Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Season's Greetings From the Downtown Phoenix Market

My big news this week is that I am offically a member of the Board of Directors of Community Food Connections. In addition to running the Downtown Phoenix Farmer's Market, the organization's mission is designed to bring healthy, fresh, locally grown food to all populations, including the needy and school cafeterias.

Here is the latest missive about the exciting things going on at the market:
Dear Downtown Phoenix Public Market Friends –


an update for you on the parking lot construction for the Market
plus what’s going on with the Market Store
plus an opportunity to reach out to help fund raise – either for an end-of the year tax deduction, or a way to start the new year off by supporting the Market also.

As of last week the construction documents were filed with the City for the parking lot re-pavement and the shade cover building. They probably won’t be reviewed for a couple of weeks – and then if there are any changes we will have to make them and re-file – with any good luck, we should have building permits for this part of the project in 6 to 8 weeks. We can then coordinate the construction activities order the steel for the canopies – (it takes two weeks to get here) so we will place the order depending on when the construction team can get us on their schedule. Then, the construction itself is probably a 2 week process and hopefully all over by March! During the time it is happening – we will move the entire market out into Pierce Street to the south or over to the parking lot to the north of us – should be fun and exciting given the fact that we will have shade, visibility and electricity when we’re done…

The current tenants current of the building the Market store is to be in are planning on being out by the end of January. We are just about ready to begin getting the site drawings and construction documents underway – maybe to be filed with the City for expedited review by the end of January or early Feb. Hopefully we won’t have too many changes to make or back/forth to go through and can begin to get the little work we have to do in there done by March or April – with a move in / opening for May or June. We have already purchased some refrigerators, shelving and a freezer and bakery case…things always take longer than I think they will but hopefully the doors will open by July at the latest.

Finally, some of you have asked about fund-raising for the Store – operations and capital expenses - I have attached a letter (and copied the text below also) – that you would be welcome to use to reach out to people you know who might be interested in contributing to helping us get the doors open, plus have some operating funds till we start making some money. Since Community Food Connections is a 501 c 3 non-profit, contributions are tax-deductible, and it might be a great way to squeeze in an end-of-the-year deduction. Or a great way to start off the new year supporting this effort. We know that all of you are already incredibly generous with your time, and all that you do to support the Market – but wanted to provide you with something in your hand, just in case you know of folks who might be looking for a cause to contribute to…we will be working hard on all fronts to raise the necessary funds – grants, an appeal letter, loans, and whatever we can put together so we can do the Store right and make it a success. (Not to worry – we’ll still put 110% in on the outdoor markets also…)

So, thanks all, for all you do…

Let me know if you have any questions…

Best regards,

Cindy G.

Community Food Connections

P.O. Box 22216

Phoenix, AZ 85028

602-493-5231 phone

602-469-9400 cell

602-296-4255 fax


Dear Downtown Phoenix Public Market Fans:

Farming is hard work. Keeping farmers on the land and helping people have access to and eat good healthy food is just as hard these days.

Being a small business owner and finding a way to get a business started and grow it successfully is also a difficult task. Creating a low-risk low-overhead venue to support micro-businesses is an on-going challenge as well.

Yet the Downtown Phoenix Public Market, a program of Community Food Connections, is committed to ensuring that there are viable opportunities for Arizona farmers and ranchers to have an outlet for their fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs, flowers, meat and cheese, and continue to nurture their land so it can feed future generations. The Market responds to a burgeoning consumer demand for fresh and locally-produced foods, while providing new and alternative outlets for Arizona’s small scale agricultural growers and producers.

The Market also acts as a low-risk incubator for emerging small businesses, particularly those owned by women and minorities, that often can’t afford the rent a regular retail setting might demand, and it creates new jobs for neighborhood residents.

And the Market has established a vibrant community gathering place in the heart of our growing city – a family-oriented public space that celebrates the ethnic diversity of Phoenix through local food, crafts, and entertainment.

The Downtown Phoenix Public Market was founded in 2005. It is operated by Community Food Connections (CFC), a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization. CFC works to alleviate hunger and create food self-sufficiency for low-income households through community and economic development. It makes the link between access to healthy foods and building healthy families by supporting local food production, distribution and consumption as economic and community development engines.

Our ability to sustain the Market and grow it as a phased project based on the gradual development over the next eight years from an open-air tent market into a permanent indoor/outdoor market hall and adjacent market district depends in large part on the generosity of a committed and caring community. Your contribution will support Market operations, including the next phase of our work: opening a 6 day a week local foods store in the building just adjacent to the current outdoor Market in late spring / early summer 2008.

