Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Just Food Conference 2014

just_food_conference_poster_url_final23New York City: Will you be at the Just Food Conference on April 5th and 6th?  I’m going to miss it (physically and emotionally) this year. Just Food is a non-profit organization based in New York City that empowers residents to create and sustain agricultural projects in urban areas.  I was part of their Community Chef program and co-led a workshop at last year’s conference. This year, the conference is undergoing a new format that includes a day of intensive programs in addition to the workshops.  It’s a great place to learn about what’s happening in local food & food justice, meet new people and get involved in your community. Registration details can be found here and scholarship details here.

P.S. Love the flier!

Restorative Justice in Education

Image via Nation of Change

Image via Nation of Change

My dear friend Lizz passed along this article on restorative education in Oakland city schools. The article tells the story of a young boy who acted out in class. The typical response would have been automatic suspension, which is discussed in the article as creating a school-to-prison-pipeline. What happened instead?

A series of dialogues were had that included the teacher, the student, the restorative justice worker and the student’s mother.  I won’t give away the details or the ending but what a concept!

I am the product of an urban public school system that included on-site police presence (a trailer located in the school parking lot) and after my graduation year, installed metal detectors at all door entrances. Violence was a daily occurrence, one that, as students, we were desensitized to.  Disciplinary action was as common as the sound of school bells ringing. Poverty, drugs, domestic violence, abuse and food insecurity were issues that many students were grappling with but no one seemed to take into consideration. Restorative justice takes these systemic oppressions and realities as factors into the causes of violence and emotional disturbances and creates a transformative  and inclusive space for healing.

Restorative justice embracess community involvement as a primary resource rather than relying on the state to take action.  It takes both the victim’s and the offender’s views into consideration. On a physical level, the thought/concept of restorative justice relaxes my muscles and removes tension from my body. As a person of color, I hold in my body present and past trauma of systemic violence. In this sense, I am sure restorative justice as a practice brings beneficial health effects to the people it serves.  Restorative justice is indigienous, holistic and brings peace and power to the community by the community.  Aché!

38 Days and Not a Drop of Coffee

Photograph by Julius Schorzman

Photograph by Julius Steersman

I LOVE coffee. Soy Cubana, what can I say? I love the smell, the taste, the warmth, the feel good buzz I get after a big cup or a tiny espresso.  I love the ritual of brewing, serving, and the conversations that follow. Growing up Latina, being served un cafecito was a way of welcoming  a guest or savoring the end of a delicious meal. However, I’ve found if I drink coffee daily for an extended period of time I start feeling fatigued.  And slightly anxious. No bueno.  I’m still figuring out what exactly is happening but from time to time, I take a break.  I had it hard this time around! My friend and fellow health coach  Melissa Danielle recommended I get some coffee substitutes. (Yes, health coaches need health coaches too-hello!) I ended up with Maté Lemon tea and Teccino herbal coffee.  They really helped! Maté does have caffeine while Teccino does not.  Needless to say, I got over the hump  and went from my original 30 day goal all the way to 38 days. Then I had a nice cup of Philz coffee, decaf Organic Swiss Water Peru.  Your health is a journey and you have to try different things along the way. Is there something your body is asking you to take a break from? How long will you do it? Who will support you along the way? Here are some possible choices: dairy, meat, caffeine, sugar, alcohol.  Let me know how it goes and what you discover!

Sarah Steingraber on Anti-Fracking

IMG075 Photo: Marian Isel Wellness

I had the opportunity to hear anti-fracking activist Sarah Steingraber speak at SUNY Oneonta on Thursday.   She is a biologist and a poet (what a lovely mix) and says that our current environmental crisis is a human rights issue.  That’s right!

Fracking is a form of extreme energy extraction. Drills dive down a mile deep into the ground’s surface. Tons of chemicals have to get dumped in to make this possible (bad) and tons of caca gets seeped into our water (worse) and can remain this way for THOUSANDS of years. This can toxify our water, land and our bodies.  What else will be left??

Sarah has a new book out called “Raising Elijah: Protecting Children in an Age of Environmental Crisis”.  Sarah named her son after abolitionist Elijah Lovejoy. She compared the fight against fracking to the fight against slavery. Lovejoy did not believe in “phasing out” slavery.  He demanded that slavery come to an end IMMEDIATELY. Sarah applied this view on the fracking fiasco occuring upstate. We have no time  for building “safer” forms of this abomination on nature, it simply has to not happen and a sustainable national energy plan needs to be put into place. Wouldn’t that be a better use of our time and energy? (Pun intended)

This is how bad-ass Sarah is. She recently received an award for $100,000 and she donated it ALL to the cause.

Act Now: The Town of Middlefield needs help fund the appeals process of their recently won NYS Supreme Court case to keep fracking out of their town. Find out how to send your tax-deductible contribution by clicking here.

Farmworker Justice Rally This Sunday

301702_335034619888187_131584656899852_973097_1788389543_nStand in solidarity with farmworkers this weekend by demanding Chipotle  sign the Fair Food Agreement. This agreement increases farmworkers pay by 1 penny per pound of tomatoes picked.  McDonalds, Burger King, Subway, Whole Foods and most recently Trader Joe’s has signed on. What’s taking Chipotle so long? This is a company that claims to serve food with integrity. Let’s help them align with their motto!

When: Sunday April 15, 2012 at 12pm noon

Where: Chipotle and 17th Street and Broadway, NYC


My CSA Article on Mamiverse

L1080863I recently wrote an article for Mamiverse on CSA’s and how this model could serve as a tool against the growing (no pun intended) Latina/o childhood obesity epidemic.  Getting children involved with growing and being connected to their food is a sure way of getting  more vegetables into their diet.  I had the wonderful opportunity of interviewing Ana Isabel Rodriguez Angel of Angel Family Farm and Jessica Cortes, Farm Network Coordinator for Just Food for this piece.  Have you registered for your local CSA yet? Read my article (and find a local CSA) here.

P.S. That’s me planting baby kale at Conuco Farm last year at my CSA Volunteer Day.  Baby kale!

I’m so excited about this!


Donation Based Yoga in Clinton Hill

ohmThe Brooklyn Free School is offering donation-based Vinyasa yoga classes three times a week. 50% of all donations benefit the school. Here are the details:

When: Mon & Thurs. 6:45-8pm, Sun. 11-12:15pm

Where: 372 Clinton Ave (btwn. Green & Lafayette) 2nd Floor

Contact: freeschoolyoga AT gmail DOT com


Just Food Community Chef Demo

L1090357On Sunday July 24 I served as a Just Food Community Chef at the Summer Streets Festival in the Bronx.  I made my ‘”It’s Too Hot To Cook! Summer Squash Salad, quite fitting for a 91 degree afternoon!  There were lots of great children present who sampled raw zucchini, learned how to say ‘carrot’ in Spanish and that veggies are good to help you poop. This was met by a great big ‘Ewww!’ followed by giggles.  Click ‘more’ for the recipe. Continue reading ‘Just Food Community Chef Demo’

Move Over Food Pyramid…

myplate_magentaThe plate has replaced the pyramid as the new visual guideline for healthy eating.  This is a historic moment in food and nutrition and already it has created lovers and haters alike.  I love the emphasis on fruits and veggies!  If there’s one change you can make to improve your diet, try adding more of these foods in your life.  With the harvest season beginning to share its bounty, why not take a walk to your local farmer’s market and see what new dish (or old favorite) you can make this week? Here’s mine: I bought a pint of fresh, pesticide-free strawberries, washed and froze them (after gobbling down a few) to blend into a smoothie.