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.

Forum with three Chief of GRPD finalists Thursday June 12


Lansing Police Chief Michael Yankowski (l), retired Pittsburgh Assistant Police Chief Larry Scirotto (c) and Grand Rapids Deputy Police Chief Eric Payne (r). Image from City of Grand Rapids

Your voice is important in our community! Make it heard! City Manager, Mark Washington will be holding a forum with the three finalists that are in the running to be the next Chief of the Grand Rapids Police Department at Cesar Chavez Elementary, 1205 Grandville Ave SW, from 6:30pm–8:30pm on Thursday June 12th.

Use your voice to help ensure that the final choice for Police Chief will increase transparency,  make changes to increase police accountability, further implement opportunities for civilian oversight, and foster a culture within the GRPD that understands the needs and concerns of ALL members of our community.
Please come out tomorrow and make your voice and concerns heard.

Women of Color Convening Series: May 16, wsg Remi Harrington

WOC May 16 2019 Twitter Image“Building collective consciousness about what local foods can mean to us as a people”

 OKT and co-sponsor, Access of West Michigan, are excited to bring activist, farmer and educator, Remi Harrington, to Grand Rapids as part of OKT’s 2019 Women of Color Convening series. The FREE event takes place May 16  at Sherman Street Church, lower level, from 6 to 8 p.m. The event will kick-off with a food demo and sampling featuring bulk whole foods from OKT’s Collective Whole Foods Purchasing Group.

In Kalamazoo, Harrington grows food at her own urban community farm, “Tegan’s Hopeful Storybook Garden,” and empowers others to plant their own urban food gardens through her work as community farms coordinator for Kalamazoo Valley Community College Food Innovation Center. She has a vision for local urban farmers becoming a mainstay in Kalamazoo’s local food economy. At the convening, Harrington will lead the dialogue about “Building collective consciousness about what local foods can mean to us as a people.”

“If we can create a collective consciousness about what local foods can mean to us as a people … being really intentional about what we want to put in our bodies, biodynamic agriculture, eating seasonally and locally, that would create wellness, that would create health, that would create community, that would rebuild us as a people group,” stated Harrington in a December 2018 Second Wave Media feature. “That would bring peace and love and trust and that whole granola stuff. The case is good for business all around, not just for black folks, but for all of us.”

The work of Access of West Michigan’s Good Food Systems Initiative aims to address food access, health, and justice in our local food system. We believe that the values of a Good Food system create a thriving community for all. The collaborative solutions and programs that Access facilitates equip community partners, invest in our local food economy, grow health, and convene food and faith conversations.


We need 20 more walkers for our team!


Please join us Sunday for Annual Access Walk for Good Food. This community-wide event brings together several hundred walkers to raise awareness and funds for local and international non-profit organizations working to create food secure communities — including the Southeast Area Farmers’ Market.

You can sign up today! It’s easy! Click here to sign up directly on the Access West Michigan website. Or, email and ask us to register you.

For information,