Menu for the Future


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Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead

Posted by Nancy KS on January 30, 2013 at 11:55 AM Comments comments (50)

Screening of the Film:

Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead

Tuesday, March 12th from 6:00-8:30pm


CornUcopia Place Community Kitchen (7201 Kinsman Rd. Cleveland 44104)

Community Partner: Menu For the Future (Sustainable Cleveland 2019)

About the Film: 100 pounds overweight, loaded up on steroids and suffering from a debilitating autoimmune disease, Joe Cross is at the end of his rope and the end of his hope. In the mirror he saw a 310lb man whose gut was bigger than a beach ball and a path laid out before him that wouldn't end well- with one foot already in the grave, the other wasn't far behind. FAT, SICK & NEARLY DEAD is an inspiring film that chronicles Joe's personal mission to regain his health.

With doctors and conventional medicines unable to help long- term, Joe turns to the only option left, the body's ability to heal itself. He trades in the junk food and hits the road with juicer and generator in tow, vowing only to drink fresh fruit and vegetable juice for the next 60 days. Across 3,000 miles Joe has one goal in mind: To get off his pills and achieve a balanced lifestyle.


Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead Trailer


Special $7 combos will be sold next door at the Bridgeport Cafe. This event is FREE and open to the public. Parking is FREE. No childcare will be provided.

Purpose of the REELTalk Film Series:

The purpose of the REELTalk Film Series is to increase community awareness from within and promote understanding of how our health is affected by physical, social and emotional conditions. These health factors are inextricably linked and can affect how we work, live, play and lead in our communities. The outcomes of this series will raise awareness and promote understanding by watching a handful of exciting films that examine "health" from the perspective of "what we eat and why ". The films will showcase these conditions and what can be done to improve overall health, not just as individuals, but as a collective community. Each film will be followed by small group conversations fostering dialogues generating citizen action.

Questions? Contact Neighborhood Leadership Institute

Phone: 216-658-1355

Email: [email protected]

Join Our Mailing List!

Neighborhood Leadership Institute

5246 Broadway Avenue

Cleveland, Ohio 44127



SOMO Leadership Lab

Posted by Nancy KS on October 19, 2012 at 11:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Menu for the Future and SOMO Leadership Lab are partnering for an event on November 7th, 6:00-9:00 pm with an Intro to positive psychology and The Science of Food on Mood.  After the SOMO introductions, nutritionist Rebecca Wallack will talk about how food affects your mood and Nancy King Smith will introduce the Menu for the Future project.  Details are at:

Kick-off Supper for Conveners, Oct. 18th

Posted by Nancy KS on October 11, 2012 at 11:50 AM Comments comments (0)

If you are interested in learning more about convening a Menu for the Future group you are invited to attend a Kick-off supper at Le Petit Triangle, 1881 Fulton Ave. in Ohio City on October 18th, 5:30 pm.

Please RSVP to [email protected] by Oct. 15th.

Hough Cafe/Sandwich Shop

Posted by Nancy KS on September 19, 2012 at 9:35 AM Comments comments (0)

The Menu for the Future group that met at Thurgood Marshall Recreation Center this summer raised the question   through the discussion that there was no place in the area that they could a cup of coffee or an sandwich.  That mobilized them to action to find an abandoned bank building owned by the City across the street that could probably be available and to start making plans as to how in can be renovated. Additionally, the Director of Thurgood Marshall Recreation Center is supportive of starting a community garden and a training program for cafe workers.  There's a lot still to be done, but the seed was planted by a Menu for the Future group!

Menu gets Axiom News Coverage

Posted by Peg D on April 25, 2012 at 2:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Regular Clevelanders Seeing Local Food Light

Small group conversations create root system of commitment, action

With its array of homemade goat cheese, pasta made with basil pesto grown onsite, chili with local venison and spicy collard greens, a local food potluck last night captures the difference a growing underground movement around local food is making in Cleveland.

The potluck’s location, Gardens Under Glass, is a story in itself. Situated in Cleveland’s downtown Galleria mall, the core of Gardens Under Glass is a demonstration greenhouse with food grown there now used in some of the food court businesses. It's been credited for helping to revive the once under-utilized mall.

Cleveland has been rated as one of the world’s most visionary cities by Travel and Leisure magazine as a result of that project.

Then there’s the fact the potluck was held at all.

Clevelanders talk local food.

Capping off six weeks of small group conversations around food, it was intended to be a celebration of what the more than 30 people engaged in these conversations have learned, and the new micro-communities they’re beginning to create.

Perhaps most powerful is how these conversations are sparking change at the citizen level, as people shared at last night’s event, says champion for the effort Nancy King Smith.

