Publication: DC State Fair food contests on DCist

Ah, the DC State Fair. I’ve always loved the passion and local talent behind this annual Washington event. For the ninth annual fair, I published an article about it on DCist. This is my first piece with the newly-resurrected publication.

Yesterday’s event was rainy but vibrant. I hope my piece enticed one or two people to come out despite the drizzle. Check out the article:

Put Your Recipes To The Test At The DC State Fair This Weekend

DCist article screen shot: Put Your Recipes To The Test

 

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Workshop report: A Jewish Communal Response to #MeToo

#Metoo in the Jewish community slide

A slide from Jewish Women International introduces the program at the July workshop.

Last week, I attended a workshop called A Jewish Communal Response to #MeToo. I came in my role as vice chair of the board for Hillel at Gallaudet. Kudos go to the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington for hosting and inviting organization leaders to the table. Still, an invitation is just the beginning. I was curious to see what the conversation and approach would look like. The workshop, held over breakfast at the Federation’s HQ in Rockville, Md., followed a simple and proactive agenda.

First, Federation CEO Gil Preuss greeted us. “Many times,” Preuss said, “Change happens when moments arise.” In this case, he added, “We can’t let this moment pass.”

The main program kicked off with the particulars and immediacy of “this moment,” courtesy of Lori Weinstein from Jewish Women International. Weinstein is the CEO of JWI and, she noted, bears no relation to the notorious Hollywood figure who triggered today’s #MeToo movement. She started by outlining the types of harassment, then shared the picture painted by data from the Chronicle of Philanthropy and the Association of Fundraising Professionals. The statistics point to outstanding challenges for nonprofits, especially in fundraising. Those who give to organizations can take actions and make assumptions that constitute sexual harassment. Continue reading

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From food sovereignty to crowned berries: Lessons from Rooting DC

Rooting DC program with seed packets

Rooting DC is an annual urban gardening conference held in a big, light-filled high school in Northwest Washington. The day-long event always leaves me awash with information and floating on good urban ag vibes. The 2018 conference, held on March 3, was no different. Here are a few lessons I learned in and out of workshops.


From “Garden Maintenance A-Z”

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Winter growth at the Leichtag Foundation

leafy low tree with single red pomegranate

A pomegranate lasts into January in Leichtag’s food forest

In January, I grabbed the chance to visit the Leichtag Foundation — and, as it turned out, munch the most delectable fruit I’ve had all year.

The window of time was small. It was early 2018, and my husband and I were ending a honeymoon/family visit to the West Coast. The next day, we would fly the 2,700 miles back to our work and lives in Washington, DC. Continue reading

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A Year of Meditation

screen shot of meditation tracker statistics

The stats from Insight Meditation Timer give a little motivation.

This past year, I’ve meditated every day. First thing in the morning, for 5 to 16 minutes, I sit with hands on knees. I breathe.

I’m sure that meditation and mindfulness top many lists of resolutions for 2018. So I figured for my last post of the year, I would share a little of my journey.

This turned out to be a good year for grounding in meditation. I had barely turned the first page of the 2017 calendar when I closed on my first home. I was a homeowner! Two days later, my boyfriend David proposed. Seven months after that, we got married. Now we’re celebrating our first holiday season as partners.

Somewhere in there, we both moved into the new place, David planned a wedding and found a new job, and I hurtled through a demanding semester.

What I learned

Something I read over and over is to come back to the breath. Another one is to erase the word “wrong” from your meditation vocabulary. You may struggle, you may notice things, you may learn. But there’s no wrong way to meditate.

A natural addition to that last rule: Don’t beat yourself up. Truth be told, I missed a handful of days. I would get on a roll with 20, 30, or 90 days straight and then I would miss one. I had to let go of the string and pick up a new one.

For newbies or intermediates, try this rich, practical source of guidance: FAQs from teacher Tara Brach.

Websites and apps

Here are a few I tried and liked.

Tarabrach.com – Website of teacher Tara Brach. She is the first source I used for my early guided meditations (sessions with a voice and/or music guiding you through a meditation). The website offers guided meditations, mindfulness resources, a calendar of events (most in the DC area), and more. Free. Donations encouraged.

Insight Timer – This is what I used to track how long I had meditated and geek out on stats. App with guided meditations, adjustable timer that tracks your meditation data, and discussion groups. Free. Donations encouraged.

Headspace – A friend recommended this and I went through two of its programs. It’s an app with sets of 10- to 30-day guided meditations, plus one-off rescue sessions for anxiety, focus, and so on. Cute videos, too. First 10 days free, paid after that (currently on sale).

If you want to add “oms” to your 2018, I hope this proves helpful. If this made you think of your own journey, feel free to share by email.

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I was featured in the Washington Jewish Week

Well, I’ve had my day in the sun. This month, the Washington Jewish Week featured me in their “You Should Know…” section. I got quite a rush (and had more than a few nervous moments) at the thought of sitting on the other side of the interview table. The reporter, Hannah Monicken, put me at ease. The result is a laid-back conversation that touches on my passions for teaching and Jewish farming.

Click below to check it out:

Photo by Hannah Monicken, taken in the Gallaudet garden!

“You Should Know … Rhea Kennedy,” Washington Jewish Week

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