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Grassroots Graton - Heather Granahan - October 2016


Grassroots Graton - Heather Granahan -  October 2016

by Heather Granahan

Rally Time for a Local Hero!

Cathryn Couch, Founder and Executive Director of the Ceres Community Project has just been named a CNN Hero for her work empowering teens to grow and cook beautiful, delicious and nourishing meals for our neighbors in health crisis. By the time you read this, you may have seen the segment air; if not, check it out on The excitement doesn’t end here, and we all can help this hardworking NPO possibly win a needed monetary prize. Before I tell you how, let me share a very personal why.

Several years ago, I suddenly found myself caring for my late mate as he struggled with cancer. Someone told me about the Ceres Project, and shortly thereafter we began receiving heathy delicious free meals for a few weeks that were a lifesaver for the family as we reeled with the sudden game change and my departure from a high paying traveling job. 

After that huge life transition, I went to work for CAFF, working on behalf of family farmers. I was lucky enough to work on some committees and alliances that included Cathryn Couch, and got to know her drive, passion and astute skills with herding the cats that make up an NPO’s annual cycle. Fast forward to last year with my own crazy diagnosis. I thought of Ceres in our time of need, and a call connected me to wonderful Graton resident Susan Watson who volunteers as a Ceres liaison to set us up to receive some meals and wonderful supplemental foods for a few crucial weeks – grown and prepared by local teens as they learned about healthy food and cooking.

Before that could even commence, Cathryn herself found time in her packed schedule to drop by some soup herself. She laugh/groaned about the early days of delivering meals herself and thanked the heavens for the volunteers that help now. That moment perfectly captured all the love, vision and accomplishment that I admire about the Project. Lately, I was able to refer a neighbor now going through cancer treatments and it makes me smile to see the folks dropping off bags of health and support. 

What could I ever do to help this amazing outfit, other than wish some loving one-percenters to give unto them? Well, here’s my chance, and all of ours. 

Next, by mid-October a CNN team will select 10 of this years’ heroes as finalists. A month-long voting period will follow, and we the public will select the top “hero.” That person will be announced at a star-studded gala in New York City, and his or her nonprofit will receive a large monetary prize.

How can we help? Go to, watch and share the segment. Do the social media boogie, and like-share-comment and all. If you are a hash-tagger, try these: #ceresproject#CNNheroes#healingharvest#cathryncouch.

Most crucially, watch for voting to open. If Ceres makes it into the top ten, we can help them win by voting every day. Get on their newsletter list to receive notifications. Let’s help Ceres and Cathryn get some well-deserved recognition for their heartfelt, tangible community support!

Park Party Reminder

A quick reminder for those that missed it in last month’s column: Join the celebration at the first Annual Graton Park Party, October 2nd, from 2 to 6. This year Graton is on the short list to receive a matching grant from the Sonoma County Open Space District to purchase the land between Shirley, Bowen and Edison streets to be held in perpetuity for a Graton Park, after many years of effort. 

 The party is at Centro Laboral de Graton and on Bowen Street. The theme of this year’s party is “Eat Pie and Dance” – two of the worthiest activities possible. So, get out your recipes and go for the prize! Lots of activities including park design by children, and something about giant bubbles (I do love me some giant bubbles) – and bands including the HubBub Club of course! 

Careful of the Goblins

While Graton is usually a big destination for trick or treaters, this year Halloween falls on a Monday so crowds may be thinner. As in: Maybe we can get away with 4 or 5 bags of candy instead of the 14 pounds we have to buy for weekend Halloweens. I tried to fight the tides with raisin and peanuts – not a fav, imagine – glow sticks (until I couldn’t stand the thought of all the plastic waste) and finally caved. Be careful on your way home from work this 31st as Graton’s “rush minute” will be full of very interesting pedestrians.

Remember, all notices need to get to me no later than the 15th of the month before publication, Email to me at