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Ola Ronke's picture

10 years ago some friends and I got together and decided to start our own school. Thinking back on it, it now feels somewhat radical and surreal. It was bold, since none of us were actually professional educators at the time. We were just new parents who shared a passion and respect for progressive thinking, self-determination and revolutionary ideas. We were also blessed with the good fortune of having children who were all in the same range. None of us were ready to send our 3-5 yr olds out into the world officially, but we wanted the support and participation of others to care for them. Also the phase of socialization was quickly approaching, and our babies needed a crew of their own, so we took a leap of faith and gave them one. To this day, I know this group is one of the best things I’ve ever been a part of, as it established a foundation for my daughter (and my parenting) that will last a life time.

We had monthly meetings, potluck of course, were we discussed everything from the purpose of education, curriculum development and our goals, to potty training, gender “roles”, nap time, hygiene habits and discipline. Each parent, family and even child brought something of value to our conversations, and regardless of whether or not we saw eye to eye, we moved forward together, trusting each other with our most precious creations. We were a true cooperative, in that every person in the collective played a vital role in the success of its existence. We took turns with the limitless duties that were required of us and all reaped the rewards. Every mother was a Mama, every father a Baba, to ALL the children. We developed lesson plans rooted in compassion, critical thinking and cultural pride. I spent a year as head teacher, which meant I had the pleasure of spending my days with six four year olds. When we went out on field trips, I literally claimed them all as my own tots,to the public’s dismay and confusion. I'm happy to say, my daughter is still close to the friends she made in this collective, and all of the adults still make it a point to stay connected. Our children are now teens, but our community thrives on and for this I am extremely grateful.

Potluck – a gathering of people where each person or group of people contributes a dish of food prepared by the person or the group, to be shared among the larger gathered group. Synonyms include: potluck dinner, spread, Jacob’s join, Jacob’s supper, faith supper, covered dish supper, dish party, bring and share, shared lunch, pitch-in, carry-in, bring-a-plate, dish-to-pass, fuddle.

To me nothing symbolizes the concept of community more than the potluck meal. A non-hierarchal feast whose beauty is based in the sum of its parts, each one as significant as the next. There is no main course, just meals made by people gathering in purpose, on purpose. Every one brings something and each contribution is worthy. Chances are if you are a member of a club, organization, church, or community circle of any kind you have attended and contributed to your fair share of potluck meals.  Chances are you have your signature meal which folks tend to assume, and hope you will bring to the food table.  For instance, I have a friend who makes a kick ass vegan mac and cheese, another who bakes melt in your mouth type cookies, both eagerly devoured whenever we gather. Mine is my kale salad. 

These days when it comes to the world of healthy eating and “super foods” kale often feels over exposed and over appreciated, but the fact remains, kale has tons of nutritional value especially when eaten raw, and this specific recipe has always been a crowd pleaser. Its refreshing, quick and easy to make. Also the beauty of this kale salad is the longer it sits the better it tastes. Unlike spinach or lettuce which might get wilted, soggy and sad looking, the kale leaf is thick and hearty so it soaks up all the grapefruity garlicky goodness. You can make it in the morning and its hella delicious by lunchtime!!

Do you have a signature dish that you always bring to potluck gatherings?  If so, please share in the comments. Thanks for reading and happy eating!!


Kale Salad Recipe


All amounts estimated. Feeds approximately two (2) as a main course and four (4) as a side dish.


  • 1 bunch of Black (aka dino or Lacinato) Kale
  • 1 medium sized ripe avocado
  • 1/3 cup of grape tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons of Black olives
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons of sunflower seeds



1. Strip the leaves off the stems.



2. Rinse thoroughly in cold water. Place dry clean kale leaves in deep bowl and drizzle with 5 to 10 tablespoons of the oil of your choice, (I lean towards grape seed oil because I love how light it tastes although it can be expensive, you can also try olive or sunflower.) Massage the oil into the kale leaves, with love and intention. I like to think of the people I am cooking for when I do this. Massage until kale leaves are adequately melted down soft. Upon absorbing the dressing kale leaves will become tender and pliable to the touch, almost as if they’ve been steamed slightly. CAM00080


3. Cut your avocado into chunks, your grape tomatoes into fours, your Black olives in half, and chop up your red onion. I forgot to take a picture of the red onion.

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4. Add all to the kale


5. Now its time to make your salad dressing!!

Salad Dressing Ingredients:

  • juice of one pink grapefruit ( 5 to 7 tablespoons)
  • olive oil (5 to 7 tablespoons)
  • balsamic vinegar (2 to 4 tablespoons)
  • Braggs aminos ( 3 to 5 tablespoons)
  • honey (1 tablespoon)
  • cayenne pepper (1/2 teaspoon)
  • fresh garlic cloves (chopped extra fine)
  • sea salt (1/2 teaspoon)

6. Add elements together in a small bowl and whisk well, taste it as your make it and add more or less of the ingredients to your liking. When its ready, pour it over your vegetables. Throw in your sunflower seeds and toss. Add more dressing as needed!! It looks messy but trusts me it tastes delicious!!



This post originally appeared on Black Magic Woman. It was republished with permission.

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