Super Green Market Offers Kaleidoscope of Mediterranean Groceries and Fare

On any given weekday in Grand Rapids, walk into Super Green Market on East Paris, and you’ll find shelves stacked with bright packages, the smell of baking flatbread, and some of the friendliest service around. Owner Ayesh Jabbar’s market is a virtual bazaar, home to a bakery, deli, catering business, halal butcher–even a barbershop and private beauty salon.

nn

Jabbar immigrated to Michigan with his family more than 27 years ago from the Middle East. Before Super Green Market opened four years ago, they traveled as far as Detroit or Chicago to experience a taste of home. “It’s very important to the community to know they have familiar foods so accessible,” Jabbar says.

nn

Now Super Green Market extends a taste of home for its many, diverse customers in West Michigan. It’s shelves are stocked with groceries sourced from Bosnia to Palestine. Both Jabbar, and his General Manager, Aida Curic have curated a wide collection of foods from all Middle East (and the globe) by listening to customers’ preferences.

nn

The certified halal butcher shop is just one aspect of Super Green Market that customers love. “They know they can trust that everything is halal here,” Coric says, explaining that all meat is prepared and handled according to Muslim teaching. “It means a lot to them.” A wide selection of meat products are available (including frog and veal head), as well as pre-marinated meats for quick meals.

nn

The market’s Facebook page is filled with mouthwatering photos of breads and sweets from across the Middle East–everything from Bosnian and Iraqi flatbreads to delicious baklava, which taste at least as good as they look.

nn

Super Green Market is open late during Ramadan, which begins in early June, to accommodate shoppers after community prayers. During this holiest month for Muslims, gatherings and meals are held after breaking the fast at sundown. There are myriad specials during Ramadan, including savory pies, breads and sweets from the bakery.

nn

Super Green Market has quickly become a community cornerstone for Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Jabbar also partners with the nearby Masjid At-Tawheed on East Paris to fulfill food vouchers for the mosque’s food pantry. Dr. Ali Metwalli, a leader at the mosque, says that the food program serves a majority of non-muslims, and provides additional assistance to refugees from places as diverse as Somalia, Afghanistan and Syria.

nn

Hours:
nMon – Sat: 9am – 10pm
nSun: 9am – 8pm

‘Tis the Season for Community Supported Agriculture!

Looking for ways to transform your health, support the local economy, and build a relationship with the people who grow your food? Purchasing a CSA share from your local farmer is the perfect place to start. As the season for CSAs is rapidly approaching, now is the time to connect with your farmer to purchase a share. 

nn

What is a CSA?

nn

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. CSAs allow consumers to directly support their local farmers by purchasing a “share” from the farm. This relationship can come in many forms but typically consists of a payment exchange from the consumer to the producer at the beginning of the season that buys the consumer a weekly box of fresh, local produce that they can enjoy throughout the growing season. CSAs are most commonly comprised of a produce exchange but some farms also provide fruits, eggs, dairy, or meat products as well. CSAs are valuable in that they allow consumers to become more connected with their food, their community, and the earth.

nn

Why Purchase a Share?

nn

Support our Farmers

nn

Under the CSA model, farmers receive payment for shares early in the season, providing farmers with the necessary resources to purchase seed, make equipment repairs, and prepare for the growing season. This model also allows farmers to spend less time marketing and more time planning for the season.

nn

Strengthen our Local Economy

nn

CSAs allow local farmers to connect directly with consumers, thus strengthening our local economy while helping to develop a regional food supply. This model cuts out a distribution source, in turn lowering costs for both farmers and consumers.

nn

Ensure that you Receive the Highest Quality Food

nn

CSAs guarantee that you have access to a wide variety of the fresh, local food. CSAs expose you to new vegetables, encourage experimentation with new ways of cooking, foster creativity, and promote a healthy lifestyle.

nn

Cultivate Community

nn

CSAs connect you to your food, your farmer, and your sense of place. In turn, farmers get to know who they are growing for and are able to tailor their growing practices to suit the desires of their customers.

nn

Interested in purchasing a share? Find your farm!

nn

 

nn

Want to stay up to date on tips, tricks, and ideas on how to use your CSA share? Sign up for the Eat Local Newsletter!

