“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.” —Margaret Atwood, Bluebeard’s Egg
With spring on the way, I find myself craving those moments when the full regenerative power of nature steps out to smack me with wonder. And while it may seem that I would have to travel out of the city to get that full impact, this issue of Edible East Bay shouts otherwise.
Yes, urban zones, with their cars, concrete, buildings, and barriers, would hardly seem like places where nature could thrive, much less burst out in abundance, but cities are filled with people, and people love to get their hands dirty—they like to see and feel the green pulse in its immediacy.
The big shout in this issue comes from urban (and suburban) places where people come together to grow food and share the bounty for community well-being. Click here to see our inventory of 23 East Bay urban farming organizations (probably not a comprehensive list) where volunteers are invited to come out and garden as a way to help address food insecurity among their neighbors. As you move through the stories, you’ll have able guides in writers Rachel Trachten, a regular contributor, and Mark C. Anderson, a guest from Edible Monterey Bay, who bring you up close with two of those organizations: Fertile GroundWorks and Deep Medicine Circle.
This issue’s recipes wander through the garden and right to the kitchen with two classics shared by local food veterans: Enjoy Barbara Kobsar’s Salmon en Papilotte and Roberta Klugman’s Garden Risotto. You’ll also mingle with nature’s hardworking pollinating honeybees as guest contributors Francine Spiering and Raymond Franssen recreate the garden on a plate in this Hot Honey Beet Roll Spiering also learns about the preservation power of honey from Oakland-based preservation expert Elizabeth Vecchiarelli, owner and founder of Preserved.
An engaging set of plant-based recipes comes with writer Anna Mindess’s recounting of Sitalbanat Muktari’s story. A vegan entrepreneur with Northern Nigerian roots, Muktari found the hidden importance that plant foods hold in her family’s more seemingly meat-forward Hausa culture.
And speaking of spring recipes, we just have to mention that Mustard Madness, our Spring 2022 recipe feature with its full baker’s dozen of recipes, was recently honored with a Best of Edible award. I dare you to cook through the full lucky 13!
Throughout our 19 years of publishing, Edible East Bay has encouraged readers to go out and enjoy the local food scene through tastings, workshops, tours, festivals, films, conferences, and other events. Pre-pandemic, we compiled all such posts here in print, but now we do this more effectively via our e-newsletter. Anyone who joins our mailing list by March 12, 2024, will be automatically entered into a drawing for a pair of free tickets to the California Artisan Cheese Festival, one of many events that newsletter readers will be enticed to in March. Also coming up are the Bioneers Conference and its pre-conference East Bay Urban Foodscape Tour. These are enjoyable ways to get inside views of our local (and wider) food systems and meet inspiring people who are working to make our world more vibrant, healthy, and just.
Now, go out and shout about spring!
Cheryl Angelina Koehler
Editor and publisher