Today’s the last day to #Walk4GoodFood

Click on the link to join or donate to OKT’s Walk team.

Our sights are set on transforming West Michigan’s food system to become increasingly reflective of Good Food values with the belief that this transformation will uproot systemic poverty and lead to lasting change. 

Invest in transformative change with us

As we enter our final day of the Walk for Good Food, ACCESS has reached 70% of its fundraising goal of $90,000. With your help, we can cross the finish line and provide needed support for Access and nine additional organizations (listed below) that are working to ensure all people have access to good food in our community.

This year’s event supports Access of Walk Michigan plus nine additional good food organizations: H.O.P.E. GardensKent County Food Policy CouncilOur Kitchen TableMindset MealsNew City NeighborsSECOMUCOMThe Other Way Ministries, and Trinity United Methodist Church Community Ministries Program. Together, we can ensure all people have access to good food.


Ballot proposal would ban solar energy in rural parts of Michigan

From the Michigan League of Conservation Voters

The Michigan League of Conservation Voters is urging the Board of State Canvassers to reject the misleading summary on a petition which would ban solar energy in rural parts of Michigan. The proposal will halt the state’s clean energy progress, strip farmers of their rights, block landowners from earning a steady second income, and cut off vital tax revenue to local communities.

“To protect our Great Lakes and future generations, Michigan must transition away from the dirty coal and oil that pollutes our waterways and make the transition to cleaner energy sources, like wind and solar,” said Lisa Wozniak, executive director for Michigan League of Conservation Voters, which re-activated its ballot committee, Our Water, Our Democracy, to oppose the measure. “Renewable energy is a financial win for farmers, businesses and residents in rural communities across Michigan with several wind and solar projects up and running for more than a decade. Banning utility-scale solar projects in rural communities moves the state in the wrong direction. The proposed petition summary is flawed, misleading and would do a disservice to voters who support Michigan’s transition to clean, renewable energy.”

The board will meet at 10 a.m., Friday, April 28, in the Binsfield Office Building in downtown Lansing to discuss the proposed petition summary. Our Water, Our Democracy submitted a letter to the board urging it to consider how the proposed language doesn’t pass legal muster and should be rejected.

Our Water, Our Democracy noted the state’s renewable energy plan depends on generating more power from renewable resources, including solar, and an unprecedented amount of federal funding is available to help the state manage this transition – $20 billion to date. Clean energy projects are bringing millions of dollars in tax revenue to Michigan communities – providing critical funding for schools, libraries, police and fire services, roads, community services and more.

“This ballot proposal – being pushed by the same fossil fuel interests that have come into rural communities and caused chaos and division – would further harm public health, stymie Michigan’s job creation, and limit opportunities for farmers and landowners as they face economic uncertainty from extreme weather and low crop prices,” Wozniak added. “The petition summary must disclose these negative impacts so that petition signers are informed of the true adverse effects of the proposal before they sign the petition.”

On May 11, many Medicaid beneficiaries may lose benefits. 

For any questions about this issue, or anything related to Medicare and Medicaid, contact: Michigan Medicare-Medicaid Assistance Program (MMAP), 1-800-803-7174.

On May 11, COVID-19 emergencies will end, and millions of Medicaid beneficiaries may lose valued benefits. 
Here’s why:  It was March 13, 2020, when the President declared that the COVID-19 pandemic was a national emergency. Trillions of federal dollars have supported the health and welfare of the American people through numerous lifesaving programs and initiatives. For example, many received increases in food stamps and, because of emergency waivers during the pandemic, many could enroll in Medicaid for much-needed health care without the need to meet qualifications. When the emergency officially ends on May 11, many will be deemed ineligible for not meeting Medicaid policy guidelines. 

If you or someone you know enrolled in Medicaid during the pandemic, a Letter of Redetermination will arrive in the mail from MDHHS – the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Completion of the document will determine if the qualifications are met for continued coverage. For any questions about this issue, or anything related to Medicare and Medicaid, contact: Michigan Medicare-Medicaid Assistance Program (MMAP), 1-800-803-7174.