Asparagus

Profile

nn

Asparagus is one of the very first spring messengers of the garden, poking out of moist soil to mark the beginning of the growing season. Possessing distinctive and delicious flavor, asparagus is also high in vitamins A, B-complex, and C, and minerals potassium and zinc. Asparagus season is short so enjoy it thoroughly while it’s here!

nn

How to Prepare:

nn

Snap off or remove with a knife the bottommost woody part of the spear and rinse.

nn

How to Store:

nn

Wrap asparagus in a damp cloth and store in the hydrator drawer of the refrigerator. An alternate storage technique to retain vitality is to bundle spears with a rubber band and place upright in a container with an inch of water. Refrigerate immediately and use as soon as possible. The sugars in asparagus will turn rapidly to starches, reducing flavor quickly.

nn

How to Cook:

nn

Asparagus is best cooked simply. Enjoy raw, steamed, or boiled.

nn

Information adapted from From Asparagus to Zucchini

nn

 

nn

Recipes

nn

White Bean and Asparagus Salad with Tarragon-Lemon Dressing

nn

nn

Ingredients

nn

  • 8 ounces dried white beans or 2 cans Great Northern or cannellini beans
  • Salt
  • 2 bay leaves, if using dried beans
  • 1 pound asparagus
  • ½ cup tarragon leaves
  • 1 teaspoon packed finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large lemon, juiced, plus more to taste
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • n

nn

Preparation

nn

If using canned beans, drain and rinse. If using dried beans, soak in plenty of water for 6 hours or overnight. Drain beans and transfer to a medium pot. Cover beans by 2 inches with water and add 1-½ teaspoons salt and the bay leaves. Simmer until just tender but not at all mushy, about 45 minutes to 1-½ hours, depending upon what kind of beans you’re using. Drain.

nn

Break off tough ends of the asparagus. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil and prepare a bowl with ice and cold water. Blanch trimmed asparagus for 1-½ minutes, or until just cooked through but still firm, then plunge them into the ice bath. Let sit for 5 minutes, then drain. Pat dry and slice diagonally into ½ -inch pieces.

nn

In a blender or food processor, combine tarragon, lemon zest, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, the black pepper and the lemon juice, and process until garlic is chopped. Pour in olive oil. Process until mixture is well blended and bright green, about 1 minute. In a large mixing bowl, gently toss together beans, asparagus and dressing. Taste and add more lemon juice and salt if needed.

nn

Recipe courtesy of The New York Times

nn

 

nn

Warm Farro Salad With Asparagus, Peas, and Feta

nn

nn

Ingredients

nn

  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces (about 2-¼ cups), divided
  • Pinch dried red chili flakes, or more as desired
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup farro
  • 1 quart homemade vegetable stock or low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen peas
  • 1 bunch kale, trimmed, washed, and cut into 2-inch ribbons (about 1-½ cups)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup slivered almonds
  • 4 scallions thinly sliced, white and light green parts only
  • ½ cup crumbled feta
  • n

nn

Preparation

nn

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a Dutch oven or large saucepan until shimmering. Add 2 cups of asparagus and chili flakes, and cook until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and set aside. In the same saucepan, add the farro and stock and bring to a simmer.

nn

Season with salt and cook until farro is tender, about 30 minutes; add water if necessary to keep farro covered. Drain farro and transfer to a large bowl. Stir in peas and kale and let stand until peas are tender and kale is wilted. 

nn

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil along with the lemon juice and mustard. Season with salt and pepper. Fold vinaigrette into farro, add the cooked asparagus, almonds, scallions, feta, and remaining 1/4 cup raw asparagus. Let stand 5 minutes, then toss and serve.

nn

Recipe courtesy of Serious Eats

nn

 

nn

Grilled Asparagus and Ricotta Pizza

nn

nn

Ingredients

nn

  • ¼ cup ricotta
  • ½ bunch asparagus, grilled
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • Herb Oil
  • Basic Grilled Pizza Dough
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • n

nn

Preparation

nn

Heat it up: Set up a grill with heat source, coals or gas, on one side over medium-high. Clean and lightly oil hot grill.

