Free “Know Your Rights” event planned for immigrants at Wyoming West Elementary


Tuesday, May 23, 2017 at 6:00 PM ~ Martes, 23 de Mayo de 2017 a las 6:00PM
West Elementary Cafeteria, 1840 38th St SW, Wyoming, MI 49519 ~
Cafetería de la escuela primaria West

Light refreshments and childcare will be provided ~ Se ofrecerán refrescos ligeros y cuidado de niños

Wyoming’s West Elementary in partnership with KSSN presents: Information for the Community. Is it difficult for you to understand your legal rights? Don’t know who to consult? Receive answers to these questions and more from professionals in our community!

Escuela Primaria West en asociación con KSSN presenta: Información para la Comunida. ¿Se le hace difícil comprender sus derechos legales? ¿No sabe con quién consultar? ¡Reciba respuestas a estas preguntas y más de profesionales de nuestra comunidad!



  • Alexandra Gillett, Attorney from Justice For Our Neighbors ~Abogada de Justicia Para Nuestros Vecinos (JFON)
  • Ana Raquel Devereaux, Attorney from Michigan Immigrant Rights Center ~Abogada de Centro de los Derechos de Inmigrantes (MIRC)
  • Olga Martinez, Hispanic Center of West Michigan ~Centro Hispano de Oeste de Michigan
  • Elisa Pérez-Arellano, Community Social Worker ~Trabajadora Social Comunitario

For information, contact Erika VanDyke (KSSN Coordinator) call/text 616-648-6079 or Ruth Rolff (EL Teacher) at 616-530-7533 ext.4615.

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!

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


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

Walk with the OKT Hunger Walk Team!

hw-logo-2-02-1024x512We need 25 walkers for
our team!


OKT invites you to participate in the 40thAnnual Access Hunger Walk, May 7, 2017. This community-wide event brings together several hundred walkers to raise awareness and funds for 20 local and international non-profit organizations working to create food secure communities — including the Southeast Area Farmers’ Market.


OKT and friends, 2016 Hunger Walk

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, visit

Food Policy for Food Justice: Animal Rights

This is the eleventh in a series of weekly posts highlighting OKT’s Food Justice series. You can download series handouts here for free.

cows-skipping“A measure of a society can be how well its people treat its animals.”
— Mahatmas Ghandi

Among the many unethical practices that comprise the current industrial food system, the brutalization of livestock animals is an ever present atrocity. During our trips to the supermarket, we rarely consider the price animals pay so that the food industry can profit. This is not a judgment on the grocery-buying public. The industry has manipulated our spending habits with messaging that convinces us that not only are the cows happy, but eating fast-foods, junk foods and convenience foods will bring us happiness, as well.

The CAFO: Concentrated Animal Feed Operation. In 2011, factory farms raised 99.9% of our chickens for meat, 97% of laying hens, 99% of turkeys, 95% of pigs and 78%  of cattle sold in the US. Industrial agriculture is one of the biggest contributors to global climate change; CAFOs are a major factor. According to Sierra Club of Michigan, “CAFOs produce huge amounts of animal sewage and other pollutants. CAFO owners and operators spend millions of dollars on technologies that make it possible to produce massive quantities of milk, eggs, and meat, yet they resist investing in technologies and practices to proper


View this 4-minute animated film to about CAFOs. Also check out The Meatrix 2 and The Meatrix Relaunched.

ly treat the wastes that are by-products of this industry … The sheer amount of wastes produced … often overwhelms the ability of the land and crops to absorb CAFO wastes.” 


Animals raised inhumanely provide meat, milk and eggs that are less nutritious and even harmful. When cattle graze freely on grass rather than eating grains in CAFOs, the meat has less fat and more heart-healthy nutrients that can reduce heart disease and cancer. Eggs from free-range chickens offer similar benefits. (Beware the term “cage-free.” This is not free-range.)

When it comes to milk and cheese, cows who ingest hormones and antibiotics pass these along to the consumer. The growth hormones found in milk are one factor in girls reaching puberty at a younger age. (Others include pesticides in produce, obesity and phthalates in plastics and cosmetics.) CAFO’s overuse of antibiotics contributes to the rise of deadly, drug resistant bacteria.

Livestock animals on CAFOs suffer terribly. Crammed together by the thousands, shoulder to shoulder, in pens that don’t allow them to move, they endure excruciating pain, debilitating illness and absolutely no opportunity to enjoy what was once every animal’s birthright: sunshine, fresh air and socializing with others of its kind. Mother animals are not even allowed to instinctively care for their suckling young.

