Monday, June 24, 2013

Seed2Plate Co-Op is Elementary

One day Christina Cicack “got really lost navigating the Houston freeway system. “ An unexpected detour through construction on I10 forced her to change paths and drive through The Heights. She found herself driving down White Oak and was reminded of her of college days in Austin. She immediately felt a sense of home. A native Texan in the process of re-relocating from Eugene, Oregon, Cicack knew this could be her next place to settle. Soon after her crazy detour, she put her whole family in the car and, as if by instinct, they made their way down Bayland Ave. On this driev the family discovered “a great little corner of the Heights” just behind Kaboom Books. They decided they would settle there for a while and put down some roots. “I grew up as an urban kid in Dallas and I want the same experience for my children so The Heights area fit the bill nicely,” Cicack says.

The Cicack family came to the Heights in 2011. Christina became a Travis parent at the same time with her oldest entering pre-k at the neighborhood school. This coming school year she will be a Travis parent x2 with a child in pre-k and a 1st grader.  Her youngest is turning one at the end of this month. The little one they often call “The Co-Op Kid” since he's been going to Central City Co-op literally every week of his life. 

The Co-op Kid. I'd pretty much buy anything that smile was selling!
After moving from Oregon, a land of agriculture with a keen awareness of where food comes from, Cicack was on a mission to find a community here that reflected that. She knew the questions she needed to ask and looked in to Central City Co-op. “Central City passed my ethical and environmental test. They shared the same standards of what I look for when searching for local, chemical-free, and fairly-traded goods and produce. Central City Co-op has had some of the longest standing relationships with Houston's original sustainable farming pioneers and that means something. I began my journey with Central City Co-op as a floor volunteer, greeting visitors and upgraded to updating the web and social media aspects of the co-op.”

While Christina and The Co-Op Kid were doing their thing at Central City, the idea of a co-op at Travis was brought to her attention by former Travis parent and Central City Co-op director, Carolyn Lambeth. Cicack learned that a survey was done, possibly around  2010, among Travis families. The survey was to determine if there was an interest in having a food co-op at Travis. About 75 families and teachers responded with a resounding “YES!”  For Cicack, the idea of a partner co-op made complete sense as she wanted to have the greatest impact she could.  And there it was, her new title:  Partner Co-op Coordinator.

The Travis Co-op was started in November of 2011, and with the help of fellow Travis parent, Jennifer Aiyer, Christina was able to work all the major kinks out of running a co-op.  Starting any new enterprise isn’t easy.  For Christina, “the biggest setback I had in the first year of managing a partner co-op was being pregnant with my third child and suffering from severe forgetfulness.” These days, though, it’s a well oiled machine and she feels more “like superwoman carrying a little one in a baby carrier on my chest along with a couple grocery totes full of local greens, potatoes, onions, and sometimes local watermelons! It's a good feeling and it's one way I know I am having a direct impact by putting real, fresh food on people's tables and, mainly, on kid's plates.”

Now, the Travis Co-op has expanded due to the demand of the neighborhood and by direct requests of Heights residents who want to participate in the co-op model but don't necessarily have a child attending Travis Elementary. Christina and the Travis Co-op are proud to announce a neighborhood co-op, in partnership with Central City Co-Op and Heights of Health!

Seed2Plate offers Heights residents a selection of local, organic, and sustainably grown produce and eggs delivered conveniently in our own neighborhood. It is their goal “to deliver you fresh and affordably priced produce to help meet your family's need for chemical-free, nutrient-dense produce! In return we support our local growers who work hard to be caring stewards of the environment.”
Cicak volunteering for Central City Co-op at Downtown Food Day celebration in 2011
Seed2Plate is currently operating a pick-up location in The Heights at:

Heights of Health
540 Frasier St, Houston, TX 77007
(off White Oak, across the street from Onion Creek Cafe).
Pick-up is Wednesday, between 3pm-5pm!
Haven't been there before? Go check them out: http://www.heightsofhealth.com
Want to know some background on them? Read my previous post "A Healing House"

In celebration of their new summer location at Heights of Health, Seed2Plate is offering a fabulous discount to new and returning co-op members: Add an Annual Membership of $48 to your shopping cart this summer and your membership will remain good through next December. That gives you six months free membership to the co-op.

