Posted on July 28, 2011 by Mike Buchman
The Apple Corps 2010/2011!
Last week Solid Ground’s Apple Corps AmeriCorps team showcased its efforts to counter childhood obesity through nutrition and fitness education and activities.
The eight Apple Corps Members each discussed their work during their one-year term to provide school and community-based nutrition and fitness education and awareness.
Team Members are actively engaged in local neighborhoods hardest hit by the obesity epidemic. They teach in schools, create family community market nights, coordinate cooking classes, garden clubs and walking challenges, and use other tools and partnerships to effect change.
Lessons Apple Corps Member Jen Yogi learned in school
Team member Heidi Evans brought Cooking Matters classes to the public housing facilities she worked in on behalf of Solid Ground’s Partners in Caring program. As one class member wrote in her evaluation, the “classes increased my confidence that I can cook healthy meals.”
In addition to developing and providing programming, Apple Corps Members received training and support in how to manage their projects, many of which involved significant community partnerships, and applied an anti-racist analysis to their work.
“I tried to not privilege certain ways of speaking about nutrition,” Heidi said, “and to value what others bring and the important role of cultural food traditions.”
Apple Corps Members will wrap up their projects over the next month or so, with a new team forming at the end of the Summer! You can learn more about the Corps and donate to support it on the Apple Corps webpage.
Filed under: Food, Local Heroes | Tagged: AmeriCorps, Apple Corps, feet first, fitness, nutrition, nutrition education | Leave a Comment »
Posted on July 27, 2011 by Marcy Bowers
The Foreclosure Fairness Act (HB 1362) was signed into law by Governor Christine Gregoire on April 14, 2011, creating a foreclosure mediation program in Washington State. Mediation will give struggling homeowners the opportunity to meet with their lender to discuss options before losing their home and most valuable asset. This law will truly make a difference for thousands of homeowners in our state. Foreclosure mediation programs have been shown to be extremely effective in allowing families to save their homes. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Tina Orwall (D-Normandy Park) and had overwhelming support in the legislature.
Governor Christine Gregoire signs the Foreclosure Fairness Act
Throughout the housing crisis, homeowners and housing counselors have repeatedly reported that banks and loan servicers do not answer the phone, lose homeowners’ information about loan modifications, and have different staff people from different offices talking to a homeowner. This new law will eliminate the problem of struggling homeowners being unable to get in touch with their lenders as they fight to stay in their homes.
“Approximately 45,000 families will receive notices of foreclosure this year, but we are providing new hope for many of them with a fair process and resources to help them explore every option available and keep their homes whenever possible,” said Rep. Tina Orwall.
Are you facing foreclosure? Unable to get your lender to respond? Want to know your options? Read on…
Washington State has a new law to prevent foreclosures.
As of July 22, 2011 you can now ask for a face-to-face meeting with your lender by requesting foreclosure mediation. To request a meeting with your lender, contact a housing counselor or attorney by calling 1.877.894.HOME (4663).
What is foreclosure mediation?
Foreclosure mediation is a process where a neutral, third-party mediator assists the homeowner and the lender to reach a fair, negotiated agreement.
Why request mediation?
If you have not been able to get in touch with your lender, you can now request a face-to-face meeting to discuss alternatives to foreclosure. During mediation, the lender is required to negotiate with you in good faith.
Who is eligible?
• Homeowners who are in default on their mortgage and have not yet received
the Notice of Trustee’s Sale are eligible
• Homeowners who live in owner-occupied properties
How can I request mediation?
Foreclosure mediation must be requested by a housing counselor or an attorney on behalf of a homeowner. To find a housing counselor, call 1.877.894.HOME (4663).
How much does it cost?
The homeowner and the lender each pay a $200 fee for the mediation. The fee must be paid prior to the mediation.
Share your Story!
The foreclosure mediation law was passed because struggling homeowners shared their stories with lawmakers. Poverty Action is collecting stories from community members like YOU! Are you facing foreclosure? Having trouble with payday lenders? In danger of losing benefits like TANF or Disability Lifeline? Share your story and help lawmakers understand the issues Washingtonians are facing. For more information contact Poverty Action at 1.866.789.7726 or visit the Statewide Poverty Action Network website.
Filed under: Advocacy, Housing | Tagged: advocacy, foreclosure, Housing, mortgage counseling, Statewide Poverty Action Network, wa state legislature | Leave a Comment »
Posted on July 26, 2011 by Janna dePorter
This week, I’d like to focus on a food that many of you probably have in your refrigerator – plain yogurt. Plain yogurt is so versatile, scrumptious and great for your health that it could be included in every meal! As my mother knows well, I am a voracious consumer of plain yogurt. I eat it with almonds and berries for breakfast, as a dip with spices and veggies for a snack, and as a marinade for chicken for dinner. I find it to be a particularly satisfying food, because it contains a balanced amount of fat, protein and carbohydrates that keeps me full for longer. I do not choose flavored yogurts, because there are so many added sugars rendering the yogurt too cloyingly sweet for my taste buds and less versatile. I can use plain yogurt for both sweet and savory items, but flavored yogurt can only be sweet – imagine trying to use vanilla yogurt as a replacement for sour cream, yuck! Another great thing about yogurt is that it can be digested by many people with lactose intolerance. The bacteria in yogurt help to break down the lactose naturally found in milk so that your body doesn’t have to. It’s also a fabulous source of calcium!
