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DonRocks
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I'm honored to introduce our next member blogger, Tanikka Cunningham.

Several months ago, Zora Margolis told me about Tanikka and the heroic work she is doing - it seemed almost absurd that I hadn't heard about her before. Zora thought so too, and had decided to write a feature article about Tanikka in the current issue of Flavor Magazine (Dec 2009 / Jan 2010, available very soon). Timing this chat to coincide with the article seemed like the best way to introduce the remarkable Tanikka Cunningham to the world.

A copy of Zora's article is down below, and gives a far deeper perspective of this visionary than I ever could in just a few paragraphs.

Tanikka is a Ward 8 resident, and the President of Healthy Solutions. Starting tomorrow, Tanikka will be doing a mini-blog, giving some insight into a "typical" day for her, and also engaging in questions-and-answers about her courageous organization, Healthy Solutions.

Tanikka is a trained USDA inspector of 8 years, who has worked in produce wholesale and distribution, and who was responsible for supplying the military with $6.5 million a year-worth of fresh fruits and vegetables. She works hard to insure that the best quality produce is brought into low income areas at prices community members can afford, while working to improve the health outcomes of community members through access to food.

Healthy Solutions is a 501©(3) whose mission is to enhance the lives of the underserved, underprivileged, and/or marginalized and to help them make informed decisions. Its vision is to create equitable communities by creating sustainable community-based food systems allowing all community members 1) access to healthy affordable foods, 2) quality jobs through agriculture, and 3) education and training.

For more information about Healthy Solutions, click on these links for history, achievements, and contact information.

Tanikka, thank you in advance, and we look forward to seeing you tomorrow!

Cheers,

Rocks

P.S. Everyone please feel free to start posting questions for Tanikka.

Tanikka Cunningham.pdf

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Just a quick addendum to Don's introduction: the December/January issue of Flavor Magazine is scheduled to be delivered to the DC area this weekend, but wasn't available at this morning's Dupont FreshFarm Market, where I had hoped to find it. The inclement weather yesterday may have postponed delivery. It is a free publication, and is available at numerous locations, though not at newsstands.

For a list of nearby locations where Flavor Magazine is available, check their website here.

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Thanks Don and Zora, the honor is all mine.

Yes Zora, I'll give a rundown (might not be quick) on our programs and I'll come back on a little later and answer more questions and give you all a little more detail about what Healthy Solutions does, why we do it, and why I feel it's important.

So our programs -

DC Produce Co-operative - Is our main program - it’s a community based food system program that sources organic produce (sometimes milks and eggs) in bulk from farms small and large. We offer pre-made fresh fruit and vegetable boxes called “Freggie” (fresh fruits and veggies) boxes to the community at set prices. These boxes come in a variety of sizes that offer enough fresh fruits and vegetables to sustain a family size up to 10 for a 2 week time frame. We also educate youth on how to run a co-op in their communities, and teach them the importance of healthy eating and healthy lifestyles.

Healthy Corner Stores (with DC Hunger Solutions) - one of our work in progress programs - We supply corner stores in ward 7 and 8 with fresh organic produce at wholesale cost in small quantities (1 head of lettuce, 2 apples etc) so that they can offer fresh fruits and vegetables in the community at affordable prices (I will get into this program more later)

Co-operative / Farmers Market - Functions like a farmers market - minus the farmer. We have youth run markets and teach them about agriculture, and how to run a business.

Value Added Project is one of newer projects and it a work in progress - it's designed to be an educational healthy foods enterprise training program for youth that would give youth a change to learn about changing their eating habits while training them on how to produce Value Added products (such as fruit cups, salads, salsa), that they produce and then market to corner stores, businesses and the community. We also want to expand this to include training on how to make smoothes, and pies that will be sold in our training center market and cafe

And our largest program that we are working to create:

Fresh Start Market - the Fresh Start market will be healthy food enterprise training facility - market and cafe all in one! The Market will sell locally and organically produced products (some of which we will grow ourselves), the cafe will service healthy foods - nothing fried - regular cafe foods - salads, sandwiches smoothes, coffees etc. However it will be a training program that we will give job skills and training to community members where they will learn culinary skills, urban agriculture, and healthy food production. The Market will also provide catering services, and a distribution service throughout the city. This will be the only program of its kind East of the River, we are looking to create jobs in an area that has an unemployment rate of 38%, while creating sustainable communities.

We do cooking classes and nutrition classes with partners.

We are also working to replicate our co-op program in other areas.

So that’s about it in a nutshell

And when I figure out how to post pictures - I will post some photos of what we do and offer.

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Our largest challenge as an organization is funding- we are a small organization with a large agenda and currently no funders, so I do a lot of volunteering and work with folks who are willing to barter for food to get the community what we need.

In the community we run into various challenges block by block. And honestly there are so many challenges that we run into, that that is not a simple answer!

Our most pressing issue - Is that Ward 7 and ward 8 are food deserts, so a lot of community members have come accustom to eating junk food that they find at the liquor store - which is considered the grocery to a lot of families, because that is all they have access to. So we face all the issues that revolve around the community not have access to FRESH FOOD.

We have to do a lot of basic education- but you have to be strategic in how you do that because we run into literacy issues. So we do a lot of face to face education and simple things like tastings and cooking classes, so people can see and taste the difference. Once you have someone willing to eat healthy, than you can build on that by then looking at their overall health, and are they managing their chronic diseases for example.

We have a generation of young people who don't know what a banana is..... or didn't know that spinach came in anything but a can. Not because they are ignorant but because no one ever told them otherwise, and they definitely don't see one at the corner liquor store that they run and get their milk and bread from.

Some of the most pressing issues that we see east of the river:

- lack of healthy and affordable foods (78% of east of the river residents live more than a 15 minute walking distance from a grocery store)

- high poverty (31% of adults live below the poverty line- 47% of children live below the poverty line)

- higher than average unemployment rates (east of the river has triple the amount of unemployment than the national average - 38%)

- Lack of safe places to play and learn

All of those things and many more add to other problems our community faces - high juvenile crime rates and teen pregnancy (because our youth have few things to do and few places to go - they find unhealthy ways to pass the time) - high rates of chronic disease, asthma, and obesity (where 40% of youth east of the river are considered obese and 1 in 3 adults are considered obese)

I know that none of these things will just disappear overnight because it has taken decades for these issues to accumulate. So we have many challenges all seem to add up to others, but what I'm hoping is that Healthy Solutions can make small changes that will eventually have a large impact to better my community.

