August 24th, 2011 by Leika

Check out what these mamas are doing!  Making breakfast and lunch for their families community kitchen style!  Read more here!

Global connections – Support Oaxaca

August 18th, 2011 by Leika

With a rich biological, cultural and geographic history and one of the largest indigenous populations in the country, Oaxaca is home to spirited farmers movements advocating for their right to preserve the cultural integrity of their food and the diversity of crops such as maize (corn)- historically the primary livelihood of many Mexican farmers. 

Erica Bacon, a lead organizer with CAGJ is heading down to Oaxaca, Mexico on a deligation to learn more about the indiginous food ways and effects that globalization has on their livelihood. ”We will work with and learn from indigenous leaders, farmers, community organizers, and organizations working for food sovereignty, seed preservation, water access, women’s rights, and both trade and immigration justice.  We will be paying special attention to learning about the ways in which trade agreements like NAFTA affect local economies and communities, and how such policies influence the migration of Mexican farmers.’

Read more about her trip here, and support the cause!

New Study Shows Better Access to Grocery Stores Don’t Result in Healthier Diets

August 11th, 2011 by admin

From the LA Times here’s another article that underlines the importance of cooking!

Better access to supermarkets — long touted as a way to curb obesity in low-income neighborhoods — doesn’t improve people’s diets, according to new research. The study, which tracked thousands of people in several large cities for 15 years, found that people didn’t eat more fruits and vegetables when they had supermarkets available in their neighborhoods.  More…

Visit to the Food Bank

July 23rd, 2011 by Leika

I had another adventure out to a food bank here in Brazil!  Again, it´s a little different than what we have in Seattle.  Here, they don´t give food directly to individuals, but only to organizations that serve the community.  The director told me that they have two main objectives for the food bank: 1) support the rural farmers and 2) direct the food waste stream to the people. They had mostly fresh produce that comes straight from rural farmers with a preference for organic produce.  Right now it´s winter, but they still have an abundance of bananas, greens, and oranges!  Of course, they also distribute lots of beans and rice.  The most impressive was the buckets of molasses, processed right on the farm and coming from a small local producer!  Dreamy!

`Zero Hunger` in Brazil

July 15th, 2011 by Leika

For the past 2 weeks, I´ve been waking up to the winter sun in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Ironically, my husband´s home town in Brazil is home to the world´s most innovative and integrated food policy addressing hunger and social justice.  Yesterday I had an opportunity to tag along with a city nutritionist to observe a Community Kitchen in a local community center referred to as a `house of support` -casa de apoio. This is one project within a greater national program called Fome Zero (Zero Hunger) an initiative started by President Lula in 2003. The Community Kitchen model is a little different than the model we have in Seattle. The city partners with local organizations that already serve the public and hires cooks to provide take home meals for low income families.  There are 4 full time cooks in addition to the nutritionist who was my guide. They start cooking at 6am, preparing about 360 meals that will serve around 80 families that have any where from 1-10 kids each!  Food is officially served at 11am, but the line began to accumulate around 10:30am.  The nutritionist explained to me that the meals rotate on a monthly basis, and everyday consists of beans and rice, a different type of meat, and vegetalbes – two servings!  She explained ´if we don´t serve beans and rice, people would say it´s not a real meal!´ When I asked if they ever used brown rice, she just laughed and said ´they wouldn´t eat it…!´ For just $1.25 dollars a month per person, they are able to come pick up this balanced lunch meal Monday through Friday for one year.  Participants are expected to attend montly nutrition education classes and participate in bi-annual conference meetings where they reflect on the program success, barriers, and ways to improve.  A hugely successful model of food justice created on the needs and involvement of the community it serves!  I look forward to learning more and sharing it here!

Feasting with SPU

June 20th, 2011 by Leika

Once again, the Seattle Pacific University Foods Lab was lively and energetic, filled with anticipation, an eagerness to learn and to cook, and a general appreciation for the community in which we were about to share. As participants for the community kitchen filed in, SPU Dietetics students welcomed them, took their empty jars, handed out name tags, and invited the returning participants and new faces to socialize before the cooking began.

At 6:10, Dr. Daniela Geleva, founder of the SPU Community Kitchen, announced that meal preparation would begin, and everyone made their way to one of the six recipe stations. Each recipe was led by an SPU student volunteer with the help of several participants, and at least one of the three SPU coordinators would check in to help at some point throughout the night. The focus of each month’s menu is on local, organic, and in-season produce, and the aim is to create recipes and meals that are both healthy and cost-efficient. On the June menu: Fennel Cucumber Avocado Salsa, Melon Salad with Middle-Eastern Dressing, Herbed Green Pea Soup, Spring Couscous Salad, Green Barley and Kale Gratin, and Strawberry Shortcake with whole-grain scones and homemade whipped cream. The Salsa was served as an appetizer, to be eaten during lulls in cooking and times of mingling. The Melon Salad and Strawberry Shortcake were eaten onsite, after all of the food preparation was finished, and the participants took home their now-bursting jars filled with several servings of the couscous salad, gratin, and pea soup.

It is amazing how quickly a few fresh, lone ingredients can be transformed into a beautiful, nourishing, and delicious meal. The community dinner that is shared at the end of kitchen is a favorite time for all involved. It allows the volunteers and community participants to sit down and enjoy the fruits of their labor over good conversation, stories, and laughter.

The joy and gratitude that radiate from this group of people, both volunteers and participants alike, is tangible yet indescribable, and is referred to as almost-magical by community guests who have popped in during various months’ kitchens. The emphasis is on sharing resources, creating wholesome and inexpensive meals from in-season foods, and belonging to a unique community. The process continues to require adjustments as we learn and grow, but the value we have seen in this newly-developed community kitchen is unquestionable.

Ballard CK is making a difference!

June 14th, 2011 by Leika

So how do we encourage our young people to move towards healthy living?  Well, we can start by getting them excited about cooking from scratch, making delicious meals from fresh foods from the farm, and doing this together with friends so it’s FUN!  Read more about what the students think abotu the program!

Is Obesity our Fate……?

June 14th, 2011 by Leika

I personally don’t think so! This Seattle Times article goes through several of the projects that are happening throughout King County around obesity prevention, but the current results are sobering: we’re still getting fatter!  And more concerning is that our CHILDREN are the ones that are gaining more weight, and getting more susceptible to all the dis-ease that comes with it: heart disease, diabetes, which all translates to lowered well being and less vitality.  What are your thoughts about this issue of obesity?  Do you have solutions, ideas, inspirations?  I think we need to change our culture at it’s core, to one that respects every aspect of life!  It starts one person at a time, reconnecting with each other, and reconnecting with nature.  We are all ONE body! (thanks for the inspirational quote KJ!)

Community Kitchens popping up in Portland!

June 10th, 2011 by Leika

We’ve got more community kitchen enthusiasm in Portland, our sister down south!  If you’re in the area, you should go check out their first meeting to brew up the concept!  Learm more about what their doing in Portland!

Community kitchens in the Women’s Day Magazine

June 7th, 2011 by Leika

As community kitchens are growing, more and more people are interested in learning what we are doing and how it relates to the community.  Great that we were acknowledged in the Women’s Day magazine!  Check out the article here.