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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

GEN Z VOTES: A GENERATION TO LOOK UP TO

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 www.michigan.gov 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

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

friends

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.

 

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.

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.

Cherry Health to host virtual “Shifting from Moment to Movement” discussion on Juneteenth

generic-cherry-health-heart-of-the-city-health-centerCherry Health will host a virtual panel discussion on Juneteenth titled, “Shifting from Moment to Movement.” The livestream event, which will feature local leaders and change agents, is focused on continuing the conversation around the Black Lives Matter movement, policing and policy changes, and organizational diversity and inclusion, with the goal of providing perspective on moving beyond the inequities in our community to turn this moment into a movement.

WHAT:           ‘Shifting from Moment to Movement’ Virtual Panel Discussion

WHEN:          2 p.m., Friday, June 19, 2020

 WHERE:        Visit Cherry Health’s Facebook page to access the livestream:

WHO: 

Moderator Tasha Blackmon – President and CEO, Cherry Health
Panelists

  • Micah Foster – Executive Director, Grand Rapids African American Institute
  • Graci Harkema – President and CEO, Graci LLC
  • Joe Jones – President and CEO, Urban League of West Michigan
  • Michelle LaJoye-Young – Kent County Sheriff
  • Tessa K. Muir – President, Junior League of Grand Rapids

Local bakery raising funds for OKT via Worldwide Virtual Bake Sale through June 20

BARFIELD & FIRE WORLDWIDE VIRTUAL BAKE SALE
The 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.
BLM_CookieKibler shares that she and her family have been moved by the renewed movement for Black Lives Matter and want to do more to help fight racism.
So, they decided to join  Baker’s Against Racism, a global group sponsoring a Worldwide Virtual Bake Sale to support Black Lives Matter from June 15 through 20. Field & Fire decided to donate the funds they raise to OKT.
“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 through BLM_Breadfood. We’ve been pushing healthy eating for the last seven years, and it’s time to push it in a new direction.”
Grand Rapids area folks can place an order online for field & Fire’s BLM Sugar Cookies for pick up at either of the eatery’s locations, the bakery in the Downtown Market or the cafe on Monroe.
THANK YOU JULIE and
FIELD & FIRE BAKERY & CAFE!

Team OKT claims success in virtual #Walk4GoodFood2020

It’s not to late to donate to Team OKT! Click here!

Doris Johnson and her grandchildren completing the #Walk4GoodFood2020

For the past 42 years, hunderds of folks from all over the greater Grand Rapids area have walked annually to raise funds to help those with income challenges to access healthy food. Access of West Michigan did not let COVID-19 sideline the tradition. Instead of gathering walkers for one walk downtown, the #Walk4GoodFood2020 was completed by individuals and family groups who walked following social distancing guidelines during their own chosen times between May 3 and May 13.

Our Kitchen Table’s team included 29 team members. A special shout out to our Program for Growth participants who joined up!  Team OKT met its fundraising goals. In addition, corporate sponsor, Edenz, donated $500.

As a #Walk4GoodFood recipient agency, OKT will use funds received to help support its Southeast Area Farmers’ Market.