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Tanikka,

Thanks for all the substantive and interesting information so far. There's a lot to absorb in what you've written.

Let's say I'm a typical resident of Ward 7 and 8. Do I care about you, or are you forcing yourself upon me?

Assuming that some people are more receptive than others, do you have the time and energy to fight the battle with the less-receptive residents? If so, what is your approach? Do you actually go door-to-door? Hand out flyers on street corners?

Do you ever try and "partner with the enemy," i.e., the supply-side of the problem? Maybe putting some fresh fruit at the checkout counter of a liquor store?

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Maybe putting some fresh fruit at the checkout counter of a liquor store?

I was wondering this as well. I'd be interested to know if liquor store owners would be receptive.

How do you engage youth in your programs? Do you work with the schools or city youth programs?

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We never force ourselves on anyone. Everyone who contacts us usually calls us on their own free will. And you do care about what we do, because you (as a ward 7 and 8 resident) to recognize what it is’s like to want some produce from time to time even if your just onions and potatoes. So you care, and that’s one of our largest driving forces that has taken us to where we are now, our community wants fresh options, even if we don't know what to do with them all.

We do hand out flyers door to door for cooking classes that we might be putting on in a certain area. We do door to door flyers at public housing communities. We also hand out flyers at local schools, churches, libraries around an area that we are doing a program.

And yes we "partner with enemies"- we actually started recently supplying these corner stores and liquor stores with produce, they order here and there. Some of the stores feel that fresh fruits and vegetables wouldn't sell in their store. But at the end of the day they do. We help them by not only supplying them with produce but getting the word out that this one store is now carrying our produce. This works really well- and is more convenient for community members. They can walk into the store any day of the week and produce verses have to wait until actual co-op pick up day.

We do want to expand working the liquor stores, corner stores, grocery stores and to create markets so that east of the river residence can get fresh fruits and vegetables everywhere.

I hope I'm not overwhelming anyone! :angry:

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I was wondering this as well. I'd be interested to know if liquor store owners would be receptive.

How do you engage youth in your programs? Do you work with the schools or city youth programs?

DC Hunger Solutions has worked with DC Department of Health to create the Healthy Corner Store Program (it’s a national initiative). They have over the last 2 years recruited a few corner stores in ward 7 and ward 8.

Some of these stores have stated that they don't carry fresh items often because they don't have access to buying fresh items in small quantities, while still getting a wholesale price or they feel it's no demand. Some of these stores that have in the past tried to sell fresh items like bananas – they go to a grocery store or a wholesale club like Sam’s and buy a bunch - and then go back to their stores and they sell it in their store for 1.00 a banana. Well at that price no one wants to buy 1 banana for a buck each, so it goes bad. And the stores stop trying, and they say the community doesn't want it. So long story short the healthy corner store program creates a marketing campaign, and we supply corner stores with food directly from farms at wholesale price so they can sell them at a set price that makes the foods accessible and affordable (and we set their prices for them)

Since we started supplying them- some store owners like the program, others don't so much. The other issue we run into is that store owners want a large profit - they are use to selling soda and candy and making 200% profit, but fresh fruits and vegetables don't turn a large profit on one item. Some stores also aren't equipped to hold a lot of produce so that’s another issue we see as well.

We don't work with schools as much as we would like too. We are working on that now, but most of our programs are in the community, we go directly to public housing communities, and libraries, and recreation centers and parks.

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Every question and answer so far has been in very general terms. Can you give us a story about an individual, or family, that touched you in a certain way - maybe something funny, or sad, or just meaningful - a specific incident that you'll remember 50 years from now?

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This is a great conversation. One of the things that I am interested in concerns not just the supply of fresh food, but the knowledge of it. The first time you encounter a new vegetable, it isn't always clear how it should be cooked. In addition to the cooking classes that are offered, which I think are a great idea, are there 'cheat sheets' that come with the fruit and produce? I hope this isn't too naive of a question, but in addition to lack of availability, I have often wondered if another barrier to eating healthier is really understanding how to prepare fresh fruits and vegetables in a healthy but appetizing way. Sure, it's easy to eat an apple, or grapes, but what about squash, or beans, etc? It's sometimes kind of nice to know that something can be boiled for just two minutes versus twenty to give much more delicious results, and a simple factsheet could be useful.

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Do you feel that there are policies whose "unintended consequences" are barriers to your work? For example, the DC WIC program has made a specific policy decision not to include corner stores or smaller stores amongst their approved WIC vendors. So while these stores may accept SNAP (food stamp) funds, they do not take WIC vouchers. Do you think corner stores would have more incentive to stock more staple food items if this policy were to change? Building upon this same line of questions, how do you think the new WIC food package, which now includes fruits and vegetables and whole grain breads will impact the types of food sold in smaller grocery stores? Do you think that these smaller stores that you work with would want to become WIC approved food vendors if it meant that they would have to carry these staple foods that they have historically been resistant to?

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[snip] most of our programs are in the community, we go directly to public housing communities, and libraries, and recreation centers and parks.

This is very interesting. By any chance, do you work with (or do you have plans to work with) group homes for foster kids or kids in the delinquency system? As I'm sure nobody will be surprised to hear, the nutrition at some of these places (even the ones that house younger kids) can be really terrible.

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Every question and answer so far has been in very general terms. Can you give us a story about an individual, or family, that touched you in a certain way - maybe something funny, or sad, or just meaningful - a specific incident that you'll remember 50 years from now?

So as I mentioned before one of our programs is our co-op markets.

Our policy is that when we start new co-op markets that we work with the youth in the community and they help with the markets and we teach them how co-op works, about sustainable agriculture and why healthy foods are important in our community. So this summer we set up a market at the Riverside Center at the request of Washington Parks and People. When we did we asked about any youth in the area that would be willing to work with us. We had one young men ask to help who we will call TD who is 17. Well TD was known for running in all crowds good and bad, and was given a nickname that fitted it. So he ran markets for us on every Friday evening. He explained that the hours at the market were good time for him because it kept him from having to find things to do in the evenings.

So the summer time went and TD was AWSOME, and then came august and he asked us can we change some of the hours of the market, we explained to him times are set and we can't- and that we want him to continue working those hours because we wanted to keep him on the right path that he set out for. The following week he came on time and asked to leave early and we declined (only because we knew he was just wanting to hang out with his friends- and he had committed to working with us so he needs to honor his commitments), the next week he came and tried the same thing and we stood our ground.

