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Garden Group Celebrates 3 Years of Community Service

This afternoon, the Alameda Backyard Growers is commemorating its three-year anniversary at the Main Library with a special event from 1-4 p.m.
At today’s event, the group will be showing a film, “The Economics of Happiness,” sharing gardening information and other materials, and offering refreshments.

The group draws 50 or more guests to its events and has an e-mail list of more than 400 individuals. It gave more than 2,050 pounds of locally grown fruit to the Alameda Food Bank in 2012, up from 845 pounds in 2011.

In addition, the gardening collective won first place in its category at Alameda’s Fourth of July Parade last year. It also has formed a board and is on its way to becoming a non-profit corporation. Talk about cultivating a community!

“It’s been about people connecting with people, one veggie at a time,” said Amanda Bruemmer, who co-founded the group in early 2010 with fellow Alamedan Janice Edwards. “Janice and I thought: There a lot of land around, food being grown and people in need of it. That’s what made this blossom.”

The two women say that thanks to a core group of about 30 members, Alameda Backyard Growers has been able to spread the word (and the produce). In fact, the group’s growing popularity prompted it to move its gatherings from High Street Station to Rhythmix Cultural Works about a year or so ago.

Over the past three years, strong relationships have developed between the group’s members. “It’s been great to watch the friendships grow,” as people share gardening plots, said Edwards. “And there have been couples who met through the group, too.”

Thanks to the efforts of the co-founders and other members, Alameda Backyard Growers now has over 20 local partners, including Ploughshares, Alameda County Master Gardeners, Project LEAF (Local Edible Alameda Farm), Alameda Backyard Chickens, Alameda Backyard Beekeepers and Community Action for a Sustainable Alameda (CASA).

“We would be thrilled for everyone to attend. Our philosophy is about access for all,” Edwards shared.

Janet Levaux