Ann Arbor Awesome Foundation funds kitchen classroom program

The Ann Arbor Awesome Foundation awarded a $1,000 mini-grant to the SoulSeed Kitchen Connection program on June 3, 2018.

Ann Arbor Awesome Foundation trustees present Vanessa Marr with her $1,000 grant.

Ann Arbor Awesome Foundation trustees present Vanessa Marr with her $1,000 grant.

SoulSeed is an Ann Arbor-based mobile kitchen classroom dedicated to promoting community health through interactive plant-based nutrition education and mindful communication practice. To promote healthy eating in urban areas where residents have limited access to nutritious food, workshops are offered at little or no cost for groups of all ages. Though not exclusive, SoulSeed is intentional about working directly with communities of color, LGBTQ groups, older adults, and youth whose health is at risk due to food insecurity. Based on the needs and interests of the audience, facilitated discussion topics may include “Making Peace with Food: A Holistic Approach to Eating Disorders,” “Cultivating a Positive Body Image,” or “Table Talk: Creating Meaningful Connections Over Meals.”

SoulSeed is organized by Vanessa Marr, a self-described “plant-powered queer woman of color who loves breaking bread with new and old friends through teaching.” After earning her Ph.D. in communication studies, serving as a K-12 and college educator, and volunteering at various urban farms, she is developing SoulSeed as a holistic learning community.

Awesome Foundation grant funds will be used to print handouts, obtain cooking equipment, and provide ingredients for groups of 8-20 people per session. Since the workshops are hands-on, reusable bags with additional resources such as recipes, food pantry tips, and measuring spoon sets would help continue the lessons. The goal is for participants to not only practice healthy eating at home, but also to share their learning experiences with others.

The Ann Arbor Awesome Foundation is the Ann Arbor chapter of the Boston-based micro-philanthropic organization known as the Awesome Foundation. Each fully autonomous chapter supports awesome projects through micro-grants, usually given out monthly. These micro-grants, $1,000 or the local equivalent, come out of the pockets of the chapter’s “trustees” and are given on a no-strings-attached basis to people and groups working on awesome projects.