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Literature is my Utopia. Here I am not disenfranchised. No barrier of the senses shuts me out from the sweet, gracious discourses of my book friends. They talk to me without embarrassment or awkwardness. – Helen Keller, The Story of My Life

The Joy of Reading - The Chicago Lighthouse

The Wild and Native Foods We Should Be Eating | Civil Eats

The Wild and Native Foods We Should Be Eating | Civil Eats

Memorizing Pharmacology Audiobook | Tony Guerra | Audible.com

Memorizing Pharmacology Audiobook | Tony Guerra | Audible.com

Can This Market Be a Model for Getting Good Food Into Neighborhoods Shaped by Racism? | Civil Eats

Can This Market Be a Model for Getting Good Food Into Neighborhoods Shaped by Racism? | Civil Eats



Can This Market Be a Model for Getting Good Food Into Neighborhoods Shaped by Racism?

After years of planning, West Oakland's People's Community Market may finally come to fruition. Can it help counteract the decades of oppressive policies that shaped today's 'food deserts'?
In the late 1990s, Brahm Ahmadi worked on environmental justice campaigns to shut down polluting factories in Oakland’s low-income communities. He lived in West Oakland, a predominately African-American neighborhood, where his work sometimes kept him in his own backyard. As a young organizer, a big part of his job was community engagement. Amidst the ongoing dialogue, Ahmadi repeatedly encountered complaints about the lack of access to a decent grocery store. What he was hearing—from one resident after another—was that they were tired of having to travel to stock up on basic foods.
For awhile, we’d just say, ‘thanks you for input,’ then we’d park it,” says Ahmadi. “But it kept coming up. After awhile I realized it wasn’t just a tangent.”
Eventually, Ahmadi and his colleagues conceded that many of the same patterns of structural and systemic disparity they observed in their environmental justice workhelped explain the absence of a community grocery store. But what really moved them into action, was the idea that this isolation was more than an inconvenience—it was a burgeoning public health crisis. In the years since he had moved into the neighborhood, rising rates rates of obesity, diabetes, and other health disparities had come into focus. And the national statistics weren’t much better.
“You could make a map of a community that highlights the environmental justice problem—the polluting, brownfields, superfund sites … and the health issues stemming from those problems, then take another set of maps showing disparity in food access, with a map of those health issues: diabetes, hypertension, obesity, etc. If you put these two maps together, those concentrations, in terms of census blocks, would be virtually the same,” says Ahmadi.
In 2003, Ahmadi and several colleagues started People’s Grocery, a West Oakland nonprofit that tackled food access through a series of multi-scale urban farming enterprises and education programs. Then, after hearing for years that a community grocery store was what the neighborhood needed, Ahmadi left his role as the executive director of People’s Grocery to earn an MBA and invest his energy full-time in making that possible.
In 2010, Ahmadi founded People’s Community Market, and after pursuing it for more than a decade, the organization has finally secured a brick-and-mortar space to host the project. The path to funding the social enterprise has been a hybrid of a grassroots campaign and angel investment. In 2012, Ahmadi began selling shares of the company to California residents through what’s called a direct public offeringbeginning at $1,000-per-share. There are now over 400 shareholders.
The initial community investment brought in $1.2 million and a credible negotiating position, but it represented just about a third of the requisite funds to complete the project. Earlier this year, an anonymous angel investor—a retired Wall Street hedge fund manager who grew up in Oakland—provided the capital for the building. Now, Ahmadi is seeking an additional community investment to create “an entrepreneurial solution for the nutritional and social well-being of West Oakland families.”
The market will provide a range of options—from conventional to organic—in an area that still lacks a full-service grocery store. (Ahmadi contends that stocking the shelves with at least some of the low-cost, name-brand items familiar to the community is a critical part of bringing in customers.) He also plans to hire from within the neighborhood, use an employee-ownership model, and work with Community Advisory Council designed to keep the business leadership accountable to West Oakland and its residents.
Ahmadi is one of many people around the country working to bring food to areas with limited access, commonly referred to as “food deserts,” and he believes that understanding the history of these areas is crucial to transforming them.
The Making of the Food Desert
The use of the term “food desert” was first used by a group of British researchers in 1999, who at the time, used the language loosely, calling them, “populated areas with little or no food retail provision.” There is no standard definition of the term, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) generally uses it to mean a low-income area with low access to healthy food.
Some food activists and food justice workers consider the term “food desert” aproblematic one. They concede it encapsulates a certain set of principles and a narrative, but that it also trivializes what’s at stakethat food is survival. Nationwide, in urban communities, residents suffer from disproportionate rates of obesity, hypertension, and other diet-related diseases.
What’s less often discussed than the term, however, is the fact that these under-resourced, malnourished neighborhoods did not appear by accident. In fact, we can trace the formation of today’s food deserts all the way back to the 1940s, at the end of World War II when young veterans returned to the States with a desire to buy homes.
At that time, in an effort to grow the economy and satiate the new housing demand, the U.S. government launched a series of economic programs to fund (among other things) the growth of suburbs and placement of veterans in much needed post-war jobs. The problem was that these opportunities were not equally available to African-American veterans. In particular, the Serviceman’s Readjustment Act, or the “GI Bill,” adhered to the same discriminatory principles of the legally mandated segregated South. In his book, When Affirmative Action was White: An Untold History of Racial Inequality in Twentieth-century America, historian Ira Katznelson says, “it was deliberately designed to accommodate Jim Crow.”
