A Handful of Ways to Eat Locally in Oakland

by Jocelyn Jackson, co-nourisher at Grace Hearth

To eat locally in Oakland is a challenge. Everyday our bodies tell us that a relationship with food is of the utmost importance. This pang of hunger.  That craving for savory or sweet.  Our body insists on a daily meditation with food in order to keep our internal fires lit – food is our energy to sustain how we walk our path in the world.  For millenia our food was sourced close at hand, but then industry and technology allowed us to transport from far away places and process our food into shelf stable products.  I believe in some ways industry and technology have helped our relationship with food, but in others it has betrayed our most primary connection to the earth and how we nourish our bodies, hearts, and minds.

Here are 5 approaches to eat locally in Oakland that will help reclaim and rebalance your relationship to your food sources.

1.  Gardens

If it’s a community garden or a large backyard with raised beds or the slice of land between the sidewalk and the street, find a piece of earth to cultivate organic fruits and vegetables.

grow your own food in oakland gardening

Here are some local organizations to become involved with to help jump start your own garden:

~Oakland Community Gardens
www.growyouroakland.org

~Planting Justice
www.plantingjustice.org

~Cesar Chavez Seed Library
www.theseedfolks.org

 

2.  CSA’S & FARMERS’ MARKETS

Shop at a farmers’ market near your neighborhood and support the ongoing presence of local farmers.  You can also use Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) businesses to get farm fresh produce. If you’re feeling like a road trip, you can go on out to a farm to pick seasonal produce.

oakland farmers markets and csas

Here some useful links to learn how to eat locally in Oakland through our farmers’ markets:

~Oakland Farmers’ Markets
www.oaklandmofo.com/blog/oakland-farmers-markets/

~Bay Area CSA
www.examiner.com/article/top-ten-csa-delivery-vendors-the-east-bay

~Bay Area U-Pick Orchards & Farms
blogs.kqed.org/bayareabites/2012/06/07/pick-your-own-family-friendly-u-pick-orchards-and-farms/

 

3.  ARTISANS & PURVEYORS 

Oakland has shown amazing support to the wellspring of local food artisans and purveyors that have come up in the last few years. Some of my favorites include Red Bay Coffee, Community Grains, Inna Jam, Cultured, Curbside Creamery, Firebrand Bread, Oaktown Spice Shop.

east bay coffee company

 

4.  LOCAL GROCERY STORES

Choose to consume at, and invest in, stores where local meat, produce, and products are labeled and celebrated.  A few spots in the Bay Area with this approach are Rainbow Grocery, Berkeley Bowl, Monterey Market, and soon to launch People’s Community Market.

eat locally in oakland

 

5.  NOURISHERS

Oakland also has a community of cooks committed to sourcing their ingredients seasonally and locally.  There are many restaurants, caterers, pop-ups, personal chefs, and food trucks that share the eat local mission.

grace hearth oakland weddings caterings

Here are some of our favorite local nourishers:

~Heirloom Chef:
http://theheirloomchef.com/

~Keena’s Kitchen:
http://www.keenaskitchen.org/Keenas_Kitchen_Catering/Home.html

~Kristin Cole:
http://kristin-cole.com/
~Little Spoon Soup:
http://www.littlespoonsoup.com/

 

As you are looking for ways to eat local and you find that there are few or dwindling options in your area, please exercise the sixth approach to becoming a locavore – CHANGE THE SYSTEM.  Through peaceful protest or boycott or voting or running for office or lobbying or educating or starting a small business or public art, change the climate of your community so that access to local food is a priority and a commonly held value.

 

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Grace Hearth is an Oakland-based nourishing business created by Keri Keifer and Jocelyn Jackson.  We cook for a variety of events including those that celebrate love (weddings), support social justice and creativity (Late Nite Art), cooking parties, and also retreats in the sacred redwoods. www.gracehearth.org