nn

Stretch it: On a lightly floured work surface, stretch or roll 1 piece Basic Grilled Pizza Dough or 4 ounces store-bought dough into a 10-inch-long oval or other desired shape. Brush one side lightly with Herb Oil or olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

nn

Grill it: Using your hands, place dough, oiled side down, directly over heat source. Brush dough with herb oil or olive oil and cook until underside is lightly charred and bubbles form all over top, 1 to 2 minutes. With tongs, flip dough and cook until lightly charred, 1 to 2 minutes. Slide dough to cooler side of grill.

nn

Top it: Top with ricotta cheese, lemon zest and asparagus; cover grill. Cook until cheese melts and toppings are heated through, 2 to 5 minutes. Drizzle with herb oil before serving.

nn

Recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart

nn

 

nn

Asparagus Soup

nn

nn

Ingredients

nn

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 3 bunches pencil asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-½ inch pieces
  • 1 cup thawed, frozen peas or 1 cup shelled fresh English peas (about 1 pound unshelled)
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups lightly packed baby spinach
  • Four ⅛ -inch slices day-old sourdough bread (about 3 ounces)
  • Olive oil, for drizzling
  • 1-½ tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • One 3-ounce wedge Parmesan
  • Creme fraiche
  • Finely chopped fresh chives
  • Fresh cilantro leaves
  • Lime wedges
  • Good-quality extra-virgin olive oil
  • n

nn

Preparation

nn

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. For the soup: In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, bring the oil to medium heat. Add the shallot and salt and pepper to taste. Sweat until translucent, about 1 minute, being careful not to brown. Add the asparagus to the pot and sweat until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the peas and sweat another minute. Pour in the white wine and deglaze the pot. Add 5 cups water and continue simmering until crisp-tender, another 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

nn

Working in batches (and carefully as the liquid will be hot), puree the soup until smooth in a blender. In the last batch, add the baby spinach and puree; this will give the soup a vibrant green color. Strain back into the pot through a fine mesh sieve. Return to a simmer until slightly thickened, 4 to 6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat.

nn

For the Parmesan breadcrumbs: While the soup simmers, pulse the bread in a food processor until you have very coarse crumbs. Once processed, transfer the breadcrumbs to a medium mixing bowl. Drizzle with a generous amount of olive oil. Toss with the thyme. Season mixture with salt and pepper. Transfer to a parchment-lined sheet tray. Using a grater, finely grate a few tablespoons of Parmesan over the breadcrumbs. Place into the oven and bake until golden and crispy, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool.

nn

To serve: Ladle the soup into shallow serving bowls. Sprinkle evenly with a few teaspoons of Parmesan breadcrumbs and top with a dollop of creme fraiche. Garnish with chopped chives, cilantro leaves, a squeeze of a lime wedge and a splash of extra-virgin olive oil. Serve immediately. When blending hot liquids, first let cool for 5 minutes or so, then transfer to a blender, filling only halfway. Put the lid on, leaving one corner open; this will prevent the vacuum effect that creates heat explosions. Cover the lid with a kitchen towel to catch splatters and pulse until smooth.

nn

Recipe courtesy of Guy Fieri

nn

 

nn

Spring Antipasto Platter

nn

nn

Ingredients

nn

  • 2 bunches small spring onions or scallions
  • Salt
  • 1 bunch asparagus, about 1 pound, tough ends removed
  • ½ pound sugar snap peas
  • 2 medium fennel bulbs, trimmed and sliced crosswise into ⅛-inch-thick rings
  • 4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, salame, mortadella or lardo
  • Flaky sea salt or fleur de sel
  • Black pepper
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Basil or mint leaves
  • 1 pound fior di latte, bufala mozzarella, burrata or fresh ricotta, at cool room temperature
  • n

nn

Preparation

nn

Heat the broiler. Put a large pot of water on to boil. Trim tops, roots and outer layer of spring onions, then arrange in one layer on a broiler pan. Broil until they are lightly charred on one side, 2 to 3 minutes, then turn and broil the other side until onions have softened a bit, about 3 minutes more. (It’s fine if they become blackened in spots.) Remove pan and let cool to room temperature.

nn

When water boils, salt well and submerge asparagus. Cook briefly, about 2 minutes for medium spears. Lift asparagus from water and spread in 1 layer on a kitchen towel and let cool to room temperature. Repeat process with the sugar snap peas and spread them on a separate kitchen towel.

nn

Arrange spring onions, asparagus, snap peas and fennel on a large platter. Drape prosciutto around the edge. Season vegetables lightly with sea salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Garnish platter with basil or mint leaves. Put cheese on a small cutting board and pass separately. (Alternatively, compose individual plates with all components.)

nn

Recipe courtesy of The New York Times

Jam with the Locals at the 13th Annual Local First Street Party!

Join Local First and the Grand Rapids community at the 13th annual Street Party, presented by Founders Brewing Company on Saturday, June 4 outside Bistro Bella Vita. The event will feature a variety of music and interactive entertainment for guests of all ages.

nn

Headlining the Street Party is Joshua Davis, seen on The Voice, who believes in fostering community through songs and stories. His music, recorded in Ann Arbor, blends ragtime blues, sweet jazz, and country.

nn

The Crane Wives, an Americana-Folk group from Grand Rapids, played in the rain at the 2013 Street Party and their contagious energy got all attendees in a groove. Look forward to experiencing their three-part vocal harmonies, eclectic instrumentation and passion for their craft at this year’s event. Enjoy a beer or a bite from the Local First vendors while you listen to Chris Bathgate, an Indie/Folk artist, who emerged from the Ann Arbor local music scene.

nn

Tunde Olaniran and Lady Ace Boogie will turn up the beat and get you out of your seat. Tunde Olaniran, from Flint, MI, is bringing his bottomless supply of enthusiasm and incredible vocal range to the party. Grand Rapids native, Lady Ace Boogie will take listeners on a journey to the golden-age of hip-hop with her relatable and infectious lyrics. Get ready to enjoy music with a message that you can dance to!

nn

Mark Lavengood is a local favorite you definitely don’t want to miss. The multitalented dobro player has been seen on stage with Lindsay Lou and the Flatbelly’s but will grace the Street Party stage as the Mark Lavengood Bluegrass Bonanza! West Michigan’s progressive music school, Triumph Music Academy will open up the Street Party with a polished student performance.

nn

The entertainment continues between sets with Audacious Hoops, an interactive hula hooping experience in which you get to be silly and play while enjoying the many live music stylings at the Local First Street Party. 61Syx Teknique Street Dance Academy is a breakdancing crew devoted to finding ways to outlet their emotions by embracing the growth of hip-hop culture while keeping it positive. Get there early and limber up with some pre-party yoga – the folks from AM Yoga will get you warmed up to dance from 2:30 to 3:00pm.

nn

The Street Party is a free event so come enjoy the music, food, and entertainment from 3:00pm to midnight!

Chard

Profile

nn

Chard is a seasonal leafy green primarily cultivated between June and October. Both its leaves and stalk are edible. Chard is a great source of vitamin K, A and C, and is a wonderful cauldron of potassium, magnesium, iron and fiber.

nn

How to Prepare:

nn

Wash chard in cold water. Separate the stems and the leaves. Chop the leaves into small pieces and cut the stems into ¼-inch slices.

nn

How to Store:

nn

Chard is extremely perishable, so keep refrigerator storage time to a minimum. Store unwashed leaves in plastic bags in the crisper for 2 to 3 days. The stalks can be stored longer if separated from the leaves.

nn

How to Cook:

nn

You can enjoy chard raw, cooked, boiled, braised, steamed or sautéd.

nn

Information adapted from From Asparagus to Zucchini

nn

 

nn

Recipes

nn

Barley Risotto with Swiss Chard, Radishes, and Preserved Lemon

nn

nn

Ingredients

nn

  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup pearl barley, rinsed and drained
  • 8 to 10 small radishes, trimmed
  • 1 bunch swiss chard, stems removed and leaves torn into large pieces (about 6 cups)
  • 1 Preserved Lemon, thinly sliced and seeds removed
  • Coarse salt
  • ¼ cup fresh dill, coarsely chopped
  • 8 large fresh mint leaves, torn
  • n

nn

Preparation

nn

Bring broth to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat; cover to keep warm. Heat oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add barley and stir to coat until toasted, about 2 minutes. Add 2 cups broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Simmer, stirring frequently, until broth is mostly absorbed, about 5 minutes.

nn

Add radishes and remaining 3 cups broth, ½ cup at a time, letting each addition be absorbed before adding more, and simmer, stirring frequently, until barley is tender and creamy, about 30 minutes. Add chard and cook, stirring, until wilted, about 5 minutes. Stir in lemon and season withsalt. Remove from heat and stir in herbs. Serve warm or at room temperature.

nn

Recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart

nn

 

nn

Chard Leaves Stuffed With Rice and Herbs

nn

nn

Ingredients

nn

  • 8 large chard leaves
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • Stems from the chard leaves
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup, tightly packed, cooked medium-grain white or brown rice, such as Calrose
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
  • ½ teaspoon Aleppo pepper (more to taste)
  • ¼ cup currants (optional)
  • Greek yogurt seasoned with garlic, lemon and sumac for serving
  • Optional: crumbled feta for the filling or for topping
  • n

nn

Preparation

nn

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and blanch the chard leaves and stems for 20 to 30 seconds. Transfer to a bowl of cold water, then drain and cut away the stems at the base. Next cut out the wide part of the stem remaining inside the leaf, cutting a V at the base where it connects with the leaf. Set aside the leaves and cut the stems into small dice (about ¼ inch). Set aside ½ cup of the blanching water for the baking dish.

nn

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-low heat and add the onion. Cook, stirring until very soft, about 8 minutes. Add the diced chard stems and a generous pinch of salt and continue to cook until the stems are tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds to a minute. Remove from the heat. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Oil a baking dish that can accommodate all of the chard rolls.

nn

In a large bowl mix together the rice, onion mixture, herbs, Aleppo pepper and currants if using. Taste and adjust seasoning. Place 2 tablespoons of the filling on each chard leaf. Tuck the sides over the filling and roll up the leaves. Place in the baking dish. Drizzle the remaining olive oil over the top and place ½ cup water in the baking dish. Cover with foil and bake 20 minutes, until the chard rolls are hot and the leaves tender. They should retain their bright green color.

nn

Recipe courtesy of the New York Times

nn

 

nn

Chopped Chard Salad with Apricot Vinaigrette

nn

nn

Ingredients

nn

  • ¼ cup thinly sliced shallots
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1-½ tablespoons apricot preserves
  • 1 teaspoon whole-grain Dijon mustard
  • 6 cups chopped Swiss chard
  • 1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons walnuts, toasted
  • 1 tablespoon chopped green onions
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ ounce goat cheese, crumbled
  • n

nn

Preparation

nn

Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Let stand 10 minutes. Set aside half of shallot mixture. Add chard to bowl; toss to coat. Place chard mixture on a serving platter. Return reserved half of shallot mixture to bowl. Add chickpeas; toss to coat. Top chard mixture with chickpea mixture. Sprinkle evenly with walnuts and remaining ingredients.

nn

Recipe courtesy of My Recipes

nn

 

nn

Swiss Chard Salsa Verde

nn

nn

Ingredients

nn

  • ½ small bunch Swiss chard, preferably red or rainbow
  • 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
  • ¾ cup (or more) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
  • 1 tablespoon (or more) red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • n

nn

Preparation

nn

Remove ribs and stems from chard leaves and reserve. Finely chop leaves (you should have about 1-¾ cups); thinly slice ribs and stems crosswise. Combine chard leaves and ribs and stems, shallot, oil, chives, vinegar, and lemon zest in a medium bowl; season with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Add more vinegar or oil, if desired.

nn

Recipe courtesy of Epicurious

nn

 

nn

Moroccan Chickpeas With Chard

nn

nn

Ingredients

nn

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Spanish onions, chopped
  • 1 large jalapeño pepper, seeded if desired, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root
  • 2-½ teaspoons kosher salt, more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 fennel bulb, diced (save fronds for garnish)
  • 1 very large bunch chard, stems sliced ½-inch thick, leaves torn into bite-size pieces
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 large turnip, peeled and diced
  • 1 pound dried chickpeas, soaked overnight in water to cover or quick-soaked (see note)
  • ⅓ cup diced dried apricots
  • 2 tablespoons chopped preserved lemon, more to taste
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro, more for garnish
  • n

nn

Preparation

nn

Heat oil in a large pot over high heat. Add onion and jalapeño and sauté until limp, 3 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, salt, turmeric, paprika, cinnamon, cumin, black pepper and cayenne and sauté until they release their fragrance, about 2 minutes. Add tomato paste and sauté for another minute, until darkened but not burned. (If tomato paste looks too dark too quickly, lower heat.) Add fennel, chard stems, carrot and turnip and continue to sauté until vegetables start to soften, about 10 minutes. Add chickpeas and water to barely cover.

