weekend links


» Fifty years later, Black Panthers’ art still resonates – this weekend marks the 50th anniversary of the Black Panthers’, the architects of our current day school lunch and WIC program.

» More colleges open food pantries to address hunger on college campuses

» Exploring the Untold Stories of Refugees with Rolling Blackouts Cartoonist Sarah Glidden

»  Does Big Ag Really Feed the World? New Data Says Not So Much

» via  Bad memes I made on my phone …




This is a fascinating lost interview from 1979 with Ronald Reagan , 18 months before he was elected President. I think listening to this helps me understand why my Grandfather  (grew up poor during that same era) loved Reagan so much. It’s interesting to hear him discuss the way the political parties had shifted at that point. Much talk of bootstraps. He says the way to help poor people is that poor people have to “get over” being poor like it’s a mindset and not an economic situation.




recent podcasts listened to

Well, I listen to a lot of podcasts but these particular ones/episodes felt relevant to share here.

Out of the Box podcast ep 105- Scott Santens on Universal Basic Income – Whenever I mention Basic Income, either here or elsewhere on social media, there are always questions. Most people have never heard of it and a lot of those who are in the know just have a lot of questions about how it would work. This episode is great because it covers just about everything about UBI you could possibly wonder. Universal Basic Income is how we can lift people out of poverty, reduce crime, boost the economy, improve health and well being, and create a much happier society.

In the Dark –  episode 6 – This may be a hard podcast to listen to, even if you’re a fan of true crime like I am. I had to take breaks to get through it sometimes and that’s undoubtedly in part because I have a 11 year old son and this podcast focuses on the 1989 abduction of 11 year old Jacob Wetterling. Yep, it’s a tough one. I know this doesn’t on the surface seem relevant here but episode 6 talks about the effects of legislation regarding sex offenders and the national registry. It was Jacob’s mom Patty who pioneered and pushed for a sex offender registry and now she’s not so fond of the monster it’s become. The overwhelming research on pedophiles and other sex offenders says that the lack of stable housing,jobs, and support after incarceration increases the chance of recidivism but because the consequences of being on the registry is so damaging to all of those things, that stability is impossible. The registry covers a broad range of offenses and there’s many people who really shouldn’t even be on it. The intention was to keep children safe and it hasn’t actually done that but it has pushed people into poverty.

On to happier things. Literally…

Happier with Gretchen Rubin – This is a super complicated podcast for me, even if I do love it. As someone who struggles with ADHD, I am constantly looking for strategies that help keep my mind and life better organized and aid in productivity and this really fills that need .I can’t say that it really makes me happier but at the present time, my mood is very influenced by my financial status, so I feel like all the little things suggested (sometimes they’re things I already do) don’t really make anything better but they may reduce some stress or help me embrace the things that are awesome in my life, which helps me get through the day . Poverty-induced depression isn’t a thing that I can fix by  making my bed every morning or taking photos of my everyday life but it can’t hurt either.



daily links::a food waste cookbook!, news on teen hunger, and more


There’s a cookbook called Amazing Waste with recipes entirely devoted to cooking with scraps,leftovers,etc. I haven’t had a chance to look through the entire thing yet but this looks like the kind of cookbook I would write. Am writing. These kinds of recipes are great for food pantry users (at least my food pantry) where you might end up with produce that is not the prettiest or freshest.

The entire cookbook is available for free RIGHT HERE.

Thanks to my local food waste reduction -anti hunger group Friendship Donations Network for passing along that info.

·:   Five Questions with JoAnne Berkenkamp, Food Waste Expert and Advocate  – there’s a lot of food waste going on but it’s getting better thanks to mainstream recognition and initiatives to reduce waste

:· some new research reveals some sad information about teenagers living in homes with food insecurity  . Even if teenagers do have access to programs that give them food,they’re too worried about what their peers will think to use them openly but also they are underserved by programs like The Backpack Program, which focuses on elementary aged kids. This is something touched on before here when one of our readers was trying to develop a program for older kids.

As a result, in households where hunger was most acute, teens reported engaging in all kinds of risky behavior to obtain food, including: shoplifting food directly, selling drugs for cash and/or engaging in “transactional dating,” i.e., engaging in sexual relationships with older adults in exchange for food and money. In a few communities, some teens even viewed going to jail as a viable option to ensure regular meals. The report also revealed the degree to which hungry teens look out for each other and for their younger siblings, often forgoing meals or sharing their food with those also in need.

