Tag Archives: Ecology Center
Officials voted Tuesday night to step up the fight against sugary drinks in Berkeley by boosting public health staffing, helping pay for school nutrition programs and funding grants to help limit the impacts of, and access to, sugar-sweetened beverages.
The Berkeley City Council voted unanimously to allocate $1.5 million from the general fund in the coming fiscal year to those efforts. The vote was in response to a request from a citizen board, the “Sugar Sweetened Beverage Products Panel of Experts,” which has been working since last May to come up with recommendations to guide the city following the successful passage of Measure D, a 1-cent-per-ounce tax on drinks with added sweeteners such as sodas, and energy and coffee drinks.
Read complete Berkeleyside coverage of the soda tax.
Since tax collection began last May, the city has brought more than $1.2 million into the general fund, staff said Tuesday night. Council members said they want to do their best to align any spending plans with tax revenues, though all the money is technically part of the general fund. … Continue reading »
John Byrne Barry has a thing for trash.
Barry lived in Berkeley for 30 years, served on the board of the Ecology Center, and wrote about recycling issues for local publications, including the East Bay Express. But he found the world of recycling so intriguing that he couldn’t get it out of his mind. The result is the recently published mystery (Barry dubs it “green noir”) Wasted, set among the cans, bottles and newspapers Berkeley residents set out on the curb.
In Wasted, Berkeley reporter Brian Hunter investigates the “recycling wars,” finds the body of his friend Doug crushed in an aluminum bale and hunts down the murderer, all the while trying to win the heart of Barb, Doug’s former lover, now a suspect in his murder. Part love triangle, part midlife crisis and part political satire, Wasted also explores themes of reinvention, transition and discarding that no longer serve us.
Barry has two upcoming readings from Wasted. He will be at Urban Ore at 900 Murray St. on Thursday, Oct. 22, at 7 p.m., and at Mo’Joe Cafe at 2517 Sacramento St. on Saturday, Oct. 24, at 3 p.m. Berkeleyside caught up with Barry, who now lives in Mill Valley, to ask a few questions. … Continue reading »
HERB N’ CHICKEN OFFICIALLY OPENS TODAY We’ve got more details on the restaurant moving into the former Source Mini location in Gourmet Ghetto’s Epicurious Garden. Called Herb n’ Chicken, the new spot has been in soft opening this week. Its grand opening is today. Herb n’ Chicken will offer a substantial salad bar, organic Rosie’s rotisserie chicken with eight dipping sauces, and a few other items like French fries with lemon verbena, macaroni and cheese, and marinated tempeh. Herb n’ Chicken is a project from Farm League Design and Management, the team behind Tigerlily, East Bay Spice Company and the Westbrae Biergarten. Farm League’s Joel DiGiorgio told NOSH that the restaurant will offer both grab-and-go signature salad options, including a “Vegan Kitchen Sink” option, as well as a build-your-own menu. Full rotisserie chickens as well as eat-in chicken plates will be available from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Farm League has brought over Tigerlily sous chef Josh Gjersand to manage the kitchen. Herb n’ Chicken is at 1511 Shattuck Ave. (at Vine Street), Berkeley. … Continue reading »
In what appears to be an abrupt reversal, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have released a Berkeley recycling program director from detention.
Daniel Maher, a convicted felon who has lived under threat of deportation to China for nearly 15 years, was released from ICE custody Friday morning after spending over two months in various immigrant detention facilities around California, according to his attorney, Anoop Prasad with the Asian Law Caucus.
ICE detained Maher in early June as part of a broader crackdown on Chinese nationals subject to deportation, and undocumented immigrants with prior serious criminal convictions. Maher, who immigrated legally to the United States from his native Macau when he was just three years’ old, fit both descriptions and was suddenly faced with the possibility that he’d be sent to a country he’s never known. He speaks neither Mandarin nor Cantonese. … Continue reading »
Red Bay Coffee is on a roll. The socially conscious East Bay roaster is working on opening its first café in Uptown Oakland, having exceeded its $80,000 Kickstarter goal last month — the most successful coffee campaign ever on the crowdfunding site, according to Red Bay founder Keba Konte. Shortly afterwards, the startup emerged victorious in a hotly contested race to be the sole coffee vendor at Berkeley’s downtown farmers market — the place Blue Bottle, now a poster child for third-wave coffee, got its start.
In addition, Red Bay has launched a regular coffee popup on Fridays on the patio at Miss Ollie’s in Swan’s Marketplace, following a guest appearance at the Caribbean soul food spot during a shoot with TV star Anthony Bourdain.
It’s no wonder that Red Bay is busting out of the cozy ‘coffee dojo’ which is the heart of the startup’s operations.
“We’re remodeling now,” Konte said of the workspace which he carved out under his Victorian home in Fruitvale to house the company. “We need to maximize the space until we can get proper location.” … Continue reading »
Berkeley nonprofit employee Daniel Maher is being held in detention awaiting a possible deportation to China, where he lived for the first three years of his life, because of a felony conviction from more than two decades ago.
Maher, 41, is the recycling director of the Ecology Center, where he has worked for nearly ten years. He leads a recycling crew and teaches at-risk youth about recycling in the center’s Youth Environmental Academy.