nn

Return heat to high if you lowered it and bring to a simmer. Partly cover pot, lower heat to medium low, and simmer for about 1-½ to 2 hours, until chickpeas are softened. Add more water if needed (this should be like a stew). Add chard leaves, apricots and preserved lemon to pot and continue simmering until chard is tender, about 5 minutes longer. Season with more salt if desired, and serve garnished with cilantro and reserved fennel fronds.

nn

Recipe courtesy of the New York Times

Hunger Walk Promotes Good Food Principles

This past Sunday the Access Hunger Walk brought over 600 individuals, congregations, and businesses together to advocate for solutions to food insecurity and poverty. The funds raised through this event are going to be distributed as micro-grants to 18 organizations whose work ranges from community gardening projects, food system policy work, nutrition and healthy lifestyle programs, food pantries and gleaning programs, to food justice initiatives.

nn

Wrapping up its 39th year, the Hunger Walk was focused this year on celebrating the Good Food principles as outlined in the Michigan Good Food Charter. The walk kicked off with live music, face painting, chalk art, and Tatertats, offering families a fun way to connect to these principles. During the opening ceremony, Mayor Rosalynn Bliss, Connie Dang the Director of Multicultural Affairs at Grand Valley, and Superintendent Theresa Weatherall Neal of GRPS highlighted the Good Food principles as they relate to our community. As participants trekked the 5K route they answered questions that guided them towards an understanding of Good Food as being healthy, green, fair, and affordable. These small changes were made in an effort to encourage participants to leave the walk inspired to uplift the Good Food principles in support of Michigan’s commitment to ensure that Good Food is available to all. 

nn

Good Food is…

nn

Healthy – It provides nourishment and enables people to thrive

nn

Green – It was produced in a manner that is environmentally sustainable

nn

Fair – No one along the supply chain was exploited for its creation

nn

Affordable – All people have access to it

nn

Learn more about the Michigan Good Food Charter

Local businesses help declutter

In her book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”, Marie Kondo sets out to help you declutter your spaces. She coaches you through an all hands on deck, piece-by-piece process to find the items that spark joy. For those items that do not, she asks you to thank it for its time and then rid yourself of it. Kondo encourages you to take those items of joy and display them, so they are no longer lost in the clutter. 

nn

When we declutter our surroundings, we declutter deep within ourselves.

nn

Last year, I took on her challenge. I began by purging my wardrobe, ridding my closet space of excess clothes.  I sold some on consignment at Rock Paper Scissors and donated others to Goodwill. The items could now bring joy to someone else and I could more clearly see those I loved.  The exercise changed the way I think about new purchases.  Now, when I head to my favorite local shops, I consider a potential purchase’s quality both from an economic, sustainable view, as well as from my heart.

nn

Next I worked my way through our electronics. Over the years, out of date printers, cell phones, and laptops had accumulated. I brought the items to Comprenew to be recycled.  This new found space allowed me to rearrange craft supplies, photo albums, etc.  I feel a sense of peace each time I open the closet door.

nn

I continued with my shelves, pulling down dusty books. Books are powerful; many have shaped me, others have challenged me or allowed me to escape into a story. But not every book I have read needed to stay. Those that I cherished got placed back on the shelves. Others I sold at Schuler Books & Music.  The books gained a second life and I gained space on my shelves for locally-crafted art, beautiful plants, and artifacts from travels. 

nn

The practice of “tidying up” brought me new perspective on life.  It cleared out clutter, calmed my mind, and helped me refocus. It gave me a new appreciation for what I have and a purchasing refocus. It allowed me to surround myself with joy, and it opened up space in my mind and heart to be inspired. 

nn

I’d encourage you to clear some space, this spring.  These local venues can help you do just that:

nn

Rock Paper Scissors (consignment store)
nSchuler Books & Music (used book section)
nComprenew (electronics recycling)
nGoodwill

nn

This article also published in Grand Rapids Magazine.