Out & About

By Jessica Laskey
April 2021

Raising Kale

Literacy Center chief keeps food conversation going

Amber Stott has been busy. The CEO and chief food genius of the Food Literacy Center recently launched a book and podcast to teach kids about food and continue the conversation around food access.

“We have all personally experienced a fractured food system during the COVID pandemic: empty grocery store shelves, rising hunger and political protests for Black Lives Matter,” Stott says. “All of these issues are connected to the work that Food Literacy Center does. But these aren’t easy issues. Carrots are just part of the solution. It’s complicated.”

Stott’s “Raising Kale” podcast, launched last month in partnership with RADIO.COM, explores our multi-layered food system by talking to inspiring “kale raisers” who are solving problems and making change happen. Listen in at raisingkale.com.

With her debut book, “Food Anatomy Activities for Kids,” Stott takes learning to the kitchen with an exploration of food history and food science through recipes and fun, hands-on activities, such as baking bread, making cheese and sprouting a watermelon.

“I’ve seen thousands of students light up with joy as they learn to cook with our nonprofit,” Stott says. “I know (the book) will bring that same sense of exploration and joy to young readers.”

Neither Stott nor the Food Literacy Center receive any royalties from the sale of the book. Stott even donated her author fee to the nonprofit. For more information, visit foodliteracycenter.org.

The Inclusivity Project launched earlier this spring with the goal of securing $100 million for 1,000 Black-owned businesses in Northern California.

A strategic partnership between Northern California Small Business Development Centers and Nor-Cal Financial Development Corporation, the initiative hopes to help level the playing field for Black small business owners when it comes to accessing capital. It’s been estimated that half of the nation’s Black entrepreneurs have been forced out of business by COVID-related circumstances.

“One hundred million dollars is a lofty goal, but the SBDC is committed to economic diversity as it breeds economic vitality, and I think we are up for the task,” says project coordinator and SBDC finance expert Chris Horton. “It’s my hope that this opportunity will bring needed attention to Black and minority-owned businesses and demonstrate that the SBDC ecosystem serves all people and bridges pathways for minority-owned businesses to financial platforms to stand on.”

Participants receive expert business advice and training opportunities, as well as other resources at no cost. For more information or to apply for services, visit theinclusivityproject.com.

A fun new carousel, characteristic of old-time county fairs, has joined the 65-foot Waterfront Wheel in Old Sacramento.
Both operated by Brass Ring Amusements, the attractions are located in Waterfront Park on Front Street in front of Rio City Café and are open every day for $6 per ride. Hours are Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Friday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Safety protocols include physically distanced line queues, regularly sanitized carts and high-touch surfaces, and contactless payment and admission.

San Francisco-based The Plum Organic Beauty has opened a second location in the Union Park Project, a new small business complex in Oak Park.

“After moving to Oak Park with my family two years ago, I have been looking for a salon space that is close to home,” owner Danica Winters says. “I am excited to own a business in my local community and create a place to recover from all of the challenges that have resulted from the pandemic. The Plum Organic Beauty is a safe place for hairdressers to work, and for customers to come and relax and rejuvenate.”

The beautiful salon features 540 square feet of a light, bright space with a modern design aesthetic, including ethical furniture by Year of None and plants for sale from local plant shop Public Land. In addition to high-performance hair services, customers can find organic beauty products handcrafted in California from brands such as Innersense Organic Beauty, Reverie and Botnia.

The Plum Organic Beauty is located at 3400 Broadway, Suite 300. For more information, visit plumorganicbeauty.com or shop online at theplumshop.com.

Get outside and hit the trails with help from the new hiking book “Urban Trails Sacramento” by Redding native John Soares.

Experienced hiker and author Soares expertly guides readers to 35 local trails in Sacramento, Davis, Elk Grove, Folsom and the Sierra Foothills that provide ample options for family-friendly outdoor adventure and fitness.

Published by nonprofit independent publisher Mountaineers Books, the book includes detailed route descriptions, charts, history highlights and full-color photos and maps. To purchase, visit mountaineers.org.

The Carmichael Recreation and Park District recently added a new amenity—two bocce ball courts—to its flagship park, Carmichael Park.

Bocce, also known as Italian lawn bowling, is one of the oldest and most widely played games in the world. It’s a great way to destress, get outside and engage in light cardio with friends and family at a safe distance. The game is easy to play and suitable for all ages and skill levels.

