I was extremely lucky to be able to visit the Summer of Solutions Oakland for their closing ceremony last night. Before I get into the bulk of my blog post and the fantastic work that the program leaders and participants have done with and for the Fruitvale community, I want to start out by asking you, the person reading this blog, to send $10, $20, $50, or $100 to their crowdfunding campaign. I just donated and I invite you to join me in supporting the locally driven efforts of Summer of Solutions Oakland. Here’s why.
SoS Oakland campers await their turn to graduate from camp.
Dear friends and supporters of Summer of Solutions Oakland, we are happy and excited to bring you updated news of what has been going on during the past 4 weeks of camp. First of all, sorry for not keeping up, but we will assure you that here we provide you with all details of what we have been doing. We started our camp on July 9, and started with 32 accepted kids, Sergio was able to get things going in order to provide free lunches and snacks for our kids and youth in the community. Our first week went really well even though there where 7 of us staff members; our 2nd week went even better we welcomed 9 more youth to our team. Our staff are wonderful. They show us that they are very passionate about working with our kids. Continue reading →
The team joined the farmer’s market at kaiser today where there was a great turnout. I can say that it was a great success and a wonderful opportunity. We will have the chance to vend next week as well. It was a great feeling to be able to speak with members of the community about our projects. It was also really refreshing to see familiar and interested faces who believe in the things that we want to keep pushing for, more community involvement.
Below are photos from the past couple of weeks. Enjoy!
Even without campers this week at Growing Food and Sustainability, the farm has been bustling with activity. Activities included planning for our second camp session, building a produce wash table, planning for our harvest festival, and our main focus, “beautifying” the farm in preparation for our on-farm dinner.
The beautification process included a lot of weeding and mulching of pathways, two tasks that involved a lot of time in the sun and physical effort. In other words, after a day on the farm we left covered in dirt and sweat. Although at times it was hard, uncomfortable work, the dirt and sweat didn’t fail to make me feel like I had done a good, hard day’s work that made a positive impact on the program.
After a week long orientation with our group leaders Nick Gerken, Eli Shepherd, and Kate Anstreicher, we split up into subgroups run by each leader geared toward specific causes. Eli is in charge of ‘Our Power,’ which is an energy sustainability initiative with an end goal of addressing the split incentive issue for city counsel in regards to rental properties in Iowa City. Kate leads ‘Iowa City Roots,’ which is a community gardening force working with the Iowa City landfill to implement a composting collection service for downtown businesses. Then there is ‘Sustainable Art,’ the program that I am in. Nick heads this subgroup and our weekly activities for a range of summer camps with the goal of educating about waste and waste management through hands on activities and recycled artwork. Our group of about four people just recently came up with an idea we are very excited about: downtown window painting.
Children painting windows as part of the Iowa City Downtown District’s ‘Kidows’ initiative. Continue reading →
LR Summer of Solutions hosted a booth on 12th Street to sign up residents for free home energy assessments.
By: Kara King
Location: Little Rock
The Little Rock Summer of Solutions team is officially half way through our 8 week program and our projects are really beginning to take off! We began the week by tending to the 12th and Oak garden. When I stepped into the garden this week after being away for over a week, I was blown away by the appearance of our garden! Despite some failed attempts in some of our beds and having to uproot some of the seasonal plants, the rest of the garden is flourishing. Our sunflowers are the height of most average adults and our tomatoes are constantly producing fruit! We continue to expand our garden by clearing new beds and planting new seeds. Continue reading →
by Jenny Totten and Build it Up! West Virginia Participants
As a born and raised West Virginian, I can say that my state has gotten some pretty bad raps in the past. Sure, we’ve been last in a lot of things, we’ve been first in some others like obesity rates and unhappiness, but the recent release of the interactive documentary Hollow has ignited a passion and a fire in several of our Build it Up! West Virginia participants to design and create community and economic development activities across southern West Virginia. Below are their comments about the future of this state, the future of McDowell County, and their place in it. I hope you feel inspired, I know I do.
McDowell County Build it Up! WV Participants Learn About Financial Literacy
Just down 58, southwest of our humble Appalachia, is a small mountain community named Eagan. Home to dear friends like Vickie, Sam and Carol, Eagan boasts an amazing community center called the Clearfork Community Institute (CCI), where magical events bring the community together, even amidst local turmoil and the sometimes harsh realities of living in the mountains.
CCI and members of the community have started a new initiative called ACE: Appalachian Community Economics, out of an interest in pursuing creative ways to build an inter-generational local economy that doesn’t rely on coal or coal profits. Continue reading →
For Growing Food and Sustainability (GFS), our training week signified the end of a successful journey through our first year or so, and the fresh start of a second year. Unlike the first training week though, this one witnessed the continuation and growth of existing programs and the beginning of even more! Likewise, this training week had more participants attending, and caused the same amount of (if not more) giddy excitement and inspiration that last year’s did.
One of the most exciting areas of growth for me to witness was that of our farmers market stand. Last year we had a booth at the farmers market with ample kids activities – we reached many new families with them, but did not sell any produce. This year during training week there was time for our team to plan out what we wanted the market stand to look like, with focuses on selling produce and increasing attendance at the market. I found it especially exciting that we focused on this in our training week, as it is a way to get participants involved directly with the revenue generation aspect of our program and a way to ensure a successful farmers market stand. In our discussion we built on the rough plans to have an event promoting the market. We decided to have a Summer Season Farmers Market Kickoff which happened yesterday, Tuesday 6/18.
Greetings from Johnson City! We’ve been super busy getting our programs set up and scheduling events for the coming spring season. But let’s just go ahead and get down to the fun stuff:
Johnson City, Tennessee is currently in the midst of an incredible blossoming of energy for food justice! Just last month we had a new café hold a “First Seed” fundraiser. Now, what’s so exciting about any old café? Well, let me tell you. This café, One Acre Café, is part of the “One World Everybody Eats Foundation” (http://www.oneworldeverybodyeatsfoundation.org/). Their mission statement is: “To nourish the body, replenish the spirit, and grow the community so that all might be fed.” In addition,
“It is the intent of One Acre Cafe to build a healthy community by providing the basic need of food in a respectful and dignified manner to anyone who walks through the door. One Acre Cafe will be unique in the lack of a set menu as well as set prices. Daily menus will be made using fresh ingredients and funded by the donations of patrons and community members. Everyone will be invited to pay what they felt their meal was worth or to leave a little more in order to help pay for someone else’s meal. If a diner does not have sufficient money to leave, they are encouraged to exchange one hour of service to the cafe for their meal.”