Free! May food gardening & cooking classes!

Deanna 2Our Kitchen Table invotes you to join us for our four-part food gardening series, taught by farmer Leslie Huffman.

· May 1 & June 5: How to Plan Your Food Garden 1
· May 8 & June 12: How to Plan Your Food Garden 2
· May 15 & June 19: Composting & Vermiculture
· May 22, June 26: How to Save Seeds

These classes take place Mondays 6 – 8 p.m. at Garfield Park Lodge, 334 Burton SE, Grand Rapids. OKT is also partnering with Baxter Community Center to offer these additional May classes at Baxter, 935 Baxter SE 49506 (Bemis entrance):

Wednesday May 3: Cooking with Whole and Bulk Foods. This class will take a look at foods you can order through OKT’s Collective Whole Foods Purchase Group and how to prepare some simple meals and snacks with them, e.g. oatmeal, popcorn, dried beans and quinoa and trail mixes.

Wednesday May 10: Canning Basics. Baxter staff will take us to the kitchen and show us how to preserve foods from our gardens and farm markets.

Baxter Community Center and other area agencies are offering many other gardening and cooking classes, as well. Check them out on the 2017 Healthy Happenings Calendar below.2017 combined calendar Online rev..

Earth Day Spring Tree Tour


LauraCasaletto-1Saturday April 22
10:30 a.m. – 12  p.m.
Garfield Park Pavilion,
334 Burton St. SE 49507

This free tree tour is part of the food justice mission of OKT.

Tree tour guide, Laura Casaletto will lead us through Garfield Park where we will munch leaves and nibble flowers together for Earth Day. The menu includes spruce tips, the nectar inside tulip tree flowers, black locust flowers, Japanese knotweed shoots, redbud blossoms and perhaps entire linden trees!

“We’ll certainly find something nice underfoot –and you’ll get a little booklet to help you recall what you learned.
If it rains, we’ll meet in the Lodge!

Food Justice Primer April 17

635920484324449544-906593044_FoodJustice1April 17, 6—8 p.m. at Garfield Park Lodge, 334 Burton St SE 49507

The idea of eating healthier foods in many ways has become mainstream. However, for people experiencing income challenges or living in neighborhoods of color, access to these healthier foods is not a reality. A true food apartheid exists in our community—and that’s where the work of food justice begins.

This food justice class will define what food justice is, explore the roots of the industrial food system and investigate the many facets of food justice. If you want to know more about food justice—or become involved in it yourself—please join us for this free, brief introduction to food justice. OKT will conclude the informal dialogue with group input on how we can practice food justice locally.

Take action to support the “10 Cents a Meal” program

Click here to take action!

10CentsAMeal.jpgMichigan’s 10 Cents A Meal pilot program is providing schools with match incentive funding up to 10 cents per meal to purchase and serve Michigan-grown produce to an estimated 48,000 students in 16 grant-winning school districts.

A mid-pilot report from the Michigan Department of Education shows that many school children are being introduced to new fruits and vegetables as a result of this funding, and the program is investing in Michigan’s economy and jobs at the same time.

Some highlights include:

  • The top three outcomes achieved for Food Service were: The variety of produce served in school meals has increased. Local produce purchasing can be planned with greater certainty. Purchasing power is enhanced.
  • Food service directors named 30 new foods that they tried in meals. New foods tried by the largest number of districts were cherries, multicolored carrots, peaches, blueberries, strawberries, asparagus, squash, navy beans, and Romanesco.
  • Businesses large and small—from 20-acre to 1,800-acre farms, along with processors and distribution companies—reported growing business because of 10 Cents.