The Carmichael Park Foundation helped raise funds to bring this classic international game to the community. For rules, free game introduction clinics and more information, visit carmichaelpark.com/bocce-ball-courts. Remember to bring your own equipment.

STEM-based nonprofit Square Root Academy has all kinds of projects in the pipeline this spring to educate underrepresented youth and improve the community.

The organization is overseeing the installation of hydroponics at the Meadowview Navigation Center Women’s Shelter in partnership with the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission. The project will provide healthy, organic food options to shelter residents.

Students who sign up for free Square Root workshops in partnership with the Sacramento Public Library will receive a free food voucher from Andy Nguyen’s Vegetarian Restaurant.

For a variety of virtual classes, Square Root offers Scholars Playground, an online learning platform featuring more than 60 asynchronous learning modules from local educational leaders. Classes are free to all youth from Title 1 schools and who demonstrate financial need.

Square Root is also helping revitalize local basketball courts through the HOMECOURT project overseen by the Uncommon HAUS Arts Collective. Local artists, including Brandon Alexander and Aliyah Sidqe, will paint courts in Meadowview, Seavey Circle and Del Paso Heights. The project’s completion will coincide with the Big Day of Giving on May 6.

For more information, visit squarerootacademy.com.

Axis Gallery is featuring two exhibitions this month. In the gallery’s East Space, artist Doug Dertinger’s landscapes—made during his early morning and evening walks—are on display in an exhibition titled “March 2020–March 2021.”

In the Main Space, “Sundering the Unconscious: An Indigenous View of the Transformation of Western Values” features the work of Stan Padilla and Ray Gonzales. The multimedia exhibition explores the ancient Mexican indigenous prophecies about this tumultuous, transformational period in human society.

Both shows are April 3–25. Axis Gallery is at 6245 S St. Hours are noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

Fourteen regional organizations recently received grants from the James B. McClatchy Foundation LIFT Initiative, launched in 2019 to advance awareness of the First Amendment as it relates to free speech, freedom of expression and a free press in Central Valley communities.

The latest grants range from $25,000 to $100,000 and support leadership development, staffing, technology capacity and strategic planning for organizations, including Sacramento’s Black Youth Leadership Project, California Center for Civic Participation, PRO Youth & Families, Social Justice PolitiCorps and YDN’s Nueva Epoca Early Career Development Program.

“This is about us believing in and standing by an inclusive generation of leaders,” says JBMF board member Joaquin Alvarado. “It’s the local stories and local leaders on the front lines who create real change.”

For more information, visit jbmcclatchyfoundation.org.

Experience Corps Sacramento is continuing to support struggling readers during the pandemic through online tutoring.
The intergenerational volunteer-based tutoring program created by AARP helps children become great readers by the end of third grade by pairing them with volunteers age 50 and older. Tutors and students meet virtually twice a week for 30 minutes to work on reading fluency and comprehension. According to project manager Anastasia Geinrikh, the program hopes to reach at least 60 students this year to combat the decline in student literacy skills predicted by the Sacramento Literacy Foundation due to abrupt school closures.

“We all need to figure out how to keep education flowing, and if virtual learning helps keep students on the educational path, then I want to contribute,” says volunteer tutor Shelly Fredericksen.

For more information or to become a volunteer, visit sccsc.org/experiencecorps.

Southgate Plaza, on the corner of Florin Road and Franklin Boulevard in South Sacramento, has added two new murals by local artists.

“Beautiful Bird Garden” is located on the wall outside Ono Hawaiian BBQ. Local artist Ana Valentine painted flowers “because they have a resilience that few notice. They push through dirt and face the bright side of life, rain or shine.”

“Harmony” is located on the wall outside the Asian supermarket 99 Ranch Market. Sacramento-based artist Lin Fei Fei says she hopes her mural will “bring people happiness, enlightenment and new beginnings.”

The murals are part of plaza owner NewMark Merrill Companies’ Community Art Initiative.

The beat goes on for the Cosumnes River College Music Department through a weekly series of online performances.

“CRC Music: In the Studio” was founded last fall as a way to bring together innovative artists who push the boundaries in their fields and highlight student voices through open mics and student ensemble performances.

“This series is a tremendous opportunity for our students to interact weekly with world-class artists from across North America, including some right here in our own backyard,” says CRC music professor Kurt Erickson.

