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WOC Convening: “The Future of Healthy Food, Healthy Lifestyle, and Community”

Mary Brown currentMon. Feb. 24, 2020, 9 – 10:30 a.m.
MLK Jr. Leadership Academy 
645 Logan St. SE 49507

Unless you are a Program for Growth participant,registration is required.
RSVP to media@OKTjustice.org.

Since 2014, OKT has hosted Women of Color Convenings to bring inspiring and impactful voices of color to community with the goal of empowering our constituents to live healthier and become advocates for environmental justice and equity.

Sponsored by OKT and the Grand Rapids Singularity U Chapter, the next convening features Mary Brown, SingularityU Grand Rapids Chapter Lead, and guests from the Spectrum Health Culinary Medicine program. The program engages health care professionals and community members in the importance of food as a tool in achieving optimal health. Looking at behavior change, mindfulness, plant-based nutrition, obesity and chronic disease management, the culinary medicine team seeks to elevate the current conversation about nutrition, remove the distractions of fad diets, and focus on the hard science of a well-balanced diet.

Singularity University (SU) Grand Rapids is one of 142 chapters in 66 world locations recognized as up-and-coming technology centers. SingularityU focuses on artificial intelligence (AI) and human interactions, looking at how exponential technologies can be used for good in society.

In addition to her role at Spectrum, Brown is a researcher and futurist with experience human centered design, organization development. “We hear a lot of the doomsday predictions. Those are valid concerns but, at the same time, we are looking at how to be proactive and use technology for good,” Brown stated in a Jan. 2019 Rapid Growth Media story. “We have people who know a lot within pockets of the community. The hope is to get these people out and participating in meaningful and productive ways,” Brown says. “If it’s always about bringing the elite into the room — and not diverse people and inclusion in the space — then we defeat the purpose of how we are going to solve the problems. The people closest to the challenges are those who have the answers. Those who are in that elite status don’t have those same challenges.”

Photo courtesy Adam Bird

GRPS sustainability coordinator Program for Growth’s January speaker

trovillionOn Monday Jan. 27, Kristen Trovillion, sustainability coordinator for Grand Rapids Public Schools, shared how she is helping to green the district as well as information for making our own homes greener—and healthier. Grand Rapids is one of two districts in the state with a dedicated sustainability department. So far, she has led GRPS in the following sustainable accomplishments:

Cleaning chemicals. A district-wide inventory found that schools were using a total of 65 cleaning chemicals, many of them toxic. That number has been reduced to six safe products that are equally effective. Kristen shared that hydrogen-peroxide based cleaners kill just as many germs as bleach—and without the dangerous side effects. Did you know that exposure to bleach impacts the respiratory system? It can bring on more asthma attacks or prolong respiratory illness.

pfg 1 27Gardens. Kristen is currently making an inventory of all gardens at Grand Rapids Public schools, noting whether they are food gardens, pollinator gardens, or other kinds of gardens. This information will help the district see what goes into a successful garden and to better communicate with grounds staff, who sometimes inadvertently damage gardens during routine maintenance.

Composting. Kristen shared that 80% of GRPS waste is generated in the lunchrooms. Four or five schools are composting a little bit of that waste in the classroom with the help of local Grand Rapids’ compost company, Wormies, and some resident red worms. Eight schools are composting food waste, compostable lunch trays and napkins via a commercial company located in Zeeland. GRPS has to pay to have waste hauled to Zeeland. She is looking into introducing reusable trays at schools with dishwashers, but most schools are not set up for these.

Lawn chemicals. Overall, GRPS does not use toxic pesticides or herbicides and is switching over to organic lawn management. Kristen noted that they only use toxic herbicides or pesticides in urgent situations, e.g. with invasive species like poison ivy. When they are used, notices are posted on the school’s front doors and elsewhere.

Energy use and recycling. GRPS is in process of installing more energy efficient lighting and making best use of natural light, as healthy lighting supports learning. They are overhauling the current recycling system and will be introducing sorting stations to replace the current bins, which cause confusion and tend to disappear.

