Looking around at our rain-drenched landscape, it strikes me that this transition time from winter to spring speaks eloquently about the cycles of life: Some plants are decomposing or resting as others are poised to leap forth with new vigor.
Joy Moore, cooking and gardening instructor at the Berkeley Independent Study (BIS), is touring me around the school’s garden. In this outdoor classroom, she has unfurled her passions into a second career after retiring in 2007 from Berkeley’s Department of Public Health and completing the UC Santa Cruz farm and garden apprenticeship in ecological horticulture. Young people at BIS are now thriving under her program.
“This is what it’s all about,” she says as we peer into the worm bin. I see the team of red wigglers crawling into and through an autumn pumpkin in about stage nine (of ten) in the decomposition process. Lifting the upper tier of the bin, Moore indicates a dark liquid the worms give off as they eat the decomposing vegetable matter. “Black gold,” she calls it, explaining how the inky juice will nourish the garden and help the plants grow in the same way that the good food her students cook from the plants nourishes their bodies and helps them grow up strong and healthy.
The visit was a follow-up on contributions to this issue by two of the youngest journalists Edible East Bay has ever had the pleasure of hosting in its pages. Eighth grader Sami Mirza wrote the feature story on page 20: a must-read about his teacher Ms. Moore and the BIS garden. Oliva Vigo, just graduated from her own high school independent study program, documented two stories with her photography. One of those photos won the coveted cover position. It’s safe to say that several of us who work on this magazine are … well … in one or another of the black gold stages of our careers, so having these two young people join us here is notable. Look for more from Olivia and Sami later this year.
Spring is a great time to get out and do the things that most inspire you. Perhaps seeds for some of that inspiration will come from these pages.
Cheryl Angelina Koehler