Urban Roots Community Market reopens Sept. 6

IMG_9769_market_wuendy.JPGUrban Roots is reopening its Community Market, 1316 Madison Ave SE, on September 6 with a celebratory event, 12 to 1:30 p.m. Thursday Sept 6. The market, which offers healthy, affordable, local  produce and whole foods will be open for business 12 to 7 p.m. every  Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

Urban Roots is a non­profit 501(c)3 community farm, market, and education center in the Madison Community. Working with students of all ages across Grand Rapids, its mission is to cultivate durable and resilient families, communities, and ecosystems through urban agriculture. For information, visit


Growing food and eating healthy at MLK Jr. school 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

OKT’s Program for Growth at Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Academy , in collaboration with Grand Rapids Public Schools, challenges students and their families to eat healthy through growing food and learning to cook more nutritious meals. Way to go MLK!


artvanHelp OKT win $50,000 by donating to its CrowdRise campaign

OKT has joined the Art Van Charity Challenge 2018, a fundraising competition on CrowdRise, the largest crowdfunding platform for good.

To help OKT reach its $1000 goal click here.

The Art Van Charity Challenge 2018 focuses on organizations committed to women, children and human services in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa and St. Louis.  Participating organizations will compete for $305,000 in prize money. We’ve joined the challenge on CrowdRise in hopes of raising money to support the Southeast Area Farmers’ Market.

Taking place 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Saturdays at MLK Jr. Park, 900 Fuller Ave. SE July 7 through November 10, the Southeast Area Farmers’ Market provides a wide variety of local produce, cottage kitchen foods, personal care items, crafts and ready-to-eat foods. Our vendors are primarily women of color, home growers and residents of OKT’s targeted neighborhoods. In addition to providing access to healthy food, the market hosts meal preparation activities, workshops and guests from community organizations.

We welcome Bridge Card, SNAP, Double Up Food Bucks, WIC and many other assistance and coupon programs. How the Double Up Food Bucks Program Works 
The Art Van Charity Challenge 2018 launched on CrowdRise on Tuesday, May 1st, 2018 at 12pm ET and runs through Tuesday, May 22nd, 2018 at 1:59:59pm ET. The top 5 Tier 2 teams that raise the most during the Challenge will win…

1st Place receives $50,000
2nd Place receives $25,000
3rd place receives $10,000
​4th place receives $10,000
5th place receives $10,000

CrowdRise Challenges are innovative fundraising competitions for charitable organizations designed to build capacity, create massive engagement and leverage, and use the power of the crowd to provide new meaningful funding streams for organizations in every sector.



OKT garden coaches attend “Sharing Garden” training

Gardening classThree garden coaches overseeing Our Kitchen Table’s food gardens at Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Academy made time out of their busy schedules to attend a full-day garden training, “The Sharing Garden,” hosted by Urban Roots at Blandford Nature Center.

Lee, Belinda and Octavius joined a room full of participants from many local community gardens, including Dwelling Place Inc., several church-based gardens, and others seeking to grow healthier foods for neighbors with limited access to them.

Topics included how to get community more involved, choosing vegetables that people want to eat, getting the soil ready, garden planning, and planting instruction. OKT’s garden coaches will bring their own experience as food growers to MLK’s students and families as well as the information they learned at the training. Each is deeply dedicated to making the garden work for the MLK community of families and neighbors.

OKT is blessed to have such knowledgeable, dedicated staff on its team. Grow justice!


3 22 postThe 41st Annual Access Walk for Good Food supports The Southeast Area Farmers’ Market as well as these local agencies which strive to bring healthier food to our income-challenged neighbors:

Urban Roots, New City Neighbors, Asian Community Outreach, Baxter Community Center, East Paris Food Pantry, Heartside Gleaning Initiative, Hope Farms, Meals on Wheels Western Michigan, North End Community Ministry, United Methodist Community House, Plainsong Farm, SECOM Resource Center, The Pantry, Community Ministry Program (Trinity UMC), United Church Outreach Ministry, Westminster Food Pantry, HQ GR, St. Marks and Access of West Michigan.

Please take a minute, click on the links, and learn about the work being done here in the Greater Grand Rapids Area. Then, Ssign up to walk or donate today! Look for Team: Our Kitchen Table!

Say No Natural Gas in Dearborn, Michigan

By the Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition

Michigan Department of Environmental Quality permit hearing
5:30 p.m., Tuesday, March 27 at Edsel Ford High School
(Last day that MDEQ is accepting public comment for this permit.)
Can’t attend?
Sign on to the Great Lakes Environmental Law Center comments to the MDEQ.

cropped-mejc_logo_colorMichigan is at a crossroads in the decision to rapidly expand Natural Gas, phasing out coal, and Dearborn Michigan is in the crosshairs.  Approximately two months ago, over 300 people showed up at a Michigan Department of Environmental Quality hearing to tell Consumers Energy that a new natural gas plant in South Dearborn would negatively impact the community’s health. The new plant was unwanted and unwelcome. The following week, the company rescinded that proposal.

On Tuesday, March 20, residents gathered again in Dearborn to learn about yet another proposed natural gas plant, this time by DTE Energy. Located at the Ford Research and Engineering Facility, the gas plant would be within a one mile radius of five schools and Beaumont Hospital. At the hearing, public health scholar Dr. Amy Schulz from the University of Michigan School of Public Health explained that South Dearborn and West Dearborn are already overburdened by air pollution, putting vulnerable populations including children, pregnant mothers and their unborn children at risk. Some of the air pollutants that will be coming out of the DTE natural gas facility would exacerbate illnesses like lung disease, increase cardiovascular risks and in some cases contribute to increases in cancer rates and lead to death.


What we also learned at that event from attorney Nicholas Leonard at the Great Lakes Lakes Environmental Law Center, is the permit put forward by DTE to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality leaves much to be desired. Many serious questions are left unanswered including:

Are all of the pollution calculations that DTE Energy used to estimate emissions coming from their smokestack accounted for?

Is the company using the best technology to mitigate the pollution coming out of the smokestacks? From Leonard’s estimations, the company did not include spikes in pollution emissions caused during start up and shut down of the facility which may happen 136 times annually.

Further, his research resulted in finding that the exact same type of facilities in California and Massachusetts have used technology that has reduced pollution by significantly greater amounts. DTE  has failed to include this improved technology as options here in Michigan. It should be investigating and incorporating them for the best protections of a community already overburdened by pollution. The company is also not including continuous monitoring of pollution, making residents and advocates using guess work as towhat happens in between periodic emissions testing.

But the larger question remains, when will Michigan residents have a fair chance to give input into what kind of energy Michigan actually deserves– cheaper, cleaner, renewable energy. MDEQ gives us just 40 days – basically the time one has to pay a phone or a cable bill- to respond to a permit for a facility that may be running for 30 years or more. We need the time to iterate that Michigan needs solar panels and wind farms, not more dirty energy that results in volatile costs for consumers, climate causing methane emissions, or an increased mortality – not only of the people that live around it and the workers of the plants – but by the natural systems that depend on the environment from the extraction point to the smokestack. Because even the best technology of today will be old and outdated tomorrow, and we’re literally sick of and from dirty energy.

The public should question the rush to natural gas. Michiganders deserve a say about what kinds of energy our Great Lakes State is producing because, frankly, we don’t have a choice whether to breathe or not. MDEQ has a decision to make that will impact the health of our children, families, and communities, the workers and the economy.