My Friend, Steve Henry’s Death-A Preventable One! MEHKO’s Could Stop The Next One!
By Chef Michael Garahan, CEC
Emporia, KS. June 5, 2023
Steve Henry’s only NFL interception came against Joe Montana, only one day after Devawn Mitchell was released from prison he intercepted Steve’s life.
Devawn Mitchell left the El Dorado, KS. correctional facility on March 17, 2021 after serving 10 months for aggravated assault and aggravated battery. He came back to Emporia, KS. to live with his mother.
During the time Devawn was preparing for his release, Steve and I were at the Emporia, KS. recreation center playing ping-pong. I asked Steve, isn’t this retirement great, he replied, yes it is.
The next day, my wife and I were walking up Lawrence St. towards sixth avenue when I noticed a state police car. Is the president coming through, I asked Bev? When we got to sixth avenue we saw two cars that had been in an accident. It didn’t look to be that very serious, little did I know. We went on our way home.
On March 18, Devawn Mitchell was driving on sixth avenue at a high-rate of speed and hit Steve’s truck, which then spun into a telephone pole and killed him instantly.
Friday, March 19, I arrived at the recreation center for ping-pong and the guys told me that Steve was killed yesterday on sixth avenue.
According to testimony presented by Kurt Kerns, appeal attorney to the Kansas Supreme Court we have “clear evidence that we have fluctuating competence.” The language of his evaluation states “lacks the ability to understand the consequences of his own behavior.” Mr. Kerns was arguing that the trial judge should have ordered a more comprehensive evaluation. Devawn was declared competent to stand trial, and was convicted of first-degree felony murder. He received 554 months for the murder and 39 months for evading police and other charges for a total of 593 months.
Through his World Central Kitchen, fellow chef Jose Andres brings restaurant workers together in a war zone and feeds thousands of those in need.
Chef Andres is a lead advisor to the White House Health, Nutrition, and Hunger initiative. He suggests, we don’t need more meetings of the mind, we just need to feed people!
We’ve done the opposite! SNAP benefits are cut, food prices are soaring, and more of our neighbors are giving up meals to pay other bills.
Meal distribution is up 25% at the food bank I volunteer at in Emporia, KS.
Over the last three years, our country understood the importance of incorporating “immediate solutions”. The fed’s sent money to our bank accounts, states allowed restaurants to sell drinks to-go, and states began permitting those with a high school diploma to be an ’emergency substitute” all with the stroke of a pen.
Adopting Micro Home Restaurants in Kansas with another stroke of the pen we could save another life, reduce food insecurity, and assist homemakers with the childcare dilemma.
Famous Kansas William Allen White wrote, “When anything is going to happen in this country, it happens in first in Kansas.” Source: quotefancy.com
Well, almost on this one.
Kansas does permit a person in a residence to prepare and sell restaurant style meals if they have a separate kitchen attached to the residence. “Except for sales of exempt foods directly to the end consumer, you must have a properly equipped, licensed facility separate from your personal use kitchen to make food for the public or for wholesale.”
In 2018 California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law AB 626, allowing counties to issue permits for MEHKO’s, (Micro Enterprise Home Kitchen Operations).
California began permitting them in June 2019, and there are now over 220 in operation.
The goal of AB 626 was to “support healthy communities and economically empower talented home cooks to attain income self-sufficiency.”
In addition to California and Utah-states that permit Micro Home Restaurants, other states and cities, along with Food Policy Councils are presenting bills, and proposing the adoption of MEHKO’s. (Micro Enterprise Home Kitchen Operations). Many states are also expanding their Cottage Food Laws.
Wyoming cottage food producers may sell shelf-stable foods and foods that require refrigeration. The original Food Freedom Act excluded the sale of all meat products except certain poultry items, but the 2021 expansion allows the sale of homemade food and drink to the maximum extent allowed by federal law.
With our Food System now front-page news, many are beginning to see that Micro Home Restaurants, and updated Cottage Food Laws can be a viable way to help those in poverty, or in need of healthier choice food.
