African American Arts & Music Celebration BIPOC Pop-up downtown Sept. 17

10AM – 6PM Saturday, September 17
Downtown Grand Rapids:Oakes St. SW outside of Studio Park Piazza and Alligator Alley alongside Van Andel Arena.

The Grand Rapids Kent County Convention Arena Authority’s Community Inclusion Group (CAA-CIG) is organizing a BIPOC Pop Up Shop as part of the Grand Rapids African American Art and Music Festival and ArtPrize.

The BIPOC Pop Up Shop will give diverse vendors an opportunity to sell their wares to thousands of residents and visitors coming downtown for the festival and ArtPrize. This is an incredible opportunity to grow your brand your business in Grand Rapids and beyond! Organizers are hoping to showcase a diverse array of products made West Michigan by BIPOC entrepreneursFor information, contact Britney Sylvester or (616)427-8934.

Want to join as a vendor? Click on one of the links below.

Merchandise/Goods Vendors

Food Vendors

GRFD announces Fire Cadet Program

The program is projected to provide a resource to “grow its own” and to diversify the hiring pool.

The Grand Rapids Fire Department’s (GRFD) Fire Cadet Program provides a path for community youth to discover what it takes to be a firefighter. The City Commission approved the program, vetted by the Civil Service Board, for up to six part-time paid internships.

Cadets will work 16 to 20 hours a week providing general assistance to the fire department in administration, station maintenance, and special projects. Cadets will receive fire training, Medical First Responder training, and the opportunity to interact with top-notch firefighters, as well as the community. 

GRFD recognized a need to provide a program that provides a direct, equitable, and accessible introduction to firefighting as a profession and public safety career. GRFD is an all-hazard response team that requires constant training to protect its community.

The program is designed as an up to one-year long curriculum with the fire department, and it is projected to provide a resource to “grow its own” and to diversify the hiring pool.


Graduation from high school or GED 

18+ years of age 

Possession of a valid driver’s license

More information and the application materials are available here. You can also contact the City of Grand Rapids’ Human Resources Department at (616) 456-3176.

WGVU “The Michigan Experience” features OKT

The Michigan Experience takes a look at Our Kitchen Table, a food and social justice organization located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Hear from one of our food coaches as they explain all of the wonderful and impactful benefits of growing a garden right at home! Part of WGVU’s ‘MI (my) American Recipe’ program! #MiRecipe

Screen Before School!

Protect your child from the risk of lead poisoning by signing up for a home screening today at

Kent County has the second highest number of children (330 children) who tested positive for Elevated Blood Lead Levels in the State of Michigan, with 49503, 49504, and 49507 being our hardest hit zip codes. It is important to know the signs to look for lead in your home.

Lead in the home is a silent and prevalent danger in Kent County. The numbers are staggering. According to Kent County’s Lead Taskforce, this is a county-wide issue. Four out of every five homes in Grand Rapids were built before 1978, the year lead paint was banned. Homes with exposed lead-based paint – whether on an interior surface or paint that has chipped from exterior surfaces – pose possible health risks to children. We also understand the disparities with this issue, as households in the city ZIP codes of 49507, 49504, or 49503 are particularly affected.

According to the Lead Task Force, two out of every three children in Kent County with elevated blood-lead levels live in these three zip codes. The fallout of lead poising in young children is often long-term, especially if the issue is not identified early. There is no known safe blood lead concentration. Exposure to low amounts may be undetectable but a cause of irreversible neurological, developmental, and long-term health issues. As lead exposure increases, the range and seriousness of symptoms and effects also increase – children may be left with severe intellectual disability and behavioral disorders for the remainder of their lives.

Early identification and remediation are key to preventing lead exposure and ensuring all children in Kent County have the full opportunity for long-term health and success. First Steps Kent is proud of Healthy Home Coalition’s proactive efforts to identify homes with potential lead and environmental health risks and how they support families in learning how to reduce or remediate homes with such risksOur team is enthusiastic about Screen Before School because we wholeheartedly believe that every child, regardless of race or economic status, deserves to grow up in a safe and healthy home.

Screen your home for health hazards before school starts!

Every family in Kent County deserves to grow up in safe healthy homes. But too many families are living in homes where they are at risk of health hazards, due to lead poisoning, asthma triggers, or preventable accidents.

As you prepare your kids to go back to school this fall, you will want to get your home ready too. Contact the Healthy Homes team at (616) 500-0488 or sign up for a free home screening.

Most lead poisoning in Kent County results from lead paint hazards, so preventing lead poisoning requires removing those risks. In 1978, lead paint was banned in new homes, but the homeowners of these older houses were never informed or given the resources to correct the problem.

Asthma is incurable, but it can be controlled. Get your home screened for asthma triggers to improve your indoor air quality and reduce the chances of asthma attacks in your home. Protect your family from the risks of asthma by signing up for a home screening.

Grand Rapids has an aging housing stock that remains unregulated due to structural discrimination. Healthy Homes wants to advocate for you and your family.

Healthy Homes works with families to identify potential home environmental hazards and address them through education, navigation services, and advocacy.

Feed the Block community mobile food distribution on August 26

Samika Douglas, a resident of the community, in partnership with LINC UP, will host Feed the Block, a community mobile food distribution event on August 26, 2022. Families will be provided with food, PPE, and other vital resources that they haven’t had access to because of the challenges created by COVID-19. The food and resources will be able distributed in a drive-thru/contactless pick up. Feed The Block will be a fun and uplifting event that will gather between 150-300 community members to build relationships in the southeast neighborhoods of Grand Rapids and connect neighbors to the many resources available tothem. Some of the resources that will be available are connected to housing security, mental and physical health, and COVID-19 education and awareness. Spanish flyer below.

This month’s market dates:  August 6 and 20

The Southeast Area Farmers Market is off to a great start. New for 2022! Hot food and coffee vendors, fresh produce from the South East Market, natural body care items and more! The market meets from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. at Martin Luther King Jr. Park, 900 Fuller Ave SE 49506.

Family Futures and the Grand Rapids Food Coop Initiative will be sharing resources on August 6. On August 20, learn about extending your food garden into the fall. View the full market flyer here.

Family Futures sharing resources at farmers market Aug. 6

Southeast Area Farmers Market, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Saturday July 6, MLK Jr. Park

Family Futures is a nonprofit that works to create communities in which all children achieve their full potential. They do that by supporting children and strengthening families. Their programs, Connections and Healthy Families Kent County, focus on children under age five. They work with parents to understand their children’s development, support them every step of the way, and connect them to resources when needed. When we all set up children and families for success, communities thrive!

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