Sunday, November 29, 2009

It Takes A Village - West coast, East coast - no difference, it takes hard work and dedicated villagers to make the changes needed in this world!

ORGANIC PRODUCE at The ALTERNATIVE FOOD COOP - in the heart of Wakefield, RI Colorful food and all kinds of friendly folks and characters make this community mainstay a happening place!

California, the west.... indeed a lot of health conscious movers and shakers are out there, but they are here in Rhode Island too. Have you heard about the SK Public School's Community Learning Program (CLP)? -

Have you experienced shopping, eating, learning or volunteering at Wakefied's Alternative Food Cooperative (AFC)?

AFC is one of the last small cooperatives in the US, with working volunteers and an all-organic, primarily local produce section. AFC now has one of southern Rhode Island's most loved and revered chef's heading the kitchen, with vegan, gluten free and all organic choices from Thai Tofu Stew to Gluten-free, Chocolate, Raspberry Muffins! Yum! - Yes, now at AFC is Chris Bassett of Pepper's and Wileys at Middlebridge fame? Great stuff with more to come, like more cooking classes and education from the AFC board members, staff, volunteers and customers!

It takes a village to create the change we want to see in the world! Start with your own life, then see how you can be a part of the bigger picture - be creative, volunteer, share your gifts, create income out of what you offer, educate and help us all grow, organically, into a more sustainable community and world we feel proud of!

I was inspired to write this after reading a link offered up from a fellow friend, yogini and facebooker. Here's the link: read and come back.

kalman.blogs.nytimes.comNovember 26, 2009, 8:32
Creating change out west, in the tofu eating, electric car driving mainstream, can be just as difficult as anywhere else, and only gets more possible when the community is there to support it. Communities in CA may be the pioneers of change and idealistic goals may get underfoot decades before the east coast even has enough wishful thinkers of the idea, but positive change can occur anywhere. It just takes gumption, perserverance, dedication and community networking and support!

Before Alice Waters's Edible Schoolyard, was Earth Save's (John Robbins' effort), "The Healthy School Lunch Project," that originated in Santa Cruz,CA. Both projects emphasize(d) educating students on where their food comes from, on how it is prepared, and how to relax and eat it. I worked as a volunteer in Santa Fe, NM's public schools in the mid 90's with a combo project of these two programs. We had local chefs volunteering in the classrooms, sharing simple, whole food preparation and easy recipes with the kids; the dishes made were incorporated into the hot lunch choices that week after some education and training of the food service workers. It was a lot of work! Before all that we had to deal with lessening the food service's robotic dependence on subsidized canned food- high in sodium, fat and preservatives, and selling whole food prep to them with time constraints was a challenge.

The lack of interest and will within all levels of the Santa Fe PS district's administration was also a challenge, as making any changes to the state and federal programs that fund their schools was a definite no, no -appropriations of funds and the subsidized over stocked processed foods that fill school kitchens is figured according to the number of low income students getting free lunch. Would kids eat healthier food?-- many pessimist said no. Having local businesses, respected physicians, Naturopaths, health food stores, coops, restauranteurs, teachers (especially health teachers) and parents supporting the change and convincing the school board, was a huge political plus. One day a week we managed to have local restauranteurs', shops', farmers' and artisians' produce, breads and cheeses purchased with "Healthy School Lunch Program" grant money, and the food was used in the classrooms and lunch program. Even if we didn't get the institutionalized food to change 100% the healthy choices were well received and kids LEARNED that fresh and whole foods are not only more delicious, but fun and healthy alternatives. Making positive changes in a stubborn environment, is a challenge where ever you are, but set an intention, do your best and work with other like minded citizens. Together, we can make differences that add up to change, slow but sure!

No comments: