The Logic of Stupid Poor People

Originally posted on tressiemc:

We hates us some poor people. First, they insist on being poor when it is so easy to not be poor. They do things like buy expensive designer belts and $2500 luxury handbags.

Screen shot 2013-10-29 at 12.11.13 PMTo be fair, this isn’t about Eroll Louis. His is a belief held by many people, including lots of black people, poor people, formerly poor people, etc. It is, I suspect, an honest expression of incredulity. If you are poor, why do you spend money on useless status symbols like handbags and belts and clothes and shoes and televisions and cars?

One thing I’ve learned is that one person’s illogical belief is another person’s survival skill. And nothing is more logical than trying to survive.

My family is a classic black American migration family. We have rural Southern roots, moved north and almost all have returned. I grew up watching my great-grandmother, and later my…

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Free Food:Abandoned CSA Shares

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I’ve talked a little bit here  on other social media about CSAs being a great source for local and inexpensive produce. Unfortunately, the input from many readers is that they either do not have any CSA programs in their area or it’s still not affordable or not accessible because of transportation.

Let me back up for the people who are sitting there scratching their head, trying to figure out what “CSA” stands for and what it even is.

CSA = Community Supported Agriculture. 

A farm or a community garden sells “shares” to members. Each week, members will get a box of produce for their membership fee.
The membership and share fees are typically affordable but unfortunately, most CSAs aren’t set up to accept EBT (food stamps), which makes it impractical for people on SNAP. BUT because CSAs are usually run by very community minded & socially conscientious people, many CSAs will offer sliding scale fees for low income families or will allow people to work for shares. Sometimes if the farm is especially rural, they will arrange a pick-up point within the nearest town or city to make it easier for members to get their shares.

There are CSAs for other things besides produce. Some farms will offer meat ,egg, and dairy shares. Beyond the economically benefits, the food offered is generally non-GMO, local ,and organic.

If you aren’t sure if there’s a CSA in your area, there’s a CSA finder here: CSA Finder

 

There’s one thing that happens sometimes with CSA shares that can be especially beneficial to low income families.  It happens that people don’t pick up their share. They were busy, forgot, couldn’t make it that week…. whatever. Stuff happens. Sometimes people will pick thru their boxes at pick-up and leave behind things they don’t like or won’t use. The CSA managers then have fresh produce they need to figure out what to do with so that it doesn’t go to waste. In some areas, food pantries are not set up to accept and distribute fresh produce, so that’s not an option. Giving it directly to a family who needs it would be the preferable thing to do.

It is definitely worth contacting your local CSA owners to ask if they allow abandoned shares to be claimed by non-members. I would personally at least offer to volunteer to work on the farm or garden in exchange for the privilege of getting first pick at leftovers. That just feels like the right thing to do.

So, want to see what one CSA’s abandonment looks like?

In these pictures are:

  • swiss chard
  • red onions
  • edamame beans
  • hot peppers
  • bell peppers
  • turnips
  • various squash
  • bags of various greens -arugula, spinach,romaine,kale
  • potatoes
  • beets
  • carrots
  • tomatoes
  • garlic
  • yellow onions
  • broccoli
  • parsley
  • cilantro

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I managed to get some great meals from these veggies. Lighting is horrible in my kitchen, awful for food photography but some things I made…

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Quick White Bean Stew with Swiss Chard and Tomatoes

 

White Bean & Swiss Chard Stew

Garlic Edamame   A Healthy and Flavorful Snack // wishfulchef.com

Garlic Edamame

…and a bunch of other stuff.

New film ‘Growing Cities’ takes road trip look at urban farmers cultivating a healthy, sustainable food culture

Originally posted on Leo Adam Biga's Blog:

Dirt, as in soil that you dig in with your hands, is becoming cool among a certain set of young people who are joining the multi-generational ranks of folks practicing urban farming as a response to the food deserts and unhealthy eating choices plaguing many American communities and the disconnect between Americans and the food they consume, most of which is highly processed, pre-packaged crap supplied by corporations that operate out of self-interest, not the public welfare.  Two young men fresh out of college have produced a new documentary, Growing Cities, that takes a road trip look at the burgeoning urban farm movement and its cultivation of a healthy, sustainable food culture that aims to put the power of food back in the hands of the people.  For their project filmmakers Dan Susman and Andrew Monbouquette traveled from our shared hometown of Omaha, Neb. across the country to both coasts…

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Will EBT Benefits Be Cut Off November 1st, 2013?

Originally posted on Midwest Punk Rock Homesteaders:

Yesterday, I saw a rather startling image being shared far and wide on Facebook.

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It’s origins were The Crossroads Urban Center, in Utah. (I wholly encourage you to donate if you are near to that one. If you’re not, I am sure your local food banks could use a little help, too.)

 

I did what I always do with such things. I set about fact checking the crap out of it, but this wasn’t until I had emailed the address listed in the memo itself.

 

I didn’t expect a response. The thing is, any time I have ever tried to get any kind of statement of fact from any government agency, I get a rather canned response and it always annoys me.

 

That didn’t happen this time.

response

 

This image is from my actual email, you don’t need to source verify it or anything, but…

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Growing Power: An urban farm that grew a million pounds of food on 3 acres

I’m pretty impressed with Will Allen and his organization Growing Power.

He had a few acres of land in Milwaukee and turned it into a farm in 1993. Growing Power now consists of six greenhouses, an apiary with 14 beehives, two aquaponics hoop houses ,250 chickens, and a few dozen goats. In that space, organic and non-GMO food is grown with the idea in mind that it’s accessible and affordable for everyone. The farm also serves as an educational “idea factory” and living classroom where people can learn about acid-digestion, anaerobic digestion for food waste, bio-phyto remediation and soil health, aquaculture closed-loop systems, vermiculture, small and large scale composting, urban agriculture, permaculture, food distribution, marketing, value-added product development, youth education, community engagement, participatory leadership development, and project planning.

Not only is Growing Power proving that small farms can be productive and practical, the farm is dedicated to food justice and breaking through barriers the factory farm and food industry have created to making healthy food accessible for those with low incomes.

 via Growing Power’s Facebook page

Stephen Colbert on the government “slimdown”

Yeah.
Some states are still funding their WIC programs and everyone will be seen during the government shut down as usual and checks will be issued normally. Other WIC programs are closed but WIC staff have made sure their answering service gives emergency numbers for women who may be out of formula or other food. Some staff are volunteering their time to help families who need assistance.

The very beginning of every month is very unstable for many low income  families . Things are due all at once, leaving no extra cash for groceries and many SNAP recipients don’t get benefits until the second week of the month. If someone was scheduled to get new WIC checks this week, there’s going to be a horrible gap for that family between now and when they will finally have access to WIC or their scheduled SNAP allowance.

I know. They didn’t think about that when they shut the government down, nor do some of them even care.

It has been mentioned that we should consider why there are so many “non-essential” employees that aren’t allowed to work during the shut-down. I think it’s more important to access and evaluate who and what are considered essential government workers and programs instead. I’m really sorry that there were veterans who wanted to go see some memorial this week and couldn’t because it was closed but babies drinking watered down formula ranks higher on my essential priorities list.