The following week he called us on Monday and thanked us for keeping him over on Friday, he explained that had he had left early he was planning on going out with his friends. That same evening his friends went out, and two were shot and one was killed. Had he had gone out with his friends he stated that realistically he wouldn't be on the phone with us then.

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This is a great conversation. One of the things that I am interested in concerns not just the supply of fresh food, but the knowledge of it. The first time you encounter a new vegetable, it isn't always clear how it should be cooked. In addition to the cooking classes that are offered, which I think are a great idea, are there 'cheat sheets' that come with the fruit and produce? I hope this isn't too naive of a question, but in addition to lack of availability, I have often wondered if another barrier to eating healthier is really understanding how to prepare fresh fruits and vegetables in a healthy but appetizing way. Sure, it's easy to eat an apple, or grapes, but what about squash, or beans, etc? It's sometimes kind of nice to know that something can be boiled for just two minutes versus twenty to give much more delicious results, and a simple factsheet could be useful.

Yes we do have a cheat sheet: We have one for the markets as well.

So in the classes we give cards that tell you not only how to make these items when you get home but also how to handle and store produce so that it will keep longer.

Your question is not being naive at all! That is the case- I often tell people that I can make sure that every person east of the river has fresh fruits and vegetables- but if they don't know what to do with them- all the food will do is rot, and we still have the same problems. Food alone is not the answer- education and food however can be the solution.

So yes we do classes that not only say this is how to cook it, but also information on each item we are cook - example this is an orange, these are the different varieties ( Hamlin’s, cara cara, blood, Valencia, temples, etc) and these are ways to prepare them instead of just peeling and eating (which we want you to do as well :angry:). We try to focus on one item or two at a time, so it's not overwhelming but still do able, and slowly add on as classes go. We also give some history on agriculture and explain why we choose organic.

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Do you feel that there are policies whose "unintended consequences" are barriers to your work? For example, the DC WIC program has made a specific policy decision not to include corner stores or smaller stores amongst their approved WIC vendors. So while these stores may accept SNAP (food stamp) funds, they do not take WIC vouchers. Do you think corner stores would have more incentive to stock more staple food items if this policy were to change? Building upon this same line of questions, how do you think the new WIC food package, which now includes fruits and vegetables and whole grain breads will impact the types of food sold in smaller grocery stores? Do you think that these smaller stores that you work with would want to become WIC approved food vendors if it meant that they would have to carry these staple foods that they have historically been resistant to?

I know a lot of policies have unintended consequences that barrier our work. Our largest issue we have is working with Public Housing. They state that we can't physically operate a market in public housing but we can operate our classes. They say that if set up a market than that is considered running a business, and since public housing is federal property- then running a business is illegal.

I have had several talks with DOH on the WIC issue. I see where their hands are tied, but that still think that WIC participants should be able to use vouchers in all stores. As long as the stores dedicate themselves to stocking the items (in large and small quantities) that is required of them- this is the issue. Corner Stores can try to stock, but they have to stock a large enough quantity on a consistent basis , which they say they can't. I have an issue with the WIC farmers markets vouchers as well- only because you have to be a farmer to except them, so in our case we aren't farmers (yet) so our co-op markets can't accept them (yet).

I have seen the new WIC package which I think is a very good start. My main issue is that wic participants can't purchase organic milk, or eggs, bread, or grains with them. Once again I sat with the Nutrition Chief at DOH and talked about that, but I also see how it goes completely over DC's head and that is a Federal Issue that they can't change.

I do think there should be more incentives for corner stores and we are actually working to see if DC can help with one. I think there should be an incentive that gives a store owner the incentive to do so, but I honestly think that not all of the incentive should be just for the stores. I say that because these stores are a business and they make money because if they didn't make money they would not be in business. So I don't think that they business should get a grant of a large amount, but maybe a low or no interest loan so that they can borrow from (like a credit line) that would require that the stores make more space for healthy foods, work to make sure that they are affordable for the community they are housed in, and consistently stock healthy foods. If they don't comply (which means someone would have to check) then the loan/ credit line would then have interest applied if they use it.

I also think there should be a coupon program that would work just like every other coupon for consumers that if you buy 5lb's of fruit than you get .75 off your purchase, and of that .75 maybe half of it goes to the store owners. Something along those lines. We are working to do a coupon program, because if you look there is not coupon for fresh foods, but why not!

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This is very interesting. By any chance, do you work with (or do you have plans to work with) group homes for foster kids or kids in the delinquency system? As I'm sure nobody will be surprised to hear, the nutrition at some of these places (even the ones that house younger kids) can be really terrible.

Yes, we have plans to work directly with them to supply them and work with doing group nutrition classes. However we were told we would have to pilot one before we can work with several, but not everyone is so eager to work with you all the time- so long story short no one returns my calls.

We are working on youth violence reduction programs through our Value Added project. We are looking to use urban agriculture and culinary training as ways to keep youth out of the juvenile system, as well as keep the ones who are in it on the right path to being healthy adults. We have a grant out right now with DC that would allow us to do so - so keep your fingers crossed for us!

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In a similar vein to the question you just answered, do you work with or have any plans to work with the local family homeless shelters? Families living in most of the city-run shelters have apartments with kitchens, and many shelters allow for presentations on-site (or at least they did, back in my legal services days).

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So since I'm up (thanks to my co- typing 7 month old who decided to get up early this am), I did some thinking, and I realized that I have not yet explained my day to day tasks.

So I'll be using my plans for today. I have no outside meetings planned so lot of in the house time today, so it's a slower day for me.

So normally I'm up about 5:30am, I get my husband’s lunch and breakfast fixed so he can be out for the day by 6. By then my 7 month old usually is up to fed again, and I put her back to sleep (which is not the case this am as it is now 4:55 am :angry: )

I go to computer and start replying to emails, and do general admin things.

By 6:45am I start getting in gear for the day ahead.

So the rest of the hours I have to do in bulk:

7am-10: 30am - I am:

Getting my children up ( I have 4 - 7, 5, 3 – in a few days, and of course my 7 month old)

Tend to babies - feed them, wash ups, brushing teeth, etc.