Over the next decade, Americans built 13 million new homes. Residential ownership became the key foundation of economic stability for a burgeoning, mostly white population. This subsidized suburbanization created a flight of capital and, predictably, resources from urban communities. With redlining, the practice of denying services based on race, many African-Americans and other people of color were forced to remain in these diminishing urban neighborhoods. Redlining was widely practiced and upheld in the 40s and 50s. In cities like Saint Louis, San Francisco, and Baltimore, most of vets who could buy property did so with government support, and that generally meant whites. Of the first 67,000 mortgages insured by the G.I. Bill, fewer than 100 were taken out by non-whites.
Today, the average cost of those homes has appreciated by four or five times, offeringone explanation for the fact that African-Americans have just 5 percent of the wealth of white families, even though their average household income is about 60 percent that of white family of income.
At the time, Ahmadi says, “Banks, realtors, and neighborhood associations were in collusion. Banks won’t give you any finance, realtors won’t take your appointments, and the neighborhood association is sort of behind the whole thing.”
Not only were Black veterans ineligible for the same housing benefits as their white counterparts, they were systematically excluded from the bill’s federally-funded jobs and education programs. Universities were segregated, and the Black ones, called,HBCU’s were overcrowded and underfunded. These were just some of the devastating cumulative effects of decades of inequality shaped many Black neighborhoods.
Meanwhile, the way people bought food also changed radically. Small grocers began folding and the supermarkets we know today were born. Many were built in the suburbs, outside the urban centers, to accommodate the new segregated communities.
“Piggly Wiggly was the first one,” says Ahmadi. “They started in the South as a response to white flight. It turned out to benefit that model in a number of ways. They were born of suburban sprawl, on rural land so they could build big … This was the consolidation of little stores into big box stores where they had greater purchasing power with suppliers.”
A Legacy of Descrimination
Fast forward five or six decades, and many of the impacts of these shifts can still be seen around the country. In Philadelphia, where such neighborhoods are common, the Food Trust has been working to improve food access for the last 24 years. Brian Lang, the director of the Trust’s Center for Center for Healthy Food Access, advocates for policies that improve access to healthy food. He describes these historic housing patterns in Philadelphia.
“The departure of grocery stores from communities here in Philly like Germantown was part of white flight and divestment of urban communities,” he says. “Grocery businesses had grown up serving middle and working class white consumers. As folks moved out of the city, some of the folks who remained might’ve been less apt at figuring out how to serve the needs of the people who were living in those communities.”
From Oakland to Philadelphia, countless groups and individuals are working to bring more fresh and healthy food to underserved areas. But neither Ahmadi nor Lang believe that improving access is as simple as opening a grocery store or a farmers’ market in a disenfranchised community. And the research backs them up. For instance, a 2014 studyfound that national and local policies that increased physical access to grocery stores and supermarkets in underserved neighborhoods was not enough to change health outcomes for residents. And recent efforts to build more big box stores like Walmart in urban food deserts has had mixed results at best.
A New Business Model
Just as the circumstances that created these environments are complex and layered, effective solutions will require a nuanced approach. So why then, would Ahmadi spend a decade working to open a 14,000 square foot grocery store in the middle of West Oakland? As Ahmadi sees it, he’s not just out to create a grocery store, he hopes to create an entirely new business model.
Informed by his experience running People’s Grocery, Ahmadi plans to partner with community and health organizations to offer a variety of education programs, like cooking demonstrations and workshops. There will also be onsite health services, such as health screenings. And the market will also serve as a community gathering space, complete with a cafĂ© service window, and a venue and stage for events and other social activities.
These community-based solutions rely on literal buy-in from the community and the market’s direct public offering offered one way to do that.
Ahmadi acknowledges that it’s not your standard investment. “I need capital that is willing to flip itself over, to turn [the standard capitalist] model inside out,” he says. “The profit is social, environmental, and human health—these are all net benefits. So when I say we need a new business model, this is what I mean. Our profit is in the public good, the public health, which, if you follow the tale, ends up costing real dollars.”
In selling the vision to his investors, Ahmadi notes that the “food as public health” message has been the most effective one. But he says, he’s still waiting on the buy-in from the most important actors in public health, the healthcare providers. Upon learning that the HMO Kaiser Permanente was spending $600,000 annually for the care of a single diabetic patient in Oakland, Ahmadi proposed they make some of those funds available to the market. “Our pitch was, ‘give us that money so they can reduce the risk of diabetes for 100 people, thereby reduce the risk of healthcare cost for 100 people.’”
So far, they’ve declined. But Ahmadi perseveres. The People’s Community market is currently engaged in a second round of fundraising in hopes of reaching the $2 million mark and Ahmadi is optimistic that the store might open in 2017.
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A Harvard psychologist says too many people think about happiness all wrong | South China Morning Post

