The Fremont Podcast

Episode 93: Gardening for Change: The Role of LEAF in the Fremont Community with Katie Kempthorne

October 13, 2023 Ricky B Season 2 Episode 93
Episode 93: Gardening for Change: The Role of LEAF in the Fremont Community with Katie Kempthorne
The Fremont Podcast
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The Fremont Podcast
Episode 93: Gardening for Change: The Role of LEAF in the Fremont Community with Katie Kempthorne
Oct 13, 2023 Season 2 Episode 93
Ricky B

Ever marvelled at the magic of a seed transforming into a plant? Want to unravel the wonder of community gardening and the profound effects of regenerative agriculture? Then you're in the right place. Embark on a journey with us, as we explore the power of community, shared interests, and technology in shaping our interactions with the world around us. We delve into the heart of the Local Ecology and Agriculture Fremont (LEAF) organization, and its pivotal role in urban gardening here in Fremont.

Unearthing the beauty of the gardening space at the California nursery and the Stone Garden, community nurtured spaces, you'll witness the rewarding progress made through love and hard work. Hear about the affordable cost of renting a garden plot at LEAF, bridging the gap for those without their own space to cultivate their own vegetables and herbs. Stay tuned as we discuss the virtues of patience, dedication, and commitment, learned through gardening and their parallels in music and food production. 

You'll also get practical advice on home gardening, the importance of understanding your local climate, and the magic of worm composting. Concluding the episode, we're thrilled to share the exciting news about LEAF's collaboration with ACWD and the city of Fremont to create an Urban Garden. So, grab your gardening gloves and join us on this horticultural adventure. Let's grow together!

Check out Own It Fitness for your professional fitness solutions. You can find their website here. 

Connect with them on Instagram here. 

If you are interested in supporting the podcast, please reach out to us at thefremontpodcast@gmail.com, or you can contact us here. 


Fremont Bank has been partnering with and supporting people and small businesses for over six decades.

Also, Petrocelli Homes has been a key sponsor for the Fremont Podcast almost from the beginning. If you are looking for help or advice about buying or selling a home, or if you are looking for a realtor, get in touch with Petrocelli Homes on Niles Blvd in Niles.

Additionally, Banter Bookshop is the best little bookshop in Fremont. They are a sponsor of that podcast. And we are excited to have them as a partner.

If you are in need of services for design or printing, check out Minutemen Press in Irvington. They have been serving the community for over 20 years, and they stand strong by their work and service.

Intro and Outro voiceovers made by Gary Williams. Check out garywilliams.org.

This episode was edited by Andrew C.

Scheduling and background was done by Sara S.

This is a Muggins Media Podcast.

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Ever marvelled at the magic of a seed transforming into a plant? Want to unravel the wonder of community gardening and the profound effects of regenerative agriculture? Then you're in the right place. Embark on a journey with us, as we explore the power of community, shared interests, and technology in shaping our interactions with the world around us. We delve into the heart of the Local Ecology and Agriculture Fremont (LEAF) organization, and its pivotal role in urban gardening here in Fremont.

Unearthing the beauty of the gardening space at the California nursery and the Stone Garden, community nurtured spaces, you'll witness the rewarding progress made through love and hard work. Hear about the affordable cost of renting a garden plot at LEAF, bridging the gap for those without their own space to cultivate their own vegetables and herbs. Stay tuned as we discuss the virtues of patience, dedication, and commitment, learned through gardening and their parallels in music and food production. 

You'll also get practical advice on home gardening, the importance of understanding your local climate, and the magic of worm composting. Concluding the episode, we're thrilled to share the exciting news about LEAF's collaboration with ACWD and the city of Fremont to create an Urban Garden. So, grab your gardening gloves and join us on this horticultural adventure. Let's grow together!

Check out Own It Fitness for your professional fitness solutions. You can find their website here. 

Connect with them on Instagram here. 

If you are interested in supporting the podcast, please reach out to us at thefremontpodcast@gmail.com, or you can contact us here. 


Fremont Bank has been partnering with and supporting people and small businesses for over six decades.

Also, Petrocelli Homes has been a key sponsor for the Fremont Podcast almost from the beginning. If you are looking for help or advice about buying or selling a home, or if you are looking for a realtor, get in touch with Petrocelli Homes on Niles Blvd in Niles.

Additionally, Banter Bookshop is the best little bookshop in Fremont. They are a sponsor of that podcast. And we are excited to have them as a partner.

If you are in need of services for design or printing, check out Minutemen Press in Irvington. They have been serving the community for over 20 years, and they stand strong by their work and service.

Intro and Outro voiceovers made by Gary Williams. Check out garywilliams.org.

This episode was edited by Andrew C.

Scheduling and background was done by Sara S.

This is a Muggins Media Podcast.

Speaker 1:

I'm Gary Williams. Your reviews help other people find this podcast. If you would please leave a review on iTunes.

