OKT represented at Neighborhood Summit

3OKT’s executive director, Lisa Oliver-King, took part as a panelist and presenter in two City of Grand Rapids Neighborhood Summit workshops on March 7, one on environmental justice and another on urban agriculture. The 2020 summit theme was “Growing Justice and Community.” For the event, OKT created an updated version of the guide developed with the City in 2019, “Growing Community, Justice, & Food.”

This guide covers how to grow food gardens, with tips on selecting plants and seeds, choosing a garden spot, planning a planting schedule, watering, dealing with Growing Community, Justice and Food 3-4-20pests, and saving seeds for next year and neighbors. Updates addressed how to compost healthy soil, air quality and foods that reduce asthma and allergies, and the importance of trees. In addition, the new version highlighted Grand Rapids Public Schools sustainability initiatives.

You can view and download “Growing Community, Justice and Food” here.

Dr. Kristi Artz and Mary Brown inspired new ways of looking at the Future of Food

WOC2Kristi Artz, MD, CCMS, with the Spectrum Health Culinary Medicine, and Mary Brown, Lead, Learning & Development Consultant Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) at Spectrum Health, led an interesting discussion at OKT’s Feb. 24 Women of Color Convening, which was sponsored by OKT and the Singularity University (SU) Grand Rapids.

WOC1Brown, a futurist, shared the role that artificial intelligence such as drones could play on farms of the future, how scientists are working to create food equivalents in the lab, and how we might be looking to alternative sources for protein in the future, for examples insects.

Dr. Artz shared the role that whole plant-based foods play in building good health. She began by citing the shortfalls of the Standard American Diet (SAD), which ignores nutritiousWOC4 fruits and vegetables in favor of high calorie, low fiber foods that promote chronic diseases including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and obesity. These foods can also impact mental health and make us more vulnerable to common  maladies like the flu and colds.

Eating a whole food diet that is based on lots of fruits and vegetables can prevent and sometimes reverse both chronic and acute health problems and address inflammation that underlies many of these issues.

Dr. Artz shared electronic copies of her presentation as well as many reccipes. If you’d like an electronic copy of these, email media@OKTjustice.org.

Plainsong Farm offering Christian-based Young Adult Farm Fellowship

Screen-Shot-2019-10-03-at-1.52.51-PMPlainsong Farm Young Adult Fellowship
Rockford, Michigan
May 31, 2020 – August 15, 2020

Plainsong Farm is located in Rockford, Michigan, with a mission of restoring lost
connections between people, places and God. The Young Adult Fellowship residential
program is designed for young adults aged 25 to 31 who are seeking to explore the
intersection of regenerative agriculture, Christian spirituality, justice and their personal
vocations.
The farm itself is a 12-acre, historic, small-scale organic practice farm just outside
Grand Rapids in West Michigan, on the ancestral lands of the Anishinabe people. The
Fellowship program combines field work, reading, discussion, and independent,
self-directed projects that support Plainsong Farm’s mission. It is both immersive and
experiential, with the goal of equipping Fellows to become future leaders in the
re-integration of Christianity and the care of Creation.
Over an 11-week session, Plainsong Fellows will experience:
● A balanced life of prayer, study and work rooted in Benedictine spirituality
● Immersion in regenerative agriculture and contemplative practice for health and
healing
● Contextual analysis of power, possession, people, and place, both in history and
today
● Life in community with one another and the various communities of Plainsong
Farm
● Mentoring in clarifying, goal setting, and completing a personal project
Applications are now being accepted for the 2020 Plainsong Fellowship cohort.
For more information, contact hello@plainsongfarm.com or visit:
http://www.plainsongfarm.com/2020-summer-young-adult-fellowship/.

RSVP today!“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

Tell the Michigan Public Service Commission to make DTE work for us!

MsMargaret01_1200-1Reposted from the MEJC

The Work For Me, DTE! campaign is working for health, affordability, and democracy in Detroit and throughout southeast Michigan.

The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) is supposed to be our watchdog making sure DTE treats us ratepayers fairly. The MPSC is currently considering DTE’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP). DTE’s IRP is how they plan to spend your money over the next 15 years, shaping the future of our communities. Their plan right now is to spend your money building giant fracked gas plants and pipelines, making massive profits for their shareholders and leaving our communities sick, underserved, and overcharged.

We can change that.

We are calling on the Michigan Public Service Commission to put community welfare over corporate profits. The IRP should promote affordability, health, community ownership, and good jobs in our communities through local clean energy like rooftop solar, accessible weatherization and energy efficiency, and equitable infrastructure upgrades.

Make your voice HEARD!

Resources:

The following organizations are part of the Work For Me, DTE campaign. To add your organization, email work4medte@gmail.com.

East Michigan Environmental Action Council, Engage Michigan, Ecology Center, Meta Peace Team / MCHR, Good Jobs Now, MI Citizens For Conservation, Coalition To Oppose US Ecology, WACO, D2SOLAR, Sierra Club, MI Interfaith Power & Light, Good Jobs Now, Soulardarity, Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition, Citizen’s Resistance Against Fermi Two, We Want Green Too!, We The People Detroit, Great Lakes Bioneers Detroit

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

Coalition of immigrant rights groups urges communities to spread facts, not fear, on public charge rule change

FREAReposted news release from the Michigan League for Public Policy

On Monday, Jan. 27, the U.S. Supreme Court released a decision that allows the new public charge rule aimed at immigrant families to take effect while several cases challenging its legality make their way through the courts. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services intends to begin implementing the rule on Feb. 24, 2020. The Protecting Immigrant Families – Michigan Coalition issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision. The statement may be attributed to Staff Attorney Tania Morris Diaz of the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center (MIRC).

“This new rule is essentially a wealth test that severely changes the face of family-based immigration in the United States, and threatens the health, nutrition, and housing of families all over the country. The rule is designed to disproportionately impact low-income communities of color, and undermines our nation’s core values.

We must ensure that families are equipped with accurate information about public charge so they can make decisions based on facts and not fear. Many immigrant families, including those with United States citizen children, have been unnecessarily disenrolling from public benefits as a precaution in light of the new rule. Right now, direct service organizations around the country are working hard to prevent this harmful chilling effect, and to address existing confusion about the public charge rule itself.

“Most families can continue to get benefits they’re eligible for without it affecting their immigration options.

“The ultimate fate of the final rule is currently unclear, as these lawsuits will still have to be decided on their merits, and the courts hearing these cases may still strike down the rule. If this rule is fully and permanently implemented, it will have a serious impact on our family-based immigration system. We have yet to know how this highly complicated new rule will be applied to future green card applicants, but every case is different and outcomes will depend on the circumstances of each applicant. We encourage individuals seeking to obtain a green card through a family member to educate themselves on the process and speak with an attorney to determine how to proceed.

“In this country, we don’t value people’s contributions to their community by the size of their bank account. We are hopeful that regardless of the Supreme Court’s ruling on the temporary injunction, this rule is ultimately struck down by the courts as unlawful.”

The Protecting Immigrant Families – Michigan campaign urges the media to put out the right information and help document the harmful impacts of this rule.

As an important reminder, the public charge rule does not affect individuals who already have their green card and want to renew it, remove conditions on it, or apply for citizenship. It does not apply to those who are not eligible to apply for a green card. The new rule does not apply to U.S. citizen family members of mixed-status families. It does not apply to those who have or are applying for asylum or refugee status, T-Visas, U-Visas, SIJS or VAWA. 

 

Immigrant families with questions about public charge should call the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center at 734-239-6863 for free and confidential information.