Calls to this toll-free number are routed by area code and calls from 313 go directly to the MMAP counselors at the Detroit Area Agency on Aging (DAAA). For Medicaid recipients enrolled in long-term care programs administered by DAAA, our role is to ensure that eligible beneficiaries will not be deemed ineligible for continued services.  
If you or someone you know may lose coverage after the redetermination, it makes sense to take care of routine office visits, medical tests, and prescriptions while insurance coverage is in place.   

Survey seeks parent-driven priorities for improving food assistance and nutrition security

Feeding MI Families seeks to elevate Michigan families’ experiences of food access and food assistance with the goal of developing parent-driven priorities for improving food assistance and nutrition security in our state. Parents can enroll in a text-message based survey about their experiences and receive $25. A sub-set of parents will participate in a more in depth interview, for which they will receive $50. To participate in English, parents can text FOOD to 734-366-4409. Envíe un mensaje de texto COMIDA a 734-550-4639 para comenzar o visitar

Virtual Cook, Eat and Talk

Register to join the Zoom or attend via Facebook Live.

Are you pregnant, breastfeeding, or the mom of a low-birth weight baby? Are you a mom diagnosed with overweight or obesity? Do you receive SNAP, WIC, or other food assistance? Then you are invited! Join Our Kitchen Table cooking coach Belinda Henderson for a cooking demo and registered dietitian Winona Bynum in conversation on you can make easy, healthy, affordable meals for your family.

• Ask Winona what foods work for you and your medical issues.
• Grow a food garden in your window or on your porch.
• Receive vouchers good at the Southeast Area Farmers Market and select retailers.
• Learn how to stretch your food budget.
• Find out how to maximize your SNAP and WIC dollars
at grocery stores and farmers markets.

Please join or donate to OKT’s #Walk4GoodFood team!

What if everyone in our community could have equal access to food that nourishes, creates good jobs, is affordable, and treats the earth well as it is produced?

We believe it’s possible. 

Please join OKT from May 7 – May 17 for the 46th Annual Walk for Good Food as we continue to work to transform our food system together. By walking, raising funds, and donating, you support Access of West Michigan plus ten local organizations working to create a Good Food System for everyone in our community! Here’s who th Walk is supporting this year:

H.O.P.E. GardensKent County Food Policy CouncilOur Kitchen TableMindset MealsNew City NeighborsSECOMUCOMThe Other Way Ministries, and Trinity United Methodist Church Community Ministries Program. 

May 7: In-Person Kick Off at Mulick Park

This year’s event will include an in-person kick-off event at Mulick Park (1632 Sylvan Ave SE, 49506) from 2 to 4pm. The event will include t-shirt pick up, light refreshments, routes for walking, and children’s activities. Stay tuned as more details will be shared in the days to come.

May 7-17: Walk in your Neighborhood

Walkers have loved engaging in the Walk by gathering in their own community or walking on their own. Members of OKT’s walk team do not have to attend the in-person event to participate.

Click here to join or donate to OKT’s Walk team. Every penny raised for or donated to our team will support the Southeast Area Farmers Market.

Clean Slate GR Expungement Program May 13

The City of Grand Rapids Office of Oversight and Public Accountability (OPA) and its community partners will host its second annual Clean Slate GR Expungement Program Saturday, May 13. The 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. event – at the Salvation Army Kroc Center, 2500 Division Ave. S, Grand Rapids, MI 49507 – welcomes guests interested in learning more about the State of Michigan’s Clean Slate process.

For those who wish to attend this event, preregistration is required. Registration is now open through April 12 at The site contains information on event expectations, expungement eligibility, benefits of attending, a participant pre-registration form and a volunteer sign-up form.

Brandon Davis, director of oversight and public accountability, said he is excited to once again host this event which last year was “amazingly successful in helping more than 500 people navigate the criminal expungement process. Those efforts gave these individuals – many for the first time – the opportunity to do things like get stable housing and find meaningful employment.