Then Homeschooling time- we talk about what we did the day before - they ask tons of questions and we do more work

Making household calls - while I have babies do work sheets, quizzes, or crafts

Make a healthy solutions call – while babies are doing work

10:30a- 12:30p I am:

Get some outside time, or run around / play time with babies

Make lunch - feed babies

Washing clothes

Check my email / do the blog

Put babies to nap time

1pm - 2:30pm I am

Reply to emails / make calls

Doing a conference call with school in Alabama about developing a youth farm for the Town of Thomaston - that does not have any grocery stores

Doing some admin stuff for our newsletter

Getting Babies up from nap

2:4o ish - 5pm I am:

Finishing the first floor of our building a house project (home school lesson)- with babies

Going over division with my 7 year old

Going over vocabulary words with my 5 year old

Going over writing his name, and the rest of the families name with my almost 3 year old

Cooking dinner with babies

5:15- 7:30pm I am:

Eat dinner

Let babies run and play some before night night time

Do another conference call to go over classes for the 2010

Get my husband's dinner heated up- so we can now eat

Have babies clean up the mess they just made

Do bath time

7:30ish - 8:15pm I am:

Reading a book to babies

Do night night time

8:30 - on

Cleaning up

Checking emails

Start making list for next week’s co-op, and Healthy for the Holiday

Putting babies back in the bed

Feeding 7 month old

Changing diapers

Start writing up our next year needs list

Finish admin stuff - if i need too

and finally go to sleep - hopefully today!

So with my co-typer now sleep, I'll go start my husband breakfast!

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You've spoken quite a bit about the need to improve access and availability to fresh fruits and vegetables. Attracting and building big box supermarkets is very time and capital intensive and typically requires tax incentives. On this board there have been many debates about the significant red tape associated with starting new farmer's markets (FLOTUS market being a notable execption) and food carts. New York City has had pretty impressive success with their Green Carts initiative in underserved areas. Do you think a similar initiative here in DC would be successful?

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In a similar vein to the question you just answered, do you work with or have any plans to work with the local family homeless shelters? Families living in most of the city-run shelters have apartments with kitchens, and many shelters allow for presentations on-site (or at least they did, back in my legal services days).

We personally have not worked with local homeless shelters, but one of our partners and another nonprofit Healthy Living, Inc has. We would like to have it so that once we give more youth and adults culinary skills, healthy food production, and urban agriculture skills that they can go do classes in shelters, schools and various other locations.

We do plan on working within some city- run senior centers this summer. We already do deliveries to the seniors, as well as co-op market in senior centers and are working with a nurse to help us understand dietary restrictions that some of our senior face. So we hope to start doing those classes by this coming spring.

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Thank you for taking the time to participate in this conversation!

What I'd like to know is how much members of the communities you visit care about nutrition.

It seems to me that it's a hard sell, especially since any attempt to change diets implies "for the better": it's kind of hard not to sound judgmental in the process, no?

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You've spoken quite a bit about the need to improve access and availability to fresh fruits and vegetables. Attracting and building big box supermarkets is very time and capital intensive and typically requires tax incentives. On this board there have been many debates about the significant red tape associated with starting new farmer's markets (FLOTUS market being a notable execption) and food carts. New York City has had pretty impressive success with their Green Carts initiative in underserved areas. Do you think a similar initiative here in DC would be successful?

Yes I do think a similar initiative would be successful. Not the exact one- but similar.

I say that because a lot of good and bad could come of the exact same model.

The largest problem I see - is that the neighborhoods that would need these carts most, would realistically be left out, because anyone and everyone with some money could go get a license from DC and opt to where they want to set up a cart. Now realistically no one will want to set up shop where they would not profit the most, they would go where they would profit the most- which would not be in the places that have the greatest need. Also I don't want it to be like the Big Box supermarkets that do exist in our areas that often sell the worse quality foods and the highest prices.

So I would like to see 4 things if a similar initiative was taken here (which there has been talks from Tommy Wells office about trying to do -and I told them the same thing)

1) That a priority be given to the food deserts first- that these carts be placed in the communities of greatest need, not just any where in all of dc,

2) The residents in these communities has first priority to obtaining these licenses for carts, and given assistance or waivers to do so,

3) that a training program be set up to teach residents how to run a successful business (how to manage your books, how to market, and how to source the highest quality foods) and

4) that these carts offer only quality foods at affordable prices. And it would even better if they could offer locally and organically produced foods

I feel that with these things in place added to what New York is doing would be very successful in dc. I think if we can give some of our community members ways to make money while promoting healthy eats through selling fresh fruits and vegetables- it’s a win-win for everyone.

And yes I offered to supply the carts and train community members who would be interested in owning one.

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Thank you for taking the time to participate in this conversation!

What I'd like to know is how much members of the communities you visit care about nutrition.

It seems to me that it's a hard sell, especially since any attempt to change diets implies "for the better": it's kind of hard not to sound judgmental in the process, no?

The pleasure is mine, I'm glad I was invited to participate!

That is a good question

I see it as you have 4 groups of folks in the community

1) Community members that know they should care about what they eat and how they eat because of having health issues (diabetes, heart disease, cancer) and that’s what their doctor has told them. And they do they care, because they want to live.

2) Community members that care because they have heard about eating right and are curious to find out ways to do. (Big example lots of public housing families stay home during the day and are HUGE Food Network Fans, so some will tell you, I saw Bobby Flay make this, and they will ask about how to make it or the products in it to make are in season, etc)

3) Community members that know hands down this is what they want to do and just need a little help in making it happen.

and 4)community members that just don't care and it's not an issue at all to them- as I said we never force ourselves on anyone- so we know over time with some taste test and seeing what other community members are doing they too will come around.

So letting people know they need to eat better is not the hard sell. The hardest part is introducing new things. When we talk about a person’s food, that personal, this is them, is how they cook and eat, and realistically how their mom did it and her mom before her. So they have an if it was good for them, then it good for me mentality. When we know that food has changed drastically over the last 10+ years and that is not the case. You are not eating the same food your mom or her mom ate and even they recognize food taste differently than I was child. And because you are not, you are in worse health. So we work with families on making small changes on what they already do. So if they make greens with fat back in it, hey lets add smoked turkey or better yet let’s just try it with some shallots and sauté it in a pan.

Sometimes it is hard not being judgmental but when people trust you and know you, it gets easier to say "You know you have no business eating those salty chips for breakfast- go get some fruit, or cook you some food". They know you’re not there to just tell them what to do and leave. They also know you understand why they make the food choices they do, and they know you are trying to make a difference, if they like it or not. And eventually they respect you for it- and if they try to still sneak those salty chips in the morning they throw them away when they see you coming.

