Dec 172013

Thought this article in the East Bay Express represented some good progress for helping families with food insecurity:

Nationwide, school cafeterias waste more than $600 million worth of food each year, according to a 2002 USDA report examining “plate waste” — the most recent of such studies. “I imagine that it’s more than that now,” said Kelly ErnstFriedman, program director at Food Shift, an Oakland-based nonprofit that manages a school lunch recovery program with the Oakland Unified School District.

Most extra food produced by schools in the United States ends up in landfills, including whole fruits, hot foods, and unopened milk cartons. That’s because strict federal meal program rules concerning the handling of cafeteria food prohibit schools from giving away most food, even if it’s uneaten or untouched.

For anyone who has ever volunteered or worked at a school lunch, it’s appalling to see just how much food cafeterias throw out every day. Even unopened, unexpired milk is tossed out. And in an effort to avoid cartons going into the landfill, “someone had to open milk cartons and dump it out,” said Nancy Deming, Sustainability Initiatives program manager at OUSD. “It’s become a morale issue.” Custodial staff, teachers, parents, and cafeteria workers would stand over buckets after lunch period, open cartons and pour milk out.

One way to sidestep the conundrum is to donate leftovers to a nonprofit. OUSD, as a result, has partnered with Food Shift, which focuses on reducing food waste, feeding those in need, and creating jobs.

During the last few weeks of school last spring, Food Shift piloted a food giveaway program at two schools. In just 5 weeks, volunteers collected 3,000 pounds of food and gave them away to 49 families. Parent volunteers gave away packaged burritos, chow mein, broccoli, beans, hamburgers, bagels, crackers, applesauce, cookies, whole fruits, and milk to families after school.

“This is one of the first steps we can take — recovering the food and giving it away,” said ErnstFriedman. Organizations like Food Shift are covered under the federal Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act of 1996, which limits the liability of donating food to nonprofits and those in need.  Link to article

Jul 262013

Nice article in the East Bay Express on the history of this famed Berkeley annual event:

The annual event was started in 1986 by Tom McAllister, who set up his retail store, Highline Kites, on the Berkeley Marina in the same year. It started as a way to give back to the community while also garnering some attention for his new business, and in the first year there was an impressive, if humble, turnout of around five hundred people. Less than thirty years later, the festival brings out nearly 25 to 30 thousand people to the Berkeley Marina over its two days, making it one of the largest kite festivals in North America, and flooding the sky with soaring kites.

Image credit:

Jul 182013

From the crowdsource site created to help Oakland waiter Drew Cribley recover lost wages and pay his medical bills:

Many of us were upset about the Zimmerman verdict, and many of us registered our concern in responsible ways.  But one masked thug decided to take a hammer to the face of lifelong Oaklander Drew Cribley (Flora/Fauna waiter), who was just doing his job that night.

Luckily Drew has health insurance and he’ll recover from this attack.  But his insurance won’t cover all the emergency and followup costs from this brutal assault.  Join Oakland Port Commissioner Bryan Parker and community leaders to help raise $6,000 to help defray the medical costs.

You can learn more about how Drew is doing with his recovery in this story.

Also, please join us at Fauna (sister bar to Flora) on Wednesday, August 24, 2013, from 7-9p for cocktails and to support Drew and the businesses impacted.  1900 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland, CA.

Any amount will make a huge difference, and send a clear signal that Oakland takes care of its own.

~Bryan Parker, campaign administrator

Jul 182013


Saturday, Jul 20th


Date: Saturday, July 20
Time: 11 AM – 7 PM
Location: Throughout Jack London Square

Pedalfest rolls into Jack London Square to celebrate all-things cycling at the Bay Area’s premier bicycle festival. This annual event will pack the waterfront with more than 20,000 biking enthusiasts enjoying bicycle-themed entertainment, food and exhibits. Free to attend, Pedalfest-goers will enjoy cycling daredevils performing in a 30-foot banked wooden Whiskeydrome; eye-popping two-wheeled trial stunts by pro riders Mike Steidley and Chris Clark; a Rock the Bike pedal-powered stage featuring live music; Battle of the Bay BMX Competition; the children’s bicycle parade; folding bike races; a Bicycle Rodeo for kids; pedal-powered food; the Bike Stand – a demo stage by Bay Area Bikes; and a dazzling collection of new, vintage and handmade bikes. Additionally, a selection of beers will be available from New Belgium Brewing, with all proceeds being donated to the East Bay Bicycle Coalition.

Image credit: (east bay bicycle coalition)

Jul 182013



A new open space area opened along San Francisco’s waterfront Wednesday morning, July 17th, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and the music of Otis Redding.

The Brannan Street Wharf, a 57,000-square-foot park south of the Bay Bridge between Piers 30-32 and 38, features a 400-foot-long lawn area, a waterside walkway and a small dock for kayaks and other small vessels.

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Jul 152013

From the San Jose Mercury News:

“Lead poisoning has been the longest-running epidemic in American pediatric history, and is a silent, ongoing tragedy,” David Rosner, a Columbia University professor who will be an expert witness for the governments, said in an email exchange.

Led by Santa Clara County, local governments sued the industry in 2000, alleging paint manufacturers knew of the dangers of lead paint as early as the late 1890s and yet peddled it to consumers without warning for decades. Alameda, Monterey, San Mateo and San Francisco counties are among the players in the case, as well as the cities of Oakland and San Diego and large counties such as Los Angeles.

Public officials will urge Superior Court Judge James Kleinberg, who is hearing the case without a jury, to find five paint manufacturers, including Atlantic Richfield, NL Industries and Sherwin-Williams, liable and order them to remove lead paint from an estimated 5 million homes in the 10 counties — at a cost of about $1 billion.