How does Seed2Plate Co-op work?
  1. Decide to eat more fresh and local fruits and veggies.
  2. Put your trust in Seed2Plate to source organic and sustainably grown produce.
  3. Place an online order at Seed2Plate.org by Thursday  9am of the week PRIOR to Wednesday's pick-up. New and renewing members add an annual membership to their shopping cart (with the summer discount, membership costs you about 62 cents per week)!
  4. Have 2 re-usable grocery tote bags ready with your name and cell number labeled on it. Leave one at Heights of Health and leave the other when you pick-up your produce the following Wednesday.
  5. Pick up your yummy co-op shares at Heights of Health(540 Fraiser St) during the hours of 3pm-5pm on Wednesdays.
  6. Re-order your share the same way as before by the ordering deadline of Thursday 9am. Sit tight and don't forget to pick-up your share on Wednesdays!
If you have any questions or comments, contact seed2platecoop@gmail.com
To learn more about how co-op works, visit them at Seed2Plate.org.
You can sign-up and place your orders online at: http://www.seed2plate.org/order-online.html

As you know, I also love anything that is a double whammy of local business support. I asked Cicack how Seed2Plate came to partner with Heights of Health.

Heights of Health on Frazier St, just across from Onion Creek
Cicack knew of Heights of Health through another Travis parent, who invited her to a stress seminar at the holistic health center. “I gladly went. Immediately walking through the doors it felt like home and the wonderful team who operates it are very knowledgeable on integrative care and wellness.” In Eugene, Cicack had worked at a wellness center very similar to Heights of Health and it clicked for her as being a genuine place for The Heights community to pick-up their fruits and veggies. Fortunately, the Heights of Health team felt the same way about the co-op.

Christina Cicack and her partners at Seed2Plate are incredibly optimistic about this venture. They believe the Heights will be receptive and they’ll be creating a healthier, happier neighborhood. “Plus,” says Cicack, “I want to show other neighborhoods how easy participating in a community co-op can actually be while having huge rewards for the neighborhood, local farmers/growers and the environment.”

Cicack wants healthy food for her family. And yours!
I have long wanted to join Central City. This new partnership puts their concept and products in reach for myself and other Heights residents who just couldn’t get to Central City’s location during their Wednesday hours. I share Christina’s optimism and wish them much success! I also can’t wait for my first bushel of fresh, summer produce!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Heights Happenings: June 20- June 27, 2013

Starting with some “IN OTHER NEWS” this week because it’s a little time sensitive:

Remember how a crazy woman destroyed the Heights yarn bomb last week? Well looks like it will will rise again!
  • Something is afoot regarding the Yarn Bomb that was installed on Heights Blvd in honor of International Yarn Bomb day. I’m not exactly sure what it is but I know it will have yarn and pictures and your help is needed to pull it off! Due to the overwhelmingly positive response to the project, the knitters just can't let it end on a gloomy note because of one crazy person. Help them resurrect the Yarnbomb on the Boulevard in a “new format.”
  • “Did you see the Yarnbomb before it was vandalized? Did you take a picture?? Please email your photos, ESPECIALLY if they include people, pets, or anything in front of the yarnbomb. Quirky and fun is dandy. With everyone's help, we'll be creating a new project at the site that will bring smiles back, instead of scowls and head shaking.”
  • Email your photos to: urbanyarnage@gmail.com by Sunday, June 23, 4 p.m. 
  • There is still a reward for finding out who went so nuts they had to rip this art apart!