“In the Studio” takes place every Friday at noon and features special guests, student performances and workshops with live Q&A. For more information, visit crc.losrios.edu/academics/music-department.

Registration is now open for Camp EDMO, a Bay Area-based summer camp company that offers accessible STEAM and Social Emotional Learning programs designed to cultivate curious, courageous and kind humans.

Every day, campers engage in a variety of subjects, including science, coding, engineering and the arts to access their curiosity, build connections and develop critical life skills like empathy and problem solving.

This summer, EDMO will offer camps in smaller groups to comply with strict COVID-19 protocols. Camps run in full-day, weeklong sessions for pre-kindergarten to fifth grade from June through August at 30 locations, including Downtown and East Sacramento. To sign up, visit edmo.org.

Ancil Hoffman Golf Course in Carmichael was recently named the winner of the 2020 California Golf Course Owners Association Community Environmental Award.

Marc Connerly, executive director of CGCOA, explains the criteria for the award includes preserving coveted resources, implementing environmentally smart programs, maintaining a recycling program, creating safe natural habitats for birds and other animals, and increasing citizen awareness of the role golf courses play as friends of the environment.

Sacramento County’s Department of Regional Parks, operator CourseCo and Ancil Hoffman staff were recognized for their leadership during the pandemic, including the development and quick implementation of safety protocols that allowed the golf course to remain open.

Revel in Mother Nature’s splendor this spring in a series of art classes hosted by local artist Cassie Berube at The Flower Farm in Loomis.

In Botanical Printmaking, Saturday, April 24, learn the basics of botanical mono-printing using real plants to create lush designs and patterns on paper.

In Botanical Hearts, Sunday, May 9, celebrate Mother’s Day by creating botanical hearts using foraged plants, stencils and flowers while enjoying mimosas.

In Boozy Blooms, Saturday, May 15, learn how to create beautiful abstract florals with alcohol inks while sipping on wines from local vineyard Casque Wines.

Classes are held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Registration fees include materials and beverages. Participants can also grab a bite at The Flower Farm cafe, explore the nursery and shop local artisan goods in the gift shop. To register or for more information, visit cassieberubeart.com.

The city of Sacramento’s Hart Senior Center and Cosumnes River College will host “Our Life Stories,” a virtual writers conference featuring lectures, readings and workshops to help people of all ages collect and create family memoirs.

Presenters will include poet Lisa Dominguez Abraham, poet JoAnn Anglin, journalist Marcus Crowder, former Sacramento poet laureate Bob Stanley, writer Kate Washington, and educators Dale Flynn, Jessilyn Gale and Lesley Gale.

The Zoom conference will be held Saturday, April 17, from 10 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. Registration fee is $20. For more information or to register, visit ourlifestories.org. For questions about the conference, call the Hart Center at (916) 808-5462 or email hartcrcwritersconference@yahoo.com.

Archival Gallery will present the small group exhibition of Elk Grove Fine Arts from April 1–24, featuring regional artists Terry DeFrates, Stacy Maeda, Erin Martinelli, Jolene Matson and Mary Sorrels.

Work includes contemporary and traditional landscapes, still life, and glass and ceramic sculptures. Artists in this collection are active members of the Elk Grove Fine Arts Center and showing works curated by Archival Gallery owner D. Oldham Neath.

The gallery will be open for a Second Saturday reception with respectful distancing and limited capacity April 10 from 5–7 p.m. Visitors are welcome during normal business hours with no appointment needed, but masks are required at all times.

Archival Gallery is located at 3223 Folsom Blvd. For more information, visit archivalgallery.com.

Sacramento Beer Week 2021 will be held April 23 to May 2. The 10-day celebration highlights the region’s bustling craft beer scene at more than 150 events presented by nearly 80 participating breweries across Sacramento, Yolo, Placer and El Dorado counties.

“Supporting our local craft breweries and retailers is more important this year than ever,” says Andrew Mohsenzadegan, president of the Sacramento Area Brewers Guild, which is organizing the week. “Bringing our region’s craft beer enthusiasts together while celebrating the talent and hard work of our member breweries is a win for everyone.”
Events will be held virtually and socially distanced, in accordance with the participating businesses’ respective county health guidelines. For more information, visit sacramentobeerweek.com.

Jessica Laskey can be reached at jessrlaskey@gmail.com. Submissions are due six weeks prior to the publication month. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @insidesacramento.

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