Local groups hand out garden kits

Even though many local health and agriculture community groups can’t hold big events because of the coronavirus pandemic, they’re still at work, encouraging people to eat and grow vegetables.



Healthy kits for families


© Provided by KCRA Sacramento
Healthy kits for families

“We have seen such incredible increase in demand for local produce and also food donations and distribution,” said Sara Bernal, a program manager with the Center for Land-Based Learning.


Sign up for our Newsletters

That’s why her organization along with Kaiser Permanente, the Latino Leadership Council, La Familia, Health Education Council and Soil Born Farms are bringing the farm to families through healthy garden kits the groups assemble and distribute to those most in need of nourishment.

The kits include vegetables — vibrant-in-color and flavor, fruits — grown at local farms, and “starts,” so people can plant their own healthy gardens.

“Everybody benefits from eating more fresh food,” said Bernal, who hopes the kits offer healthy inspiration to those who receive them. “That’s really our goal… to introduce the concepts and ingredients of fresh eating, and maybe not even introduce it, but just reinvigorate the enthusiasm for eating fresh fruits and vegetables.”

Doctors agree, saying programs like this spark important conversations about how good nutrition has a positive effect on overall health.

“It’s also a step towards looking at what creates diabetes in certain demographics and how can we impact that, heart disease all of the things that we do very well,” said Kaiser Permanente Physician in Chief, Dr. Rob Azevedo. “This just enhances that, but for our community, not just for our Kaiser Permanente members.”

The groups identified 150 older adults and families that could benefit from the kits which include the following items:

  • Measured potting soil
  • Fabric grow bag
  • Plant starts
  • Growing instructions
  • Ready-to-eat fresh produce
  • Recipes that incorporate produce in kit

Three different kits have been distributed to recipients over a six-week period — a welcome surprise to the seniors at the Davis Migrant Center, according to center manager Roberto Guevara.

“Most of these families just have one income and it’s a very low income,” said Guevara. “They were very grateful to be receiving this kind of stuff.”

The program is promoting an interest in eating healthier in the process of helping recipients grow the healthy food that will help them do just that.

“I can think of no other time in our history that it isn’t more important that we come together support each other and really create wellness in our communities,” said Azevedo.

The organizations also encourage novice gardeners to flex their green thumbs, reminding people that you don’t need a big backyard to get your garden growing. A flower pot on a front porch or apartment balcony is a good start.

TOP STORIES FROM KCRA:

Yolo County tests COVID-19 vaccine clinic plan with flu shot drive-thru

Woman falls into Lake Tahoe, drowns; 6 kids on boat rescued

‘Get out the vote’ event honors suffragist movement in Sacramento

4 victims killed in Zogg Fire ID’d by

Read more

Homespun BLM products including cookie kits, garden gnomes raise concerns of exploiting movement

A few weeks after nationwide protests erupted over the police killing of George Floyd, Julie Muller looked for something positive she could contribute to the movement from her Houston home.

The 67-year-old white woman, who has been selling homemade cookie-decorating kits online since March, decided to offer one with a Black Lives Matter theme. The kit comes with cookie cutters imprinted with former President Barack Obama’s face, sprinkles and icing in red, black and green — the colors of the Pan-African or Black Liberation flag.

Other examples of homespun BLM merchandise include wine stoppers and even garden gnomes — objects more often associated with white suburbia. The white sellers insist they are not trying to make light of racial issues or widen their profit margins. But to many onlookers, the sales through the crafts marketplace Etsy may straddle an uncomfortable line between supporting the movement and exploiting it.

Muller’s three children were the first to warn her she might appear to be capitalizing on racial unrest. But that’s partly why she wanted to act.

Julie Muller, who sells cookie decorating kits on Etsy, poses in her kitchen Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020, in Houston.  (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Julie Muller, who sells cookie decorating kits on Etsy, poses in her kitchen Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

“I’ve been thinking about what’s systemic racism and what is racial profiling,” Muller said. “It’s more about doing my part. What can I offer?”

The protest movement ignited by Floyd’s death in May under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer compelled businesses large and small to declare publicly that they were “woke” to the pain of Black people. Manufacturers soon began making BLM T-shirts, face masks and signs.

It’s not surprising that independent merchants wanted to express solidarity too, said Patti Williams, an associate professor of marketing at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

To demonstrate sincerity, sellers should commit to making these items permanently to show their efforts are not just an attempt “to jump on a fad,” she added.

There’s also potential for the items themselves to be seen as offensive or tone-deaf.

