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Archives for October 2014

Food Deserts in Oklahoma

food deserts

Many Oklahomans are currently living in food deserts, especially in southeastern Oklahoma. And Oklahoma City is ranked as the second worst city for food access.

“Food deserts are defined as urban neighborhoods and rural towns without ready access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food. Instead of supermarkets and grocery stores, these communities may have no food access or are served only by fast food restaurants and convenience stores that offer few healthy, affordable food options. The lack of access contributes to a poor diet and can lead to higher levels of obesity and other diet-related diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease.”- USDA, Food Deserts


It’s estimated that 23.5 million people in the US live in food deserts. More than half of those people are low-income. These people are often forced to shop at convenience store where food costs are high and largely pre-packaged food with low nutritional value and high calorie counts.

The lack of a grocery store leaves communities with higher rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other diet-related diseases. This is the case in Southeastern Oklahoma, where we see the largest concentration of food deserts in the state. Counties like Atoka, Choctaw, Coal, Le Flore, McCurtain, and Pushmataha have a serious lack of grocery stores and are also one of the poorest regions in Oklahoma.

“The trend in Oklahoma has been for a few large retail chain stores to open in areas where consumers’ incomes are the highest, leaving the most affordable food to Oklahoma’s most affluent areas, according to the report.”- NewsOK, Parts of Oklahoma get ‘food desert’ label

There are some projects popping up around the state to help combat the food desert problem. Valley Brook, one of the many food deserts in the state, has a community garden helping to bring fresh food to the area. And in Tulsa, R&G Family Grocers has a mobile grocery store helping to bring healthy food to the people in Tulsa’s food deserts. And earlier this week, the Oklahoma Food Security Submit was held in hopes of addressing many of these issues.

Ending food deserts must be a priority in Oklahoma.

Do you live in a food desert? Check out NPR’s food desert finder. What do you think we can do to help end food deserts in Oklahoma? Share in the comments below.

 

Original Photo Credits- Small Town OK

Featured Business: MADE: The Indie Emporium Shop

MADE: The Indie Emporium Shop is a retail store in Tulsa. They promote buying handmade and supporting artists and makers. We got the chance to talk to the owner Christine Sharp-Crowe about the store. She also shares some exciting news so be sure to check out the interview below.

MADE: The Indie Emporium Shop

Thom and Christine of MADE: The Indie Emporium Shop

GO: What was your motive for starting MADE : The Indie Emporium Shop?

Christine: When we started Indie Emporium back in 2007, it was always our hope to create a home for the maker movement here in Tulsa. After a few years of doing Indie Emporium, we were able to participate in the TYPROs 1st Street Cred event in the Pearl District and then the 1st pop-up shops downtown. We saw that people in Tulsa wanted a place to go to buy handmade and support individual artists and makers, so we just decided not to leave downtown. The response was so great that we decided to jump at an opportunity to open a second shop in the Pearl. Our business has grown organically by word of mouth and support in the community, so when the opportunity to create a creative clubhouse we’re calling the Workshop at Made we jumped at that too. We want a place for people to shop, learn and create, and with our location in the Pearl, we now have that. This has been a passion for us and it’s amazing to see our dream come to life.


GO: Why is it important that your store is eco-friendly?

Christine: It’s a part of who my husband and I are. We believe that it is our jobs to be good stewards of what we’ve been given and what we plan to leave for the generations to come. If we’re not going to be conscious of our impact on the world around us, what kind of legacy are we leaving?

GO: What’s the best advice you have ever gotten about going green?

Christine: Do what you can as you can. Rome wasn’t built in a day. By having a plan and taking the steps that you can, you are still making an impact as you’re working towards your ideal. All of those small steps add up!

GO: What is one of your favorite items that you sell?

Christine: One of our favorite things to sell are coasters by a company called Stitch Coasters. They use reclaimed wood to create awesome coasters. Since the wood is reclaimed, no two coasters are alike. The guys who started Stitch fell into it. They had a cool old wooden boat that wasn’t operable anymore. The wood was distressed and aged and had a cool look to it. They decided they wanted to do something with it, so they made coasters as gifts. People loved them so they kept going. There’s no shortage of old wood, so Stitch is now a vibrant business here in Tulsa.

GO: Why do you feel it’s important to support locally owned businesses?

Christine: By supporting locally-owned businesses, we’re keeping money in our community, which is good for everyone. We’re keeping our sales tax money in our community, which goes to provide revenue for our city services, fire fighters, police, etc. Plus, it’s a great way to help those who are innovating and creating new things. Take our shop for example, we have around 70 vendors right now. We know these makers, they’re real people and they’re perfecting their craft in ethical ways. We’re not selling stuff in our shop that is made by exploiting indigenous peoples or children, or by ravishing the environment.

GO: What is your favorite thing to do in Oklahoma?

Christine: Aside from our event, Indie Emporium, we really love going to Guthrie Green for the variety of events that are always going on there. Oh, and the Day of the Dead Festival at Living Arts. It’s amazing.

If you would like to learn more about MADE: The Indie Emporium Shop visit their website and please be sure like them on Facebook. Don’t forget to tell them we sent you. And check out the new Workshop at Made as well.

We hope you enjoyed getting to learn more about MADE: The Indie Emporium Shop and the face behind the business. Be sure to let us know about other local green businesses you would like to see featured. Just post in the comments below, on our Facebook page or email us at gogreenokla@gmail.com.

All photos are property of MADE: The Indie Emporium Shop.

DIY Household Cleaners

diy cleaners

Cleaning your home shouldn’t be a dangerous activity but with many conventional cleaners it can be. Many cleaners contain ingredients that may be harmful to our health. Some of the risks are acute, such as skin or respiratory irritation, chemical burns, or watery eyes. Others can be long term, like cancer and asthma.

Chlorine bleach and ammonia can produce fumes that can be highly irritating and can pose real risks to people with asthma, other lung problems or heart problems. They also are very dangerous if mixed together.


Other ingredients that are in many cleaners and have been shown to cause adverse reactions include synthetic fragrances, diethanolamine (DEA) and triethanolamine (TEA), 1,4-dioxane, butyl cellosolve, alkylphenol ethoxylates (APEs), and more.

There is over little government oversight for cleaners and the chemicals they contain. There is also no legal requirement for labeling household cleaning products. This leaves consumers in the dark about which products to avoid.

An easy and affordable way to avoid these harmful chemicals is to make your own cleaners. With a handful of ingredients your home can be clean, smell great, and be safer. A lot of things in your home can be cleaned with soap and water, Dr. Bronner’s is a great choice for a pure soap. Here are some other great cleaning products you can make.

With these great recipes you will be spending a lot less time and money in the cleaning aisle.

Have you used any of these recipes? Share in the comments below or join the conversation on our Facebook page.


Photo Credit: Alisha Vargas