Pigs grazing on the grass field.Hormones that increase milk production cause dairy cows to live every day in pain as they are over-engorged with milk. Growth hormones cause chickens to put meat on so rapidly that their bones break because they cannot support their own weight. Until the FDA intervened in 2015, US poultry factories routinely fed their birds arsenic-based drugs to promote weight gain. Because much of our chicken comes from China (and origin labeling is not required), it’s difficult to know if it contains arsenic.

How can you stand for livestock animal rights? OKT offers these options for reducing the pain, misery, pollution and disease caused by the industrial food system’s inhumane treatment of animals.

  • Consider a vegetarian diet. Another option, the pescatarian diet includes fish (avoid CAFO fish farmed fish). Pregnant women need 80 to 100 grams of protein a day so a vegan diet may not be advisable. OKT does not endorse “lab meats” being developed as we believe these Franken-foods may be shown to be harmful. Check out chef Bryant Terry’s cookbook, Afro-Vegan.
  • Buy meat, milk, cheese and eggs that have been humanely produced. Local sources of free-range meat, milk and eggs are your best bet. These products will cost more so eat a little less. Add more fruits and vegetables to your plate – and be healthier for it.
  • Reduce meat consumption. The food industry has brain-washed us into thinking meat makes the meal. Our bodies do not need large amounts of meat – or meat every day. Eat legumes for protein, e.g. refried beans, hummus, black eyed peas, peanut butter.  If possible, ask your mothers and grandmothers how they ate before the ‘60s and ‘70s. They most likely have a long list of meatless meals.
  • Use cosmetics labeled “Cruelty Free/Not Tested on Animals.”
  • Join the Food Justice Movement. Learn about the issues. Get involved with local groups making a difference. Let your commissioners, representatives and senators know how you feel about CAFOs, product testing on animals and other food justice issues. Help OKT build a just and sustainable  alternative to the current food system.


Food Policy for Food Justice: Food Justice & GMOS

This is the seventh  in a series of weekly posts highlighting OKT’s Food Justice series. You can download series handouts here for free.

gmosGenetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are deeply entrenched in our current food system. Most of us don’t even know when we are eating something that contains GMOs. So what is the big deal? And what do GMOs have to do with food justice? The corporations behind the development and proliferation of GMOs would certainly like us to quit asking questions. Since Our Kitchen Table is a food justice organization, it’s our mission to ask such questions.

GMOs are plants or animals created through the gene splicing techniques of biotechnology. This experimental technology merges DNA from different species, creating unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacterial and viral genes that cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding.

GMOs are part of the current food system in a big way, as reflected by the above info-graphic. And, they are something that the public has had little or no say in. Genetically modified organisms cause numerous problems.

Since most GMOs are not fully tested, we don’t fully understand their impact on human health over a long period of time. According to sources like the Organic Consumers Association,

GMOs have been linked to:

  • Thousands of toxic and allergenic reactions.
  • Thousands of sick, sterile and dead livestock.
  • Damage to virtually every organ and system studied in lab animals.
  • Increased likelihood of allergies.
  • Damage of the immune system.
  • Damage of the liver.

The growth of GMO plants causes genetic pollution when GMO plants infect the DNA strain of non-GMO plants. This contamination may pose public health threats by creating “super weeds” that require greater amounts of more toxic pesticides to manage; threaten extinction of rare plants and their weedy relatives that we need for crop and plant bio-diversity. These weeds are not only the traditional relatives of our domesticated plants; they also assist us in overcoming crop blight.

GMO plants and seeds create huge problems for small farmers if, through naturally occurring cross-pollination, GMOs being used at neighboring farms contaminate their plants. Farmers save seeds from their crops to save money and rely on proven seed stock. When their seeds show evidence of containing the GMO’s DNA, the current US legal system allows companies like Monsanto to sue the farmers unless they pay royalties. Seems unjust doesn’t it? Well, it is unjust. However, since agribusiness entities have lots of influence with the political system, the courts often rule in their favor, leaving both small farmers and the public on the losing side.

nongmo-logoThe good news is that an international movement to ban GMOs is gaining ground. Several dozen countries have already banned the use of GMOs; more countries are moving in that direction. Our Kitchen Table supports banning GMOs in favor of biodiversity. The more biological diverse our diet is, the better off we will be. We also support transparency on the GMO issue. Most of us are eating GMO foods right now and don’t even know it. In the US, food labels do not have list GMOs. Many states are attempting to pass legislation to require that GMOs are labeled, but the agribusiness sector is spending billions to defeat such efforts.

Our Kitchen Table practices food justice that rejects the use and proliferation of GMOs by:

  • Providing heirloom seeds and plants to families involved in our home gardening program.
  • Ensuring that our Southeast Area Farmer’s Market vendors sell only non-GMO produce.
  • Working on public policy issues that promote greater transparency and justice in our food system.