Tag Archive | Women of Color Convenings

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.

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

Women of Color Convening Series: May 16, wsg Remi Harrington

WOC May 16 2019 Twitter Image“Building collective consciousness about what local foods can mean to us as a people”

 OKT and co-sponsor, Access of West Michigan, are excited to bring activist, farmer and educator, Remi Harrington, to Grand Rapids as part of OKT’s 2019 Women of Color Convening series. The FREE event takes place May 16  at Sherman Street Church, lower level, from 6 to 8 p.m. The event will kick-off with a food demo and sampling featuring bulk whole foods from OKT’s Collective Whole Foods Purchasing Group.

In Kalamazoo, Harrington grows food at her own urban community farm, “Tegan’s Hopeful Storybook Garden,” and empowers others to plant their own urban food gardens through her work as community farms coordinator for Kalamazoo Valley Community College Food Innovation Center. She has a vision for local urban farmers becoming a mainstay in Kalamazoo’s local food economy. At the convening, Harrington will lead the dialogue about “Building collective consciousness about what local foods can mean to us as a people.”

“If we can create a collective consciousness about what local foods can mean to us as a people … being really intentional about what we want to put in our bodies, biodynamic agriculture, eating seasonally and locally, that would create wellness, that would create health, that would create community, that would rebuild us as a people group,” stated Harrington in a December 2018 Second Wave Media feature. “That would bring peace and love and trust and that whole granola stuff. The case is good for business all around, not just for black folks, but for all of us.”

The work of Access of West Michigan’s Good Food Systems Initiative aims to address food access, health, and justice in our local food system. We believe that the values of a Good Food system create a thriving community for all. The collaborative solutions and programs that Access facilitates equip community partners, invest in our local food economy, grow health, and convene food and faith conversations.


Health Strategies from your Garden & Pantry

lottieDetroit food justice and media activist, Lottie Spady will facilitate OKT’s
May 18 convening! 
Health Strategies from Your Garden & Pantry
6 to 8 p.m. at Sherman Street Church, 1000 Sherman St. SE 49506.
Free! (Donations accepted.)

A media-maker and herbalist who often lends her talent to OKT’s programs, Lottie will speak about the health benefits of foods and medicinal herbs we can grow in our own gardens. This presentation will build on the information learned with Lottie during last year’s May convening and our August convening with Adela Neives. Lottie spent many years working with the East Michigan Environmental Action Council (EMEAC). She utilizes a framework rooted in popular education, social justice, and social entrepreneurship to help develop relevant 21st century skills that community residents can translate into community and economic development.

Workshop combines Practicing Inclusivity and conscious relaxation


As part of its Women of Color Convening series, Our Kitchen Table offers “Setting Intention for Inclusivity,” 6 to 9 p.m. March 16, 23 and 30. OKT staff member, Stelle Slootmaker, a trained Yoga Nidra facilitator, will lead the three-part workshop. She has also completed training in Practicing Inclusivity. Each session will combine Yoga Nidra guided relaxation and dialogue based on the principles of Practicing Inclusivity, a paradigm shift in how we, as change agents, can create a better world for all.

“Virtually everyone knows about Inclusivity … We all have a common need to be connected to others for our own wellbeing. However, our differences and viewpoints get in the way. It’s only by being aware of and practicing Inclusivity that we can overcome our current situation and satisfy this common need … We can actually transform our complex societal problems through Inclusivity – but only if we practice it,” says Shariff Abdullah , consultant, author and founder of Commonway Institute for Societal Transformation.

Yoga Nidra does not involve exercise — anyone can take part. The practice turns one’s attention inward where the consciousness can function at a much deeper level of awareness. In this deep state, you can achieve deep rest, inspire creativity and set your intentions deep within the subconscious where they may more easily take root and grow. This workshop will help you set a successful intention that guides you in your work for change and powerfully unites you with others holding the same intention.

OKT invites its constituents, community members and all those working for social justice and inclusivity to attend. Space is limited to 20 participants. The cost of $60 to $175 (sliding scale) includes workbook, “Practicing Inclusivity.” OKT constituents currently involved in OKT programming attend for free. For information, email media@OKTjustice.org.

Renowned Chef Bryant Terry featured at OKT Women of Color Convening April 23

Eco-chef, food justice activist and author, Bryant Terry will meet with community members for dialogue on food justice and a cooking demo from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday April 23 at LINC Gallery, 341 Hall St. SE in Grand Rapids. The appearance debuts Our Kitchen Table’s 2014 series, Women of Color Convenings. Terry’s stop in Grand Rapids marks the release of his new cookbook, Afro-Vegan, as part of Calvin College’s Wake-up Weekend.

Lila Cabbil, president emeritus, Rosa Parks Institute, will facilitate the dialogue. Seating is limited. Preregistration required by contacting OKTable1@gmail.com or 616-206-3641. This is Terry’s second appearance at an in-neighborhood, Our Kitchen Table event. He hosted a community dialogue on Food Justice with Ms. Cabbil here in January, 2012.

Terry’s other books are The Inspired Vegan, Grub and Vegan Soul Kitchen. He hosts his own program, “Urban Organic,” and has appeared on the Sundance Channel’s original TV series “Big Ideas for a Small Planet,” the BET series “My Two Cents” and on PBS’ “Nourish: Food + Community” and “The Endless Feast.”

According to his website, http://www.Bryant-Terry.com, “For more than a decade Bryant has worked to build a more just and sustainable food system, and cooking has been an important tool for illuminating the intersections of poverty, structural racism and food insecurity. He uses the sensual pleasures of the table to shift people’s attitudes, habits and politics in effort to ensure that everyone in this country of abundance has access to healthful food.”