A Harvard psychologist says too many people think about happiness all wrong | South China Morning Post

Amazon.com: The Wall Street MBA, Second Edition eBook: Reuben Advani: Kindle Store

Amazon.com: The Wall Street MBA, Second Edition eBook: Reuben Advani: Kindle Store



You don’t need an MBA to master corporate finance
The Wall Street MBA gives you the tools to:
  • Review financial statements
  • Analyze earnings
  • Detect fraud
  • Assess stock prices
  • Value companies
  • Determine the cost of capital
With brand-new chapters on currency trading, real estate valuation, and commodities

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The most educated women are the most likely to be married | Brookings Institution

How to Create a Sustainable Lifestyle: Three Essential Steps for Sustainable Living - Creating a Sustainable Lifestyle | Sustainable Living Resources

Creating a Sustainable Lifestyle | Sustainable Living Resources

About - Back to Her Roots

About - Back to Her Roots

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The Doom Boom: Inside the Survival Industry’s Explosive Growth – ReadThink (by HubSpot)

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"Success is a terrible thing and a wonderful thing... Just do what you love.”

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Our food system sucks on many levels, but these farm and sustainability organizations are making it better—and they need your participation.

Hobby Farming and the IRS - Modern Homesteading - MOTHER EARTH NEWS

Hobby Farming and the IRS - Modern Homesteading - MOTHER EARTH NEWS

UConn Foundation, Inc. - CLAS Department of Marine Sciences:Support the Fund for Marine Sciences Today!

UConn Foundation, Inc. - CLAS Department of Marine Sciences: Fund for Marine Sciences



The Department of Marine Sciences in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences promotes high quality teaching and research of the ecology, chemistry, geology, and fluid dynamics of the world's oceans.
Your gift to the Fund for Marine Sciences will provide critical resources for UConn students and faculty to carry out cutting-edge research in coastal oceanography using cross-disciplinary approaches.
For more information or to give to another Department of Marine Sciences fund, please contact the UConn Foundation at (800) 269-9965 or (860) 486-5000.
To discuss options for making a gift of more than $5,000, please contact a CLAS development officer.

homemade protein powder (it's cheap! it's easy!) - Back to Her Roots - I can't wait to try this!

homemade protein powder (it's cheap! it's easy!) - Back to Her Roots



HOMEMADE PROTEIN POWDER (IT’S CHEAP! IT’S EASY!)