Thursday, June 20, 6 pm: Third Thursday with Heights Urbanites
  • This is the 4th installment of this monthly Happy Hour for supporters and members of the Houston Heights Association. Over 50 people have turned out for previous get togethers!
  • This month join the Urbanites at Little Woodrow’s on White Oak for a cold one!
Thursday, June 20, 6 pm- 9 pm: Help mary Anne Kick Cancer at Avis Frank Gallery
  • Thursday evening Avis Frank Gallery is having a fundraiser for local design instructor Mary Anne Pennington. Mary Anne is 39 and is the caretaker/provider for her elderly mother. She has been diagnosed with two forms of cancer. Her treatment is expensive. During her recovery she is unable to earn the money she needs to provide for her mother and herself, so friends and artists have been working very hard to try and make a difference. 
  • If you don’t know Mary Anne and wonder why you might want to attend- Avis Frank will have fantastic paintings, prints, sculpture, jewelry and clothing donated for an amazing silent auction. The gallery says it “is truly some terrific art and more coming in daily.”
  • 1606 White Oak (in the old King Biscuit for those that still think of it that way)
Saturday, June 22, 7 am: Heights Garden Club is planting the Boulevard
  • Jim with New Roots Landscaping has just completed the edging and path near the Houston Heights sign at the south end of the Blvd. Now the Heights Garden Club is requesting your help to install some lovely new plants.
  • They are asking for volunteers to help beginning at 7am this Saturday.  It should take no longer than a few hours, especially if they can get a few extra hands to assist. 
  • BYO shovels, gloves and a friend!
  • You can also like them on Facebook: Heights Garden Club
  • Have questions? Email cityart51@sbcglobal.net
Saturday, June 22, 12 pm- 8 pm: Customer Appreciation Event at Heights Cigar Lounge
  • Heights Cigar Lounge just found out they are one of the top clients for one of their vendors. The best in Texas for 2013. As a local business, they know they couldn’t have done it without their loyal customers! 
  • To say “Thanks,”  they’re hosting a customer appreciation event Saturday.
  • All Alec Bradley products will be discounted 10%. Customers also receive one (1) free Alec Bradley cigar with an Alec Bradley cigar purchase.
  • Additionally, HCL will also buy you lunch or dinner (But not both! Don’t be greedy!) with your purchase of an Alec Bradley product. 
  • FlipNPatties food truck will be out front and you'll get a ticket from HCL to get one of their amazing burgers or great steamed pork buns. The truck will be onsite from 12p-8p.
Sunday, June 23, 2 pm- 4:30 pm: Blush, Brunch, and Bellinis
 Get pricing and tickets at: https://blushnbellinis.eventbrite.com

Monday, June 24, 6:30 pm: Sunset Heights neighborhoods’ Fireman Appreciation Dinner
  • East Sunset Heights, Sunset Heights and Independence Heights are joining forces in a Fireman's Appreciation Dinner for Station's 31 and 15 and their backup stations on Monday at 222 Crosstimbers. 
  • These are the firehouses that serve our surrounding area and they certainly deserve our thanks! 
  • The neighborhood associations encourage volunteers to help with serving and setting up Station 31 for the event. If you would like to donate your time to a good cause then please contact either Buster Pendley BusterPendley@yahoo.com or John Ridgway john@marjohn.com about volunteering.
Monday, June 24, 7 pm: HEY BARTENDER at 14 Pews
  • If you love Houston’s best known Bartenders, you'll love Monday night at 14 Pews! They will have the top 4 bartenders in town (Justin T. Burrow, Linda Salinas, Ornella Ashcraft and Alexander Gregg) on hand to create their favorite drink concoctions for the crowd to sample after the screening of HEY BARTENDER.
  • HEY BARTENDER tells the story of how the renaissance of the bartender comes to be in the era of the craft cocktail. The documentary focuses on two bartenders trying to achieve their dreams through the world of bartending. 
  • VIEW TRAILER: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HUwmDqi2kA
  • Buy tickets at 14pews.org
  • 800 Aurora
PLAN AHEAD

Friday, June 28, 5 pm- 9 pm: Food Truck Friday on 19th St
  • ‘Come Hungry. Shop Late!’ 
  • Join Shop Heights 19th for their first Food Truck Friday. Get your grub on with Bernie's Burger Bus, Golden Grill, Pi Pizza, Koagie Hots, HTown Streats, Muishsi Makarittos, Happy Endings and Flippin' Patties for the biggest food truck event the Heights has ever seen!  Your local stores will be open late so you can eat, shop and have a blast with your family on 19th Street.
MORE IN OTHER NEWS

Updates and a sale at Heights Plant Farm
  • For the summer, HPF will be CLOSED on Wednesdays and their hours of operation will change to 10 - 6. This is for the summer only!
  • They are also moving old merchandise to make room for fall inventory so stop by for incredible deals on garden accessories and necessities. Many items are 75% off! 
  • Bonsais are $4 off for the month of June. Come pick one up as a gift or add one to your home d├ęcor for a unique conversation piece. 
  • June 24th is National Fairy Day. Wear your wings and receive 20% off all things "fairy!"

Friday, June 14, 2013

Last Minute Local Shopper: Father's Day

Yesterday, I tootled around the neighborhood looking for Father's Day presents. I found a wealth of fun gift options, even if I didn't seem to find just the right thing for my boys' dad. Now it's Friday and I have nothing. If you're in the same boat as me, here are some of the great ideas I found in the Heights. Maybe this procrastinator can make it a little easier for the others last minute shoppers out there...

