KANSAS CITY, KAN. ----- When Carolyn Marks started the Naturally Designed program just more than a year ago, she never thought it would turn into something that students, faculty and staff at Kansas City Kansas Community College would actually ask about.
“Naturally Designed got started in August 2013 when I decided to prepare fresh salads and other healthy foods in the Intercultural Center for free,” said Marks, the KCK Green Market Manager, farmer and student at KCKCC. “It was only a matter of time before a crowd of people would show up not only to taste the fresh vegetables, but they were interested and eager to learn how to prepare such good food.”
Naturally Designed meets every week from noon to 1 p.m. in the Intercultural Center on the KCKCC campus. It is a non-profit organization that is open to not only students, staff and faculty but community members as well.
Marks focuses on a variety of subjects including how to can vegetables, making homemade skin and hair products and how to make soap with ingredients such as flowers, fruit, poppy seeds and lemongrass. Those who attend Naturally Designed also have the opportunity to learn how to grow their own fruits and vegetables with the help of a student garden, located within the Kansas City Community Garden.
“The goal of Naturally Designed is to utilize your natural environment by growing, investing and educating ourselves and others in an organic/natural way,” Mark said. “It is not limited to producing organic products, but making healthy recipes, for consumption and/or daily use.”
Marks said Naturally Designed includes “all kinds of organic and natural head-to-toe” experience.” She said the group is even working on its own line dance called the “Intercultural Center Slide,” and the group prepares food for the monthly “Jazz by the Lake” music series.
“We talk about things such as gardening, preserving and future and present campus or community efforts/contributions,” she said. “We also have a healthy topic of the week (i.e. bee pollen and its benefits on allergies) as well as short and long term goals and green, global up-to-date information (Ebola etc.).”
Marks said she thinks the group has become so popular in the last year because of the increasing number of illnesses and recalls on both produce and meats. She said more and more people are interested in living and eating healthy.
“I grew up with parents and grandparents (her grandmother is 95-years-old and still healthy) that practice natural/organic life skills. What I know you cannot buy or learn from a book. My knowledge has been passed on from generation to generation in my family, she said. “Wyandotte County has a high level of obesity. I am teaching folks how to make nutritional and healthy lifestyles choices. When students and the community are healthier they actually perform better.”
For more information, contact Carolyn Marks at firstname.lastname@example.org. Information is also available on the Naturally Designed Facebook page www.facebook.com/pages/Naturally-Designed/515901491878294. Information is also available by contacting the group’s advisor, Jared Hill, at email@example.com or by calling 913-288-7375.