Tag Archives: farmers markets

Five percent for empowerment: Supporting a community kitchen

Zucchini by Rhea

Zucchini by Rhea

Today, 5 percent of all grocery bills at Whole Foods in Silver Spring will go toward empowerment. That is because those dimes and dollars will support the Takoma Park/Silver Spring Shared Use Community Kitchen.

Not all 85 subscribers to this blog live in the D.C./Maryland area, so I won’t go into detail about the 5 percent day (though if you are in the area, you should go!) Instead, I’ll tell you about this kitchen. According to the project site:

For the past three years, a group of dedicated individuals have been working hard to renovate and reopen the commercial kitchen located in the Takoma Park Presbyterian Church.

Once completed, the kitchen will be available as:
1. an incubator for entrepreneurs to start small food-based businesses,
2. a classroom for teens, seniors, and anyone to learn about healthy eating, and
3. a production space where donated food can be prepared to be sent to local food banks and homeless shelters.

I’m proud to be a part of this kitchen as a board member of the Crossroads Community Food Network, one of the partners in launching the new space. Crossroads is all about food access and empowerment  — empowerment to eat healthier food (through the Crossroads Farmers Market and Healthy Eating Program), to earn a living wage from preparing food (the Community Kitchen and Microenterprise Program), and to embrace the cultural foods of your own community and others’ (all of the above).

I look forward to the funds and attention this day can bring, and appreciate the community contributions and support we receive. By reading this post, you’re already part of the empowerment. So thank you!

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Filed under Blog, DC, Events

I can haz perspective?

Photo: Paul Reynolds

Photo: Paul Reynolds

As a writer and college instructor, I can easily sink into my own world. Yet this past week, I’ve had the chance to see that world from the other side.

The writing sphere usually involves lightly stalking my subjects, asking questions, rejoicing when they respond, then writing and revising. Rinse and repeat.

For teaching, the routine is mostly to come up with activities and explorations that hopefully lead to learning and/or thinking. Rinse. Repeat. The rest of the time I make up assignments and criteria, hope students follow said criteria, and then check assignments and find that they sometimes do and sometimes don’t follow it. The success of that last item determines whether my hair remains intact or not.

So my trip to the point-of-view equivalent of Australia started last week when I discovered a student has quoted me in an article about farmers markets. I loved the experience of sitting in the interviewee chair, and then seeing what the interviewer chose to use.  It’s like one of those lolcats  suddenly faced with her own reflection.

Zowee! I can haz perspective? Continue reading

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Filed under Blog, Teaching

Be a Fresh Checks Family Sponsor!

crossroads logoCalling all business owners and good food lovers: Now’s the time to sponsor a D.C.-area family trying to put more healthy, local food on the table. Sign on by this week to get your name and logo on farmers market materials all over Montgomery and Prince Georges counties.

Details below (cross posted from the Crossroads Community Food Network)

On June 4, Crossroads Farmers Market will open for our 8th season in our new, more visible, location. You can find us on Anne St. University Blvd. in Takoma Park, and we’re thrilled to welcome back all of our customers and vendors, along with some exciting new vendors.

For us to carry our success to our new location, we need not only our customers and our vendors – we also need your help. Over the past seven seasons, thanks to the support of our community, we’ve distributed over $240,000 in Fresh Checks, all of which have gone directly to low-income families to spend with local farmers.

Help us continue to offer Fresh Checks again this season. Go to crossroadscommunityfoodnetwork.org and click the “donate” button. Please consider signing up to make a monthly recurring donation. Just $20 per month over the course of a year will match farmers market SNAP (food stamp) purchases for one family for the entire 25-week Crossroads Farmers Market season.

The money you give will match funds spent with federal benefits so that low-income people in our community can have access to healthy, fresh, local produce. Our goal for the 2014 market season is to provide $50,000 in Fresh Checks to our low-income customers. So far, we’ve raised $38,000—over 75%—through foundations and local government. Now, we are calling on our community to help us raise the final $12,000.

Your donations allow us to continue building a vibrant and inclusive local food system in the Takoma Langley Crossroads and beyond. We’re grateful for your support!

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Filed under Blog, Healthy eating, Local food

Celebrating Earth Day where I want to be

plants and planters by a rainy window

With my office smelling like wet soil and a motley crew of plants and planters straggling across my desk, I’m in a good place to celebrate Earth Day.  It doesn’t hurt that the plants came from a campus clean-up project that one of my classes planned last week, and the egg carton planters came into being thanks to another class activity yesterday. I’ll spend another few minutes with these signs of spring, then head to a board meeting for the Crossroads Community Food Network. We’ll be talking about that organization’s fragrant, colorful farmers market, which opens in just six weeks.

I hope you’re celebrating where you want to be this Earth Day, or that you’re on the way.

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Filed under Gardening, Sustainability, Teaching

Gaining Ground covers new territory

Gaining Ground book cover

I recently had a new literary experience. Usually, both fiction and nonfiction touch on familiar emotions and universal struggles—even if the actual milieu is alien to me. Take, for example, Elissa Altman’s Poor Man’s Feast (Chronicle Books, 2013), which I just started reading and already know will make me nearly miss many a metro stop. In this story, I grasp and learn from this editor-turned-memoirist’s search for love and satisfaction in life. The environment of the Altman family’s Thanskgiving/Chanukah feast accessoried with candied-violet-topped pumpkin flan and $100 scotch, on the other hand, isn’t exactly my grandfather’s green beans with slivered almonds. Continue reading

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Filed under Community of writers, DC, Events, Sustainability