OKT will be including Kristen’s valuable input in its next revision of A Guide to Replication: Program for Growth, which will be tailored for use by GRPS in replicating the Program for Growth at other schools in the district.

GRABB & Loc Royalty LLC Small Business Saturday Pop-up

unnamedLocation: Grand Rapids Center for Community Transformation
Address: 1530 Madison Ave SE Grand Rapids, MI 49507
Date: Saturday, November 30th 2019
Time: 12:00PM – 4:00PM
GRABB & Loc Royalty LLC is partnering to bring the Official Small Business Saturday Holiday Pop-up event. This event was created to support and showcase Black businesses within our community.
You can expect to find local entrepreneurs representing a variety of products and services. Please come and share your patronage; Love Local and Shop Small! For the Kids: pictures with Black Santa and crafts!!
Small Business Saturday Pop-up Vendors:
D’s Dipped Delectables
Dream Keep It Moving
Ds Smell Good
It Works
Maiyah Mari
Momma D’ Kitchen
On Time Dumpster Rental
Robinson’s Popcorn
Savor The Flavor
Shades of Color
Shea Buttercups by TahLee
Thats Sew Me LLC
VSJ Fitness
Jazzy Jewlelz by Yolanda
Studio 824 Beauty Lounge

OKT canning workshop gets rave reviews at BUGS Conference in NYC

OKT peer-educators, Belinda Harrison and Fatima Lee, traveled with OKT’s executive director, Lisa Oliver-King, to New York City Oct. 25 to present a session at the Black Urban Growers (BUGS) conference in New York City.  Ms. Lee created the program, “Canning’s not just for Grannies: Preserving the Harvest” to share basic canning skills with conference participants.

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“Everyone appreciates you all,” emailed Sue Rock, head of a Brooklyn-based nonprofit. “What an amazing workshop — so excited to start making everything, except botulism!”

Click on the links to view  pdfs of the presentation’s PowerPoint and handout.

Post-Halloween pumpkin drive

pIs your Halloween pumpkin starting to rot on your front steps? Ridgemoor Park Montessori and Wormies Vermicompost are partnering on a pumpkin drive. 1.9 billion pounds of pumpkins are grown each year and most end up in landfills. Because of
their high water content, pumpkins in landfills contribute to groundwater contamination. When pumpkins decompose in landfills, they release methane, a harmful greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. By composting pumpkins, they’ll be transformed into a nutrient-rich fertilizer that benefits the environment, rather than harming it.

Ridgemoor Park Montessori, along with the help of their upper-elementary students, will be hosting a pumpkin drive on November 7 & 8,  learning firsthand about the composting process with an assembly. Wormies will be partnering with a few other schools in the area to collect pumpkins in early November. For information, contact
Luis Chen at luis@thewormies.com.

Creative Youth Center at the Southeast Area Farmers’ Market Saturday 11/2

Southeast Area Farmers’ Market
11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Nov. 2 & 9
LINC, Madison Ave. SE just north of Hall St.      cyc
Stock up on fresh local produce!

The Grand Rapids Creative Youth Center (CYC) will be sharing information at the Southeast Area Farmers’ Market this Saturday along with the Grand Rapids Fire Department Residential Safety Program and Grand Rapids Public Library “Storytimes.”

The CYC offers after school creative writing programming to Grand Rapids youth (1st graders-High School Seniors) at no cost to families. All programs take place at Jubilee Jobs in the Baxter Community Center. Come join the adventure! Registration for Fall 2 is now open! Fall 2 : November 11 – December 19 – 5 week (NO Class November 25-29).

In all classes students will work to write and edit content for The Book of Explosions, the CYC’s annual anthology of student writing. Students explore various genres and techniques, learning about poetry, narrative, or nonfiction. Students will have the opportunity to share their work in an informal performance at the end of the class term in the classrooms as well as being invited to share their work at an open microphone event at a local business at the end of the term.