“This expungement program is one of the restorative justice efforts that OPA is implementing to advance equity and justice in our criminal justice and public safety systems. This will make a positive impact on the lives of members of our community, and that is what this work is all about. We are doing life-changing work and I am proud to do it.”

This year’s Clean Slate event will also feature a social equity job program co-sponsored by JARS Cannabis. Multiple felon-friendly employers from inside and outside of the cannabis industry will be present and prepared to offer jobs to Clean Slate participants. Those companies are hiring for various dispensary-based positions, such as budtenders, delivery drivers/curbside specialists, and packagers. JARS will also offer job readiness training to individuals interested in participating.

Michigan’s “Clean Slate” legislation, signed in 2020, allows Michiganders to expunge eligible criminal records. The law made Michigan a national leader in criminal record-sealing policy and includes an automatic expungement provision that eliminates certain crimes from personal records as of April 11, 2023. The legislation and its impacts align with commitments contained in the City’s and OPA’s strategic plans to advance equity by identifying systemic issues that cause disparate outcomes in the justice system and implementing strategies to address them.

The City’s Clean Slate GR Expungement Program will not only provide and assist those who wish to file with the State for possible expungement but will assist with skill building for job interviews, provide resume reviews and distribute information on a variety of available community resources. Agencies representing veteran services, voting rights, food pantries, substance abuse treatment, housing and shelter will partner with the City during the event.

Michigan’s Clean Slate law allows first-time offenders of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) convictions (in which no one was injured), eligible to petition for expungement five years after their probation ends. The new law also makes all misdemeanors for marijuana possession and usage eligible for expungement, impacting an estimated 240,000 people. The law expands eligibility to many people who were not previously eligible because they had more than one felony and more than two misdemeanors or unpaid court fines/fees.

The Clean Slate law allows up to three felonies to be set aside in a lifetime and places a no-lifetime limit on misdemeanors. It reduces the waiting period to three years for misdemeanors and permits applications for multiple felonies after seven years.

A person is eligible for record clearance in Michigan even if they have unpaid court-assigned fines and fees. Life offenses and felony criminal sexual conduct convictions are not eligible under Clean Slate. The new law expanded eligibility to include most drug, property, and traffic offenses.

Oversight hearings of Michigan’s utilities critical after nearly a million left in the dark again 

From the Michigan League of Conservation Voters

Outages come as DTE asks for historic rate hikes on customers, touts its record profit of $1.1 billion

With tens of thousands of Michiganders still without power following last week’s ice storm, the Michigan League of Conservation Voters is calling on legislators to swiftly conduct oversight hearings to investigate how the state’s utilities have once again failed customers.

Nearly a million people across Michigan have spent multiple days without power and the latest outage continues the state’s pattern of having the most expensive rates for the worst service.

The outages come as severe weather threatens Michigan yet again this week. DTE recently requested the largest rate hike in state history – $622 million – while reporting profits from the past year of $1.1 billion.

“The irony is lost on no one that while Michiganders shivered in their homes and tossed out medicine and food, DTE was submitting paperwork to jack up our rates yet again – because massive rate hikes, massive profits and massive campaign donations are the calling card of DTE,” said Bob Allison, deputy director for the Michigan League of Conservation Voters. “Our outdated, broken energy grid is the direct result of money flowing for years to the pockets of their CEOs versus investing in improving the service we receive. Power outages have real consequences to people’s health, and these have become too commonplace and widespread in Michigan – we have reached a tipping point.”

FACTS: A recent piece by ProPublica found DTE was shutting off service to tens of thousands of customers while the utility was among a list of recipients receiving hundreds of millions in COVID relief dollars from the federal government.

Media reports have shown that DTE didn’t pay federal taxes in 2020, with utility spokespersons saying it would ultimately trickle down into savings to customers. Two years ago, both Consumers Energy and DTE spent more than $10 million paying their CEOs. 

The Detroit News exposed that 140 out of 146 Michigan lawmakers received some kind of campaign donation from DTE or Consumers Energy, while the monopoly utilities funneled $55 million to political and civic spending.