Widow living in the Petersburg, NY Area is looking for roommates, you must be Handy, an interested in Hobby Farming on 3 acres is a bonus. A three car garage is available for business purposes, a small separate house needs finishing, lots to do. Email DD at ddmiddens@gmail.com on subject line NY Roomy

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies | Recipe | ChefSteps

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Unfair Audiobook | Adam Benforado | Audible.com "Judge a society by how it treats prisoners"

Unfair Audiobook | Adam Benforado | Audible.com


“It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones.”
― Nelson Mandela

“It is more dangerous that even a guilty person should be punished without the forms of law than that he should escape.”
― Thomas Jefferson

“You can judge a society by how well it treats its prisoners”.
― Fyodor Dostoevsky


Publisher's Summary

Weaving together historical examples, scientific studies, and compelling court cases - from the 
border collie put on trial in Kentucky to the five teenagers who falsely confessed in the Central 
Park Jogger case - Benforado shows how our judicial processes fail to uphold our values and 
protect society's weakest members. With clarity and passion, he lays out the scope of the problem 
and proposes a wealth of reforms that could prevent injustice and help us achieve true fairness 
and equality before the law.
©2015 Original Material by Adam Benforado, c/o Lippincott Massie McQuilkin (P)2015 HighBridge, 
a division of Recorded Books

What the Critics Say

"As gripping as a Grisham novel, only it isn't fiction. With captivating ease and razor-sharp 
science, Adam Benforado puts the justice system on trial and makes a bulletproof argument 
that it's fundamentally broken. This extraordinary book is a must-read for every judge, lawyer, 
detective, and concerned citizen in America." (Adam Grant, Wharton professor and New York 
Times best-selling author of Give and Take)
"Systems of justice are built by human brains. As such, they're subject to all the foibles of 
human psychology, from biased decision-making to xenophobia to false memories. With 
the eye of a scholar and the ear of a storyteller, Benforado marshals the burgeoning research 
to illuminate the nexus between law and the mind sciences." (David Eagleman, PhD, 
Neuroscientist, Director of the Initiative on Neuroscience and Law, New York Times best-
selling author of Incognito)
"Adam Benforado's Unfair is a beautifully written book that manages to be both engrossing 
and important - a fascinating blend of psychological insight, legal know-how, and compelling 
storytelling. If you've ever wondered why the legal system doesn't work as well as it should, 
Benforado's intelligent take on the relationship between human psychology and the law will 
enlighten you - and leave you hopeful that we're capable of doing better." (Adam Alter, New 
York Times best-selling author of Drunk Tank Pink: And Other Unexpected Forces that 
Shape How We Think, Feel, and Behave, Associate Professor of Marketing at NYU Stern 
School of Business, Affiliated appointment, NYU psychology department)


Jackie and Mike Bezos | Bezos Family Foundation

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Providers are from Mars, Patients are from Venus 2016 – Stanford Medicine X

Providers are from Mars, Patients are from Venus 2016 – Stanford Medicine X

A workshop to improve patient-provider communication

Thursday, September 15, 2016 at 8 AM in Paul Brest Hall, Stanford University.
How might we find ways to better communicate the experience of chronic illness for patients? How might we create an environment of shared empathy across diverse stakeholders in health care? Medicine X is partnering again with Boehringer Ingelheim in 2015 to facilitate the workshop, “Providers are from Mars, Patients are from Venus: A workshop to improve patient-provider communication.”


What is the Elementarist? About us | Elementarist

What is the Elementarist?

About us | Elementarist

Why did Blue Origin leave so many female space reporters out of its big reveal? | The Verge

Why did Blue Origin leave so many female space reporters out of its big reveal? | The Verge






Why did Blue Origin leave so many female space reporters out of its big reveal?

Happy International Women’s Day!


Why did Blue Origin leave so many female space reporters out of its big reveal? | The Verge

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Japan's Elder Porn: Booming Sex Niche for Aging Society - TIME O'm sure it's occurring here in the US too.

Japan's Elder Porn: Booming Sex Niche for Aging Society - TIME

Creativity is... inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun. - Mary Lou Cook

Why are there so many insects? - Murry Gans | TED-Ed

Why are there so many insects? - Murry Gans | TED-Ed

UN Careers

UN Careers

Does making a difference motivate you? Are you selfless and driven to be a part of 
a bigger purpose in the service of humanity? And, are hope and strength of character 
attributes which will guide your zeal to make a difference in a complex world?
Are you the type of person who will travel and work anywhere at a moment’s notice?
Do you thrive in an environment that is truly international and multi-cultural, which 
respects as well as promotes diversity and functions at its best through the efforts 
of teams of different people?
These are some of the characteristics that you will find in our staff.
We want people with integrity. People who are fair, impartial, honest and truthful. 
We want dynamic and adaptable persons who are not afraid to think creatively, 
to be proactive, flexible and responsive.
If you think you embody these values then this is the place for you and your 
career.

I wish more people were raised to think like this. DD