Left Coast Voices

"I would hurl words into the darkness and wait for an echo. If an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight." Richard Wright, American Hunger

Archive for the tag “Berkeleyside”

They Were Robbed

Mi Tierra Foods is a neighborhood grocery at 2082 San Pablo Avenue and Addison, just a block from the busy junction of San Pablo and University in Berkeley. Yesterday, Berkeleyside reported that Jesus Mendez, while bringing cash back from the bank to support their check cashing counter, was robbed at gun point.

Apart from being the consummate local grocery with a combination of staples and fresh produce, Mi Tierra provides an important service for those who cannot access a bank. They help the poorest turn a check for a day’s work into food for their family. They help people who send money back to support their families in Mexico and South America.

Mi Tierra has now been forced to stop this service because of the cash lost in the robbery, but Mendez has vowed to reinstate the service once they have replenished the necessary cash reserves.

WE CAN HELP. Please consider joining me and making a point this weekend of going to Mi Tierra and buying some of your weekly groceries. For free parking turn on Addison and there is a car park. See the beautiful mural as you then walk to the store entrance.

Mi Tierra is there for us, whether we need that checking service, to pick up something we forgot at the bigger groceries, or need that special ingredient for a Mexican dish. They are the consummate neighbor, an integral part of Berkeley.

This weekend, be a good neighbor, and join me in supporting them by buying groceries there. Pass this blog on or tell your friends. Make sure you let the staff know why you came. Let them know Berkeley cares.

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Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist (now available on Kindle) and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Foundation, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at http://www.alonshalev.com/

 

The owners

Spiral Gardens: A Call to Action

I am stealing this from the Berkeleyside listserve. I don’t have time tonight to post a blog and this really hits me. I have a blog post ready for the end of November (a week of food justice posts) about Spiral Gardens, where I love volunteering. The produce is sold in an area of low income far cheaper than the farmers markets, and is situated in a neighborhood where there are few options to buy fresh produce. Profits benefit low income senior citizens nearby. Please consider buying some of your produce there on Tuesday late afternoons.


Here is the Berkeleyside post:

Like many nonprofits, it took a while for the downturn in the economy to impact the nursery sales at Spiral Gardens, a community food security project on Sacramento Street in South Berkeley.

But this spring and summer plant sales dropped off dramatically, says co-director Lisa Stephens, and now the nonprofit may be forced to close its weekly produce stand if an infusion of funds is not secured quickly.

The all-volunteer organization is making a direct appeal to residents (striking black and yellow fliers can be found at farmers’ markets around town and at the group’s headquarters).

The gardens are a bright spot in a neighborhood that has seen a spate of violent crimes in recent months, including yesterday’s homicide.

The weekly produce stand offers locally grown, organic produce at cost in a neighborhood where corner liquor stores filled with unhealthy products are a mainstay.

While the stand is geared toward serving low-income residents, it welcomes all comers and only asks that consumers who can afford to pay a little extra when shopping for good quality produce do so.

Still, the Tuesday market, which runs from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m., typically runs at a loss. Up until now, the stand has been subsidized by plant sales.

Stephens says the group needs to raise about $10,000 in the next few months to keep the produce stand afloat. The organization’s operating costs run about $4,000 a month.

To meet their goal the group is running a raffle that will be drawn on the winter solstice (December 21). Prizes include a month’s worth of weekly produce, Ecology Center memberships, a $100 gift certificate from Blue Wind Botanical Medicine Clinic, and posters and books from Inkworks Press.

Readers who want to show their support can send donations to: Spiral Gardens, 2830 Sacramento Street, Berkeley, CA 94702, or swing by the produce stand and pick up some raffle tickets along with their greens.

The nursery is also looking for garden equipment donations to replace aging gear.

The executive director of Spiral Gardens, Daniel Miller, was the subject of a recent Berkeley Bites.
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Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist (now available on Kindle) and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Foundation, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at www.alonshalev.com

 

 

 

Pat Cody, co-founder of Cody’s Books, dies

I just saw this announcement and wanted to share it before running off to work. I have taken a few paragraphs from the Berkeleyside edition (please click on the link for the full article) by Frances Dinkelspiel.

Pat Cody, who along with her husband Fred, built one of Berkeley’s most beloved institutions, Cody’s Books, died Thursday, Sept. 30 at 87.

Pat, who was born in New London, Connecticut in 1923, was getting her master’s degree in economics at Columbia College when she met her husband, Fred. The pair married in 1946 and lived in England and Mexico City, where they were part of a lively expatriate community.

“They attended social gatherings at the home of Frieda Kahlo and Diego Rivera, and met luminaries like Pablo Neruda, who declared that Pat’s lemon meringue pie was the best he ever had!” according to her son, Anthony Cody.

The couple moved to Berkeley in 1956 and opened Cody’s Books in a small storefront on the north side of campus. They later moved it to a gleaming modern store on Telegraph and Haste on the south side of campus. Cody’s, along with Kepler’s Books in Menlo Park, was one of the first bookstores to carry a large selection of affordable paperbacks. Most stores at the time only held expensive hardcover books. Cody’s became immensely popular with students and grew into an informal cultural center that brought together authors, activists, cutting-edge speakers and readers.

When the National Guard clubbed and tear-gassed UC Berkeley students protesting the Vietnam War in 1968, Cody’s served as a first aid station for the injured.

Cody’s Book can be purchased at Powells Books. The first time I saw the book was when I went one evening to the store on 4th Street just before it closed down. We weren’t planning on buying, rather it was a pilgrimage, an opportunity to pay our respects to an icon of literary streets of Berkeley.

Cody’s Books, and all that it grew to optimize is sadly missed. So will those who pioneered their way. There will be a public memorial service Saturday, Oct. 30, at 2 p.m. at the First Congregational Church of Berkeley, 2345 Channing Way.

Perhaps another way to pay tribute to Pat’s work and vision might be to go to your local independent bookstore and buy a book on October 30. Think of Pat when you do. Please click here for a list of independent bookstores in the Bay Area.
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Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Foundation, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area.

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