Winter is here. The long, dark days. The cold wind. The wet and freezing rain. And since this is 2020, we can probably add quite a bit of snow to that list. But just beneath the blanket of gray is a golden thread of sunshine — a Seattle cook, born and bred right in this city, hopes to bring a little warmth to the hearts and hearths of this beleaguered town. Veronica Very, the owner of Black’Butta Co., has always cooked but not in any official capacity before the pandemic. She was (and still is) a writer, the wife and business partner of visual artist Hiawatha D., and the founder of Women of Wonder, “a sacred space for Black women and girls.” But the pandemic forced her to get creative about her next business move.
The farm stand hadn’t even opened for business yet, but the socially distant line for Tilth Alliance’s new farm stand was already starting to stretch down the organization’s driveway on the sunny afternoon of June 25.
The nonprofit organic gardening and urban ecology organization is located at the Rainier Beach Urban Farm and Wetlands in partnership with Friends of Rainier Beach Urban Farm and Wetlands. Tucked away in a leafy residential area on South Cloverdale Street, this is the city’s largest urban farm. Tilth Alliance officially launched the new farm stand in this outdoor space on June 18. The farm stand is open every Thursday from 2–7 p.m. and is yet another one of Tilth Alliance’s efforts to support South King County residents.
Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee said in a press conference on May 28 that the state will be instituting additional protections for agricultural workers, and that his office is looking into the possibility of creating a relief fund for undocumented workers who do not have access to unemployment benefits, despite paying taxes.
The last time Michelle Timson visited the Othello Safeway was when the novel coronavirus pandemic first broke out.
“I won’t go to the Othello Safeway. It’s way too crowded. There’s no social distancing at all being enforced from what I have seen from the one time that I went,” Timson said.
But the lack of social distancing was just the rotting cherry on top of a fermenting sundae for Timson. Like many of her fellow Othellians, the South Seattle resident had had enough of the store, which many in the neighborhood have complained about for years, citing everything from rotting produce, expired packaged food and rat sightings to an overworked, understaffed employee base and an unsafe parking lot. Because of this, Timson and more than 1,500 others have signed a petition started by local activist and 37th District legislative candidate Chukundi Salisbury calling for better store conditions.
Medical experts and nutritionists alike emphasize that eating the right foods is essential to staying healthy during this pandemic: more fruits and vegetables, fewer fried foods. You know the drill. This is especially true for anyone with underlying health issues, and medications that suppress or compromise our immune systems, including asthma, diabetes, heart conditions, HIV/AIDS, obesity and smoking — as well as people over 65. How many seniors do we know that have at least one of the above conditions?
Food deserts and poverty, not to mention lack of will power, often keep us from eating healthy. So, in this week’s list of community restaurants open for take-out and/or delivery, I’m going to emphasize healthy eating. Every menu has some healthy options that are still delicious ways to support community businesses and get out of making dinner at the end of another tough week.
It’s sunny, and beginning to get warm on an afternoon in early May, when people start to line up outside the White Center Food Bank. Clad in masks, they patiently wait an adequate distance from each other to choose food the National Guard is helping food bank workers distribute.
This outdoor model is the latest iteration of food service the food bank has tried, Associate Executive Director Carmen Smith said. So far, it’s also the most successful, she said. Usually, the food bank operates in a grocery store model, which allows patrons the freedom to choose their own items, and mitigate the stigma associated with needing to use a food bank. But once the novel coronavirus pandemic hit the state, Smith and her fellow food bank employees found that the inside of the food bank was just too small to allow for safe social distancing practices. Having volunteers shop for the patrons’ food was also a no-go, because it’s just too hard to shop for someone else, Smith said.
Clad in protective gear, South Seattle-based chef Ariel Bangs and her team worked to prepare boxes of food in the small kitchen of the temporarily shuttered Cafe Red. Like other South End chefs, Bangs is trying to fill pockets of need within the community. But the Healthy Creations chef is also going a step further: she plans to include soil and seeds in future food boxes.
“Mothers For Police Accountability will present to the Community the
History of Weed and Seed in CD, that lead to People Remover or Gentrification. More information call 206-380-1710 Rev. Walden.” Kid-friendly
Time: 6–8 p.m. Where: Liberty Bank Building — 1405 24th Ave Cost: Free to attend
“In partnership with the Association of Black Social Work Students at the University of Washington’s School of Social Work, this community dialogue series invites and highlights voices and ideas from across the Black diaspora on important topics that inform the individual and collective Black experience. These moderated conversations center the voices of performing artists, mental health professionals, spiritual and body workers, writers, authors and more from across the northwest.
“February’s topic is Loving Black – Discussing the interpersonal and intimate relationships between Black people. Examining love between Black families in a historical context and how it connects to now. An open space to talk about stigmas, challenges, and the sweet parts of loving each other.”
Time: 7–9 p.m. Where: NAAM — 2300 S. Massachusetts St Cost: FREE (register via the Facebook event)
“In celebration of Black History Month, we’re partnering with the King County Library System and visual artist Michael B. Maine for the Blacks Making History Series! Every Thursday in February will feature a different event honoring the past, and looking towards the future in celebration of our local Black community. Join us this Thursday (Feb 6th) at 7pm for our first event, an all-star panel discussion at the Skyway Library about the evolution and endurance of Black political and social movements.
“Featured panelists include Kirsten Harris-Talley, Kelle J Brown, Dominique Davis, Brianna Thomas, and Michael Charles. The panel will be moderated by Marcus Harrison Green and Bridgette Hempstead (Founder of Cierra Sisters and Vice-President of The Emerald Board of Directors). All events are free and open to everyone!” Read full panelist bios in the Facebook event description.