this Saturday’s market hosts Friend of Grand Rapids Parks. Stop by and chat with them about free trees, how to plant and care for trees, and why trees are such an important Grand Rapids infrastructure.

You may have seen FGRP Green Team youth caring for trees around town. This paid summer youth employment program in collaboration with the City of Grand Rapids and Grand Rapids Urban League, employs four youth from the Roosevelt Park area to help water nearly 300 trees planted by Friends and volunteers during the 2019 Mayor’s Greening Initiative.


Next farmers market July 25

20200711_111314 (1)The next Southeast Area Farmers Market will take place 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday July 25 at MLK Jr. Park. Along with our neighborhood vendors, Groundswell Community Farm will again join the market with a truckload of fresh, local, produce sustainably and fairly grown in Zeeland.

According to the Michigan Farmers Market Association, farming and food production are not stopping during this pandemic! Michigan farmers continue to grow and produce a wide variety of food and farm products. Follow their easy tips as you support your farmers markets this season.

Be prepared and be patient! When you’re getting ready to go to the market, make sure you bring your face mask, shopping list, and an insulated tote bag. Plan ahead for longer lines and maybe some waiting. Use the time to look up new seasonal recipes!

20200711_110329Enjoy your personalized shopping experience! Share the items on your list with your vendor and they’ll grab it for you to minimize risk of contamination. All the tables in front of you will be clean and clear so they can easily be sanitized.

When it’s time to pay, ask your vendor about low touch or touchless payment options! They say cash is king, but this summer, card is preferred.

20200711_111722Finally, stay informed! Some markets have created drive-thru or traffic flow instructions, so keep an eye out for signs, maps and chalk arrows. Others have started online marketplaces for even easier shopping.

Now that you’re ready to shop, find a farmers market near youMarkets are adapting quickly to an ever-changing landscape, so be sure to contact your market directly or follow them on social for the most up to date details on their hours and operations.

These tips are presented by the Michigan Farmers Market Association and Taste the Local Difference.


First Joe Taylor Park Farmers Market today!

20200711_111314 (1)Southeast Area Farmers Market
6 – 8  p.m. Thursday July 16
Joe Taylor Park, 1038 Bemis St. SE 49506

The Southeast Area Farmers Market. takes place at Joe Taylor Park today at 6! Stop by for organic, fresh, local produce from Groundswell Farm, tasty cottage kitchen goods, and handcrafted personal care items and crafts.

The market had a great debut last Saturday  at MLK Jr. Park. Join the excitement! And eat healthy! We warmly welcome SNAP, EBT, P-EBT, Double Up Food bucks, WIC Project Fresh and Sr. Project Fresh.


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Groundswell Farm vendor at Southeast Area Farmers’ Market

17342755_10154163405065672_714827527404130163_nSoutheast Area Farmers Market
opens 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Saturday July 11
MLK Jr. Park, 900 Fuller SE 49506

Our Kitchen Table is thrilled to announce that Groundswell Farm will be a vendor on alternate dates at the Southeast Area Farmers Market. In addition to selling produce in Holland and at the Fulton Street Farmers Market and now our market, Groundswell offers a Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA, model of agriculture that connects them directly with local consumers. Customers purchase a “share” of the farm at the beginning of the season and receive fresh, produce weekly during the growing season. Groundswell offers share via SNAP.

39926334_10155377238270672_5485237973651816448_oIts website says, “Joining a CSA lets you reconnect with the food you eat. You will notice a difference in the taste, flavor and nutritional value of your ingredients. You think about meals in reverse by cooking with what you have and what’s in season. You might even help to plant or harvest some of your food as a member during various farm events!”

Groundswell is run by African American farmer, bruce michael wilsonBruce Michael-Wilson. A graduate of Central Michigan University, Wilson was raised from a toddler on the 160-acre family farm where he grew up in Hopkins Michigan. At age six, he wrote his own book, “Our Big Farm.” As he grew older, he also worked for neighboring farmers in the hay fields, gardens, and milk barns honing his skills and developing his agricultural acumen.

Please visit the market Saturday between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. and purchase your fresh produce from Groundswell! OKT has long hoped to add a CSA farmer to our vendor list and ask for your support in making this a successful strategy for the market and the farm.

Southeast Area Farmers’ opens July 11

logoNew look and new second location!

The Southeast Farmers’ Market opens 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday July 11 at Martin Luther King Jr. Park, 900 Fuller SE, Grand Rapids 49506. The Market seeks to provide a wide variety of local produce in neighborhood. Vendors are primarily women of color, home growers, and residents of southeast Grand Rapids. In addition to providing access to healthy food, the market hosts meal preparation activities, workshops, and resources from community organizations. It welcomes Bridge Card, SNAP, Double Up Food Bucks, WIC and many other assistance and coupon programs. Joe Taylor Park, 1138 Bemis St. SE, will host the market 6 to 8 p.m. every other Thursday beginning July 16. kyprii

When you stop by he market, say hello to Aquinas College graduate, Kyprii Whitney,  this season’s market intern. Born and raised in Detroit, Kyprii hopes her internship at the market will bring her one step closer to a career in music marketing.

Field & Fire Bakery & Cafe bake sale raises more than $600 for OKT programming

BLM_BreadJulie Kibler, owner of Field & Fire Bakery & Cafe just informed us that their Bakers Against Racism virtual bake sale was a sweet success.
“As of Tuesday morning, we have raised $603.80 with our bake sale,” she says. “Our pastry chef did end up making additional cookies, so I won’t have a final number until those are all sold. I was really hoping for higher sales, but it’s still pretty good.”
Because Kibler and her family have been moved by the renewed movement for Black Lives Matter, they wanted to do more to help fight racism. So they took part in The Worldwide Virtual Bake Sale and made OKT their beneficiary. 
“After some talking and googling, we found that the official BLM group in GR had been abandoned. We wanted to help a real grass roots group that could really use the funding,” Kibler says. “Food desserts are just another way to oppress black and brown people. Our goal with this effort is to approach racism from a slightly different angle, and that is justice throughfood. We’ve been pushing healthy eating for the last seven years, and it’s time to push it in a new direction.”

BLM_CookieThe people of Field & Fire Bakery & Cafe have a reputation for doing good. They have regularly donated unsold bread to pantries and non-profits and held annual fundraisers for Grand Rapids Public Schools, Blandford Nature Center, Feeding West Michigan, The Pantry,  and Well House.

They host local artists, typically women, and sell their artwork at the cafe.
“We’re members of Local First, so we participate in all of their events,” says owner, Julie Kibler.  “We’re also members of Slow Food West Michigan. Most of the outreach we participate in is centered around food, women, kids, and health.”
If you stop by the bakery in the Downtown Market or the cafe on Monroe, please tell them “Thank You!” and enjoy a tasty treat.