For information on availability and pricing, give the stores a call. Your local business owners are always happy to help! 
(and please forgive the crappy formatting as Blogger is being even more annoying than usual, sending text for no known reason outside of the frame)

Casa Ramirez
241 W 19th St 
(713) 880-2420

Sometimes I forget that Casa Ramirez has so much more than just cool 

Dio De Los Muertos stuff.
These great guayabera shirts come in a bunch of light, tropical colors 

and there was a good assortment of sizes.

Or how about father/son shirts for extra fun? Kids sizes I saw started at 2t.

Also, everyone loves Dad as "King of the Grill." 
Casa Ramirez has an amazing selection of books, including cookbooks of all kinds.

Bliss on 19th
235 W 19th St 
(832) 673-0099

My husband had once mentioned wanting a bowl for his work desk 
to keep some pieces of fresh fruit in.
While this key bowl isn't food safe for that purpose, 
it is a great size for mail or other junk dads probably keep on their desks.

I bought one of these for my husband last year. 
It's a diffuser but without "all those sticks coming out" that he didn't want. 
Also, spill proof so safe for use around his work computer and paperwork.

Desk/mantle clocks are always a good gift if you're looking for more of a keepsake.

Grace Hart and Company
313 W 19th St

almost feel bad sending anyone in here. 
I can literally lose hours of my life in this expansive store full of
things you don't need but feel compelled to own anyway. 
I loved these vintage card glasses!

There is one seller in GH who carries sports memorabilia and had this cool rack of old comic books. Great stuff if Dad is a "collector."

Does Dad dig Mad Men style? 
This 2 piece mid-century corner table was only $145. 
With MCM being so on trend, it's hard to find pieces at affordable prices any more!



Dramatika
331 W 19th St
(713) 868-5050

Known mostly as a frame shop, Dramatika is always worth a peek when gift shopping.
They carry some nice greeting cards, fancy papers, some framed art, 

and little gift items like these.

Eclectic Home
345 W 19th St
(713) 869-1414


This masculine and surprisingly sturdy table at Eclectic Home 
would look great in the corner of a man cave or office.
It doesn't come cheap, though. This would have to be a pretty special year!

If you're looking to spend less than a high end occasional table costs, there are these super cool sand art pieces. There is a variety of sizes and, therefore, a variety of price points. The one at the top of this photo is roughly 3' wide, to give you an idea. These were originally brought in to the shop at Father's Day gifts a couple years ago and have done so well, they now keep them year round.

CODA
355 W 19th St
(713) 864-4411


CODA is packed full of fun entertaining gifts. These aprons go back to the whole "King of The Grill" notion.

Eco-friendly and Dad-ish, these drinking glasses are made from exactly what they look like they're made from- beer bottles. There are also non-alcoholic versions from soda bottles and wine glasses.

One Green Street
3423 White Oak Dr
(281) 888-9518


These great hankies are sold at OGS and made by another local business, Paule Hewlett's Beyond Her. Paule also makes incredible knit scarves, tank dresses, and dish towels. Buy yourself a little something while you're at it! Double local shopping whammy!

These stainless steel wallets are pretty funky, too. If they're at OGS, you can bet they have a cool story about how they're upcycled!

Artist made key chains are a nice token gift if Dad doesn't already have a lanyard made by his kiddo (like mine does).

While at One Green Street, you can also check out their great line of men's skin care and buy some fresh coffee beans roasted by Boomtown Coffee. Another double Heights shopping prize!

Heights Vinyl
3122 White Oak Dr
(281) 974-1234

Is Dad a rocker, or just nostalgic? Heights Vinyl has cool headphones and turntables. 
Tons of records--- if he doesn't want to listen to vinyl, 
his fave record can still make cool wall art!
They also carry a lot of band t-shirts, 
although they are sold out of the "I'm not moving to Austin" shirt.

Hello Lucky
1025 Studewood St

(713) 864-3556

I didn't actually go in to Hello, Lucky yesterday 

because my husband has about a dozen t-shirts from there.
I had to share this HL Facebook photo though, 

because if Dad doesn't have one of these bad boys, he needs one!
Saw a guy at the Galleria in one a couple weeks ago and it brought a huge smile to my face.
They come in kiddo sizes and women's cut as well.

Did you find something fun or creative for Dad in the Heights? Share in the comments!