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I really want to thank Tanikka for a wonderful chat up until now. She's agreed to keep it going for awhile - now, to make it really interesting, can we have more members ask questions to Tanikka based on their personal interpretations so far? Does anyone have any comments? Recommendations? Leads for Tanikka to follow? Volunteer or partnership ideas?

I think this project merits national attention, and am blown away by the scope of what she's trying to achieve. THANK YOU Tanikka, for being with us so far! You've been fantastic, and I'm very excited that we can keep going with this.

You're gonna be famous!

Cheers,

Rocks.

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I really want to thank Tanikka for a wonderful chat up until now. She's agreed to keep it going for awhile - now, to make it really interesting, can we have more members ask questions to Tanikka based on their personal interpretations so far? Does anyone have any comments? Recommendations? Leads for Tanikka to follow? Volunteer or partnership ideas?

I think this project merits national attention, and am blown away by the scope of what she's trying to achieve. THANK YOU Tanikka, for being with us so far! You've been fantastic, and I'm very excited that we can keep going with this.

You're gonna be famous!

Cheers,

Rocks.

Thank you for inviting me to do this, and I too am excited!

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Since I am to update on my day to day tasks- Here we go:

Today is a very interesting day of the week for me, because we are getting in gear for the weekend - markets, and senior deliveries.

But even more so today because we have officially submitted a proposal to Washington Parks and People to use the Riverside Center for our Fresh Start Market/ Cafe. We even received a call from North Carolina to replicate the same thing there- which is GREAT! But we still would need to findraise to do so!

So since I have the floor I am hoping someone can answer my question.

What is a fair proposed price for payment for the use of a site (both organizations are nonprofits) to put on a program like our Fresh Start Market/ Cafe? We want to set the amount as a percentage of our net profits. Any profits from the market are going towards paying employees and to create opportunities to train more people in the community- so we don't want to take too much from that but we have to pay for our space. Any suggestions?

Ok so back to my day- we have confirmed our food is being harvest, we have vans sent out or leaving tomorrow to get items, and we have market staff ready to go. We are sending out flyers as a reminder for markets, and this week no co-op so that makes things a little easier on me.

During my childrens nap time : I am planning for our Healthy for the Holiday Box distribution at the libraries east of the river on December 22nd so I am sending out reminders to families that haven't ordered yet to do so, and having some youth send out flyers in the community and place them at libraries. I also am holding a conference call about starting 3 youth garden this summer and having youth in public housing run it.

Later this evening I am going over next weeks class information with a nutritionist. I am talking to DOH about starting a breastfeed incentive program using fresh fruits and vegetable for women on WIC. Then shutting down early tonight because tomorrow we visit farms to get ready for next years crop needs for the co-op!

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By now, those who have been reading can understand why I expected that when I met Tanikka, she would be wearing a superhero cape! She has so many great ideas for ways of helping her community eat better, and involving kids to help broaden their horizons and develop life skills.

What I would like to ask Tanikka is to provide a "wish list" of sorts. What do you need, or need help with, in order to accomplish some of your goals? And more specifically, are there ways that you envision that people who would like to work with you or help you can do that?

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Given your reliance on local farms, how do you keep going during the long months between the apple harvest and the first greens next season? Do you have a particular commitment to organic produce? And, have you asked for or received any support from the office of our famously healthy Mayor?

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By now, those who have been reading can understand why I expected that when I met Tanikka, she would be wearing a superhero cape! She has so many great ideas for ways of helping her community eat better, and involving kids to help broaden their horizons and develop life skills.

What I would like to ask Tanikka is to provide a "wish list" of sorts. What do you need, or need help with, in order to accomplish some of your goals? And more specifically, are there ways that you envision that people who would like to work with you or help you can do that?

Thank you Zora!

I will definately get that list out!

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Given your reliance on local farms, how do you keep going during the long months between the apple harvest and the first greens next season? Do you have a particular commitment to organic produce? And, have you asked for or received any support from the office of our famously healthy Mayor?

We rely a lot on local farms, but we also source from other places as well. So we bring in oranges from Florida. We also source a lot from down south (ga., al, nc, and ms.). We also fly some stone fruit over from the west coast as well. We use transportation companies and have then back haul us things in to keep cost down. But if it's not local it has to be from a certified organic farm, or one I have been to myself to know that they use organic methods ( from the seeds to fertilizers)only because they are too small to require a organic certification. I am very particular about what we feed people. I believe that if you’re willing to pay even a penny for it you deserve the best quality and best food that is available.

No support from the Mayor, no one actually want to meet with us either, I have sent some emails, and I'm told " your doing such great work", but that’s as far as the communication with them goes. I even asked about trying to supply them with turkeys for their giveaways during thanksgiving holiday- they informed me that they source from SHARE (the Maryland based nonprofit) and they weren’t interested. I asked if they could help us with distributing our Healthy for the Holidays boxes, they also informed me that they couldn’t help with that since people would have to purchase food, and they don’t help with a program that would require the purchase of anything.

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What I would like to ask Tanikka is to provide a "wish list" of sorts. What do you need, or need help with, in order to accomplish some of your goals? And more specifically, are there ways that you envision that people who would like to work with you or help you can do that?

So in a perfect world these are the things and services we need to make all of our programs work

Wish list

Money to expand training and outreach/ markets/ and fresh start program

Newsletters made up 4 times a year

Co-op membership cards printed

Co-op gift cards printed up

Flyers printed

Flyers distributed

Places to hold markets

Admin help (return emails, answer calls)

Volunteers for co-op pick up points

Volunteers to deliver food

Volunteers for event set ups

Volunteer Guest Chef for cooking/ nutrition classes

Volunteer Guest Chef for markets

Volunteers to pack Freggie Boxes

Pots/ Pans

Cook ware

Cleaning supplies

Mixing bowls

Tables for markets

New market banners

EBT wireless machine

Disposable plates/ napkins and trays

Cutting boards

Chef hats

Chef coats

Kitchen volunteers to help youth produce value added products ( cut up produce to make fruit cups, salads, salsa, ect)

Re-usable bag for delivery of boxes (DDOE is all out)

New Logo for the Fresh Start

Passenger vehicle to transport youth and adults

Our own delivery van (refrigerated)

A warming table

Coffee machines

Juicers

Refrigerators

Shelves

Café tables

Café chairs

Refrigerated produce bar

Cash registers

Checkout counter

Display racks

Wood to make garden boxes

Tiller

Organic fertilizer / compost

Garden supplies ( sign posts, shovels, racks, compost bins)

Market supplies ( baskets, signs, bags)

Land to grow produce on (not far from ward 7 and 8 for easy commute for youth and adults)

Easier website designed to take orders and do outreach and education

Adult educators (financial literacy, literacy, nutrition education, life skills, cooking, healthy lifestyles)

Cook books ( help us make and produce one for the community)

Aprons

Disposable gloves

An assistant- to go meeting and programs in my place so I can do more homeschooling

Ways to help expand what we do:

letting people know we exist,

letting people know we need help,

letting others know what some needs are east of the river.