Here’s a summary of the full report: Impossible Choices

My teenager’s high school made school lunch available for free to ALL students, regardless of income. If high schools did that widely, this would eliminate so much of these issues. Her school also has Free Food Friday where food donations picked up from a local rescue agency is available in the school lobby for anyone to take home. My daughter very rarely gets anything because it’s completely gone by the time she has a chance to check it out. Even when she is there on time, it’s difficult to get anything. No one is shy about taking food home. Now I have to wonder why these students have no reluctance to take free food. The school is a small charter school that focuses on sustainability and social justice (nope, don’t go off on me about how awful charter schools are) . Is it just that the culture of the school is centered on taking care or others and being stewards of the earth? A lot for me to think about there. I asked my daughter what she thinks and she says it’s because the school works hard to be a safe space for everyone and “no one judges people for things like that”.

Meanwhile in my community, the school district just expanded their Fresh Snack Program to include another school so that it now serves 1,200 elementary students. The Youth Farm Project (which one of my older kids worked at and let em tell you…that’s an AMAZING program) and other local farms provide a weekly snack to be served with the intention of expanding food horizons and food accessibility. It’s awesome.

My 6 year old was very critical of the yellow watermelon mentioned in the article linked above. He spent his summer growing his own watermelon, so he’s an expert now.

He’s a super proud watermelon farmer.  I think we actually have a couple left to harvest. I plan on making this watermelon pie. YESSSSSSSSS.

The bounty of tomatoes and pumpkins coming out of the garden makes it easier to not stay mad at everything. Today’s tomato harvest was 2 colanders worth (scientific measurement) . It’s been hard for me to give everything a measurement and value like I intended . Maybe with the tomatoes I’ll measure by the product I end up canning, whether it be sauce or salsa or whole tomatoes. I would say pumpkins the size of these would be about $4-5 each around here. This bunch will be canned.

It’s 3p.m. as I’m writing this. No word yet on the car. Our food pantry is this evening so if we don’t get the car back within the next couple of hours, we’ll miss that. It’s the last one of the month so that will be a bummer.

We also have a school event tomorrow for one kid that he really wanted us to go to. We’ll cross our fingers and everything else that we at least get the car back tomorrow so we can make that. We missed out on a lot of school events during the time we were a car-free family. I try to make it to everything now if it’s at all possible.

This thing tomorrow evening is also a dish to pass (side dish or dessert). I predict whatever I end up making will have either tomatoes or pumpkins. I’m glad I have them to work with. Something else that has stopped me from going to things like potlucks in the past was truly not being able to take anything. Add that to the list of “The Many Ways Being Poor Can Make You Feel Like Crap”.






10 Reasons To Get Behind Basic Income

This is aimed at Bernie supporters who need to focus their fire on something now that he’s out of the race but the points are laid out so well for anyone else who is interested in solutions to making life better for low income people in the U.S.

One minor irk: The first reason given states that ALL people deserve to have money for work, no matter what work they do but excludes those who don’t or can’t work who are susceptible to living in poverty. I’m thinking of disabled and elderly people specifically. Yes,there’s disability and social security but those usually do not meet all the economic needs.


(This post comes to you via my FIXED laptop! No more forced hiatus. Thank you so much to those of you who offered replacements in the event it couldn’t be fixed. I love that there are people like ya’ll out there. Mwah. )

What foods would you like to see in a Backpack Program?

I’m sharing this question today from a reader who is involved with starting a Backpack Program for junior high aged kids in her area.

For anyone not familiar with the Backpack Program : every Friday during the school year, food is sent home via backpack . The goal is to provide  food for the weekend to kids who rely on free school meals.

S asks:

If your student came home and opened their backpack on Friday afternoon, what would be most helpful to find?


Total gross weight under about 5 pounds

Picky kid friendly


Easy prep since some families have no cooking facilities except possibly a microwave

Pretty cheap, like $5 retail



“Abuse is stronger when its silent and it wants to be a dirty secret because it can take control over the victim as long as they live. “

An important guest post today.
This is an anonymous letter from a mother to her daughter as she watches her struggle in an abusive relationship while dealing with memories of her own past experience. Sometimes those who are closest to the situation feel the most powerless to help. I hope these words resonate with some readers and give them the courage to reach out for help or to help someone else they know dealing with domestic abuse and violence. 

