California Hotel Fall Update 2013



New residents continue to move into the California Hotel and are getting to know the garden. As of last week, four floors of the hotel are completely full, nearly tripling the number of residents interacting with the garden space. What does this mean for People’s Grocery? We'll have even more opportunities to provide what we do best: a beautiful space where neighbors can find peace of mind; a safe, nurturing and peaceful place for California Hotel resident to interact with other neighborhood families. “Flavas of the Garden”, our weekly cooking demonstration and community meal, has been especially exciting as both new and old residents share stories over their delicious, fresh, and garden made/prepared food.

At one Flavas of the Garden meeting, several blenders and other kitchen supplies were given to new residents so they could prepare the fresh and local ingredients from their growing garden in their own kitchens. Hearing the residents share their struggles and achievements was incredibly moving. We're looking forward to a fall season full of new relationships, continued learning, and more chayote squash than we know what to do with!


The cob oven and aquaponics system are inciting “oohs” and “aahs” from our visitors. The cob oven is operating magnificently; we’ve been making fresh, garden vegetable pizzas for events! Making an entire meal, start to finish, using only resources from the garden demonstrates closed-loop systems at their finest. 

Trevor (of Rising Tide Aquaponics) has completed the set up of our new aquaponics system. The system consists of a 350 gallon round tank with a crawfish, catfish, and Koi community. The fish produce a lively and healthy ecosystem, eating algae produced in the tank. The fish are fed organic pellets, and after digesting and excreting the remains, organic nutrients from fish poop is then filtered through a pipe system which relays those digested nutrients to the plants. The plants absorb the nutrients and in return the filter minerals to the fish. This water nourishes green and red peppers, strawberries, chocolate mint, sage, and greens. With worms, chickens, bees, and the new aquaponics system, the garden is great example of nutrient cycling.





The YMCA has toured through the garden throughout the summer and helped to plant and feed the animals in the garden. The kids really enjoyed learning about the unique plants we grow, such as black tomatoes and pepino dulce. They were also very excited when they spotted a crawfish crawling around the aquaponics pool. One young boy tried to excitedly tell his friends, "There's a lobster!" despite their disbelief!




The Freedom Farmers Market, a new West Oakland farmer’s market, is putting down roots on the intersection of San Pablo and Market. Our very own Larry Davis holds it down every week with plant starts, produce, clothing, and his great tunes. The market organizes with the Black Farmers Network to connect Black farmers to urban markets. Starting August 31st, the market will take place every Saturday from 9am to 2pm.

We hope to see you all on October 5th at our Fall Harvest Festival! We will have our Annual Fall Plant Sale at the festival, selling starter plants to the community and helping people to begin their own gardens! Over the past month we’ve been seeding and starting hundreds of plants to prepare for this awesome event. Some special choices have been mustard, herbs such as dill and cilantro, and of course, greens. It should be a great day of providing food and connections, music, garden resources, activities, community support, workshops and, of course, plants.


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