“We believe the timing was right for this pilot, and for potential expansion next year, because schools are serving a greater variety of fruits and vegetables and that is exactly what Michigan farmers grow.” – State Superintendent Brian J. Whiston

PILOT PROJECT OVERVIEW

Project Description and Goals: 10 Cents a Meal for School Kids & Farms (10 Cents) is a pilot project to:   • Provide schools with an incentive match up to 10 cents per meal to purchase Michigan fruits and vegetables.  • Improve daily nutrition and eating habits for children through the school setting.  • Invest in Michigan agriculture and related local food business economy.  • Implement a $250,000 pilot program with $210,000 for school food reimbursements.CONTINUE READING

#hungerwalkgr

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OKT at the 2016 Access Hunger Walk

The 40th Annual Access Hunger Walk is happening Sunday, May 7. Registration and kick-off is at 1:30pm; the Walk begins at 2:30pm. This 5K walk starts and ends at Park Church, 10 E Park Pl NE, and winds through downtown Grand Rapids. More than 600 walkers, 20 local and international recipient agencies and dozens of volunteers make the Walk a success.

The Southeast Area Farmers’ Market is one of the Walk recipients. OKT invites you to support the Walk in one of three ways:

  1. 20160501_151015Join the Our Kitchen Table Team.  Click here to sign up directly on the Access West Michigan website. Or, email media@OKTjustice.org and ask us to register you.
  2. Pledge support to one of our walkers. Simply select the person you wish to support by searching for their name here.
  3. Make a personal donation or ask your place of business to be an OKT corporate supporter. Click here to select team Our Kitchen Table and make your donation. Or, send your check to Our Kitchen Table, 334 Burton St. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49507.

LINC UP, NAACP Greater Grand Rapids Branch and Micah Center: Police incident with youth must lead to change

unnamed (1).pngReposted from LINC UP

Take action! Click here to send an email to Chief Rahinsky of the Grand Rapids Police Department and Greg Sundstrom, City Manager of Grand Rapids to voice your concern.

On Friday, March 24th, Grand Rapids Police detained 5 innocent and unarmed children at gunpoint. Having viewed the body camera footage with the Grand Rapids Police Department, LINC, NAACP and the Micah Center feel the actions of the police officers involved demonstrate a practice of policing that perpetuates mistrust, instills fear and causes harm to residents that are supposed to be protected and served. Collectively, we are calling for a change in Grand Rapids policing practices to ensure that no other children will unnecessarily go through the traumatic experience that these children did, and that our community as a whole is not subjected to this type of racism. We call on the police to work with the parents to ensure that the issues that are raised about this particular incident are addressed to the families’ satisfaction.

In 2015 the community pushed the city to adopt a 12 point plan to begin improving community and police relations. One key component of the plan was to ensure body cameras were used by every police officer. These cameras have revealed the work of GR police officers in action. Although the tactical use of force deployed by officers was consistent with training and aligned with the policies of the department, it also reveals that such training and policies are not consistent with what the community is stating are acceptable policing practices. In essence, the historically strained relations between community and law enforcement are being perpetuated, and further action is needed to prevent a continuing decline in such relations.

We encourage all community members to attend the April 11 city commission meeting to support these 5 young boys and their families as they seek to get answers from GRPD and to express any other concerns for policing practices in Grand Rapids, particularly as they relate to interaction with the youth of our community.

We also ask the police department to update the community on the implementation of the 12-point plan and other efforts to improve relationships with the community. Specifically, the plan called for the adjustments to the structure of the police department to increase community interactions. We are asking the GRPD to outline how they have implemented those changes and how they are tracking the success of their community relations building efforts. The plan also called for the implementation of implicit bias testing; we are asking GRPD to update the community on the results of such testing, how they are tracking the results of the training and future plans to ensure its effectiveness.

Having viewed the body camera videos, it is the belief of LINC UP, the NAACP and Micah Center that this incident is an example of the systemic problems that contribute to racial disparities in Grand Rapids. The problems do not stem from any moral flaws of the officers involved but from systemic processes that perpetuate mistrust and fear between communities of color and institutions within Grand Rapids. As such we encourage all people to pay attention to this incident, learn from it and above all, change how we are acting to ensure that we can break that cycle of mistrust.

Sincerely,

LINC UP                 NAACP Greater Grand Rapids Branch               Micah Center