Hosting co-op pick up points

Hosting co-op box distribution in your place of business or work

Hosting fundraisers for us

Volunteering in some of the roles listed above

Helping us with policy work- trying to get some rules changed- like Public housing and not allowing us to set up markets on in communities of greatest need

Providing pro bono services: lawyers, accountants, website design, marketing, distribution, educators

Assisting with youth garden that we are starting

Helping us design. Set up and start the Fresh Start Market/ Café

Help us set up an culinary training curriculum (the one we are looking at would cost us $6,000.00)

Offer spaces so we can teach cooking classes/ and culinary training in other places east of the river

Offer time to be a guest chef

Blog about us

Come out a purchase from us

Any thing else your willing to help us to expand in other areas, and have skills to help us with we will greatly appreciate.

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I wanted to add one more note, because I was asked this question off board.

If anyone is willing to donate any items to Healthy Solutions we are a federally recognized 501 © 3 so your donations would be tax deductible and would submit to you a receipt of your donation to use for tax purposes.

Also yes we will take used kitchen equipment if it is from a commercial kitchen.

Thanks for all the inquiries

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I have another story,

Last February I was sitting and talking with some women in ward 7. They were telling me of some of the health issues that their families are facing. One mothers story stood out to me so much that her oldest daughter later on became one of our youth interns.

So this mother we will call her Eva. Eva is a 34 year old mother of 4 with her oldest being a girl ( our now youth intern) who is 16, he other children are all boys 14, 11, and 9.

So I asked then women (it was a group of 6 of us), what did they see or did they feel where some of the health challenges that their families face. Eva without hesitation told me that she didn’t understand why these doctors tell you to do things that are impossible for you to do. I asked her to explain. She told us that her 11 year old son had seen 3 different doctors, he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes when he was 10. She said the doctors said he has to lose weight and eat better. Her 11 year old son who we will call Derrick stands all of 5’0 and weights 280lb.

Eva explained how she felt helpless, every doctor tells her the same thing – eat better and get exercise. But he has no place safe to play outside and the food in the grocery store is to expensive to feed a growing boy. She’s tried getting him fruits and vegetables but when she spent over 30.00 in the store for enough food for him alone – when she got home from her 2 hour bus ride, the food was spoiled or dry in the inside. She explained that since she takes government assistance she has to go through extreme red tape to get her son different services. And finally services she was able to get her son enrolled into the bus and train ride over was so long that he was dropped for not being on time. She just wanted something that would help her family! She didn’t want her children to suffer because of what she didn’t know. She felt that her hands were tied. One other woman asked how Derrick was doing in school. Eva explained to he was a straight B student until 2 months back when one of his doctors, put him some medication, and his moods started to swing. He got so emotional at one time that he attacked a student, and threw a chair across the room. She said the medicines were making him worse. She went on to explain that one day he even tried to attack his sister, and they had to call 911, when the police got there they sent him to the hospital where he was right now, in the psychiatric unit. She broke down in tears and said she didn’t know what to do, but she knew this was no way for her child to have to live.

So I told her that I couldn’t get her son out of the hospital on my own, but I can make sure her family has the food they need. I told her that her daughter (who was looking for a job now) would be more than welcomed to work with us. And since she is a youth intern she would get her stipend and free fresh fruits and vegetables every week.

Derrick later got out of the hospital, but since he had been so long out of school he had to make up in summer school or stay back a grade. He still is now under different medication to control his temper.

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So I was thinking of something to write about today.

And I came across a very interesting article in the post today called Missing more than a meal

When I read the articles on line I always feel inclined to read the comments. Especially when they are over 100 of them like on this article.

So the article puts into perspective these families that have a great need, and that their needs are not being met, however I do think that these families could have benefit from more than just food benefits- things like basic shopping education and financial planning. I do like the project idea of showing people what the faces of hunger (those who are food insecure) look like. I applaud the effort to make eradicate hunger by 2015

I think there a lot of dynamics that play a part in food insecurity and hunger- besides access.

1) If the places that one can access food, and they are not affordable- then who can pay to eat them, so you go with out

2) If you depend on program to provide you with free food consistently how will you learn to be self- reliant and acquire the skills to make your family healthy and sustainable ( I don’t see anything wrong with free food programs- but often time people rely on them when they have no need to- but if they are taught financial literacy which would include how and where you can shop, etc- one would gain the skills so they wouldn’t have to rely completely on free programs when they are capable (physically, and mentally) to do for themselves.

3) The overall cost to live strains so hard on families that sometimes you literally have to choose not to eat healthy in order to pay for your electric bill.

I don’t think sending millions to food banks in the only answer to solving the problem of hunger. If we can create jobs, and give people tools to enable themselves to economically feed themselves and their families than hunger can be elevated, but it would require all these components and more to make that happen to end child hood hunger by 2015.

But my reason for bring this article up is to express of my opinion on some of the comments, and to relay them back to what we do as a organization.

I noticed most comments on the article expressed a lot of anger on what people do who receive government benefits. Some even went to explain what people who are “poor” should do with their money if they had only 20.00 or 5.00 to spend to stretch them to the end of the month. many gave a lot of suggestion on how one can eat healthy instead of going hungry. But these commenter’s fail to realize- or maybe they lack information- that not every neighborhood has the same food options as others. Healthy Foods cost more in low income areas (and there are studies that show that). So if healthy foods cost more than their money doesn’t stretch as far as if they purchased unhealthy foods.

I have noticed that if you don’t live in “poor” (which I think is a very poor choice of words to use – low income) areas, then they don’t know what it’s like to try to feed your family- if you’re on government assistance or not. The grocery stores and carry outs that are in low income areas have poor choices of food variety, often time very overly ripe produce, and very high prices on healthy foods. On comment said that if you have 5.00 you can buy “ AT LEAST a 1 pound bag of dry beans and a 1 pound bag of brown rice”. Unfortunately you have to be live close to a grocery store to purchase those items. And you have to hope that grocery store does carry brown rice. When your store does carry brown rice it will mostly cost you about 3.98 for it on a low price. The beans (1lb) will cost you 2.89 on special. I agree with the comment on McDonalds- and the unfortunate thing is that no matter what neighborhood your in the $1.00 menu still cost a dollar now other items are of question, but if you can make unhealthy things 1.00 thy can’t they work to make more healthy things 1.00 as well- especially since there are more McDonalds in low income areas as there are full service grocery stores.