Tips for choosing & using yogurt:
- Go for plain yogurt; you can sweeten or spice it to your liking.
- Choose yogurt with vitamins A & D.
- Choose yogurt with some fat in it. In order to absorb fat-soluble vitamins A & D, we need to consume it with fat.
- Choose yogurts without stabilizers, pectin or gums – the yogurt will just taste better and be a whole food.
- Use yogurt as a replacement for sour cream.
- Use yogurt as a base for sauces, dips, soups and dressings.
As per usual, Martha Shulman has come up with a great list of recipes that use plain yogurt. This recipe, also by Martha Shulman, sounds fantastic and includes another superfood, quinoa!
We got the beets!
BEETS, SPICED QUINOA & YOGURT
•2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
•2 allspice berries, ground (about 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground allspice)
•1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
•1/8 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom seeds
•3 cloves, ground (1/8 teaspoon freshly ground cloves)
•1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
•1 teaspoon freshly ground coriander seeds
•3 cups cooked quinoa (either red or regular; 3/4 cup uncooked)
•Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
•5 to 6 roasted beets, yellow, red or a combination; peeled and sliced
•1 cup drained yogurt
•2 garlic cloves
•1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 2-quart baking dish or gratin. In a medium saucepan or a large, heavy skillet, heat 1 Tablespoon of the olive oil, and add the spices. When they begin to sizzle, add the cooked quinoa. Stir together for one minute, and remove from the heat. Taste and adjust salt. Transfer to the baking dish, and spread in an even layer.
2. Arrange the sliced beets over the quinoa. Drizzle on the remaining olive oil, cover and place in the oven for 20 minutes or until hot. Meanwhile, place the garlic in a mortar and pestle with a generous pinch of salt, and mash to a paste. Whisk or stir into the drained yogurt.
3. Remove the quinoa and beets from the oven, and top with dollops of yogurt. Sprinkle with the walnuts and serve.
•Yield: Serves four to six.
•Advance preparation: The cooked quinoa and the roasted beets will keep for three to four days in the refrigerator. You can assemble the casserole without the yogurt up to a day in advance. Cover tightly and refrigerate.
Nutritional information per serving (four servings):
•15 grams fat (2 grams saturated fat)
•2 milligrams cholesterol
•48 grams carbohydrates
•8 grams dietary fiber
•134 milligrams sodium (does not include salt to taste)
•14 grams protein
Nutritional information per serving (six servings):
•10 grams fat (1 gram saturated fat)
•1 milligram cholesterol
•32 grams carbohydrates
•5 grams dietary fiber
•89 milligrams sodium (does not include salt to taste)
•9 grams protein
Filed under: Cooking Matters, Food | Tagged: Beets, calcium, Dairy, Lactose Intolerant, Martha Shulman, Protein, Quinoa, Versatile, Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Yogurt | Leave a Comment »
Posted on July 21, 2011 by Mike Buchman
Solid Ground’s JustServe AmeriCorps team is launching a new effort to create opportunities for at-risk young adults. The Pathway to Career Corps project is a strategic partnership and initiative to create viable educational and career pathways for folks 18 to 24 in our community who are at high risk of unemployment, underemployment and lifelong poverty.
Pathway to Career Corps Members will experience a year of intensive case management, professional development, work experience, leadership development, service to the community, academic support for postsecondary education preparedness, and exposure to high-demand, living-wage career paths.
The project builds on Solid Ground’s experience as one of the largest national service teams in the state. The first pilot team of 13 young adults will start in September 2011 and work to:
- Envision their long-term career path – and how to get there.
- Enroll in postsecondary education toward a living-wage career path, obtain living-wage employment, or both.
- Strengthen their communication, conflict resolution, cross-cultural and leadership skills (key skills for success in today’s workplace, and a foundation that prepares Members for lifelong leadership and service to the community).
- Pathway Members will help to strengthen and expand critical community health, environmental, education and economic opportunity projects throughout Seattle/King County.
Between 2008 and 2018, new jobs in Washington requiring postsecondary education and training will grow by 259,000, while jobs for high school dropouts will grow by only 107,000. Fully 67% of all jobs in Washington State will require some postsecondary training beyond high school in 2018. Educational attainment and poverty are closely linked – the more education you have, the less likely you are to live in poverty. Individuals with an Associate degree on average make 20% more than high school graduates, and 70% more than someone with a high school diploma [Seattle Jobs Initiative].
“The goal of the Pathway to Career Corps is to help young adults access the stability and the learning of a 12-month intensive program, experience the transformational impact of service on themselves and the community, and develop a viable plan to move into a future living wage,” says JustServe AmeriCorps Supervisor Tera Oglesby. “National Service is a strategy to help them get there.”