“It’s all about fixing the problem,” said Joseph Cotchett, a prominent Burlingame lawyer representing the counties.

Unlike cases involving individuals who sue over health hazards, which can be difficult to prove against an entire industry, California officials have alleged the paint makers violated the state’s public nuisance laws. Lead paint, they argue, has created “a substantial and unreasonable injury” to anyone exposed in an older home.

The case has dragged on for years, twice bouncing up through the appeals courts, which have allowed it go forward over the paint manufacturers’ objections.

Jun 212013

From the SF Bay Guardian’s colorful suggestion:

Even in its seventh year, SF’s annual Bicycle Music Festival is still a wonder to locals. It offers the chance to listen to great music by folk band Laurie Lewis and the Righthands, Bill McKibben, Justin Ancheta Band, Manicato, and more, in a beautiful setting for free. In fact, it’s in three beautiful settings, because the event is packed up and deployed throughout Golden Gate Park. The event is known to draw some crazies, the cool kind who perform synchronized dances or twirl around on cycles while playing the trumpet — so be warned. It is definitely worth checking out, particularly if you’re a bike enthusiast interested in meeting fellow cyclists, or just a live music fan.

Also check out

Jun 072013

Cool event coming to several east bay locations Saturday.  Another from the SF Bay Guardian’s events page:

Urban farm tours Various locations in Albany, El Cerrito, Richmond, El 11am-6pm, $5 per location. The Institute of Urban Homesteading wants you to realize the power of a plot when it comes to feeding your family. See how others are making urban farming work for them at this week’s farm tour day — register on the site and you’ll receive a map of locations where you can drop by and see rainwater collection systems, bee hives, veggie gardens, goats, and more.

Jun 072013

Food trucks, music and dance, and more will greet walkers, bikers, and paddlers along the way around the lake.  Check out for more info:

Walk Oakland Bike Oakland (WOBO) is proud to join forces with Mayor Quan’s office and the Measure DD Community Coalitionto bring Oaklavía back to Oakland. We’ve named Sunday, June 9, 2013, Love Our Lake Day, featuring a Lake Merritt Boulevard Dedication and Oaklavía By the Lake.

It is a free public event that invites families and visitors around the Bay Area to come out and play, stroll, bike, and paddle at Lake Merritt that Sunday from 11am to 4pm. Learn more about  Oaklavía here

Jun 052013

Interesting venture pointed out in the East Bay Express that enables dog owners some more affordable dog-sitting, and for those who love dogs a chance at some time to play with and care for a dog.

This philosophy is at the core of City Dog Share, a free pet-sitting co-op Husk founded in San Francisco in May 2011. In a town of start-ups, where there is a social network for every need, City Dog Share stands apart. (Think Couchsurfing.orgrather than Airbnb.) Rather than creating micro economies in which neighbors can exchange services for pay — as sites like do — or following a venture-capitalist model, City Dog Share is a nonprofit whose mission is twofold: to end dog overpopulation and to build communities.

Husk, a social media marketer, runs City Dog Share via localized, open Facebook groups, where members post their needs — whether it’s looking for a pet sitter, a dog to walk, or a pup play date — and other group members respond. The organization has branched out to Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, and Humboldt County, and will soon expand to San Diego, Phoenix, Tucson, Albuquerque, and Denver. But the Bay Area group is the largest, with 1,200 members, and Husk says about 90 percent of requests in this flagship group get a quick response.

May 312013

East Bay Express gives a head’s up to this fun event:

It’s not every day that you get an opportunity to help propel a fifty-foot-long boat through the waters of the Alameda-Oakland Estuary (2400 Mariner Square Dr., Alameda). But the Alameda Dragon Flyers — a part-recreational, part-competitive band of paddlers — gives you the chance each Saturday with free introductions to the two-thousand-year-old Chinese sport of dragon boating. The weekly sessions are open to athletes of all abilities, and the first three are free — after that, participants are asked to join the California Dragon Boat Association for a $50-$120 annual fee. 8:45-10:15 a.m. 510-521-7555 or


May 312013

SF Weekly has a nice link to this interesting event for hikers and yoga enthusiasts:

Eric Kipp may be brilliant. Without a doubt, the spirit of San Francisco itself pulses quickly in his veins, because he is the creator of Hiking Yoga. It’s exactly what it sounds like; you follow the charge up one of our butt-bustin’ hills, and once you’re up there, the organizer/sherpas hand out mats and water, and you do some yoga. The courses are chosen for their vistas as well as for their challenges: City-proud fitness nuts, prepare to fall in painful workout love.

May 242013

Coming up a week from Memorial Day on June 3rd:

Living Healthy in a Toxic World

Journalist and environmental health advocate Beth Greer, a.k.a. Super Natural Mom, shares insights on how to live a healthier life based on what goes inside the body and environmental factors that surround the body. 6 p.m. June 3. $7-$20. Commonwealth Club, 595 Market St., S.F. (415) 597-6700.

Read more:

May 242013

Found this in the SF Chronicle listing some local health and fitness events this coming weekend.  Nice idea to promote those, I thought.

Full Moon Hike

A moderately strenuous 4- to 5-mile hike and an easy 3-mile hike followed by viewing through telescopes. 6 and 7 p.m. Friday. $7. Chabot Space and Science Center, 10000 Skyline Blvd., Oakland. (510) 336-7300.

Full Moon Hike

A night hike of the Bay Area Ridge Trail. 6-10:30 p.m. Friday. Free. Reservations recommended. Lynch Canyon Open Space, 3100 Lynch Road, between Vallejo and Fairfield. (707) 432-0150 Ext. 200.

Read more: