GRAAHI & Urban Core Collective 5K Rhythm Run/walk and Resource Fair Aug. 17

RythmSoul5KLOGO_OLVisit the Southeast Area Farmers’ Market after the Rhythm Run!

Be ready to run the streets in the heat of August as GRAAHI celebrates health and fitness in the Grand Rapids African American Community. This year’s GRAAHI & Urban Core Collective 5K Rhythm Run/walk and Resource Fair will focus on healthy living, getting fit and enjoying the Michigan summer heat with the overall goal of raising awareness of the benefits of making the right healthy choices. This fun, rhythm filled and lighthearted event starts at 8:00 a.m., August 17th, 2019, beginning at Martin Luther King Jr. Park, 800 Fuller Ave. SE. Activities will run from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and will include a Kid’s Fun Run, food, refreshment, entertainment, games and more.

Click here to sign up!

HAELFS brings fresh, local farm foods to area pantries

HAELFS stands for Health, Access, and Equity in our Local Food System, and is the name of the collaborative project that Access’ Good Food System team heads up along five affordable food market sites.
“By the end of year three year, we will have purchased all of our food from Michigan farms,” shared a member of the HAELFS Collaborative at a recent planning session.
The HAELFS collaborative has finished it’s second year, and last week spent time planning and dreaming for year three. Since the collaborative has begun, each partner site has opened an affordable food market in their community. Each market creates access for food insecure individuals to acquire nutritious food at a low cost. Produce available at the markets is sourced from local small farms, stimulating the local food economy. Together, we are working to create a culture of health within communities. As culture shifts, community members have begun to take action to influence their own local food system. Each site hosts weekly neighbor led classes with residents who are involved in farm share programs. Classes include everything from cooking, recipe sharing, gardening, trips to local farms, and food justice training.
“Collaboration is a key part of our mission at Access and that carries into our food work. We ALL have a part to play in bettering the local food system for ALL people,” shares Erin Skidmore, Good Food Systems Coordinator, “we know we have work to do as we intentionally move away from the traditional charity model and into more innovative, creative solutions that address root causes of food insecurity.”
The HAELFS collaborative is one example of the Good Food Systems work being done at Access.

City’s Urban Agriculture Committee seeks community input

urban-ag-webPublished on June 27, 2019
by the City of Grand Rapids

The City of Grand Rapids’ Urban Agriculture Committee is inviting the community to provide input on current and desired urban agriculture opportunities. The committee is hosting a community open house before its bimonthly meeting Wednesday, July 10 at Garfield Park Neighborhood Association, 334 Burton St. SE. Residents are invited to submit comments or ask questions related to urban agriculture activities and priorities from 5 to 6 p.m.

Urban agriculture covers a wide span of activities but can be simplified as producing food to eat or sell in the city by growing plants and/or raising animals.

The committee meeting, which is open to the public, will begin at 6 p.m. City Manager Mark Washington will open the meeting with a brief overview of the City’s strategic priorities and how they can support urban agriculture goals.

“We’re glad to see how much the City’s strategic plan focuses on equity,” said Joan Huyser-Honig, chair of the Urban Agriculture Committee. “Our committee’s recommendations include ways to expand green spaces and improve health equity. Other cities are leading the way by reducing policy barriers so more people can grow, raise and harvest healthy food.”

Mayor Rosalynn Bliss formed the Urban Agriculture Committee in 2017 to provide guidance to the City on policies and zoning around the growing trend of urban agriculture. As the committee reviews current city ordinances related to urban agriculture, it is looking at national best practices in urban agriculture rules and ordinances. The committee plans to provide recommendations to the City’s Planning Commission after the July 10 meeting.

The Urban Agriculture Committee has held several previous community engagement sessions and distributed a survey to stakeholders – all of which are providing guidance in its recommendations. The community sessions and survey results indicated more education was needed on urban agriculture and how it might impact future planning for the city. To provide feedback online, CLICK HERE.

For more information about the Urban Agriculture Committee, CLICK HERE.

Program for Growth workshop emphasizes eating to prevent lead poisoning


Tracy Booth, RD, leads Program for Growth workshop on foods that address lead poisoning

OKT’s Program for Growth at Martin Luther King Leadership Academy is growing more than food in the gardens out front of the school. Workshops continuing with Tracy Booth RD are inspiring participants to grow, purchase, and prepare healthier foods for their families. Because the MLK school neighborhood is in one of Grand Rapids’ lead poisoning hot-spots, last Monday’s workshop focused on three key nutrients that help rid the body of lead: calcium, iron and Vitamin C.

june1Lead poisoning especially impacts infants and children’s growing bodies and brains, causing developmental delays and behavioral problems, including aggression. Lead comes to the 49503 and 49507 neighborhoods via the soil, housing with lead paint, and possibly via the water supply, when old lead pipes are still in service. Here’s a breakdown of foods that can help:

  • Iron-rich foods: Deep green leafy vegetables like collards, mustard greens, kale, spinach; legumes (pinto, navy, black, and adzuki beans etc. and red lentils); raisins and dried prunes; meat.
  • Calcium rich foods: In addition to dairy, tuna, salmon, seeds (poppy, celery, chia and sesame), almonds, beans and lentils (legumes), and dark leafy greens (see above).
  • Vitamin C-rich foods: Citrus fruits, bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, strawberries, kiwi fruit, kale, and mustard greens.

june2.jpgCooking in an iron skillet and eating a vitamin C food along with an iron rich food helps the body absorb even more iron.

Miss Tracy also emphasized that we all need to eat more fruit and vegetables, especially fresh ones like those growing in the Program for Growth garden. “Make meat your side dish not your main dish,” she says.