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Northside Planning Council - NPC

Editor’s Column: Oct./Nov. 2016

By Abha Thakkar

It’s astonishing to me that it’s the end of September. We have been so overwhelmingly busy for the last nine months — we’ve added significant new programs, our staff has grown and our volunteer base has expanded — I’m a little shell-shocked. 

I have been acutely sick for the last two months, dealing with gallbladder surgery and a set of newly discovered food intolerances that had been making me mysteriously ill for four years. I am now — absurdly — a gluten free, soy free vegan who can eat practically nothing created in the FEED Kitchens or through the FEED Bakery. But I am also grateful to be on the road to health. Even more significantly, my time away has allowed me to see the people I work with in a renewed light, to be struck by their generosity, their wisdom, their fierce commitment, their grace and compassion.

To start, Adam Haen, our kitchen manager, was the only staff person working out of FEED for the first 20 months it was open. He gave of his time, his heart and, often, his sanity (grin) so FEED could support its many startup businesses. Last year, Chris Brockel brought support to Adam in the kitchen and to NPC as a grantwriter. He also brought Joe Mingle and Mark Thomas to NPC through Healthy Food For All, a program that I couldn’t be more proud to house, as they process 100,000 pounds of rescued food this year for people who need it most.

Anyone outside of FEED has absolutely no concept of what Martee Mikalson does for everyone there, every day -— almost entirely for free. Her vast expertise in commercial food production is unparalleled. She works harder than anyone I’ve ever known, and she reveals her heart every time she interacts with our FEED Bakery Training students, many of whom face the specters of homelessness, joblessness and the lack of health insurance. Martee refuses to let anyone fall through the cracks.

Lisa Wiese, our board chair — along with having deep experience and wisdom in community organizing — always, always stands up to help when an emergency arises. One phone call is all it takes. The same goes for her husband, Chris Moore.

You’ll see that Lauri Lee wrote a large number of articles for this issue — as a volunteer — and not at my request. But there was news to be covered, and she took it upon herself to do it. She was our lead on the Northside Business Walk, our cover story. She has her hands in everything Northside.

This year Pat Butler took on the coordination of the Northside Grocery Shuttle and joined the boards of NPC and Willy Street Co-op. She knew the shuttle was a lifeline for the most vulnerable people in our community, and she treated each passenger with the utmost care and respect.

I work with board members, volunteers and staff who constantly raise their hands when something needs to be done. Rita Lord continues to volunteer as Northside News submissions manager. Christine McFadzen has taken on our Community Suppers initiative. Renee Walk is the co-chair of OSCAR, the citizen group that will be promoting a public input process on the Oscar Mayer redevelopment. Our treasurer Jill Jokela digs deep into our finances to keep us on track. David Wilder has made us better fundraisers. Eli Woyke helps us understand our legal affairs. Steven Potter, Fatou Ceesay, Kyle Sydow, Fred Dean, Karin Cretney, Sharon Lezberg, Oona Mackesey-Green, Erika Spahn, Ishmael White, Tyone Gholson, Jim McLaughlin, Kasiya Phiri, Phillip Thomas, Kelly Warren and Terrie Anderson. They are just a few of the North Stars hard at work for you.

Northside Planning Council

The mission of the Northside Planning Council is to improve the quality of life and foster equity on the Northside through community organizing and economic development.

Our Major Initiatives

Northside Economic Development Coalition

Northside Economic Development Coalition