I am not just a mom. I am the very person who watches and keeps track of you even though you are my adult child. It may seem I am not paying attention but I do; among the other busy life tasks I must perform every single day. I will always worry. I will always say something that supports your independence and recognize your qualities that makes me feel proud of you even though you are defensive and biting. I still feel disappointment, kindness, frustration and pride among other things. I have done the best I can in raising you and I know more than anyone that no parent is ever perfect. Especially when poverty is in the fold and the struggles that we experienced as a family complicate a content household.

I just wish that I was better able to share my story about my past. To convey my experiences as you grew up. The time before you were born before I met your father. I failed you by attempting to diminish the memories and the emotional hardship in talking about my experiences. It’s a terrible secret that no one in my family knows about; and in that silence I know abusers are given permission to continue when they aren’t even in the parameter in your life any longer.

So mom’s know things. I know things. I know he’s threatened to kill you. He’s threatened to kill himself to me. Mom’s see things in their daughters and know they are not okay. They see the bruises that are scoffed off or given some improbable excuse. They see you as an unhappy, argumentative illogical decision maker that demonstrates poor choices for your future independence. I am tired worrying and I don’t know how to fix it for you.

I remained silent and unwilling to share my terror too long because I placed it far back in my memories and built new ones to bury them. But as I realize now, the bones are always there and by burying them I can’t help anyone else, especially you. Abuse is stronger when its silent and it wants to be a dirty secret because it can take control over the victim as long as they live. Even if the abuser is long gone or dead.

When I was a young adult I made decisions about my life that were misguided. I could never confide to your Grandmother. She would have shamed me and not said anything useful as she lived out of state and out of touch since I was a young child. She would have blamed me, for certain, for not being something or say something to keep the violence going. I had no trust with her. You don’t have to trust me and as much as that makes me sad and a bit hurt it’s more important that you trust someone.

I made bad choices. Horrible ones. Most of it out of a false sense of compassion which turned into fear. In essence I let myself be held hostage by a stranger.

My sweet daughter, meet my abuser. A man who was ridiculously shy at first and for certain odd. I felt compelled to go out on one date. At the end of the evening when I told him honestly I wasn’t interested in seeing him again he erupted in such a scene – an emotional episode that I was completely in shock. I was eighteen and I had no idea what to do. You should have seen this through my eyes. He tried to set his hair on fire and screamed hysterically he would commit suicide if I did not see him again. Me. A stranger. He stripped off his clothing and huddled on the edge of the furniture in a tight ball sobbing with a lit lighter by his hair. He rocked back and forth inconsolable and out of fear of witnessing this and general concern over his well being I agreed, in terror and trying to understand what was happening, to go out with him again. I have no idea why honestly. I was terrified at what he was capable of doing.

So you see, in my silence about my past I neglected to teach you about my painful experience for you to learn from. I am not sure if you would listen anyway, but to give it everything I have as a parent I must; I will forfeit my shame and embarrassment to help you. My experience was short lived; only over one year. During this time it was extremely painful emotionally and physically.

I learned he was on parole for robbery in another state (“RUN!” I screamed in my head). He excluded me from my friends and I had to like only his (“STAND UP!” my inner voices demanded). I was held hostage by a stranger that I did not want to know or be associated with. I was better than this and I was confused at myself for the experience. He stalked me at work (“HOLD YOUR HEAD HIGH! I told myself “This is not as bad as I think it is.”) He drank at least a case of beer every day that turned into rage and tirades breaking everything in sight (“SURVIVE!” my inner voices demanded).

Almost daily if the broken items weren’t my personal belongings it was the windows, doors, walls. and then he’d turn the rage by hitting himself or threatening worse (my inner survival took over). He’d turn that rage onto me if I became visible to him. If I argued back. If I spoke out. If I commented. If I didn’t have beer. If I didn’t cook dinner. If I kept something special. I was strong physically but it was the emotional barrage of unpredictable shocking behavior and assault that left me numb and incapable of acting. I hated him and worse I hated myself for being there. He would work for short periods of time before he lost his job due to his drinking, and terrorize me while driving my car which he also demanded to drive sober or drunk.

He’d threaten to drive us off cliffs and jerk the wheel toward the edge pushing the gas pedal. The worst lie about all of these experiences is that on the outside he was engaging, funny, and other people liked him. I would physically feel ill when people talked kindly about him (“CAN’T YOU SEE INTO MY EYES AND HELP ME?” I’d scream into my own silence). I tried to tell people what was happening, and they never believed me. I thought about that as he would rip off my clothes and push me outside the front door and lock it. As he would bite me leaving ugly raw bruises. As he would beat anything in his path making me feel weak.

I never got the help I needed from friends and in part because it was so embarrassing to fully confess the depths of terror I was living under. You can imagine my feelings of betrayal when I tried to seek help but couldn’t articulate fully – and “they” blamed me. People can be like that, so go to someone and keep talking until someone will believe you.

When I did finally flee from his terror I was exhausted. I had the paperwork in place, a protection order, but it didn’t stop. He chased me in his car on the rural dirt roads I lived. He broke into my home while I slept in that exhaustion and I woke up to him sitting on my bed, stroking my hair, begging for me to take him back whispering his own venom into my ear. I woke up in stark fear and pushed him off the bed and he once again raged.

I had to leave the state and go to an unknown area and start my life over and I tried my best to bury these bones to never have to think or acknowledge it ever happened. To bury myself in busy. To raise my family like it never happened. Until now. When I see it in your eyes.

So dear daughter. I see you. We give silence permission to continue the abuse. In our stories we grow stronger together and I beg you to recognize this in yourself. Before it’s too late.



Transgender Housing Network

It feels like a good time to share this networking page again. The Transgender Housing Network connects transgender people with safe places to live temporarily while finding stable housing among supportive people. The posts in the network range from someone looking for a couch for a few nights to a room they can rent in a trans friendly environment. Sometimes posts are transgender allies who may need a housemate or other long term options.

Unsafe living situations, poverty, and threats of violence are an every day thing for transgender people in the US, disproportionately so for trans people of color. Homeless transgender people quite often have no shelters that will accept them. Unemployment and underemployment is high among transgender people.The eviction rate and housing discrimination is comparably high.  Networks like THN  are so important.

If you’re willing to host or are transgender and need a place to stay, check out the link below.

 >>>>>>   Transgender Housing Network  <<<<<<



questionable decisions made this week

Poor people supposedly have poor decision making skills. I might be demonstrating that well.

Like going back to college. Poor people are told that they need to get themselves educated, so this seems like a brilliant idea. I did indeed apply. I’m already “educated” and have a paper degree that says I learned some things but that’s beside the point. I decided I needed to go get another degree after seeing countless jobs I wanted to apply for recently that I didn’t have the right degree or qualifications for. Funny though…I usually had enough experience, although most of it is unpaid & volunteer work.

So, I’m going back to college, even though I’m poor AF and can’t even help my daughter pay her monstrous tuition (she goes to one of the most expensive colleges in the country and does get a massive fin aid & scholarship package but STILL….ugh) . I also can’t get a loan, so that should be interesting. Maybe those annoying people who tell us poor people that “If there’s a will,there’s a way!” are right and I’ll figure it all out by sheer will.

In September I will be here asking for math help and crying about what a horrible idea it was to even think I could do it. You’ll see.

I also cancelled my life insurance policy this week because I needed the cash surrender amount for pay bills and the last 2 months, that insurance payment has caused my bank account to be overdrawn and cost me $50 in bank fees that I didn’t have.
This means I can’t ever die now, which would be fine with me but if I’m going to live forever, I’d like to not be poor. How do vampires live such opulent lifestyles?

But really, I knocked on wood which should keep me safe from death and anyway, all I want is to be cremated in a cardboard box . Frugal to the end.

On a lighter note, I’m currently on duckling and gosling watch here on our rented homestead. No signs yet. Grown up geese and ducks have been quieter than usual, so maybe that’s the calm before the fluff?

They’re nesting on the island in the middle of the pond (or lake,if you ask the neighbors)

Fullscreen capture 572016 73119 AM

My coffee drinking, waterfowl watching bench . This is the extent of my good decision making lately.

All photos courtesy of my daughter and stolen from her instagram.

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