For more information, contact Volunteer Resources Director, Glenn Puckett, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Filed under: Local Heroes | Tagged: career pathways, community building, educational support, JustServe AmeriCorps, mentorship | Leave a Comment »
Posted on July 19, 2011 by Liz Reed Hawk
(Editor’s note: This is the main story reprinted from our July 2011 Groundviews newsletter. To read the complete newsletter or past issues of Groundviews, please visit our Publications webpage.)
On a cool, drizzly June day, Sudi convinced his 7-year-old brother to join him at a work party at the new farm nestled within their housing complex. They helped move the last load of dirt into neat rows, soon to be planted. Scott Behmer, Seattle Community Farm Coordinator, says that when he started in the fall of 2010, the Farm was little more than “a grass field and a parking lot” near Rainier Vista (a mixed-income housing community just off MLK Way in South Seattle). Today, after two+ years of planning, community meetings and “a lot of physical work moving in 200 cubic yards of soil and tens of thousands of pounds of other materials,” the 1/3-acre Farm is fully planted and celebrated its official Grand Opening on June 25.
Seattle Community Farm is the newest project of Solid Ground’s Lettuce Link program, which works with and in communities to grow and share fresh, nourishing food, and envisions a city where people have equal access to healthy and culturally appropriate food. Scott says, “Our goal is to get vegetables to folks who struggle to afford them.”
Cross-cultural community building
Getting the new Farm to where it is today has been a true organizing effort: Lettuce Link worked with many partners, including Seattle’s P-Patch Program, landscape designer Eric Higbee (who donated his services) and Seattle Housing Authority.
Lettuce Link Program Manager, Michelle Bates-Benetua, says, “Together, we crafted and carried out a culturally relevant engagement process so the community could tell us what they wanted. It may take longer and it is more expensive to provide food, childcare and interpretation, but our intent is to work together with the neighborhood so that in a few years, they run the Farm and we’ve worked ourselves out of a job.
“The grand vision is that the community is able to produce food together across cultures and language, share that food among themselves and with the Rainier Valley Food Bank, and utilize the gathering space as one community instead of several distinct groups living in one neighborhood.”
Mariah Pepper, an AmeriCorps*VISTA serving this year as Seattle Community Farm’s Outreach Coordinator, says, “It’s an interesting neighborhood; Rainier Vista is a mixed-income housing development, so there’s every kind of person you can imagine.” Residents run the gamut from Seattle Housing Authority seniors and people living on very low incomes, to Habitat for Humanity homeowners, to renters and homeowners affording full-market rates.
Seattle Community Farm is built on a Work Trade model Scott describes as “one way to try to make the volunteer model work for people where time might mean a lot more because they’re lower income and might work more jobs. Basically, if you work two hours, you get a bag of vegetables,” worth about $30/bag. “So you’re not just volunteering, you’re coming and working in exchange for vegetables.”
Michelle says, “The goal is to make sure our volunteer opportunities are accessible and meaningful for the community” – and yet this poses challenges. The Rainier Vista area is extremely culturally diverse: Residents speak approximately 50 different languages. Mariah says, “With so many languages and so many cultures, it makes outreach a bit difficult, because there are so many different ways that people interact with each other – and a sea of information. And that’s the thing we’ve all learned: We have to have multiple ways of getting information out there.”
When possible, staff use interpreters and have outreach materials translated into multiple languages. Scott says Rainier Vista has “a lot of community events. So we’re going to those, and going door to door, leaving flyers and talking to people.”
Sudi, a Seattle Community Farm volunteer and Rainier Vista resident
Sudi is one young resident who both volunteers regularly and is helping get the word out to other residents. Originally from Ethiopia, his family has lived at Rainier Vista for six years. Having just finished his third year studying chemistry at St. Martin’s College, he says his dad asked him to come out to volunteer one day, and they happened to be doing a class on composting. “We talked about fertilizers and nitrogen, and so I get interested when I hear that!” Sudi says, “I think it is wonderful. Aside from just doing the work, you actually learn how to grow plants. We have fun talking about different kinds of plants, and it’s just a learning experience.
“I try to get people involved here in the neighborhood. Scott gave me flyers, and one day I took it down and gave it to some people – trying to explain the reason behind it. The reason why this is here, from my understanding, is this is a (mostly) vegetable garden – and trying to get more nutritions from vegetables into this community, who either don’t know much about the importance of it – or since vegetables are expensive, they don’t get much of it. Having it here, and them working on it and harvesting it themselves, is a big thing.”
Scott says, “It’s always great to get volunteers from the community to come out and work, and hear a little about them, and see them enjoy it.” Mariah adds: “Food is so connected to culture – so it’s a way to talk about how we grow things, how we cook things and eat things, and have a conversation across these differences. I would like to see the Farm be able to bridge that.”
For more information about the Seattle Community Farm, please contact 206.694.6828 or email@example.com, or visit www.solid-ground.org/Programs/Nutrition/CommunityFarm.
Filed under: Art & Science, Food, Groundviews | Tagged: Food, food justice, gardening, Lettuce Link, sustainable agriculture | Leave a Comment »