By Sarah Henry
Just around the corner and down the street from where I live on a stretch that includes liquor stores and the dodgy characters who frequent such places, you’ll find Spiral Gardens, a slightly disheveled verdant oasis on a fenced in corner of a formerly empty city lot.
It’s a welcome addition to the neighborhood. For the past six years in this location, the community food security project has developed a four-pronged approach to reaching low-income residents, particularly people of color, on the southwest side of Berkeley. The nonprofit is home to a nursery chock full of edible starts and trees, culinary and medicinal herbs, and California native plants for folks who want to grow their own food. Nursery sales help fund other programs the group offers.
Across the street the urban garden center’s community farm is full of summer bounty, such as tomatoes, greens, and amaranth, in one large collective plot that everyone works on together. Around half the harvest is given free to people in need, such as the homeless and elderly, the remainder is distributed among the volunteers who help the garden grow. There’s a pen with chickens and ducks too.
The organization runs the cheapest produce stand in town; every Tuesday afternoon it offers organic greens, fruit, eggs (supplied by a local jewelry store owner who raises hens), and such from the usual farmers’ market suspects at cost. Note to local readers: The stand serves all comers and appreciates those of means rounding up or kicking in a little extra to support the program.
Read full post at Civil Eatswe could do, it just takes resources.