Tag Archive | Baxter Community Center

Free gardening classes at Baxter Community Center

OKT will not be offering community food growing classes this spring. We are focusing on our Program for Growth at MLK Jr. Leadership Academy and the Southeast Area FArmers’ Market.  If you’d like learn how to grow your own food, attend these free classes at Baxter Community Center. Thank you Baxter!


A whole lot of whole foods


Baxter Community Center Marketplace

Our Kitchen Table’s Collective Whole Foods Purchase Group added a new member about a year ago. Baxter Community Center began ordering whole foods for its pantry program in 2016, when OKT leveraged grant dollars to create the Southeast Area Farmers’ Market “Market Bucks” program. Run in partnership with the Urban Core Collective, most Market Bucks end up in the hands of income-challenged individuals seeking to access healthier foods for their families. These individuals, for the most part, have spent their Market Bucks on locally grown fruits and vending vegetables offered by neighborhood growers vending produce at the Southeast Area Farmers’ Market.


However, Baxter Community Center is also a Market Bucks recipient. They’ve been using them to purchase whole foods for their pantry patrons. Their last order included quick rolled oats, pinto and black turtle beans, black-eyed peas, organic pasta Market Bucksand yellow grits. These staple, whole food items not only offer excellent nutrition but also encourage patrons to cook healthier, affordable meals from scratch at home.

Thank you, Baxter Community Center, for being a vital part of OKT’s Collective Whole Foods Purchase Group!

If you are interested in purchasing Country Life Natural Foods bulk whole foods with OKT, email media@OKTjustice.org for information. Southeast Area Farmers’ Market patrons can also place orders at the market during the growing season, June through November. No fees! No mark-ups! EBT accepted. View the catalog here.

Learn to grow nutritious sprouts in a jar!

SproutsInJarFree! Spring Sprouting
6 to 7:30 p.m.
Baxter Community Center
935 Baxter SE 49506 (Entry on Bemis St.)

Our Kitchen Table and Baxter Community Center are hosting a “Spring Sprouting” workshop. Come and learn how to grow your own delicious, nutritious sprouts in a jar from dry seeds like alfalfa and lentils. When you grow your own sprouts for salads, sandwiches and snacks, they cost very little, you have an ongoing supply and they cost very little!

Free! May food gardening & cooking classes!

Deanna 2Our Kitchen Table invotes you to join us for our four-part food gardening series, taught by farmer Leslie Huffman.

· May 1 & June 5: How to Plan Your Food Garden 1
· May 8 & June 12: How to Plan Your Food Garden 2
· May 15 & June 19: Composting & Vermiculture
· May 22, June 26: How to Save Seeds

These classes take place Mondays 6 – 8 p.m. at Garfield Park Lodge, 334 Burton SE, Grand Rapids. OKT is also partnering with Baxter Community Center to offer these additional May classes at Baxter, 935 Baxter SE 49506 (Bemis entrance):

Wednesday May 3: Cooking with Whole and Bulk Foods. This class will take a look at foods you can order through OKT’s Collective Whole Foods Purchase Group and how to prepare some simple meals and snacks with them, e.g. oatmeal, popcorn, dried beans and quinoa and trail mixes.

Wednesday May 10: Canning Basics. Baxter staff will take us to the kitchen and show us how to preserve foods from our gardens and farm markets.

Baxter Community Center and other area agencies are offering many other gardening and cooking classes, as well. Check them out on the 2017 Healthy Happenings Calendar below.2017 combined calendar Online rev..

OKT hosts GVSU student group for day of service and learning at Baxter Community Center

On Saturday Jan. 21, Our Kitchen Table hosted a group of 17 Grand Valley State University (GVSU) students for a Food Justice class and service opportunity at Baxter Community Center. GVSU’s MLK Jr. Day of Service and Solidarity has the goal of educating students about the Civil Rights movement and inspiring them to serve their communities in the spirit of social change. In addition, students have opportunity to experience solidarity through service projects.

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During a two-hour Food Justice class, students learned what food justice is, the history of the industrial food system and actions they can take to play a part in the bigger food justice movement.

After a tour of Baxter’s food and clothing pantry, kitchens, medical and dental clinics, greenhouse and childcare center, the students divided into small groups to take on various tasks around Baxter Community Center. They picked up trash on the property, cleaned out the greenhouse, organized the food pantry and and tidied up the kitchen.

OKT was happy Baxter came on board to offer a service portion as part of the day’s activities. Hopefully, some or all of these students will go on to be champions of food justice where they live and work.

The MLK Jr. Day of Service and Solidarity is one event in a week-long commemoration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

It’s time to think food gardens!

Gloria1While OKT has been thinking about food gardens all winter — and started growing organic food starter plants in February — now is the time for the rest of us to start planning, plotting and conspiring to grow our own alternative to the industrial food system. For starters, OKT is now recruiting residential food gardeners for the 2016 growing season. OKT has free gardening resources for you if you:

  • Live within our four target neighborhoods (SECA. Baxter, Eastown or Garfield Park).
  • Are pregnant or have children eight-grade or younger.
  • Have challenges that limit your access to healthy food.
  • Have health challenges that can be addressed by growing your own food.

Gardening Classes start in April!

Baxter Community Center is offering its food gardening series in April:
April 6: Garden Basics 1
April 13: Garden Basics 2
April 20: Soil Health/Composting
April 27: Seed Saving

These classes take place on Wednesdays from  6-7:30 p.m. at Baxter Community Center 935 Baxter St. (entrance on Bemis). They are free (but donations are appreciated). For nformation, email anna, ajohnson@baxtercommunitycenter.org.

Our Kitchen Table will be offering two food justice classes in April.
April 18 : Food Policy for Food Justice Class
April 25 : Diagramming Your Food System Class

And, OKT will begin its free food gardening classes in May:
May 2: How to Plan Your Food Garden 1
May 9: How to Plan Your Food Garden 2
May 16: Composting & Vermiculture
May 23: How to Save Seeds



Baxter Community Center half-way to meeting tool library fund-raising goal!

Baxter Community Center works to provide Baxter neighborhood gardeners with plants, seeds and supplies they need to grow healthy foods for their families. Baxter provides food plants, raised beds,  a traditional gardening library with books on growing, cooking and canning as well as a seed library. Now they are adding a tool library–and they are asking for help. Many of Baxter’s neighbors don’t have access to shovels, rakes, hand trowels and other tools needed to maintain their gardens. In addition, having tillers and power tools would allow neighbors and other community organizations build more garden spaces. 
Baxter hopes to launch the tool library in March 2014. Tools will be available for anyone in the community to use, but especially the families in its Raised Bed Program and community partners that are starting their own urban agriculture programs that benefit low income families. Any extra funding will be kept as a replacement budget for lost and broken tools.

Baxter’s Raised Bed gardening program serves a neighborhood where 33.5% of households fall below the poverty line, 17.5% of residents are unemployed and 99% of school-aged children qualify for the free or reduced lunch program at their school.  In 2009, the Health Department’s food security assessment declared that the Baxter neighborhood was a food desert.

Its Greenhouse and Raised Bed programs  increase food security by providing fresh produce and programming to enhance nutrition, environmental awareness, and community spirit. The addition of a tool library would not only allow neighbors to have more productive gardens, but would help build even stronger ties in our community by promoting shared resources. Since beginning the program, Baxter has been overwhelmed with the community response. People in the neighborhood are excited to be doing something collectively that adds beauty, builds relationships, and addresses important health issues our families face.