Archives for posts with tag: groundwork

most of us don’t have to think about where we are going to get our next meal, but living in skid row i see men and women everyday who struggle for just that…food. i love living where i do, if only that it tells me how fortunate i am every single day. i own a loft right next door to the new home of the downtown women’s center (dwc), where women have been going for help and assistance since opening in 1978.

‘the mission of the downtown women’s center is to provide permanent supportive housing and a safe and healthy community fostering dignity, respect, and personal stability, and to advocate ending homelessness for women.’

last year the dwc opened up a shop on the street level called made that sells gifts, pastries, food, teas and coffees. 100% of the proceeds go directly to supporting homeless and low-income women at the dwc.

the teas and coffee are from groundwork, a local downtown roaster.

food comes from room forty, ‘a restaurant without walls’ catering company. pastries are from chinatown’s homegirl cafe (helping formerly gang involved women).

the gifts range from unique ceramics, books about gardening and sustainability, and donated items such as purses, to jewelry, candles, soaps, and journals handmade from the women themselves at the dwc.

i spoke with denise, one of the volunteers since last october and fellow blogger, who told me about her favorite gift: the handmade journals. they take old books, use the pages to decoupage picture frames, and fill the bindings with with fresh blank pages.

i stopped in for a coffee and something for lunch, but also left with a blue denim coach purse i picked out for a very discounted price, just one of the many donated items to the center.

they have enough nicer donated items that can be resold they are soon to open an ‘upscale’ version of a goodwill type store in their original location on los angeles street. although made sells delicious food and wonderful coffee/tea drinks to me, what it has done to put food in my neighbor’s bellies seems more significant, and is only the beginning of what else it provides for these women.

made • 438 s. san pedro st. • los angeles, ca • 90013 

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this morning not only did i find myself without coffee in my cupboard (oh the horror!), but also not much was in my fridge either. thankfully, made, the cafe and gift shop next door at the downtown women’s center has delicious coffee from groundwork, and helped me out with my daily caffeine fix. now i could think about food. i am working the next couple of days and only need a few things to tide me over until i am able to make it to one of the bigger markets this weekend. i just wasn’t going to make the trip all the way to the wednesday market in santa monica. while perusing twitter, sipping on my dirty chai latte, the downtown news tweeted that the pershing square market would be open today between 1130-2p. having never been, i thought this might hold me over for a couple of days, or at the very least, get me out on my trusty steed for a quick ride.

albeit small, it had a decent variety of produce stands, and the gama farms stand even had eggs. often these smaller markets have zero options as far as meat, dairy and eggs, so i was thrilled. in addition to a half dozen eggs, i picked up an onion and garlic. they also had potatoes, citrus, and honey.

the stand next to them had many different greens and herbs, potatoes, daikon radish, some squash, green beans, and even sugar cane.

i was also happy to see arnett farms, which i often hit at the hollywood farmers market, and has some of my favorite citrus fruit. i chose a couple satsuma mandarins, a blood orange and a cara cara orange. why not? it is cold and flu season.

total cost $12.50:

  • 1 head of garlic, 1 red onion, 6 eggs: $3
  • 1 bag of green beans, 1 bag of mixed salad greens: $4
  • 1 bunch of carrots: $2
  • 4 pieces of citrus fruit: $3.50
  • 1 gallon of gas saved by biking: – $4
  • total price for my bounty: $8.50
  • getting out for some much needed fresh air and exercise: priceless.

in a pinch, your smaller local farmers market can be just what you need…get your vittles and save on fossil fuels to boot.

if you live in los angeles county, here is a list of california certified farmers markets in the area. in the greater united states, the usda has this farmers market search available.

as i sit at the starbucks in signal hill waiting for my car to be serviced having a grande drip coffee, i am reminded of a dirty ashtray. many people are aware that i am a snob about many things food related, and coffee is no different. i am often forced to drink swill at work, and obviously in situations like right now, but it also makes me remember just how wonderful coffee can be if made right.

i believe if the beans are good, roasted correctly and brewed just right, coffee is best black. no cream. no sugar. no additives.

several years ago i had to stop by my employer’s house to pick up a check, and he offered to make me a cup of coffee. we had talked about our mutual love of coffee, so i figured it would be good. as it turned out, it was the best cup of coffee i have ever had in my life. i’m kicking myself for not writing down the name of the bean, but i remember them being expensive and for some reason ‘blue mountain’ comes to mind. a quick google search later makes me think this just might be the one.

i am fortunate that there are several independent coffee shops close to where i live downtown, so if i run out of my organic black cat espresso from intelligentsia, i can hop on my trusty steed and head out for a jolt of caffeine nearby.

here are a few non-starbucks options in my hood:

made– located next door at the downtown women’s center. it has a lovely gift shop, some food items from tiara café, and their coffee is quite good.

coffee bar– this place sits smack dab in the middle of hip and happening spring street. the sandwich i had here was pretty good too.

harlem place cafe– their yelp page says they have closed, which if true, is a very sad thing. i must do some recon on this one.

spring for coffee– this tiny place is also on spring street, and although i usually get the coffee to go here, they do have a few tables. on occasion they even have intelligentsia coffee which is a plus.

urth caffé– though they seem a bit corporate, they have organic and fair trade beans, their food is tasty, and their in house baked goods make a perfect compliment to all drinks coffee and tea related.

groundwork– these guys are

one of the very first certified organic coffee roasters in southern california (as well as the largest organic coffee roaster in los angeles), while pioneering sustainable, relationship-based, and organic coffee sourcing.

one can only hope that the next time i bring my car in for service, that there will be some sort of competition to starbucks, and god willing it wont be a coffee bean + tea leaf.

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