“I have been ripped away from my family and loved ones,” Maher said in a statement read over the phone to Ecology Center Deputy Director Debbie Beyea. Although he was not born here, he said, “I feel as American as anybody else who has felt the satisfaction of contributing to it.” Maher cannot read, write or speak Chinese. … Continue reading »
The coffee options at the Berkeley farmers markets are in flux. Earlier this year, regular vendor Blue Bottle Coffee announced that it would no longer be selling its coffee at Bay Area farmers markets, saying that it wanted to make room for newer, upstart businesses.
In Berkeley, those businesses have turned out to be Red Bay Coffee Roasters and Highwire Coffee Roasters. We received a photo tip on Twitter that the Ecology Center was holding a taste test at the Saturday market between the two Oakland-based coffee companies. The Ecology Center’s Ben Feldman confirmed that both companies were indeed in the running. “Both companies make excellent coffee and we are excited to give one of them an opportunity to sell at our market,” he said in an email. “We expect to have a decision made soon.” … Continue reading »
The Berkeley Unified School District’s beleaguered cooking and gardening program will see a welcome injection of funds as a result of revenues accrued from Measure D, the so-called soda tax, approved by city residents last November.
On Thursday, June 4, a panel appointed to allocate taxes collected from the sugar-sweetened beverage tax recommended $250,000 be advanced to the cooking and gardening program.
It was announced May 18 that the soda tax had raised $116,000 in its first month of operation.
The Berkeley City Council is set to vote to approve the panel’s recommendation by June 30, while the Berkeley School Board is slated to finalize its budget June 10 with the knowledge that the funding is essentially secured. … Continue reading »
EMERYVILLE PUBLIC MARKET TO GAIN TWO NEW RESTAURANTS Emeryville’s Public Market is about to get even more interesting, food-wise. The shopping and dining center added a full line-up of food trucks earlier this year, which will soon be joined by two new restaurants in the market hall portion of the building: Shiba Ramen and KoJa Kitchen. We brought you news of the Shiba Ramen project last week; the fast-casual ramen shop is the brainchild of two ex-chemists who plan on bringing Japanese style service and noodle soups to the neighborhood. KoJa Kitchen will be the second brick-and-mortar location for the Korean-Japanese fusion food truck of the same name. (Its first location is at 2395 Telegraph Ave., at Channing Way, in Berkeley.) “We’re excited to welcome Koja Kitchen and Shiba Ramen to Public Market Emeryville,” said City Center Realty Partners’ Co-Founder Mark Stefan in a prepared statement. “They embody our vision for the new Food Hall — unique purveyors who want to be part of the community.” Shiba Ramen and KoJa Kitchen are both part of a larger renovation project. This first phase includes adding food stalls and reconditioning the existing structure. The second phase of the project, expected to wrap up by this summer, includes installing a living wall, replacing the ball-pit with a new children’s play area, upgrading the entries, and putting up local artwork. Public Market Emeryville is at 5959 Shellmound St., Emeryville. Connect with Shiba Ramen on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Connect with KoJa Kitchen on Facebook and Twitter. … Continue reading »
The federal government awarded one of its first Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive grants to the Ecology Center on Wednesday, which will allow the Berkeley group to greatly expand its program to get fresh fruits and vegetables to people who use food stamps.
The Ecology Center got a $3.7 million, two-year grant, one of more than $31.5 million in grants handed out nationally to assist people in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Mandela Marketplace, in Oakland was the other local recipient. It received$422,500.
“Our goal is to increase the health of Californians by increasing access to fresh fruits and vegetables and to provide additional, sustainable economic development for these pioneering farmers who are at our farmers markets,” said Martin Bourque, the executive director of the 45-year-old Ecology Center. … Continue reading »
Citing safety concerns, the city of Berkeley wants to move Thursday’s North Berkeley farmers market to a location a few hundred feet south-east of its current site on the stretch of Shattuck Avenue that runs between Shattuck Place and Rose Street. The Ecology Center, which runs all of Berkeley’s farmers markets, is resisting the move, saying the proposed new site, on the service road in front of businesses such as Saul’s Deli and Masse’s bakery, presents problems of its own.
Visitors to the market in recent weeks have been asked to sign petitions to lobby to keep the local food stalls where they are.
Discussions about the location and safety of the 11-year old Gourmet Ghetto market, which attracts an average of 1,800 people a week, have been ongoing for many months, according to both the city and the Ecology Center. The talks appear to have reached something of a stalemate, however. … Continue reading »
Fall and winter fruit is officially here! Cold-weather varieties include pears, pomegranates, persimmons, dates, and the most diverse of them all: citrus.
Currently available are lemons, pomellos, grapefruit, and of course, the mandarin orange. This small fruit packs a large flavor, and, despite its popularity, is often mistaken for its descendants: the clementine and tangerine. The latter fruits are actually “cultivars” of the mandarin, meaning they are mandarin oranges that have been bred for a desired trait.. … Continue reading »
From the classic tan butternut squash to the brightly colored sweet dumpling, winter squash come in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. In general, winter squash have tough outer rinds with sweet-tasting inner flesh and are conveniently interchangeable in recipes.
Despite their name, winter squash are harvested during the start of fall, and can last for extensive periods of time without rotting if stored properly. Their long shelf-life and beautiful colors make for charming fall décor.
The most well-known variety of winter squash is the pumpkin, but you’d be best leaving it for carving into a jack o’lantern. Most commercially available pumpkin pie fillings are made not with pumpkin, but other, sweeter, varieties of winter squash.
Winter squash are incredibly versatile. In addition to sweet dishes like pies, they taste excellent baked in savory dishes as well. … Continue reading »