RaVE Strengthens Community Capacity

RaVE’s efforts are increasing local community coalitions and strengthening community capacity in the Rainier Valley

RaVE’s combined efforts have involved more than 700 individuals from southeast Seattle in a total of 4,112 participant program hours in April through June 2012

RaVE’s outreach and engagement of many community groups including Eritrean, Ethiopian, and Somali elders,  Lao elders,  preschoolers, and high school students  among others has led to an infusion of interest and a growing motivation for Rainier Valley residents to demonstrate the RaVE Grow, Share, Eat model.

Katie from Seattle Tilth and Laura from Rainier Beach HS are collaborating on after-school cooking programs.

The RaVE team members, including the Program Manager, the Public Health Nurse, the Community Kitchens Northwest Program Manager, and the Seattle Tilth Southeast Programs Outdoor Educator are working at increasing community capacity.  Their work has enhanced existing community partnerships and also initiated new working alliances and relationships to sustain the momentum of RaVE in the local community.

The influence of the RaVE Grow Share Eat model  expanded in four directions this quarter:

1.  Outreach to increase community awareness

  • Market Night at Van Asselt Elementary School where 100 families sampled kale and received market bags full of fresh local produce.
  • GAME Day of Empowerment at South Lake High School when 60 students and teachers ate fresh farm produce.
  • Mayor’s Town Hall at the Ethiopian Mutual Community Association- 45 new people heard about urban farming and the work of RaVE
  • King County Healthy Building Committee Fair and a Brown Bag Lunch for Public Health employees where 50 people and 30 people, respectively, learned about RaVE
  • Special events – RBUFW will be a site for the Friends of Rainier Beach Art Walk
  • Social Media & publications – The RaVE blog and daily updates for Facebook pages are getting two to three likes per day.  The Public Health nurse on the RaVE team also submits frequent RaVE updates for the Public Health reports to the mayor and executive.

Outreach efforts included presentations to the public

RaVE presented at the United Way Breakfast to over 600 attendees and generated some interest in the Grow, Share, Eat Model that has been engaging community residents in healthy eating.

The RaVE Public Health Nurse presented at the National School Based Health Conference on obesity prevention work at schools and referred to the RaVE work and the focus on natural food hubs.

2.    Coalition building to increase community capacity

  • The Community Kitchens Northwest (CKNW) Program Manager and the RaVE Public Health Nurse formed a new partnership with Firefly Kitchens resulting in a combined workshop at the next CKNW coalition meeting in July.
  • RaVE had invited an alliance with FEEST and other groups including Cooking Matters and Public Health to work toward sustaining after-school healthy cooking programs at Rainier Valley  schools. This quarter the RaVE Public Health nurse met with interested agencies including Treeswing and Swedish Hospital about the development of an after-school cooking program coordinator position.

3.    Growing new partnerships

  • RaVE is collaborating with the Beacon Food Forest group in offering canning classes that have drawn a very high attendance. The classes are a way for more people to be keeping up their intake of healthy vegetables as part of RaVE’s goals.
  • Urban Impact will have a summer camp at RBUFW that gives RaVE connections to school based programs conducted by Urban Impact.
  • RaVE will explore a potential partnership with the YMCA at the new Rainier Beach Community Center.

4.    Working toward Sustainability of the RaVE model

  • Rainier Community Center (RCC) had a May planning meeting and several actions are developing. The site is available for community dinners and the experienced volunteer cooks have shown an interest in continuing the dinners. RaVE will continue to work with the RCC to develop a plan to transition the dinner leadership from RaVE to the RCC. In addition, RaVE will also work with a team from the RCC to develop an application to the Parks Foundation or Parks Urban Food System for a food animator pilot position. Future work will also be to plan for the community garden to transition to RCC management.

Indicators of collaborations that will contribute to sustaining the RaVE Grow, Share, Eat model

The RaVE team is beginning to see evidence of cooperation and collaboration that will contribute to the RaVE model being sustained in the community.  The team will be looking to develop ongoing relationships with community partners, working with the existing mini-grantees and with the newly awarded mini-grantees to maximize their efforts and positive influence in the Rainier Valley, in order to sustain the RaVE Grow, Share, Eat model. Two positive indicators of sustaining the RaVE model are described below.

Mobilizing community residents committed to sustaining the RaVE model

RaVE is mobilizing some community residents who are engaging in repeated activities such as working at the farm weekly, or volunteer cooking at the monthly community dinners, or helping weekly in after school cooking clubs. This is emerging evidence of community residents carrying out their interests in healthy eating and in promoting increased intake of fresh vegetables with their neighbors.

RaVE is also capturing a participation pattern among local residents who are engaging into more than one activity. This occurs when students who came to the farm on a field trip return for the community dinner or come with their families to volunteer at the farm or at a community garden. Another sign is when a student who had come to the farm on a field trip is present again at the farm as a volunteer leader with a children’s group touring the farm. Another encouraging finding is the multi-generational involvement such as grandparents and grandchildren attending a community dinner at South Shore School or Rainier Community Center or working together at the Danny Woo garden.  Parents/guardians are also working together at work parties on the farm or volunteering at the community dinners where the children are contributing their kitchen skills alongside adults.  The pattern of adults, teens, and children engaging into more than one activity is an encouraging sign of residents being energized with the RaVE Grow, Share, Eat model.