Local Related News

Jean Sweeney Park Receives $2 Million from Del Monte Project

Contact: Amy Wooldridge
Recreation and Park Director
(510) 747-7570

“We are now at a notable crossroads for this project as the conceptual plan, developed by the community, starts to become a reality,” said Recreation and Park Director Amy Wooldridge. “This is an exciting moment in time for the Jean Sweeney Open Space Park.”

This money provides the critical spark to move the Jean Sweeney Open Space Park forward by providing design and construction funding. As importantly, it will act as the required local matching fund for the City to seek new grants. The total anticipated cost of the park is $8-$10 million and will be funded solely through grants, donations, and developer fees.

The Del Monte Project funds will be used to develop the most eastern portion of the park at Atlantic Avenue and Sherman Street.  An initial $300,000 will be used to complete the detailed design of the entire park.  The park’s Master Plan includes nature-based playgrounds; an open lawn area adjacent to a gazebo and covered picnic pavilion; walking and pedestrian trails throughout; and a community garden, urban orchard and demonstration gardens for Bay Friendly landscape. The center portion of the property will be predominantly open space habitat with meandering pedestrian-only hiking trails.

A state transportation grant was recently received in the amount of $2.23 million for construction of the Cross Alameda Trail through Jean Sweeney Open Space Park. The City is able to leverage each funding piece to build upon for the next funding opportunity.

Fresh Food Gets a Boost Under New State Laws

by Kurtis Alexander, a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Read the original article here.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation last week that seeks to bolster California’s love affair with fresh food, including approving creation of a statewide Office of Farm to Fork.

After putting his signature on seven bills Friday, Brown said he wants to promote local agriculture and make healthy foods easier to get.

Assembly Bill 2413, authored by Assemblyman John Pérez, D-Los Angeles, will set up an office within the state Department of Food and Agriculture to help boost the supply of California produce in poor communities and schools.

While no money is set aside for the new office, the legislation urges administrators to piggyback on federal initiatives — and funding — that have sought to improve diets nationwide, especially those of children, during the Obama years.

“Having an agency dedicated to working with federal, philanthropic and nonprofit efforts to increase the availability of quality, nutritious foods is critical, especially in rural and urban areas that don’t have access to fresh produce,” Pérez said in an e-mail.

Another bill signed by the governor seeks to promote urban farming.

Assembly Bill 2561, authored by Assemblyman Steven Bradford, D-Gardena (Los Angeles County), voids a number of restrictions that prevent city and suburban dwellers from growing vegetables. Homeowner and condo associations cannot prohibit gardens, nor can landlords stop renters from growing food in outdoor planters.

Assembly Bill 1789, by Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara, triggers a state review of insecticides to make sure they’re not harming honey bees and the pollination of California crops.

Assembly Bill 1990, by Assemblyman Richard Gordon, D-Menlo Park, makes it easier for gardeners and hen owners to negotiate red tape and legally sell their wares.

Climate Change Rally in Oakland

DSC01905_webWhile tens of thousands were gathered in New York City on Sunday, September 21, 2014, hundreds of other rallies were held around the country to highlight Climate Change. Hundreds of Northern California environmental, social justice and trade union groups gathered at the amphitheater near Lake Merritt. Enthusiastic speakers from many groups talked about how social justice and climate change are interlinked – how people are underpaid and hungry in the US, while multi-national corporations reap unprecedented profits from carbon-based businesses. As a Board member of Alameda Backyard Growers, I was heartened to hear the message that groups should continue their work to promote sustainable agriculture, support increased living wages, promote clean energy and fight for social justice, and that ‘we have each other’s backs’. It was a relief to know there are so many other people who are concerned about climate change and are doing whatever they can in their communities to fight it!

Jillian Saxty

Alameda County: Number relying on food bank grows

We are posting this article to underscore the increased need for food or monetary donations at our local food banks.

By Samantha Clark
Oakland Tribune Correspondent
Originally published on 18 August 2014

OAKLAND — One in five Alameda County residents relies on food bank assistance, which is more than the one in seven nationally, according to a new survey released Monday by Feeding America, a network of food banks.

Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo counties serves 250,000 people every month, or one in 10 residents of both counties. That’s an increase of 21 percent in the last four years since the last study was done.The Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano counties serve 188,000 people each month and that number has increased by 26 percent in the past two years, due to an increase in programs and people struggling from the recession, said Lisa Sherrill, spokeswoman for the food bank. She said the food bank is still crunching its data.The survey, conducted in 2012 and 2013, states that 311,000 individuals receive food assistance monthly from the Alameda County Community Food Bank.

To read the full article, click here.


California drought: Food banks drying up, too

This recent article in from SF Gate shows how desperately our efforts are needed more than ever. Please consider donating extra vegetables or fruit from your gardens to the Alameda Food Bank.