Tag Archives: NorthWest Initiative

Woman Behind the Mask Wins SoupGrant

Congrats to Woman Behind the Mask on winning $130 at SoupGrant!
Our Soup Family – powering change in #LoveLansing one bowl of soup at a time.

Congrats to Woman Behind the Mask on winning $130 at SoupGrant!

Woman Behind the Mask meets every week at NorthWest Initiative to provide women a safe and secure place to gather for mutual support. WBM would like to use the money towards purchasing a van and getting a logo designed for their group. Know someone with a van or graphic design skills who might be able to donate their time or give a reduced rate? Let us know and we’ll pass on the word to WBM!

Who’s next? Apply by May 1 to present your locally-rooted, Lansing-minded idea on May 21!

Kirk and Patti from HerBlends of Plenty came back again to talk about their new venture – Abundance at the Avenue Cafe. Join us April 27 at the Avenue for a preview pop-up dinner at 6:30.
Woman Behind the Mask
Elizabeth Collins-Jones and Danyele Evans from Woman Behind the Mask talk about their work to provide a safe and supportive place for women in Lansing to meet weekly.

Birthday Soup Contenders: Kids’ Farm Stand Fund

Our 1st Annual Birthday Soup is fast approaching! SoupGrant Lansing will be celebrating turning a year old before you know it!

As we talked about marking our birthday, we decided that we would like to bring back some past winners. We regularly try to bring back past winners to talk about what they have been able to accomplish since winning SoupGrant, but we wanted to take it a step further by giving them the chance to compete for a second SoupGrant. Back in June, we sent out e-mails, and Tweets and Facebook posts letting past winners know that they could re-apply. We had decided to limit the number of contestants to three and we received word from three past winners letting us know that they were interested!

As we approach August 21, we want to take a look at our returning contestants. Last week we put the spotlight on The Food Systems Project. This week, we’re taking a closer look at the Kids’ Farm Stand Fund. Next week, we’ll highlight D.A.N.C.E.

Kids Farm Stand Fund

Describe your project. 

Aliza: We are a grant-funded garden based nutrition education program that partners with Lansing area schools to provide quality, effective nutrition education programming for elementary aged students (5-12 years old).  We work with over 1,000 students each year to promote healthy habits and food choices by facilitating hands-on gardening and cooking lessons. In keeping with our hands-on philosophy, we also maintain four educational gardens on the properties of our four partner schools. These gardens are a source of pride and beauty for our students and also allow them to see firsthand how their food is grown.

Much of the produce grown in our gardens is used in our cooking lessons with the kids,  but all surplus produce is sold at the West Side Farmers’ Market and the profits generated are put back into the program. This year we have begun inviting some of our oldest and most invested garden club students to help run our farm stand. This provides many wonderful opportunities for them to learn about their local food system as well as to  gain entrepreneurial insight and effective communication skills. The kids are very enthusiastic and eager to contribute. In the past season we have helped them to brainstorm ideas for new products to sell, including hand-crafted bracelets and healthful baked goods.

Unfortunately, however we are limited in what we can do as our grant does not allow us to purchase materials for these projects. If awarded this SoupGrant we hope to create a Youth Entrepreneur Farmer’s Market Fund. This fund would allow us to purchase materials so that we  are able to continue facilitating these educationally valuable projects with our students.

How will you use the money from your SoupGrant? 

Aliza: Money will be spent directly on supplies so that we can make value added products with our students to sell at market. For our students to truly be invested in this project, it is important that these experiences be kid-directed. For this reason, we will brainstorm with them what they are the most interested in learning how to make and sell. So for instance, if we decide that we are most interested in learning more about jam-making, this money will go to buy berries, sugar, cans and other supplies needed. Money made on sales of these products will go back into the Youth Entrepreneur Farm Market Fund for future projects.

Why is this project important?

Aliza: This project is important because it benefits our community on many levels. It will give our students the opportunity to learn and hone important life skills, such as jam making, baking, money management, product promotion, business etiquette, etc. Moreover, it will expand their perspective of our food system and allow them to observe and contribute to it at a wide range of stages–from seed to table. It will also help to provide more affordable, healthful and ethically produced products to market shoppers and area residents.

What is the time frame for your project? Who/how will you be accountable? 

Aliza: The Farmer’s Market runs through October, so we would use some of these funds to produce products to sell during the current season. We program year round and will continue to build and strengthen relationships with students so that when next year’s season rolls in we will have a core group of committed students to continue these projects  at next years market.

Tell us about yourself!

Aliza: I am a Nutrition Educator at the North West Initiative, and boy do I love my job!! I have been passionate about food access and education since I was a high school student. I am committed to helping to create a positive learning environment for young people, where mistakes are just opportunities for growth and classrooms aren’t always inside! I have a big goofy dog named Arlo.


Congrats to Edgewood Village, and logo redesign winner Kaylee Foster

We had our biggest crowd ever on Thursday night! We filled the basement of Grace Lutheran up to capacity – and apparently the parking lot, too!

(Apologies to the folks trying to attend choir practice – we’ll try to be more conscientious in the future!)

At the last minute, Grammie’s Goodies was forced to drop out of the micro-grant competition because of sickness, but we had another great proposal come forward from Tali at NorthWest Initiative for Global Youth Service Day. Here’s a snippet to give you a small idea of her proposal:

To celebrate the Global Youth Service Day, NorthWest Initiative will be hosting a day of cleanup and beautification for our school and community gardens. We have recruited over 30 youth, ages 12-25, along with some adults, to volunteer their time and efforts into ensuring we have a successful year of gardening! Activities will include weeding, constructing raised beds out of cinderblocks, painting signs, painting cinderblocks, constructing compost bins, and more.

Tali went up against Edgewood Village of East Lansing, a low-income senior housing center, which was asking for money to help take their residents on day trips in the Lansing area to events like Michigan State sporting events.

Edgewood Village came out the winner after the vote and got to take home a grant of $259! We’re looking forward to hearing back from Heather about how the money gets used – and to hear how the residents at Edgewood enjoy their outings around town!

We also had voting on our logo redesign contest! Our 10 finalists went up against one another in the first round of voting with submissions from Spencer DuMond of Holt, Sarah Snyder of Lansing, and Kaylee Foster of East Lansing taking the top three places.

The second round of voting was extremely close; Kaylee pulled off a very narrow victory over Spencer. As the winner, Kaylee took home $150 – about half the money we were able to raise with our Indiegogo campaign!

New Logo

We’ve said it a few times now, but we are extremely grateful to all of our contestants for submitting, and sharing their work with all of us. We wish each of you the best going forward and hope to have you back at SoupGrant in the future!

Our next SoupGrant is coming up on April 24 – a week later than usual because of Easter and activities already planned at Grace Lutheran Church. Once May rolls around, we’ll be back to meeting on the third Thursday of the month!