Sunday, January 2, 2011

OBUGs, Literacy for Environmental Justice, and Hands On Bay Area

I have been spending time volunteering for a variety of organizations over the last few months through a volunteer aggregator called Hands On Bay Area. I have two goals, to get a (brief) experience of many different organizations offering a variety of services and ultimately to focus on one and take on more substantive volunteer projects. Below are pictures from two recent projects:

Literacy for Environmental Justice:
LEJ work with youth to educate them on habitat restoration and sustainable food production. They have a full scale nursery where they prepare plants to be transplanted in areas like the one we were working on below. They collect the seeds for these plants locally and use them to push back invasive species like fennel.

The youth are teaching us about the grasses and shrubs we will be planting. The area we were working in is one of the more established sites, the native plants have started to take hold again.

Some local municipalities have started to contract with LEJ to provide local plants for open space projects, allowing them to hire some of the students who come through their program. 

OBUGs works with middle schools in Oakland to convert part of their parking lot or pavement into garden space which they incorporate into the school's curriculum. Much of the produce from the garden goes to the cafeteria. OBUGs teaches kids about how fresh food and activity are part of a healthy lifestyle. 

OBUGs staff staff teach students how to care for the garden. Volunteers also do a lot of garden maintenance on the weekends, including building new beds. 

Tom and Preston building individual boxes so students can decide what they want to grow. It's hard work, you have to rest too :)

You can't do much better than spending the morning working in the garden on a nice day. We also trimmed down a big Rosemary bush and we some home. It was spilling out of my backpack which made us very popular and we traded Rosemary for cookies and pie at lunch!

The parking lot is converted to a growing space by covering the ground with bark mulch and then building raised beds.

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