It’s an older video, but it’s very relevant tonight in Asheville.
May all people celebrate this day with peace, love, understanding, and service.
I had the distinct honor of being invited to speak at the 32nd annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Prayer Breakfast at the Grove Park Inn this morning. If you’ve never attended, I urge you to get a ticket next year. You’ll be inspired by the legends in the room, people like Oralene Simmons and other founding members of ASCORE. People who integrated our city by putting themselves on the front lines and standing up for racial justice.
I had three minutes, here’s the text of my prepared remarks:
I’m Asheville City Council Member Gordon Smith, and I want to thank Ms. Oralene Simmons and the Martin Luther King Jr. Association.
Mayor Bellamy sends her regards. She’s in Washington, D.C. representing Asheville at the National Conference of Mayors and inauguration, the reinauguration, of President Barack Obama.
I’m very honored to be here to celebrate Dr. King’s vision and our place in bringing it alive in Asheville. Dr. King famously said, “I have the audacity to believe that people everywhere can have three meals a day, education and culture for their minds, equality and freedom for their spirits.”
Three meals a day. Three meals a day.
Today, as we come together over this fine meal there are families going hungry. And let me tell you what – you don’t have to look half a world away to find them. Right now, here in our community, there are children going without their breakfast. Others have food, but they lack the nutrition necessary for a healthy, developing mind. Too many in our community either do not have the means or the knowledge to meet their most basic of needs.
Is this acceptable? Is this acceptable??
No. This is unacceptable. We all know it’s unacceptable. Dr. King teaches us that when injustice presents itself, it is our responsibility not to turn away from it, but to address it.
We can address the issue of hunger in our community. We can do so with an audacious faith that, together, we can make a better world, right wrongs, and recognize that we are one human family – In my family, we don’t let other people go hungry.
For the last year and a half sometimes it feels like all I work on for City Council is food, water, and shelter. We’ll leave housing policy for another day, and I’d rather not talk about water…
But on food? I come today with good news and a call to action! On Tuesday, your Asheville City Council will take a historic step to reduce hunger, improve the health of our community, and strengthen our local food systems with the City of Asheville Food Action Plan.
This plan, with its five goals and fourteen initiatives will create the conditions for increased food production, processing, distribution, and education.
It will mean more people growing more food. You are going to see more gardens, more farms, more markets, more grocery stores, even food growing in our parks!
And this is the part where I ask for your help.
Folks, if we are truly committed to taking audacious steps to end hunger in Asheville and Buncombe County, then it’s time we Stop Mowing and Start Growing. Stop Mowing and Start Growing.
We can convert lawns to gardens, church fields to farms. By joining together in this mission we can come together – across generations, across cultures and across faiths to turn to lives of greater independence and better health.
We can come together to feed our community, our city, our county, our spirits.
We can ensure that every child has the nutrition they need to succeed in school and in life.
This will be justice, and it’s going to take all of us to make it a reality.
We will not shrug our shoulders at the injustice of hunger. We will aspire to justice through an audacious faith in our potential to make a better world.
Please join together in supporting the City’s Food Action Plan and in ending hunger in our community.
Your Asheville City Council reconvenes on Tuesday to deliberate and decision-make. Have a look at the agenda below the fold, or click here to see it with all supporting documentation at the City of Asheville website. Lots of important and interesting things on the agenda this week. I’m particularly excited and proud about the City of Asheville Food Action Plan. It’s the result of a unique process led by the Asheville Buncombe Food Policy Council (A/B FPC). The A/B FPC recommendations came through a process involving over 350 volunteers from across sectors. Those recommendations were fleshed out and vetted by the City of Asheville’s Sustainability Advisory Committee on Energy and the Environment (SACEE). The resulting plan is a historic document that will provide goals and principles upon which all of our future food security efforts will be based. So check it out!
Check out everything else as well. Harris Teeter, New Belgium Brewing, multimodal transportation, and more. Please leave me your questions, comments, suggestions, and non sequitors in the comments!
A judge has told parties involved that he will not grant Republican Christina Merrill’s request that election officials be temporarily barred from certifying Democrat Ellen Frost as a Buncombe County commissioner.
Merrill had asked for a stay preventing Frost from being certified while she pursued her legal challenge to results which showed Frost beating Merrill by 18 votes for the second seat representing District 2 on the Board of Commissioners.
Frost and her attorney, Bob Deutsch, said this afternoon that Wake County Superior Court Judge Paul Ridgeway contacted parties involved to tell them he will rule in Frost’s favor.
Step by step, town by town, the Campaign for Southern Equality is calling for full federal equality for LGBT Americans. Watch the video below. I’m heading to Washington, D.C. to join CSE for the actions on Thursday. You can learn more here. Be a part of it.
Press Release from the Asheville Buncombe Food Policy Council:
For the first time in its history, Asheville’s City Council will consider a plan to improve the city’s food security. The Asheville-Buncombe Food Policy Council (A/B FPC) collaborated with the Sustainability Advisory Committee on Energy and the Environment (SACEE) to create the first City of Asheville Food Action Plan. The plan will go before Asheville City Council on Tuesday, Jan. 22.
The Asheville MSA has been identified as one of the most food insecure in the nation. Food Security is defined as “when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life”. Many organizations are working to alleviate the challenges of food insecurity, and one-year ago an Asheville-Buncombe Food Policy Council was convened to address the strengthening of our local food systems and serve as a forum for action-oriented food policy discussions. Throughout the past year, over 350 volunteers have worked together to identify and propose innovative solutions to spur local economic development and create environmentally sustainable and socially just food systems.
The proposed City of Asheville Food Action Plan includes goals including: removing barriers to local food production and distribution, creation of a citywide curbside composting program, and the use of edible landscaping as a priority for public property.
“Dedication to this cause is going to reduce poverty, improve public health, strengthen local commerce, and create a more sustainable land-use future for Asheville and Buncombe County,” says City Council Member and A/B FPC participant Gordon Smith.
Community members are invited to attend the first A/B FPC meeting of the new year. It’s 4 – 6 pm on Friday, Feb. 1 at the Mountain View Room in the UNCA Sherrill Center.
Sometimes when folks are spouting Romney ideas, I like to look at this graphic. Have a great Sunday, y’all.
A bucket for your nuggets.