Sugar cookies with the likeness of President Obama are displayed as part of Julie Muller's cookie decorating kits which she sell on Etsy, on Sept. 22, 2020, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Sugar cookies with the likeness of President Obama are displayed as part of Julie Muller’s cookie decorating kits which she sell on Etsy, on Sept. 22, 2020, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Ashleigh Boutelle, 45, of Twin Peaks, California, custom paints garden gnomes as a side business. After making gay pride gnomes, he decided in July to try painting a Black Lives Matter gnome. The yellow-and-black-clad gnome — a nod to the colors used on a Black Lives Matter website — wears a “BLM” hat. He also painted it with a darker skin tone.

“I was just trying to be very careful and present something that you might say is neutral,” Boutelle said. “Hopefully, someone who sees it is not offended.”

He has since gotten a few orders for either Black Lives Matter gnomes or African American gnomes. Boutelle hopes people don’t question his sincerity because his support is displayed on a mythical figure with a pointy hat.

“I like the idea of offering it to

Read more

Homespun BLM products include cookie kits, garden gnomes



Sugar cookies with the likeness of President Obama are displayed as part of Julie Muller's cookie decorating kits which she sell on Etsy, Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020, in Houston. One of the cookie-decorating kits she offers has a Black Lives Matter theme. Amid all the Black Lives Matter themed T-shirts, face masks and signs appearing in recent months, some unconventional merchandise has been popping up on online crafts marketplace Etsy. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)


© Provided by Associated Press
Sugar cookies with the likeness of President Obama are displayed as part of Julie Muller’s cookie decorating kits which she sell on Etsy, Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020, in Houston. One of the cookie-decorating kits she offers has a Black Lives Matter theme. Amid all the Black Lives Matter themed T-shirts, face masks and signs appearing in recent months, some unconventional merchandise has been popping up on online crafts marketplace Etsy. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

A few weeks after nationwide protests erupted over the police killing of George Floyd, Julie Muller looked for something positive she could contribute to the movement from her Houston home.

The 67-year-old white woman, who has been selling homemade cookie-decorating kits online since March, decided to offer one with a Black Lives Matter theme. The kit comes with cookie cutters imprinted with former President Barack Obama’s face, sprinkles and icing in red, black and green — the colors of the Pan-African or Black Liberation flag.



Julie Muller, who sells cookie decorating kits on Etsy, makes cutout cookies for her Black Lives Matter kits Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020, in Houston. Amid all the Black Lives Matter themed T-shirts, face masks and signs appearing in recent months, some unconventional merchandise has been popping up on online crafts marketplace Etsy. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)


© Provided by Associated Press
Julie Muller, who sells cookie decorating kits on Etsy, makes cutout cookies for her Black Lives Matter kits Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020, in Houston. Amid all the Black Lives Matter themed T-shirts, face masks and signs appearing in recent months, some unconventional merchandise has been popping up on online crafts marketplace Etsy. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Other examples of homespun BLM merchandise include wine stoppers and even garden gnomes — objects more often associated with white suburbia. The white sellers insist they are not trying to make light of racial issues or widen their profit margins. But to many onlookers, the sales through the crafts marketplace Etsy may straddle an uncomfortable line between supporting the movement and exploiting it.



This Sept. 21, 2020, photo provided by Ashleigh Boutelle in Twin Peaks, Calif., shows Black Lives Matter gnomes and gay pride gnomes he painted and is selling online. Amid all the Black Lives Matter themed T-shirts, face masks and signs appearing in recent months, some unconventional merchandise has been popping up on online crafts marketplace Etsy. (Ashleigh Boutelle via AP)


© Provided by Associated Press
This Sept. 21, 2020, photo provided by Ashleigh Boutelle in Twin Peaks, Calif., shows Black Lives Matter gnomes and gay pride gnomes he painted and is selling online. Amid all the Black Lives Matter themed T-shirts, face masks and signs appearing in recent months, some unconventional merchandise has been popping up on online crafts marketplace Etsy. (Ashleigh Boutelle via AP)

Muller’s three children were the first to warn her she might appear to be capitalizing on racial unrest. But that’s partly why she wanted to act.

“I’ve been thinking about what’s systemic racism and what is racial profiling,” Muller said. “It’s more about doing my part. What can I offer?”

The protest movement ignited by Floyd’s death in May under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer compelled businesses large and small to declare publicly that they were “woke” to the pain of Black people. Manufacturers soon began making BLM T-shirts, face masks and signs.

It’s not surprising that independent merchants wanted to express solidarity too, said Patti Williams, an associate professor of marketing at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.



Julie Muller, who sells cookie decorating kits on Etsy, mixes up cookie dough Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020, in Houston. One of the cookie-decorating kits she offers has a Black Lives Matter theme. Amid all the Black Lives Matter themed T-shirts, face masks and signs appearing in recent months, some unconventional merchandise has been popping up on online crafts marketplace Etsy. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)


© Provided by Associated Press
Julie Muller, who sells cookie decorating kits on Etsy, mixes up cookie dough Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020, in Houston. One of

Read more