July 2016 E-News

posted by Fresno Metro Ministry
on 27 July 2016
What's Cooking Fresno?
If you haven't heard... We are ecstatic to announce that Fresno Metro Ministry is 1 of 26 grant recipients (only two in CA) out of 528 applicants, funded by The Kresge Foundation to support our "Building the Better Blackstone CDC through Food Oriented Placemaking" project!


Dubbed "FreshLo" - for "Fresh, Local & Equitable: Food as a Creative Platform for Neighborhood Revitalization" - the initiative is a joint effort by Kresge's Arts & Culture Program and Health Program to develop food-oriented initiatives in cities across the nation.


Over the next year, Metro and the BBCDC will be conducting a variety of interviews, surveys and "Pop-up" Cooking Demonstrations along Blackstone Avenue. Findings from these outreach engagements will be documented in a digital guide of "Blackstone Bites," which will feature profiles of multicultural cooks and businesses, highlighting healthy versions of traditional foods and fresh local, seasonal produce that can be used in everyday recipes.


We are excited to share this opportunity with you to use food as a tool for community development.  Please help us find out "What's Cooking Fresno?" by taking the survey below. Less than 10 minutes of your time will help us identify the great cooks and other food related businesses that deserve to be community highlights!


Don't Miss the Better Blackstone Community Fair!           
Mark your calendars for Sunday, August 7 from 11 am-3 pm at The Vineyard Farmers Market... Come learn about community resources and how YOU can help make Blackstone and Fresno better places to live, work and play!

The Metro Team is Growing!        
We are pleased to announce a number of new team members to our Community Food Systems and Resilient Communities programs!
Welcome Food to Share Program Assistants Rocio Madrigal and Sharon Leyva. Rocio and Sharon will be working on the Fresno County Department of Public Health's Partnerships to Improve Community Health (PICH) initiative, in effort to bring donated and recovered nutritious food to residents in low-income, food desert areas of Fresno. They will help coordinate food recoveries and monthly Food Giveaways in neighborhoods that have little or no access to fresh fruits and vegetables.
Rocio is a Fresno native and holds an A.S. from Clovis ITT and has undergraduate studies work at U.C.S.B. Her community involvement comes from advocating for labor rights with California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, March of Dimes and Food Policy Advocates with some research experience through University of California San Francisco. Rocio is also a certified medical interpreter in Spanish.
Sharon was born and raised in the Central Valley and is a recent Fresno State graduate with a B.A. in Liberal Studies. Sharon comes to Metro from the Jan and Bud Richter Center for Community Engagement and Service-Learning where she collected data from over 100 Fresno State faculty members, which was used to create reports on the impact Fresno state students have on the community. Sharon recently worked abroad in Peru with Madventurer as a Spanish translator for one of their service projects.
We are also pleased to announce Better Blackstone Project Managers Ivan Paz and Felix Muzquiz.
Ivan will be working with Co-Project Manager Sophia Dewitt to develop relationships with residents, businesses and other stakeholders along the Blackstone corridor to garner support for greater economic development and complete neighborhoods in the heart of Fresno. Ivan was born in LA but raised in Fresno and has almost a decade of experience in equipping college students and neighborhood residents to become community leaders in the inner-city context. Ivan did much of this work through InterVarsity's Fresno Institute for Urban Leadership. He holds a B.A. in Pre-Law: Criminal Justice and Religious Studies, as well as a Master's in Theology, from Fresno Pacific University.
Felix's work will focus on our "Building the Better Blackstone CDC through Food Oriented Placemaking" project recently funded by The Kresge Foundation. For over a decade, Felix has been with the Vineyard Farmers Market and became the Executive Director in 2008. The same year, she was chosen as a Slow Food Madera delegate to Tierra Madre, an international food expo held every two years in Turin, Italy. An established community organizer, Felix also does outreach with a number of health agencies and local hospitals to educate at-risk patients on the benefits of eating seasonal and fresh fruits and vegetables.

And last but not least, we welcome Vue Vang, Metro Community Builder. Vue plays an integral role in building relationships with our community gardeners, conducting Cal Fresh outreach and enrollment and working in underserved neighborhoods to conduct our PICH Food Giveaways. Vue is a Wisconsin native but now calls Fresno home. She hold a B.S. in criminal justice from Mount Senario College and her engagement with diverse communities and corrections comes from her work with Attic Correctional, Inc.

HP2 Regional Convening a Success       
On June 30, Fresno Metro Ministry convened our quarterly, Healthy People, Healthy Places (HP2) Network meeting, "Regional Opportunities for Sustainability and Resource Conservation." The event gathered Smart Growth Advocates from throughout the San Joaquin Valley, from Fresno to Stockton with over 50 participants attending from the five counties. Of these, 17 were from Fresno, 10 of which were grassroots residents who have been engaged in Metro's community development work on the Blackstone corridor.
Participants engaged in presentations about the work of the Blum Center for Developing Economies at UC Merced, one of our sponsors, as well as about the Regional Opportunity Index developed by the UC Davis Center for the Study of Regional Change, and the role that data can play in effective advocacy. Sessions were also given on local and regional policy options to impact both land use and health positively, such as Complete Streets and advocacy around the California Air Resources Board air pollution target setting process, in advance of the next round of County Sustainable Communities Strategy processes to begin this Fall.
Attendees also gathered in county specific groups at the end of the day to strategize about next steps to push forward the advocacy for Smart Growth and land use patterns that protect health in their home communities.
For more information on the HP2 Network or Better Blackstone, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.or call 559-485-1416.
Upcoming Events                               
PICH FOOD DISTRIBUTION (Volunteers Needed- Call Metro at 559-485-1416)
Tuesday, July 26
11am - 1pm
Neighborhood Markets Food Give Away
Tuesday, July 26
1 - 3 pm (Health & Wellness Workshop 12-1 pm)
PICH FOOD DISTRIBUTION (Volunteers Needed- Call Metro at 559-485-1416)
Friday, July 29
11 am - 1pm
5th Annual National Night Out
Tuesday, August 2
5 - 8pm
PICH FOOD DISTRIBUTION (Volunteers Needed- Call Metro at 559-485-1416)
Thursday, August 4
9:30 - 11:30 am
3rd Annual Poverello House Block Party
Friday, August 5
9am - 1pm
Better Blackstone Community Fair
Sunday, August 7
11am - 3 pm
14th Annual Back to School Health Fair
Saturday, August 13
9am - 12pm

Do you have community events you want to share?  Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.by the 1st Monday of the month.
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