Unfortunately there are huge disparities in what foods are accessible to ALL communities. As long as this disparity exists issues that low income communities face will stay the same, and for these reasons and many many more is why Healthy Solutions will continue to do what it does!

I just felt the need to share!

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I noticed most comments on the article expressed a lot of anger on what people do who receive government benefits. Some even went to explain what people who are “poor” should do with their money if they had only 20.00 or 5.00 to spend to stretch them to the end of the month. many gave a lot of suggestion on how one can eat healthy instead of going hungry. But these commenter’s fail to realize- or maybe they lack information- that not every neighborhood has the same food options as others. Healthy Foods cost more in low income areas (and there are studies that show that). So if healthy foods cost more than their money doesn’t stretch as far as if they purchased unhealthy foods.

I agree with the comment on McDonalds- and the unfortunate thing is that no matter what neighborhood your in the $1.00 menu still cost a dollar now other items are of question, but if you can make unhealthy things 1.00 thy can’t they work to make more healthy things 1.00 as well- especially since there are more McDonalds in low income areas as there are full service grocery stores.

Unfortunately there are huge disparities in what foods are accessible to ALL communities. As long as this disparity exists issues that low income communities face will stay the same, and for these reasons and many many more is why Healthy Solutions will continue to do what it does!

Tanikka -- do you feel there is more of a stigma attached to using food benefits than, for example, to being on Medicaid? Also, is the higher cost of fresh, healthy food in low-income areas a function of markets merely trying to stay open in areas that can't support them -- i.e., why does broccoli cost more in a low-income area that in a wealthy area? Is it that, in a high-income market, the conventional broccoli has to compete against local and/or organic foods and so underprices itself, or are there other factors at play; and, more importantly, how can they be negated so that the people who need these foods have affordable access to them?

A lot of the literature out there will cite government subsidies for corn and beef as the reason that McDonald's (for example) can have a dollar menu full of hamburgers with ketchup, but not fresh salads. Yet, the government is also providing the food benefits to these low-income communities. Where do we start if we want to reconcile this disparity? A two-pronged attack is difficult (it's going to split resources)- so what's the answer -- other than doing what you are doing?

Until we answer that, though, thank goodness you are doing what you are doing; it's such an important, massive undertaking, probably thankless most of the time, but so needed and so inspiring. Well done!!

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Now that Tanikka's chat has been going on for a week, I'd like to turn the tables a little bit. I'd like to draw on the ingenuity and creativity of the DR community to come up with ideas and suggestions, not for what Tanikka can do for her community--she's doing that very well. But what we can come up with in terms of ideas, for how we as a community of people with a wide variety of resources and abilities, can do to help Tanikka and Healthy Solutions. This is a fledgling organization, people. We can't just sign up online and go chop cabbage for a few hours. Finding ways we can help Tanikka improve the availability of fresh, healthy food in DC's low-income community and to teach people how to utilize fresh food to improve their lives represents an opportunity to walk the talk. So let's hear some ideas!

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Now that Tanikka's chat has been going on for a week, I'd like to turn the tables a little bit. I'd like to draw on the ingenuity and creativity of the DR community to come up with ideas and suggestions, not for what Tanikka can do for her community--she's doing that very well. But what we can come up with in terms of ideas, for how we as a community of people with a wide variety of resources and abilities, can do to help Tanikka and Healthy Solutions. This is a fledgling organization, people. We can't just sign up online and go chop cabbage for a few hours. Finding ways we can help Tanikka improve the availability of fresh, healthy food in DC's low-income community and to teach people how to utilize fresh food to improve their lives represents an opportunity to walk the talk. So let's hear some ideas!

I think it's noteworthy that the press gets all starry-eyed when Michael opens a for-profit restaurant in Benning, but rests completely silent when Tanikka introduces what is essentially a non-profit farmers market in the same area.

And nothing AT ALL against Michael (God love him for having the vision to do this), but isn't there room in the media for both?

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I think it's noteworthy that the press gets all starry-eyed when Michael opens a for-profit restaurant in Benning, but rests completely silent when Tanikka introduces what is essentially a non-profit farmers market in the same area.

And nothing AT ALL against Michael (God love him for having the vision to do this), but isn't there room in the media for both?

I was sitting here wondering if Tanikka and Michael had talked. I could see some great synergy there.

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Showing some pictures of Healthy Solutions cooking and nutrition classes (these classes we did with Healthy Living, Inc (Juliette is great) at the Riverside Center -Washington Parks and People)

post-2-126080138969_thumb.jpg

Cooking classes for youth and adults

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Encouraging parents to cook with their children

post-2-126080099897_thumb.jpg

Working together

Of course the fun part..............

post-2-12608005871_thumb.jpg

EATING

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Is there any interest out there in pitching in to do a fund-raiser to benefit Healthy Solutions?

I'm thinking something along the lines of selling tickets to a pot-luck bbq or pig roast with a silent auction... (maybe in the Spring, when it can be done outdoors...?)

Anybody got any other ideas?

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Is there any interest out there in pitching in to do a fund-raiser to benefit Healthy Solutions?

I'm thinking something along the lines of selling tickets to a pot-luck bbq or pig roast with a silent auction... (maybe in the Spring, when it can be done outdoors...?)

Anybody got any other ideas?

You bet there is interest out there. Bells on, I have them.

I'm also asking around in my circle of friends who have experience running 501c3s. One of them has an interesting story about evolving the fundraising model to include both event-driven funds (one time donations) and ongoing, subscription-type donations (which could include some kind of food-related incentive). I have not learned the full details yet, but hope to soon.

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Tanikka -- do you feel there is more of a stigma attached to using food benefits than, for example, to being on Medicaid? Also, is the higher cost of fresh, healthy food in low-income areas a function of markets merely trying to stay open in areas that can't support them -- i.e., why does broccoli cost more in a low-income area that in a wealthy area? Is it that, in a high-income market, the conventional broccoli has to compete against local and/or organic foods and so underprices itself, or are there other factors at play; and, more importantly, how can they be negated so that the people who need these foods have affordable access to them?

