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A toast to Grandma Nat and all who grow food for their families

The Acta Non Verba farm is located in Tassafaronga Recreation Center in East Oakland. Photo: Oakland Museum Of California

The museum show didn’t make me hungry to score seats at a popular, farm-to-table restaurant. Urban farming, after all, is trendy. No, the exhibit made me realize that we’re not that far removed from having to farm to feed ourselves.

By Otis R. Taylor Jr.
San Francisco Chronicle
December 24, 2017


In 2016, there were 1.6 million people living in Alameda County, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That means almost 230,000 of my neighbors are worried about how they’re going to eat.

There’s a wall at the Oakland exhibition where children can leave their answers on a Post-it Note. The question: Why do you grow food? “So we can live,” one child wrote.

One section of the exhibition showed that immigrant newcomers also grow food as a way to dig into their new home. And gardening can help maintain a sense of culture in a new world.

“The families that we work with are growing really substantial amounts of food for their home economy, but also to share with family and friends,” said Zack Reidman, the program coordinator at the International Rescue Committee’s New Roots garden program that was featured in the show. “We have a very low turnover rate. The gardens, they’re not a hobby. People are very serious and devoted. It is a way of life for a lot of the people.”

Read the complete article here.