For example, a gift of only $25 can defray the cost of an educational handout. $100 can help purchase shelving for the store. A gift of $500 would go a long way towards making some of the necessary basic tenant improvements, such as utility and lighting installation, new outer doors, or sealing the floor so it will meet food service standards. You could also help with an in-kind donation. Our needs include a lap-top computer, tables and chairs for the seating area and office, a bicycle rack, a 6 burner stove, a double convection oven, a picnic table and benches, and outdoor umbrellas.

Please send your tax deductible contribution to Community Food Connections, P.O. Box 22216, Phoenix, AZ 85028. If you would like to donate equipment or supplies, please contact Cindy Gentry at 602-493-5231.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Holiday Greetings, a Reflection on a Year

Of course the holiday newsletter is going to be filled with the highlights of the year, all the wonderful things we did, the places we went, our great accomplishments. It is right to celebrate the positive things in life and share them with one another. In our world we have the great blessing of knowing and caring about far more people than time could possibly allow us to communicate thoroughly with. So it is a further blessing that we can learn about one another at our convenience through the miracles of modern electronics, or annually through the Christmas newsletter. This blogging thing is the perfect melding of the two, so here goes.

We started off the year with a bang. Right after the 8-foot snow back East, the Xavier Art History class took their annual President’s weekend trip to NYC to check out the art. And a wonderful trip it was: bunking at the Helmsley (never saw Leona’s fabulously wealthy dog though), floating off to Ellis Island past the Statute of Liberty.Roaming around Soho. Seeing a Broadway play-a revival called the Apple Tree that combined several favorite short stories and starred Kristin Chenoweth of Wicked fame in a wonderful old Art Deco theater around the corner from the Ed Sullivan. We toured the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum; the highlight was the Guggenheim where we stood in the lobby with Frank Lloyd Wright’s son-in-law, a very accomplished architect in his own right, and discussed the building designed by the famous architect. What a happening.

We dined at the Tavern on the Green and at a wonderful trattoria in Greenwich Village. Kim and Melanie then rented a car and headed north to check out potential colleges. We fell in love with Skidmore and its environs in Saratoga Springs. Colgate, on the other hand, was too far off any beaten path to be of much attraction. We took it as a sign when it started snowing during our tour. Great cafeteria though and yummy ice cream sandwiches in the Dean’s offices. We drove back to NYC in the snow and saw lots of rural New York. It was tons of fun. Skidmore wait-listed Melanie and Colgate axed her from the list. When we walked in the house upon our return the first thing was found was an email that played the Michigan Fight Song and invited Melanie to join the Wolverines.
She was thrilled and immediately accepted. Ann Arbor would be even groovier than Saratoga, no matter what Mama Cass said.

Next up, graduation from high school-a classic moment in all our lives.
Meanwhile Melanie got a job and her parents repeated this phrase as often as they could, “Oh, Melanie? She is at work.” The Buffalo Exchange was a perfect fit for our little fashionista.

Girl Scouts were still a hot topic. We attended the Gold Award ceremony and Melanie joined an elite group of young women, having met all the requirements for this honor, which, for the unfamiliar, is the female equivalent of the Eagle Scout. She is still getting congratulatory certificates from various officials in the mail. For her community service project she painted a mural in the dance classroom at Xavier in memory of Emily Ell who died on prom night some years prior. The project involved meeting with Emily’s family and the school to come up with an acceptable design, executing it, presenting it to the Girl Scout pooh bahs and doing the educational component. She designed a card for distribution at the prom that reminded everyone of Emily, cautioned them about driving and providing resources for further driving information.

And Kim and Doug are toiling away at their respective jobs waiting for the moment when they can join the Girl Scouts and their dear friends Mack, Dave and Judy Walker and their cousin Alisa Simmons on a grand tour of Europe-the denouement trip for Troop 2517 whose goal was European travel. This was the third and final trip for the troop and the second for Melanie who joined this troop late. (She is the last remaining member of her original troop from first grade that consisted of 19 girls-by 5th grade they all faded but Melanie simply jumped to this wonderful troop headed by Stevi Shearer and her able assistant Suzanne Gallas).

So in June we made a sweep: Vienna, Salzburg, Munich, Bruges, Amsterdam, Paris and London in 16 days. It was well organized and our guide Amparo was a delight, even if her English was not all that great. To see the pictures go to: picasaweb.google.com/Doogiekim.cox.net/Euroland2007
It seemed like no time and August came and we packed Melanie up to move to Ann Arbor. What a perfect time to spend with the MacEacherns in Grosse Pointe.

