Tag Archive | Program for Growth

GRPS sustainability coordinator Program for Growth’s January speaker

trovillionOn Monday Jan. 27, Kristen Trovillion, sustainability coordinator for Grand Rapids Public Schools, shared how she is helping to green the district as well as information for making our own homes greener—and healthier. Grand Rapids is one of two districts in the state with a dedicated sustainability department. So far, she has led GRPS in the following sustainable accomplishments:

Cleaning chemicals. A district-wide inventory found that schools were using a total of 65 cleaning chemicals, many of them toxic. That number has been reduced to six safe products that are equally effective. Kristen shared that hydrogen-peroxide based cleaners kill just as many germs as bleach—and without the dangerous side effects. Did you know that exposure to bleach impacts the respiratory system? It can bring on more asthma attacks or prolong respiratory illness.

pfg 1 27Gardens. Kristen is currently making an inventory of all gardens at Grand Rapids Public schools, noting whether they are food gardens, pollinator gardens, or other kinds of gardens. This information will help the district see what goes into a successful garden and to better communicate with grounds staff, who sometimes inadvertently damage gardens during routine maintenance.

Composting. Kristen shared that 80% of GRPS waste is generated in the lunchrooms. Four or five schools are composting a little bit of that waste in the classroom with the help of local Grand Rapids’ compost company, Wormies, and some resident red worms. Eight schools are composting food waste, compostable lunch trays and napkins via a commercial company located in Zeeland. GRPS has to pay to have waste hauled to Zeeland. She is looking into introducing reusable trays at schools with dishwashers, but most schools are not set up for these.

Lawn chemicals. Overall, GRPS does not use toxic pesticides or herbicides and is switching over to organic lawn management. Kristen noted that they only use toxic herbicides or pesticides in urgent situations, e.g. with invasive species like poison ivy. When they are used, notices are posted on the school’s front doors and elsewhere.

Energy use and recycling. GRPS is in process of installing more energy efficient lighting and making best use of natural light, as healthy lighting supports learning. They are overhauling the current recycling system and will be introducing sorting stations to replace the current bins, which cause confusion and tend to disappear.

OKT will be including Kristen’s valuable input in its next revision of A Guide to Replication: Program for Growth, which will be tailored for use by GRPS in replicating the Program for Growth at other schools in the district.

Heart of West Michigan United Way shares post about OKT Program for Growth

Reposted from Heart of West Michigan United Way Success Stories

OUR KITCHEN TABLE CULTIVATES FOOD JUSTICE

OKT canning workshop gets rave reviews at BUGS Conference in NYC

OKT peer-educators, Belinda Harrison and Fatima Lee, traveled with OKT’s executive director, Lisa Oliver-King, to New York City Oct. 25 to present a session at the Black Urban Growers (BUGS) conference in New York City.  Ms. Lee created the program, “Canning’s not just for Grannies: Preserving the Harvest” to share basic canning skills with conference participants.

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“Everyone appreciates you all,” emailed Sue Rock, head of a Brooklyn-based nonprofit. “What an amazing workshop — so excited to start making everything, except botulism!”

Click on the links to view  pdfs of the presentation’s PowerPoint and handout.

OKT receives $25,000 Amway Grant

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Amway has approved a $25,000 grant for Our Kitchen Table’s Program for Growth at Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Academy. The funds will support programming that involves kindergarten and eighth-grade students and their parents and caregivers  in food growing and healthy eating education that addresses and helps prevent lead poisoning. The 49507 zip code is one of Michigan’s lead-poisoning hot-spots. Parents and caregivers involved in the Program for Growth meet regularly over the summer.

Program for Growth workshop emphasizes eating to prevent lead poisoning

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Tracy Booth, RD, leads Program for Growth workshop on foods that address lead poisoning

OKT’s Program for Growth at Martin Luther King Leadership Academy is growing more than food in the gardens out front of the school. Workshops continuing with Tracy Booth RD are inspiring participants to grow, purchase, and prepare healthier foods for their families. Because the MLK school neighborhood is in one of Grand Rapids’ lead poisoning hot-spots, last Monday’s workshop focused on three key nutrients that help rid the body of lead: calcium, iron and Vitamin C.

june1Lead poisoning especially impacts infants and children’s growing bodies and brains, causing developmental delays and behavioral problems, including aggression. Lead comes to the 49503 and 49507 neighborhoods via the soil, housing with lead paint, and possibly via the water supply, when old lead pipes are still in service. Here’s a breakdown of foods that can help:

  • Iron-rich foods: Deep green leafy vegetables like collards, mustard greens, kale, spinach; legumes (pinto, navy, black, and adzuki beans etc. and red lentils); raisins and dried prunes; meat.
  • Calcium rich foods: In addition to dairy, tuna, salmon, seeds (poppy, celery, chia and sesame), almonds, beans and lentils (legumes), and dark leafy greens (see above).
  • Vitamin C-rich foods: Citrus fruits, bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, strawberries, kiwi fruit, kale, and mustard greens.

june2.jpgCooking in an iron skillet and eating a vitamin C food along with an iron rich food helps the body absorb even more iron.

Miss Tracy also emphasized that we all need to eat more fruit and vegetables, especially fresh ones like those growing in the Program for Growth garden. “Make meat your side dish not your main dish,” she says.