A lot of the literature out there will cite government subsidies for corn and beef as the reason that McDonald's (for example) can have a dollar menu full of hamburgers with ketchup, but not fresh salads. Yet, the government is also providing the food benefits to these low-income communities. Where do we start if we want to reconcile this disparity? A two-pronged attack is difficult (it's going to split resources)- so what's the answer -- other than doing what you are doing?

I think in some instances there is a stigma about food benefits, but I think in this economic climate that is changing drastically. I think the reason food is usually cheaper in higher income areas is because there is food competition, so retailers will try to keep prices low to draw more people into shop with them. You find your food deserts in low income areas, so since you only have 3 major full service grocery retailers east of the river that has over 170,000 plus residents, large retailers have no reason to keep prices low. What other option do you community members have - you shop there or don't. If you don't then you have so many other people in the community that don't have access to transportation so they have no choice but pay more on healthy items or get some unhealthy food items that are always on sale. If large grocery retailers can work to keep higher income communities coming in, why can't they keep the prices the same in lower income areas. If they did the same theory would work, more people would come and buy healthy items, and they would helping the community- with a positive view of them by community members verses the one that they have now.

When it comes down to your McDonald's dollar items- it's not just about subsidies (even though it does pay a major part) but it's also about their supply chain. When you look at how food chains work in the case of a McDonalds and produce- salad for example, the food is grown (of course) from the farmer it goes to a broker, the broker sales to a wholesaler (full line distributor in most cases), that distributor then sales to a food processor they then process it into value added products (salad mixes, cut up fruit) and then they sell it to another food distributor, that distributor is then the contracted food supplier for your McDonalds, then goes to McDonalds, and then someone buys it. So when you look at that model you have 6 companies before it gets to McDonalds or the customer. So why can't this be streamlined- farmer to McDonalds- then employees cut up food and sell to customer, it cuts out so many hands it would automatically cut prices. When it cuts the price for them it cuts the price for the consumer and BAM prices on healthier items like salads and fruit cups cheaper.

I think we depend too much for our government to give our communities a hand up. I think the answer is in what Healthy Solutions does and many other smaller (grassroots) organization do, we listen and do. I think no community is the same, so those who serve it are better suited to help make changes then someone who comes in from some other place and does focus groups, and research (not saying that it does not make an impact because it does just not all the time is it necessary) - why not just ask the community what it needs.

For example- as I mentioned a few days ago we are working with other folks in other areas trying to do what we do east of the river. One place is a town in Alabama called Thomaston - it's a very small town with about 360 residents. This town has no grocery store, has no restaurant, and only has 1 gas station. For their shopping residents grow a few things but the rest they go to the nearest large town about 45 minutes away. Thomaston has never had a grocery store- so about 10 years ago an organization built a farmers market. No one asked anyone in the town what they thought about it or if they would patronize it. So after the organizations grant funding ran out, the farmers market stopped. The structure still stands, but no one really goes and sets up a market - oh except one lady who drives 3 hours to set up 2 times a month, but no one really patronizes her either. WHY! Well no one ever asked the residents what they needed (well except me). No one knew that this community is so interrelated that people started growing their own food and created their own food swapping system. They had gone so long without a food supplier that they figured out how to do for themselves. Mind you it's not all they need- but when it's in season (which is very long in Alabama) they can get it from each other at affordable prices. One farmer actually said he liked their own little community set up because when he did go to the farmers market to set up no one would buy from him, because he had to set his prices at a price that no matter how many people came he could make money. And other neighbors already knew that if they buy these snap peas from him when he goes by his cousin’s house with a few bushels, they could get 3lbs for about 4.00, but when he's at the market he sells them for 3.00 a lb. So in this case instead of this organization taking grant money to build a farmers market- why not take that grant money and invest in a farming equipment and helping improve on the structure they already created. Why didn't they- because no one asked the community what they needed.

When you actually talk to people- they will answer, and those of us in the community talking to people, we need help to, because I do recognize I don't have the resources to talk to council members every day to help change policy issues- but I can tell you what my community needs to tell you if those policy changes will make a lasting effect on the community. When you know what the community needs there is no need to constantly keep changing policies, programs, and services which costs us more than it helps us. If we talk to the communities of greatest need then we can start building the tools that will reconcile so many disparities that plague us. Surprisingly a lot of these disparities are intertwined so deep that if you untangle one, they all start loosening up, creating a change that will drastically impact our communities.

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So today has been a very long day so I failed to post anything today until now.

I welcome any questions as well.

My schedule today:

My first priority today was homeschooling and lesson plans. Then my schedule consisted of getting everything ready for co-op this weekend, co-op market on Tuesday and our Healthy for the Holidays boxes distribution in libraries in Ward 7 for this coming Tuesday. I didn't get to all my calls that I still have to return- which that list is getting longer and longer!

Today lots of on the phone confirming orders, making sure trucks will be on time for Saturday and on Tuesday am. Confirming that cold weather has not changed what we will have in boxes (which in a few cases it has). And finally I have finalized my entire market list and box list for co-ops.

So this week's co-op boxes will have- all organic:

Hamlin oranges, grapefruits, gala apples, yellow squash, sweet potatoes, cabbage, green beans, chard, tomatoes, garlic, yellow onions, eggplants, and turnips

Which sounds quite simple but my list was really different 2 days ago!

We are also bringing in milk and eggs from PA, for our Healthy for the Holidays Boxes.

I am making sure we are ready to go with volunteers to help with the market on Tuesday at the Senior Wellness Center in Ward 7 as well.

I am trying HARD - to work with Washington parks and People to use the commercial kitchen permanently for our program- and working on a backup plan (east of the river) in case that doesn't work the way want it too. Any suggestions anyone has would be greatly appreciated. I am looking for a space for our Fresh Start Market / Cafe- which I'm learning the hard way is not an easy task! I did receive tons of information lately about equipment needs for commercial kitchens and how to work to start a community kitchen (shared use kitchen), but that’s about it! I do know that this will take time, so I’m also working on patience.

My final project tonight – read through the new Healthy Schools Act of 2009 Bill that CM Cheh introduced, and then read up on the new Hoop House Share Program through the USDA that was just announced as well.

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My final project tonight – read through the new Healthy Schools Act of 2009 Bill that CM Cheh introduced,

I heard more about the Healthy Schools Act this morning on the news. Could you talk about the schools program you started in North Carolina? Any parallels? Any chance that Healthy Solutions could be involved here?

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