Everything flows and nothing stays fixed.
The principle of change as the only constant in the universe, attributed to Greek philosopher Heraclitus of Ephesus, is stock in trade for a journalist. But nevertheless, I can’t help admiring a seeming constant that for over seven years held steady through our editorial process at Edible East Bay. In February, Helen Krayenhoff, my good friend and loyal collaborator on the magazine, told me that her era of working with this project had come to an end.
Helen’s contributions to Edible East Bay have run wide and deep. Her artistry, wisdom, and ethics informed everything we created together, and I expect will continue to do so into the future, since a shared vision does not necessarily disappear when one of those holding it steps away.
It was her marvelous skill as an illustrator and painter that first brought Helen—literally—to my door in 2006. She was bearing a CD with the artwork for the Berkeley Horticultural Nursery ad, which she still designs every quarter. We found kinship in our devotion to creative pursuits, and I was pleased when she seemed interested in helping me develop the look of the magazine with more original artwork. Through the years, Helen’s own art, along with that of other local artists she sought out, has meant that in one issue after another, we have been able to showcase remarkable local talent. I’ll surely continue this tradition, which has become integral to the magazine.
On meeting Helen, I quickly learned that she also had some special knowledge and experience that would inform a particular aspect of the magazine’s mission of celebrating our local food community. With her partner Peggy Kass, Helen runs Kassenhoff Growers, a business that grows and markets plant starts—vegetables, herbs, and ornamentals—for local gardeners. The good advice Helen has for gardeners has resulted in many inspired articles through the years, with topics from seed saving and beneficial insects to composted manure. She feels strongly that the development of plant varieties needs to be in the hands of farmers who grow good healthy foods for their communities, rather than with large corporations seeking profit in global domination of the food supply.
When Helen was not writing on gardening and farming topics herself, she was finding respected experts to contribute. Since Kassenhoff Growers sells their starts at Oakland’s Temescal and Grand Lake farmers’ markets, Helen has been right in the middle of the farmers’ market community. There and at other places she visits through her work, she is able to keep up with important local food news of all sorts.
Naturally, I will miss Helen and the enormous talent she has brought to the magazine, but as Heraclitus informs us, this is the way of the universe, and inspiration will flow in from other sources.
Plus, I’ll be keeping track of Helen and Peggy’s progress in their new growing space at the decommissioned train station near the Port of Oakland. They have been busting their bums to get it up and running in time to produce the starts for their customers’ 2014 gardening needs. Additionally, this venerable facility has potential that we hope to follow within these pages. Keep your eyes open for an article about Kassenhoff Growers at the train station in our fall issue.
Good luck, Helen, and thank you for all you have given to Edible East Bay!
Cheryl Angelina Koehler,