Our Kitchen Table talks food storage

    The second in a series of stories about organizations that serve our community
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    Our Kitchen Table is a charity that helps educate people about growing and storing food. Courtesy photo.

    Easy access to fresh produce isn’t one size fits all. Our Kitchen Table, an organization devoted to giving families the tools they need to grow their own fruits and vegetables wants to change that.

    Lisa Oliver-King

    “Our primary program is called the Program for Growth,” said Lisa Oliver-King, executive director of Our Kitchen Table. “We work with school families to grow food onsite at Martin Luther King Junior Leadership Academy and Glenwood Elementary, as well as any school family that’s interested in growing food at home, we assist them with that by providing them with a container gardening system. They’re assigned a food garden coach who visits them on a weekly basis until they get really comfortable with their growing practices and visits them on a weekly basis to assist them with growing, harvesting food, watering, addressing insects, different things like that. They’re giving them different suggestions around meal planning and meal preparation.”

    The gardens may not be bustling with vegetables ripe for harvest, but winter doesn’t mean the end for Our Kitchen Table.

    “Winter gives us an opportunity to talk about storage of your food,” Oliver-King said. “We talk about things you should be buying at the farmers market so you can store to get you through the winter. Baxter Community Center, they do a great job with canning. During that time, we’re doing some conversation around recipes and cooking, making a vegetable chili, particularly since meat is expensive, you may not be able to have ground beef to add it to your chili, so what does that look like?”

    The growing and education programs at Our Kitchen Table are empowering neighbors to support their families with nutritious meals, and Oliver-King is proud to be part of it.

    “We’re a small but mighty group trying to influence a just food system for all,” she said. “It is the team at Our Kitchen Table that allows us to do the community work that we do. It is collective; it is a strong belief that we have that every and anybody should have access and availability to good food, and we can make a difference around that together.”

    Learn more at oktjustice.org.

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    Ever since Pasha Shipp could talk, she's been dreaming up colorful stories. Fantasy creatures, mysterious kingdoms, enchanted forests, you name it. As she reached adulthood, she decided to take the magic out of her head and put it down on paper. Pasha has been writing for Grand Rapids Magazine since November 2015, and has loved every minute of it. She has a master's degree in Communication and a bachelor's degree in Film Studies from Grand Valley State University and Western Michigan University respectively. When she isn't daydreaming and writing stories for the magazine, she's exploring the many hidden treasures of Grand Rapids with her fiancé.