Berkeley’s Ecology Center, EcoHouse & Community Gardens – Summary:
- Who: N/A
- What: Visited the community gardens near the Ecohouse; Stopped at the Ecology Center
- When: Friday, March 30
- Where: Berkeley, CA
- Ecology Center Webpage
- Ecology Center Facebook Page
- Ecology Center Factsheets & Links
- Ecology Center EcoHouse Webpage
- American Community Garden Association Webpage
My Travel Story:
My first stop was the EcoHouse, a demonstration home and garden located in a North Berkeley residential neighborhood. Because the house is a private residency, I was unable to tour it.
However, there were some volunteers working in the food forest in the backyard replacing the irrigation system. (See all the EcoHouse home and garden features here!) They invited me in and we talked about my travels and next stops, and they recommended I go to the Ecology Center’s Eco Store in downtown Berkeley.
Leaving the EcoHouse backyard, I walked the area and peaked into two local community gardens – the Karl Linn Community Garden (Who is Karl Linn?) in the lot next to the EcoHouse, and the Peralta Community Garden right across the street. While these gardens were beautiful, they were locked due to the local homeless population, and were only open on certain days for volunteers.
This is the entrance, an ornate floral metal gate, which was locked for the majority of the time.
Here’s a view of the garden through the rebar fencing!
This is the Karl Linn Garden on the side of the ecohouse, which was also locked and off limits to the public.
After the EcoHouse and community gardens, I followed the recommendations of the volunteers and headed to the Ecology Center’s Eco Store & Resource Center/Library. It was really intriguing to see how this was a mixed-use space that included the eco-store, a public library, the Bay Area Seed Interchange Library (BASIL), educational classrooms, as well as work stations and office space. And most of the funding for the building is through the city recycling profits – and I found out the store actually loses more money than it makes!
Most of the store products and books for sale were at the front of the store front building, the stairs and other spaces were for offices or meeting areas.
Through the book shelves and baskets for sale, you can see some of the computer desks available to the public. On the wall behind me is the reference materials and a seed catalog library.
The Ecology Center’s services include farmers’ markets, produce stands, residential curbside recycling, classes and workshops, Youth Environmental Academy, help desk and hotline, book & DVD library and seed library, store for sustainable living, and a demonstration house and garden. We convene the Berkeley Food Policy Council, the Berkeley Climate Action Coalition, and the California Alliance of Farmers’ Markets. We also lead Market Match, an innovative nutrition incentive program that doubles the value of “food stamps” at farmers’ markets across California, and serve as the fiscal sponsor for a wide range of projects that align with our mission.
I also picked up a lot of reference materials – see the online versions here: Factsheets & Links