Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Lambi Fund of Haiti to provide earthquake recovery in Haiti as second responders

Lambi Fund of Haiti, an organization that provides financial resources, training, and technical assistance to organizations in Haiti run by Haitians, has made a commitment to the long-term rebuilding of Haiti in the aftermath of the recent earthquake. Their goals include providing seeds, tools and equipment to help with local food and agriculture, rebuilding grain and sugar mills, recapitalizing micro-credit funds and repairing damaged water cisterns. Lambi Fund of Haiti is a Haitian-run organization that wants to focus on sustainable relief efforts that would not only revive the country but also provide the structure for a more prosperous future. To assist in their important work, visit www.lambifund.org.

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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Public Allies working with community partners for Haiti relief

A big thank you to Odebrecht, Project Medishare, Care Solutions, Chase Bank and the many others who've been such wonderful partners in coordinating Haiti relief efforts. Thanks for letting us be a part of your great work. Yesterday, PA were in North Miami collecting donations for Haiti. They will be in the same place--900 125th St. (the Chase Bank parking lot)--February 6 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Please bring nonperishable food and medical supplies.
Above, Public Allies with volunteers at the Rebuild Haiti concert at Oak Grove Park on Saturday, where bottled water for Haiti was being collected. See our video of volunteers unloading the water below.

Be sure to check out the Herald's ongoing coverage of the crisis, particularly the special feature in today's paper about how to contribute to relief efforts.

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Friday, January 22, 2010

Sustainable cooking, sustainable eating

Since HSC is getting more involved with sustainability/food justice issues right now, I thought I'd share a couple upcoming events related to these efforts:

1) Next Thursday, January 28 at 7 p.m. there will be a screening of Food, Inc. and short films by teens about food justice at Vegetarian Restaurant by Hakin ( 73 NE 167 St., North Miami, Fl, 33162). Informative vids and free popcorn? Yes, please!

2) Fairchild’s Erin Healy will be teaching a class on creating healthy meals and reducing your carbon footprint by choosing local, seasonal ingredients. The course will include a brief “kitchen botany” classification activity, followed by a carbon footprint calculation and practical information on local South Florida farms, seasonal crops and community-supported agriculture (CSAs). Be prepared to cook and ask questions about how your food choices affect the environment. If time allows she will also prepare a raw, or “live food,” side dish.

6 to 9 p.m.
Wednesday, February 3 (one session)
Registration deadline: Friday, January 29
Fee: Members, $45; Non-members, $65

Call Marilyn Caputo at 305-667-1651 xt. 3322 to register by Friday, 1/29

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The FANM Little Haiti action group is incredible

Meeting the Little Haiti action circle was a wonderful experience. They are happy to serve their community and see themselves as a family. With this joy came stories of effective organizing in their neighborhood. They are getting things done. We appreciate them and their willingness to accommodate our poor Haitian Creole skills.

Open Call: Amendment 4--Hometown Democracy or logistical nightmare?

At the Urban Environment League dinner last night, Lesley Blackner and Clifford Schulman faced off in a debate about Amendment 4, which will be on the November ballot and would require a referendum on all amendments to comprehensive land use plans. Blackner maintains that Florida politicians are too corrupt to be trusted with decisions about zoning and planning, since they are in developers' pockets. Schulman called this notion "paranoid," and argued that Amendment 4 would stunt Florida's economy (he cited St. Pete Beach's experience with Hometown Democracy and didn't seem to think the recession could account for their stagnation.)

A lot of the guests seemed to feel that something needed to be done about the rampant over-development in South Florida--but not necessarily this. One person I spoke to said the County Commission should actually heed recommendations by county staff (huh!) whom they pay to analyze planning and zoning recommendations. Others felt that passing Amendment 4 would at least send a message to the powers that be that voters are fed up. A looming concern, though, is the sheer number of zoning changes the electorate would have to consider (this includes city and county amendments). Will Floridians bother to inform themselves about half a dozen planning amendments each year? And won't developers be able to buy votes anyway?

Your thoughts?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Double Value program to be launched in Overtown

In an exciting development (and I'm for real excited!) our new farmers market program, which was I discussed yesterday, has found its home: Roots in the City vegetable garden. This community garden in Overtown was started by Marvin Dunn, Ph.D., in 1994 and is just one of a network of community gardens and tree nursuries in the neighborhood. They hire local workers and accept volunteers from all over the city (such as fellow Public Ally Jane from the above photgraph) and in turn sell fresh produce to the surrounding community. It's a win-win!

The new start date is February 18th and the time is TBD, but we'll keep you posted.

Real-life hero of Hotel Rwanda speaking at UM Friday

Who: Paul Rusesabagina, star of the film Hotel Rwanda, who saved more than 1,200 lives in the 1994 genocide and founded the Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation
What: Come hear Rusesabagina speak about his efforts to prevent further conflicts and advocate for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission for the African Great Lakes.
Where: University of Miami Coral Gables Campus, Gusman Hall
When: Friday, January 22, 2010 from 7pm - 9pm
Cost: none

For more information, contact: info@hrrfoundation.org.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Farmers Market Food Stamps Program

I went to this sweet training last week with Cristina from Wholesome Wave and Dennis, market manager for 61st Street Farmers Market in Chicago. Wholesome Wave is helping us get farmers markets in Miami to accept foodstamps AND to count them double there. As we all know, produce at farmers markets can be a bit pricy. The dollar matching program makes it feasible for many low income families to take advantage of the delicious local produce Miami-Dade has to offer. Dennis's market in Chicago has been incredibly successful, and he was able to tell us in detail how the program looks in action. We are launching our first market in February, so stay tuned for more details!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Acting out our values...HSC staff reflects

At our staff retreat on Friday, we broke into teams that wrote and performed quick skits based on the words "collaboration," "innovation," "leadership" and "self-empowerment." Those words, previously agreed upon by the staff, reflect the character HSC hopes to possess and feed back into the community. What does that look like? Well, one group, pictured above, contrasted "self-empowerment" with plain, old "empowerment." Initially, actors Corinna, Frances, Myrian, Jessica, Gina and Maisah circled Lynne, who sat in a chair. Lynne said she was cold; they gave her a scarf. Lynne said she was hungry; they gave her food. Soon though, someone from the circle realized Lynne's situation was not getting better. They started to think more critically about how best to help her. She was invited to job fairs and civic engagement trainings; Lynne began to perk up and even stand on her chair. Eventually, a cheerful Lynne was invited to join the circle. How can HSC, the social change sector and the community at large be more focused on self-empowerment? Leave comments if you have an idea.