The 2025 Phoenix Food Action Plan wants all residents to have access to healthier choice food within a 1/4 mile of their homes. “Strategy 1 – Incorporate healthy food access into existing and future land use plans with initial focus on designated food desert areas. The development of healthy food assets begins with articulating the importance of
equitable access to healthy food within land use plans, particularly in areas with limited access to healthy food. PlanPHX emphasizes the importance of residents having access to healthy food and sets measures for access within a ¼ walking distance.”
Illinois, Major changes took effect January 1, 2022 due to the passage of the Home-to-Market Act (Public Act 102-0633 amending 410 ILCS 625/4). This law allows certain foods made in home kitchens to be sold directly to consumers with limited regulation.
OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington state lawmaker Representative Noel Frame proposed a bill, (HB 1258) that would create a pilot program allowing the permitting of microenterprise home kitchens.
The bill provides an opportunity to help people get out of poverty, and can help lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and black, indigenous, people of color who may not have as much access to economic opportunity; this bill provides that opportunity.
Food brings the community together and lets them share their identity and culture with customers.
Folks such as senior citizens may not have the ability to cook good food, but may still want to be able to eat it.
The bill could also help those incarcerated to have a job when released from prison. Entrepreneurship helps people. (Opposed) None.
The bill did not advance.
Previous community plans have highlighted the importance of the local foods economy, including the
Manhattan, KS. Urban Area Comprehensive Plan adopted in 2015, which included the following policy
2.10 Consider economic development programs to support small food and farm businesses,
including a low-interest revolving loan fund for local food businesses
2.10.i Ensure that these small business local food economic development programs
are accessible to and benefit Populations of Focus.
In 2017, the Riley County and City of Manhattan, KS. Food and Farm Task Force Council commissioned a food assessment which identified food insecurity, access to food, and food waste and related solid waste as issues to addressed.
One of the major goals was to “make safe, local, and healthy food options more available, accessible and affordable.”
The plan describes the potential benefits of well-designed food system plans can;
“Foster profitable agriculture and food business, support entrepreneurs in agriculture and food, create new jobs and opportunities, increase access to healthy, nutritious foods for all, support skills in gardening and food preparation, protect soil, water, and air quality, reduce food waste, celebrate diversity of food and agriculture in the community, empower all to participate in the food system.”
Encourage home occupations and cottage industries—encourage home-based, information
technology based, entrepreneurial, and other non-traditional business models, such as
“pop up” vendors, business incubators for start-ups, and other “cottage” industries
In a July 2020 telephone conference with Colorado Governor Polis, I, informed him about the success of Micro Home Restaurants, and asked him directly if he would consider it to help the Colorado Food System, he replied “he would”.
In 2022, Georgia introduced a bill, though it did not advance to a vote.
This April I attended a webinar, The Milan Urban Food Policy Pact: Opportunities for cities in North America. On the webinar we heard from Latha Swamy, who is from the New Haven, CT. Food System Policy Division. Latha stated that New Haven is suffering from 25% poverty and 50% low-income rates.
Latha said, New Haven is now looking into Micro Home Restaurants as a solution to poverty.
How can a Micro Home Restaurant prevent further criminal activity?
“Cooking at home, or other places are good for your mental health because cooking is an act of patience, mindfulness, an outlet for creative expression, a means of communication, and helps to raise one’s self esteem as the cook can feel good about doing something positive for their family, themselves or loved ones.” Source: https://www.livekindly.com/7-surprising-ways-cooking-can-boost-your-mental-health/#:~:text=%E2%80%9CCooking%20at%20home%2C%20or%20other,%2C%20themselves%20or%20loved%20ones%2C%E2%80%9D
In Milan, Italy there is a restaurant named InGalera. The restaurant operates inside the Bollate penitentiary, and is open to the public. The prison has a culinary training program, and the inmates go to work in the restaurant.
The program is a huge success, with recidivism rates for those trained and contributing to society around 20%. Normal rates for Italy and America are around 70%.
Let’s Get Cooking For Our Neighbors!
Thank you for taking the time to read about my advocacy.
Michael J Garahan, CEC