Author Archives: Mary Flaherty
Berkeley schools’ nationally recognized cooking and gardening programs are about to lose funding – once again. But, unlike last year, no last-minute reprieve of federal funds is expected.
Schools representatives met with about 120 parents last Thursday night at Longfellow Middle School to explain why the programs are set to lose $1.9 million of U.S. Department of Agriculture funds, and what potential solutions are being developed.
Every public school in Berkeley — from pre-school to high school — currently has either a cooking program or an edible garden, with 10 schools having both. A series of videos shown at Thursday’s meeting — kindergarteners working with knives and graters, kids watering in the garden and stuffing their mouths with greens — shows just what is at stake. … Continue reading »
The abandoned chickens appeared one afternoon in December, in the parking lot near Tilden Park’s Little Farm. Nine of them, right next to the bus stop. Whoever dumped them had sprinkled feed on the ground, and apparently hoped the Little Farm would adopt them. Not so.
“It’s as much as I can do to keep these animals clean, alive and fed,” said the man known as Farmer Stanley, gesturing to the chickens, cows, sheep and pigs he has taken care of at the farm for more than a decade.
At least two of those abandoned chickens became dinner for the local wildlife, judging by the piles of feathers found on the ground, said park staff. They think – or at least hope – that some of the chickens were adopted, in response to an ad posted, because a bunch disappeared all at once.
The month before the chicken-drop, it was a white bunny, left in a cage at the same spot. Last summer there were five kittens. … Continue reading »
City Slicker Farms, an urban farming group in West Oakland, has bought its own land, and expects to dramatically increase its output of leafy greens, vegetables and fresh eggs for local residents.
With its five existing gardens, the organization sold a total 9,000 pounds of food in West Oakland in 2012. Since its founding in 2001, the yield has been 72,000 pounds of food.
But, with the new expansion, City Slicker expects to double the amount of food it grows, according to Barbara Finnin, the organization’s executive director.
About 120 supporters – and a half-dozen geese — gathered at the groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday Jan. 31 in what’s currently an empty, grassy lot at the corner of Peralta and 28th St., not far from the MacArthur Maze. … Continue reading »
A new initiative, spearheaded by Berkeley’s Edible Schoolyard Project, aims to put beehives in the city’s three middle schools by next spring.
King Middle School’s one-acre garden, home to the Edible Schoolyard, has already jumped in having acquired a hive of Russian bees six weeks ago, under a program the organizers named Bee Experimental Education in Schools (BEES).
The idea, said Edible Schoolyard Director Kyle Cornforth, is to extend King’s existing hands-on gardening and cooking education to include learning about pollination. … Continue reading »