Please support the Walk for Good Food! 

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As food pantries across the nation begin to look at root causes of hunger and under-nutrition, they are beginning to address the injustices in the food system that make food charity a necessity. Access of West Michigan has been on the leading edge of this movement, as is reflected in the new name they’ve given their annual fund-raising walk, The Walk for Good Food.

Please support the Walk for Good Food! The Southeast Area Farmers’ Market is one of the recipients of Walk funds — and OKT manages the market! Open from the first Saturday in July to the second Saturday in November at Grand Rapids’ Martin Luther King Jr. Park, our market ‘s vendors are primarily women of color from Grand Rapids’ Southeast neighborhoods. Most of our sales are completed with food assistance dollars. Because the market takes part in the Double Up Food Bucks program,  our patrons using SNAP benefits can purchase twice as much fresh, local produce. This means that our neighbors with income challenges can feed their households even more nutritious food –even though they live in neighborhoods that otherwise have very limited access to healthy foods.

When you support the walk you support the market. Sign up today to join the OKT walk team or pledge your support through an online donation. OKT also seeks corporate donors to be our sponsors for the event. Download the corporate sponsor packet here.


Oakdale Community Garden seeking garden stewards

oakOakdale Gardens Park, corner of Evergreen St SE and Marshall Ave SE, near River City Scholars Charter Academy, reserves some beds as sharing gardens that anyone may harvest from. They are looking for one or more people who’d like to take charge of the herb bed and flower bed.

While both beds have a mix of perennials and self-seeding annuals,  the new stewards would be free to redesign the plantings and add signage.

Priorities are to grow herbs that people can use for cooking, tea, or medicinally, and flowers that people can use for cut flowers or flower crafts. The stewards can work in the beds whenever their schedules permit Oakdale Gardens Park during, and may enjoy joining one of the posted weekly gathering times. For information, email and

OKT tabling at Women & the Environment Service Fair

Artboard-Copy-3-845x321The Women and the Environment  Service Fair hosts dozens of non-profits at Linc Up, 1167 Madison Ave. SE, Saturday Feb. 24 from 10 a.m. to  1 p.m.  Community organizations, including OKT,  will be looking for people like you to step up and volunteer to protect our community.

The 7th Annual Women and the Environment Symposium will be spread across the community from February 19th through February 27th. Events will highlight various aspects of how women advocate for themselves, for others, and for the environment. The event will culminate with our keynote speaker and awards reception on February 27th.

This year’s multi-day symposium will deliver inspiring social and learning opportunities throughout Grand Rapids, raise awareness towards actionable environmental issues in the community, bring together a wide-ranging network of women, as well as provide connections and resources for civic engagement. Hundreds of women and men participate annually.

The Women and Environment Symposium will include:

  • A networking night
  • An advocacy workshop with skills development
  • A community organization service fair featuring local nonprofits
  • An environmental justice film with a panel discussion
  • Culminating with a keynote lecture and reception with Peggy Shepard, co-founder and executive director of WE ACT for Environmental Justice, at Grand Valley State University Charles W. Loosemore Auditorium

SPLC reports rise in hate groups for third year in a row

unnamedThe Southern Poverty Law Center  yearly report on the state of extremism in America has found that the number of hate groups grew for a third straight year in 2017.  SPLC believes that white supremacists were energized by the Trump presidency and black nationalist groups rose in response.

SPLC has identified 954 hate groups — a 4 percent increase.You can find out where these hate groups are on their Hate Map.

According to the SPLC, the radical right started 2017 on a roll, with allies in the White House. But then came Charlottesville, and white supremacists faced a backlash. Still, they report that Trump’s rhetoric and the country’s changing demographics continue to energize them.

Here are the highlights:

  • For the first time since 2009, hate groups were found in all 50 states.
  • Neo-Nazi groups were up 22 percent, from 99 to 121.
  • Anti-Muslim groups rose for a third straight year. After tripling in 2016, they added 13 more chapters last year and now have 114.
  • Black nationalist groups expanded from 193 to 233 chapters in reaction to Trump and the rising white supremacist movement.

You can read the full report here.

Partners for a Racism-Free Community announces 2018 conference

unnamed (3).pngPartners for a Racism-Free Community hosts its 2018 conference, Standing at the Intersection, noon to 6 p.m. March 5 at DeVos Place. The conference will focus on intersectionality and how racial bias often intersects with other aspects of an individual’s identity that can be marginalized- such as gender, sexuality, ability, religion and so forth- even within spaces they identify with.

Intersectionality is a term coined by scholar Kimberle Crenshaw as a way to help explain the oppression of African-American women. FORUM 2018 will aim to center the voices of intersectionality and will feature organizers, educators, and leaders from within the Grand Rapids community.

unnamed (4)Keynote speaker, Charlene Carruthers, is a young social justice activist from Chicago who focuses on Intersectionality. Ms. Carruthers’ career in justice advocacy spans over ten years, working with some high-profile activist organizations including Color of Change and Women’s Media Center. She was an integral member in the creation of the Black Youth Project 100, and has served as National Director or National Coordinator since the organization’s founding in 2013.

Tickets available now! Take advantage of the Early Bird Special by purchasing your tickets before February 15th. Group Pricing is available for groups of 5 and 10. Student Pricing is available at a discounted rate.

Purchase Early Bird tickets      Visit Facebook Event page