A young couple has been inspired to start growing some food even though they don't have any garden space. So they put buckets of dirt on their balcony and have planted several vegetables.

Someone else has learned more about CSA’s (Community Supported Agriculture), and now he and his family have joined one.

A woman noted that in spite of her busy schedule, she has a new commitment to put time into her food choices and preparation because that’s what’s important to her.

The owner of a local business is now committing to become a City Fresh stop and provide fresh, local, sustainably-grown produce in the Buckeye-Shaker neighborhood.

One urban farmer noted that through these conversations he could “see the light bulbs” of understanding going off for people.

Based on a curriculum developed by the Northwest Earth Institute, called Menu for the Future, the conversations spin out of handbook readings and a set of questions. They have been credited with changing the nature of the food conversation in the community of Port Townsend, Washington.

The goal for the budget-less Cleveland project, relaying entirely on word-of-mouth, is that 50 groups have met by the end of the year, with a farmers’ potluck in the fall to celebrate and share experiences.

“They had a fall potluck in Port Townsend, and people did share some pretty exciting things that they were motivated to do as a result,” says Nancy, noting she’s hoping for a similar experience in Cleveland.

The Menu for the Future movement was sparked at last year’s Sustainable Cleveland 2019 summit, an initiative to turn the city into a world-leader in sustainable practice.

For the initiative, a theme is chosen for each year, with events, education and activities all lifting it up. Local food is the 2012 theme.

The city’s chief sustainability officer, Jenita McGowan, who is the lead connection point on this citizen-driven project, points to Menu for the Future as a favourite example of several highlighting the growth of the local food ecology in Cleveland.

It certainly aligns with what she sees as the greatest possibilities for the local food movement in the city in 2012, which is “lots of unsolicited comments from regular Clevelanders around the fact that their city is a leader in local food, that they’re proud about it and know how to participate in it.”

For more on Sustainable Cleveland 2019, click here.

Lakewood Observer News Coverage

Posted by Peg D on April 25, 2012 at 11:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Menu For The Future—Serving Up Community Dialogue

The Menu for the Future project is involving Lakewood residents in learning about and discussing the issues affecting their daily food choices. The expected outcome is to create more literate consumers, which in turn will drive sales of local, healthy food. The program is based on a six-week course developed by the Northwest Earth Institute that involves selected readings and self-facilitated discussion. It is part of the Local Food Celebration Year for Sustainable Cleveland 2019.

In September of 2011, a working group came together at the Sustainable Cleveland 2019 Summit and set a goal to get as many groups as possible to use the Menu for the Future course within their faith community, organization, business or neighborhood during 2012. About a dozen pilot groups, with a farmer or food producer in each one, are meeting in February and March, and plans are in motion to scale up during the remainder of the year.

The course, designed for groups of eight to twelve participants, is based on a source book of readings that includes directions for self-facilitation by the groups for guided conversation about our food systems. The course has been successfully used in Port Townsend, WA, where they ran 25 simultaneous courses with a farmer or food producer in each course (most groups were ten to fifteen people). It changed the nature of the conversation about food in the town and established relationships between producers and consumers that have been of economic as well as personal benefit.

The course is designed to educate and to inspire people to move to action based on that information. With readings from a variety of sources including Michael Pollan, Wendell Berry, Frances Lappe and Barbara Kingsolver, it

  • Explores food systems and their impact on culture, society and ecological systems.
  • Offers insights into agricultural and individual practices that promote personal and ecological well-being
  • Challenges participants to consider their role in creating or supporting sustainable food systems.

The Lakewood Public Library has ordered five copies, and books can be purchased for $20, a special Cleveland rate. Currently groups are meeting in a variety of settings and geographic areas: River's Edge, Carnegie West Library, the Galleria, the Catholic Diocese Headquarters, Preterm, Gates Mills Library, Unitarian Universalist churches in Shaker Heights, Akron and Kent, and a Hudson Ecumenical group. The pilot groups and interested conveners will hold a celebration potluck at the Galleria on April 19th. Additional groups will launch in April and May, including a group at the Lakewood Public Library. Anyone interested in convening a group (no special expertise needed) or joining a group should contact [email protected] or call 216-264-0181.

Celebration Potluck

Posted by Peg D on March 9, 2012 at 1:05 PM Comments comments (1)

On April 19, 2012, members of the first round of the Sustainable Cleveland Menu for the Future courses will gather to enjoy good food and to share experiences and learnings that have come from participating in the course.  We'll also talk about how we will roll out the Menu for the Future project duringthe Celebration Year for Local Food.





Posted by Peg D on February 25, 2012 at 8:55 AM Comments comments (0)

On January 10, 2012, the pilot group of Menu for the Future discussion group facilitators met along with local farmers to kick-off this effort.