The Great Outdoors

Where to Eat and Drink Alfresco Story and photos by Meredith Pakier It’s hard to imagine a time when parklets and bistro table–dotted sidewalks were not an integral part of East Bay street life. Here are some outdoor spots I hope will stay as restaurants return to full capacity. In September 2020, a devastating fire…

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Meet the Harvest Made Market Cart

No more aching arms and squashed strawberries By Rachel Trachten     Have you seen someone like me at your local farmers’ market—a bedraggled shopper with an overloaded bag on each arm and a bulging backpack bringing up the rear? Even as I’m leaving the market, I can’t help making one last impulse purchase, stuffing…

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Zero-Waste Warriors and Art Activists Do Battle with Plastics

If Wishes Were Fishes Untangling the plastics problem during the pandemic An interview with Martin Bourque, Executive Director of the Ecology Center No amount of wishing has made the pandemic depart our shores, nor will it do away with the plastics polluting our planet. Can the East Bay, a stronghold of environmental action, make headway…

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Getting to Fair Share with Town and City Permaculture

“Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted and thoughtful observation rather than protracted and thoughtless labor; and of looking at plants and animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single product system.” —Bill Mollison, Introduction to Permaculture Photo: Rachel Stanich Getting to Fair Share…

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School & Community Garden Check-In

Vallejo People’s Garden founder Vilma Aquino harvests grape leaves to use for dolmas. Aquino welcomes volunteers who want to help out with garden chores. What’s been happening around the East Bay? By Rachel Trachten | Photos by Rachel Stanich   In March when everything shut down, school and community gardens were in full spring swing.…

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CoCo San Sustainable Farm

Jumping Through Hoops   Research psychologist Carolyn Phinney managed to convince government agencies, local businesses, and garden experts to help her transform barren industrial land into a thriving community farm. Photo by Frank J. Sulloway   How a psychologist/activist built a farm for the community on Contra Costa County Sanitary District land By Rachel Trachten…

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Dig Deep Farms

Digging Deeper for Better Food Access and Better Health     Alameda County officials hope this food hub and urban farm project becomes a national model Story and photos by Austin Price   On East 14th Street in the East Bay community of Ashland, a garden sits inconspicuously between a clothing store, a liquor store,…

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Takeout for the cause

  Resistance Is a Loaf of Babka   Story and photos by Meredith Pakier   It’s not news that, this year, the restaurant and hospitality industries have been caught in the crosshairs of a public health crisis, forced to make difficult decisions—to restructure, lay-off staff, or close completely. In the midst of this mounting uncertainty,…

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Port Perks Pop-up Market

No Grocery Store? No Problem!   Parker (left) and Kramer Collins get the pop-up market ready for customers.   Port Costa’s Port Perks pop-up market fills the bill … at least for now   By any description, the tiny town of Port Costa, California, (pop. 186) is a unique spot in the largely urban East…

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More Favorite Food Boxes

Pre-packed food boxes for contactless pickup/delivery are trending all over—even with the USDA! Nearly every restaurant with takeout is looking into adding a pantry that includes a box of produce assembled to help support their farmer-vendors as well as to keep their own workers busy. We’re also seeing plenty of ways to add a donation…

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