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May showers bring June flowers in our garden

7 Jun tomatoes

Last time I checked in here about our garden I was harvesting, but out of luck, not work. I had neglected our garden for months, yet it was still somehow producing. I promised myself at the time that I would spend more time in the garden, and I’m happy to report that I’ve kept up with this promise and my work has yielded some wonderful results.

A couple of months ago my wife and I planted a new round of crops – lots of lettuce, pole beans, onions and later on four beautiful tomato plants and a pepper plant. A week or so ago, we added more lettuce and two alpine strawberry plants. Continue reading

Karen Hester: Bites on Broadway – Mobile Fun and Family Fun

3 Jun BitesonBroadwayPoster

This guest post was written by Karen Hester, an events producer who lives in Temescal Creek Cohousing and often cooks dinner for her community of 25 folks. You can subscribe to her event listings by signing up on her website. She is a board member of Destiny Arts Center, a bike enthusiast and loves to eat almost any street food, including fried crickets in Cambodia.

Bites on Broadway is my latest attempt to actually do something about the blight I experience everyday along Broadway, especially between 49th and up to College Avenue. I am an events organizer so it seems natural that the idea of a local homegrown mobile food meetup combined with urban games would excite my interest.

I teamed up with Guerrilla Grub co-owner Elizabeth August whose healthy California comfort food I relish. We come out of the same mold as community organizers. First, identify the issue: lack of healthy affordable food, especially around 45th and Broadway, where fast food is king. Broadway, a main thoroughfare in Oakland that has become the ugly step child of Telegraph, College and Piedmont Avenues, a boulevard no one in the City seems to even remotely pay attention to, except for the few tried and true businesses like Art Tile and Bay Appliances and newbies like Oakland Karate and New Style Motherlode, opening a much needed dance studio once all the City permits are navigated. Continue reading

Alethea Harper: Help chart a course for the future of urban agriculture in Oakland

13 May Peas

This guest post was written by Alethea Harper, the Coordinator of the Oakland Food Policy Council (OFPC), an organization housed at Food First. Alethea holds a Master’s degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of California, Berkeley where she focused on food systems and urban agriculture through her award-winning thesis and a research trip to Latin America.

The Oakland Food Policy Council has identified support for and expansion of urban agriculture (UA) through local policy and coordination as one of our top goals.

Broadly, UA encompasses the cultivation of fruits, vegetables, plants, flowers or herbs, and/or raising animals and livestock in cities. Oakland is already home to a thriving community of urban farmers and gardeners who contribute to our city’s culture, health, environment, and economic vitality.

However, our planning process identified a number of areas where Oakland residents could benefit from clearer, updated, and streamlined local policies related to urban agriculture – especially in our zoning code. Continue reading

Blogs worth reading from Oakland organizations

18 Apr Ella's Voice

I was so excited last week to find out that TransForm had started a blog, and it got me thinking about the other great Oakland based organizations that have blogs. I link to some of them in my blogroll but felt it was worth a post to spread the word about these great blogs:

TransForm – TransForming the Bay Area: The blog is new so it’s hard to know the scope, but judging by its name and TransForm’s mission, it is likely to cover transportation and land use issues in the Bay Area.

Ella Baker Center – Ella’s Voice: Ella’s Voice covers a wide range of issues that the Ella Baker Center works on – the environment, criminal justice, civil rights, and much more. I’ve been following the blog for a while and have enjoyed the mix of story telling, action alerts, and policy updates. Continue reading

Just 2 days left to donate to the Alameda County Community Food Bank’s Frost Bite Fund

30 Mar frozen lettuce

Earlier this month I featured a guest post by the Alameda County Community Food Bank that asked for donations to their Frost Bite Fund. As the post explained:

While the Bay Area was abuzz about the snowfall that wasn’t a few weeks ago, the fresh produce that the Alameda County Community Food Bank relies on was freezing in the fields. We were two truckloads short of food last week (that’s 80,000 pounds), and the impact of the freeze on newly planted crops will be felt well into the summer months.

Continue reading

Alameda County Community Food Bank: Frost Bite

8 Mar students sorting food bank apples

This guest post was written by the Alameda County Community Food Bank, which has been in business since 1985 … with a vision toward a day when we can go out of business. We are the hub of a vast collection and distribution network that provides food for 275 nonprofit agencies in Alameda County. In 2010, the Food Bank distributed 20.1 million pounds of food — 52% of it fresh fruits and vegetables.

While the Bay Area was abuzz about the snowfall that wasn’t a few weeks ago, the fresh produce that the Alameda County Community Food Bank relies on was freezing in the fields. We were two truckloads short of food last week (that’s 80,000 pounds), and the impact of the freeze on newly planted crops will be felt well into the summer months. Continue reading

3000 Broadway

22 Feb 3000 Broadway

One of the reasons my wife and I moved to our neighborhood was because of the promise of Broadway auto row. There were tons of vacant storefronts and whether the Broadway-Valdez planning process moved forward or not, we were confident that more and more of these vacant spaces would fill up with bars, restaurants and retail.

We knew we were in it for the long haul and this process could take years so when I saw this sign on a storefront just two blocks from our house back in October (in the midst of super stressful campaign season) I literally jumped up and down: Continue reading

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