Farmers’ Market at LINC Saturday

Did you know that the Southeast Area Farmers’ Market meets 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays — alternately at two sites? Let us now what you think about our schedule!

2019 yard sign

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. Click here to learn How the Double Up Food Bucks Program Works. 

Environmental Justice Assessment of Michigan reveals Environmental Injustice Across the State

unnamedReposted from Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition

n July 23, researchers from the University of Michigan completed their analysis of Environmental Justice in Michigan. Laura Grier, Delia Mayor, and Brett Zeuner, under the direction and advisement of Dr. Paul Mohai, at the School of Environment and Sustainability built on models utilized in other states and found that in Michigan people of color communities are disproportionately impacted by toxic exposure. They combined interview data with qualitative data.

The study reviewed eleven environmental indicators: air toxics cancer risk, air toxics respiratory hazard index, diesel particulate matter (PM), ozone level, PM2.5 level, traffic proximity and volume, lead paint indicator, proximity to National Priority List sites, proximity to risk management plan facilities, proximity to treatment storage and disposal facilities, and a wastewater discharge indicator. The six social indicators used in the study were: percentage of people of color residents, percent of households living below twice the federal poverty level, unemployment rate, percent of residents with less than a high school education, percent of households living in linguistic isolation, and percent housing-burdened low-income households to create an environmental injustice score.

The synthesis of the results from the analyses yielded three key findings. First, environmental injustice exists in Michigan. Interview data spoke to the disproportionate environmental exposure and lack of access to environmental goods residents of low-income and minority communities experience, including living in areas with poor air quality, drinking contaminated water, and failing to receive the same levels of economic investment as other communities in the state.

The team used the data to create maps displaying environmental justice scores revealing geographic hotspots of disproportionate impact. Areas on this map with high environmental justice scores are census tracts with high concentrations of people who are minorities, have low educational attainment, are unemployed, are less likely to speak English, live below twice the federal poverty level, and are severely burdened by housing costs. For example, the top 1% most polluted tracts are represented with 86% people of color living in those areas, versus the state average of 29% people of color statewide.

See Maps created by Bridge Magazine of Detroit, Kalamazoo, and Grand Rapids

Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition will continue to advocate– along side of long-time community leaders– in ensuring the State of Michigan apply the cumulative impact tool in decision-making. This work builds on decades of work that are frontline community demands to recognize all the impacts on families and communities, rather than an isolated approach.

Read the full study here.

Share your thoughts on the Park Millage with GR commission Tuesday

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Mooney Park, before and after. Read about more park transformations here.

On July 23, you can tell City Hall to tell City Commissioners how much the current Parks Millage has done for our parks and community, and why it’s vital that Grand Rapids voters have the opportunity to vote on this renewal.

Here are 3 keys reasons why this Parks Millage Renewal is important:

  1. It will ensure funds to continue improving park infrastructure, such as playgrounds, splashpads, courts, and bathrooms.
  2. It will provide new funds for much-needed park maintenance and free youth programming, which were not possible under the current millage.
  3. The proposed new millage would accomplish #1 and #2 through a $14 increase, from $50 to $64 annually.

The City Commission will meet from 7 to 9 p.m. next Tuesday, July 23, to listen on this issue– and hopefully give the community the opportunity to vote it,

Friends of Grand Rapids Parks is asking for you to come and share your stories. “Stories of great community park plans coming together, projects that have activated your park, cleaner and greener parks, open pools and new splash pads – and the projects yet to be done. Bring the kiddos! We need them to share what they love about their parks, pools, and playgrounds, too.”

Shop the Farmers’ Market, then stop by OKT’s table before the Movie in the Park Saturday!

moviesFriends of Grand Rapids Parks in collaboration with the Grand Rapids Police Department, Urban League of West Michigan, and City of Grand Rapids Parks & Recreation Department, will be hosting free family friendly movies in our neighborhood parks this summer. On Saturday July 20, the event takes place at MLK Jr. Park, the site of the Southeast Area Farmers’ Market!

Come to the farmers’ market between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. and then spend the rest of the afternoon at the Urban League Park Party. At 7 p.m., community partners will host yard games, music and dance, entertainment, and recreation activities for all ages. The movie will start at 9 p.m.. Friends of Grand Rapids Park will serve water and popcorn, provided by Celebration Cinema, Bring along lawn chairs, blankets and snacks, but please no alcoholic beverages.

Kent County Food Policy Council seeking community input

unnamed (3)Southeast Area Farmers’ Market
11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday July 20
MLK Jr. Park 900 Fuller Ave. SE 49506

The new Kent County Food Policy Council will have representatives at the Southeast Area Farmers’ Market this Saturday, July 20.  They will share information and invite market patrons to take part in a community survey. The Council is supported by the Kent County Essential Needs Task Force staff and includes persons from the Department of Health and Human Services, Michigan State University, New City Neighbors, Access of West Michigan, and Our Kitchen Table.

Unlike water, air, and land, there is currently no local department of food. Greater public awareness is needed to understand the impact the local food system has on the area’s environmental, social, and economic health and what policies are necessary to ensure future sustainability of the region. The Kent County Food Policy Council hopes to represent the diversity of the food system and of the local community to then act as a centralized body and as a clear voice that can inform local policy and decision makers on the current and future issues that will impact local food production, consumption, and access.

Its mission is to advocate for and promote a Good Food system in Kent County (as defined by the Michigan Good Food Charter). Its vision is for everyone in Kent County to enjoy a thriving Good Food system. Its values include equity, sustainability, and thriving economies .

Kent County DHHS funding to help clients and families remove barriers to self-sufficiency

MDHHSMDHHS-Kent-Community-Resources shares the following:

Kent County DHHS has some funding available for clients and families to help them remove barriers to self-sufficiency. The funding source is called Direct Support Services (DSS) and can be requested by completing the attached form and submitting it to Kristen Simon via email ( or fax 616-248-1047.

DSS funding may cover the following needs:

  • Child care for participation in the PATH program
  • Medical exams for pre-employment or training
  • Dental services to overcome barriers to employment or training
  • Relocation assistance if new job is beyond commuting distance (2 hours/day)
  • Transportation costs – bus tickets, allowance, mileage reimbursement) for PATH or employment
  • Vehicle repair for employment
  • Vehicle purchase for employment
  • Other one-time work-related expenses (license fees, trade certification, purchase of professional tools, license plates, vehicle insurance, etc.)

*Note:  There is no entitlement for DSS.  The decision to authorize DSS is within the discretion of the MDHHS or PATH program, based on local office funding.  All eligibility requirements outlined in Bridges Eligibility Manual (BEM) 232 must be met in order for DSS to be authorized.

GRAAHI & Urban Core Collective 5K Rhythm Run/walk and Resource Fair Aug. 17

RythmSoul5KLOGO_OLVisit the Southeast Area Farmers’ Market after the Rhythm Run!

Be ready to run the streets in the heat of August as GRAAHI celebrates health and fitness in the Grand Rapids African American Community. This year’s GRAAHI & Urban Core Collective 5K Rhythm Run/walk and Resource Fair will focus on healthy living, getting fit and enjoying the Michigan summer heat with the overall goal of raising awareness of the benefits of making the right healthy choices. This fun, rhythm filled and lighthearted event starts at 8:00 a.m., August 17th, 2019, beginning at Martin Luther King Jr. Park, 800 Fuller Ave. SE. Activities will run from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and will include a Kid’s Fun Run, food, refreshment, entertainment, games and more.

Click here to sign up!