Mondays: Afterschool Adventure – 3rd-5th grade – Book Club 4-5 pm, Creative Writing 5-6 pm – 12 total spaces

Wednesdays :

  • Afterschool Adventure – 1st & 2nd grade – Book Club 4-5, Creative Writing 5-6 – 12 total spaces
  • Amplify – Middle School, 4-6 pm at Jubilee Jobs in the Baxter Community Center – 14 total spaces
  • Craft – High School, 6:15pm-7:45pm at Jubilee Jobs in the Baxter Community Center – 10 total spaces

Contact KAIT by email: kait@creativeyouthcenter.org or by phone (616) 458-5505 for information.

The Grand Rapids Fire Department Residential Safety Program and Grand Rapids Public Library Storytime will also be visiting with patrons at the market!

Two more weeks to shop the farmers’ market!

Last chance to stock upon clean local produce for winter!

2019 calendar nnnn

On Nov. 2, three community partners will be providing information and resources:

Grand Rapids Fire Department Residential Safety Program. The RSP is a voluntary program to prevent fires. The goal is to reduce the number and severity of fires. It offers:

  • Fire safety checks
  • Free smoke alarm upgrades and installations
  • Free carbon monoxide (CO) alarm installations
  • One-on-one fire safety consultation

Grand Rapids Creative Youth Center. CYC offers after school creative writing programming to Grand Rapids youth (1st graders through high school seniors) at no cost to families.

Grand Rapids Public Library “Storytimes” Fun and educational storytimes for children ages birth – 5 years old.

 

 

Health and Resource Fair Friday, Oct. 25

Southtown Women’s Group is joining Seeds of Promise for a
Health and Resource Fair on Friday, Oct. 25 at Gerald R. Ford Academy from 5 – 8 p.m.
seeds
The event will include information about domestic violence.  “We would like to encourage everyone to join us as we tackle this very big topic that plagues our communities silently,” says Paula Collier. “We want to show our zero-tolerance stance against any violence, especially domestic violence where innocent victims are intimidated or brutally abused against their will.”

Southeast Area Farmers’ Market at LINC Saturday 10/19

Red Christmas Retail Medium Rectangle Banner (1).pngSoutheast Area Farmers’ Market
11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Saturdays

Oct. 19, Nov. 2 & 9 at
LINC parking lot, Madison Ave.
just north of Hall St. SE 49507

Oct. 26 at MLK Jr. Park,
900 Fuller Ave. SE 49506

Only four weeks remain to shop at the Southeast Area Farmers’ Market! On Saturday Oct. 19, the market meets at LINC. The harvest is abundant and it’s a great time to but fresh local veggies to freeze or can for the winter months ahead.

The Grand Rapids Creative Youth Center (CYC) will be sharing information at the Southeast Area Farmers’ Market Saturday Oct. 19 and 26. CYC offers after school creative writing programming to Grand Rapids youth (1st graders-High School Seniors) at no cost to families. All programs take place at Jubilee Jobs in the Baxter Community Center. Come join the adventure! Registration for Fall 2 is now open! Fall 2 : November 11 – December 19 – 5 week (NO Class November 25-29).

In all classes students will work to write and edit content for The Book of Explosions, the CYC’s annual anthology of student writing. Students explore various genres and techniques, learning about poetry, narrative, or nonfiction. Students will have the opportunity to share their work in an informal performance at the end of the class term in the classrooms as well as being invited to share their work at an open microphone event at a local business at the end of the term.

Mondays :

Afterschool Adventure – 3rd-5th grade – Book Club 4-5 pm, Creative Writing 5-6 pm – 12 total spaces

Wednesdays :

  • Afterschool Adventure – 1st & 2nd grade – Book Club 4-5, Creative Writing 5-6 – 12 total spaces
  • Amplify – Middle School, 4-6 pm at Jubilee Jobs in the Baxter Community Center – 14 total spaces
  • Craft – High School, 6:15pm-7:45pm at Jubilee Jobs in the Baxter Community Center – 10 total spaces

Contact KAIT by email: kait@creativeyouthcenter.org or by phone (616) 458-5505 to request.

Other community partners at the market on the 19th include the Grand Rapids Public Library Storytime program and United Healthcare with information on accessing free benefits if you have Medicare and/or Medicaid.