The first few days we “house sat” for John and Chris Miller out at Windmill Pointe. We also took care of their fabulous BMW vehicles while they were gone.
It was tough work but we muddled through. Then we schlepped over to Leonard and Teresa’s where it is always a delight. The pool was inviting, if a bit chilly, and we managed to blend right in to the family, which seems to be in constant motion.

Mel got settled in Ann Arbor in a most efficient manner.
a>Students met us at the curb and carted her stuff up to the dorm. We attended an interesting orientation, which resulted in Doug’s column on helicopter parents! {See blog entry dated 9/16/07}They held a dinner and opening ceremonies that were just fabulous. The campus is a beauty and the town is very cool. We went to Ypsilanti and hung out with the Ed McEachern family one evening and Mel made fast friends with her cousins, Ed’s sons who were both alums of UofM. They later showed her around the town. Really cool dudes. One had just made a movie and plays in a band and the other is a very handsome young bloke and sweet as could be. Mel was back and forth to GP and got very comfortable hanging with her cousins. The last night dear Theresa McEachern drove her to campus. We only cried a tiny bit.

Ever since people ask what do we do with ourselves? Just like before we talk to Mel on the phone a lot. But her room is always clean, a very bright spot for mom.

Well, Kim finished the mosaic mural on her pool equipment wall with the help of the Hernandez family and got a new job at a law firm in Scottsdale that does lots of land use issues. She still judges two days a week in Glendale. Doug is totally immersed in baseball and football when he is not studying the major issues of the day.

The first wave of weddings of the next generation is upon us. With the engagement party of Eric Anderson, our godson, in August for their impending vows in August 2008, the maturing of the next generation is official. No nieces or nephews have yet taken the step and had it stick. We are looking forward to welcoming Shelly Aguilar into the Anderson family.

Trina Weedon,our beautiful in purple camo niece, is also engaged and her outdoor wedding in Williams to the wonderboy from Yuma, Brandon, is set for May 2008. Looks I will be officiating that one--very exciting!

And officiating is becoming a cottage industry (see next and below). In November we hosted the wedding of our dear friends and colleagues Michael Meister and JoAnne Izumi. (Pix to come). Being a spa maiden, of course we had a spa event in conjunction. The Walkers came to town and Tyla, Meister’s sister in law from a previous marriage transformed our backyard into a resort. The flip photos that everyone got were awesome. To see what that is go to www.getflipped.com It is cool.

Kim won the a big raffle prize for the second year in a row at the annual Global
Entrepreunership event put on by Karen Longo for the Thunderbird Graduate School alumni association. Last year it was giclee print that is beyond wonderful and this year a huge gold-framed mirror. Our walls would be bare otherwise. Speaking of Karen, Kim performed her wedding to Antonio Fernandez in July at the home of Karen’s parents. It was a surprise wedding (to everyone but the bride and groom)-the rest of the Longo’s thought they were having their midsummer swim party with the siblings. They did that too, after the wedding.

Speaking of weddings, Kim also united the good friends of Doug’s high school buddy Dan Mageau. On a hot summer afternoon Deborah and Richard dropped by and we did a quick ceremony and had a toast. Very casual, indeed.

But some of the most important things done by people here this year had to do with living in our community. As you know Doug and Melanie are both members of the St. Vincent de Paul Society. Melanie was in the founding class of Young Vincentians at Xavier. What they do is give their time in true service to the poor. Melanie’s group went to the dining hall every other Thursday to serve food to the poor families who come in. Doug devotes his Saturday mornings to deliveries of food to the poor right here in our neighborhood. After a hiatus from being in a nonprofit organization, Kim is finally taking a position on the Board of the Community Food Connections. She will work with the management of the Downtown Phoenix Farmer’s Market to grow the market and meet the goal of providing organic, locally grown food to children and the poor as well as the regular market customers.

This is the real work of our lives. The best gift you can ever give yourself is giving of yourself. Sure, we accomplished a lot in our careers and education. But the true spirit of happiness is derived from the joy you get in helping others. Interestingly, we have all found ways to do that through food. Without food one cannot live. Giving food is tantamount to giving life. Your time and the energy contained within the protein and carbs and sugars combine to become an actual part of another human being. There is no better way to truly share love than to share life through the sharing of food. We are so lucky to be able to participate in these activities for it is from them that we gain our true happiness and sense of accomplishment.

So go forth and have fun and remember that we are all one. Instead of the usual holiday wishes, please accept this prayer that we close each kundalini yoga class with:

May the long time sun shine upon you,
All love surround you,
And the pure light within you,
Guide your way on.

M go Blue in 2008!!!!