Speaker 2:

It was a dead barren lot. You know it's right next to the railroad.

Speaker 4:

It's not been cared for as far as land is concerned, and it's interesting because we've done soil tests every year

Speaker 2:

to just mark the progress. And there's still one piece of land that is barren, which we use as our control plot. And then, yeah, when we soil test and you see the changes that have come, it's so heartening right In a short period of time, you can really make a really significant difference.

Speaker 1:

Coming to you straight from Fremont, California. This is the Fremont podcast, dedicated to telling the stories of the past and present of the people and places of the city of Fremont, one conversation at a time.

Speaker 5:

Hello, Fremont Ricky told me to ride my bike until I randomly came across the Mariachi band playing in Niles, and when I found them he wanted me to tell you. This is episode 93 of the Fremont podcast.

Speaker 1:

Now here's your host, Ricky B.

Speaker 6:

Well, I'll put it this way I think I've always maybe taken community for granted. It's always been there for me and I know that everybody has that. But I also think that one of the reasons why community is becoming such a buzzword or such a premium topic is because there's a lot of things that take our attention away from community and it's like there's like a false sense of community through, like social media or through technology and I'm not necessarily opposed to technology because I use it, obviously.

Speaker 6:

A podcast is technology, but I think that we I tell people that I think that technology ought to be an extension of our reality rather than an alternative to our reality. And so if I'm, I want to be properly invested in the community and the world around me and the people in my and the people in my community. I want to be properly invested in them. And if I think that being friends with them on Facebook or following them on Instagram or that sort of thing is community, I think it has elements of community, I think it has ways of enhancing my community, in other words, that extension of reality, but I don't think it is community by itself. And so for me, I feel and that's one of the reasons why I like Like I've had people even here in Fremont when I've done episodes for the podcast they've said well, can we do it remotely? And I'm like well, the point is we live in Fremont, we live together. The whole point is bringing people together and so, unless there's extenuating circumstances where I can't do it in person, the point is that we have a conversation together in the same space and be able to share in that moment together and in some sense, being able to pass that moment along to other people, because for me, I think that the other part of it too is there's the technology part of it, but then there's also a part of it that you really can't help, and that is just people's makeup.

Speaker 6:

Some people just don't like talking to other people, some people don't really have their introverts, they just they don't find that to be a joy or something they get excited about. And so what I do find is that most people kind of like your garden here. If there is an interest that brings people together, then it really it starts creating another sense of community around something that doesn't have to be them. You know, like I can, like you and I, if we sat around and talked just about our lives, you know our personal lives, we might find some things that we have an interest together, we might have some things that we enjoy about life together, but we might not, you know. But if we're both working in the garden or if we're trying to understand and learning how to grow something here together, then there's something outside of us that doesn't center on us that we are able to communicate on and have as a meeting place, if you will, for community.

Speaker 2:

So yeah, and for diversity within community. That's exactly right.

Speaker 6:

Yeah, yeah, because diversity is oftentimes the barrier between you, know, within communities.

Speaker 2:

Connection right, Right, yeah, For me. I don't know who you are. I can't connect with you.

Speaker 6:

That's right.

Speaker 2:

I'm afraid of you because you're unfamiliar to me.

Speaker 6:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

And then if you have common ground or a common focus as well, it makes a real difference.

Speaker 6:

That's right. That's right. I'm just going to check my levels here real quick.

Speaker 2:

I'm quite softly spoken, that's fine. Yeah, so you might need to turn me up as long as you stay close to the microphone.

Speaker 6:

You should be fine. I just need to make sure that I'm not too loud and that I'm picking you up. Well, yeah, so I. So I'll go ahead and jump into it. Yeah, you're on the roll, so I'm with Katie and we're sitting on a couple of straw bales because I didn't have my computer charged and there's only one outlet here at the leaf garden, so this. So, katie, what is your role with leaf?

Speaker 2:

So I'm a volunteer with leaf. We have two gardens. This garden is the Leaf Center, which is our community garden. People can rent a plot for the year and grow their own garden here. And we have a second garden, the stone garden, which is on Maori, and that's like our food garden.

Speaker 4:

So, there.

Speaker 2:

It's a food garden and a pollinator garden. We grow a lot of produce that we donate to local food banks and it's a beautiful garden. People come and connect and share space. And we also do a lot of education, so we do a lot of education out of that garden and out of this garden as well.

Speaker 6:

So what does leaf stand for?

Speaker 2:

Local ecology and agriculture Fremont.

Speaker 6:

OK, very good. Yeah, I actually was doing a little bit of homework trying to figure everything out and I knew that it was an acronym, but I didn't know exactly what it was and I was pleased to see that the F stood for Fremont. That's pretty cool. So tell me exactly like. You don't necessarily have to explain the acronym, but what exactly is the mission or the vision for leaf?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's a great question. So we have a number of different pillars. The first one, I guess, is education. So we're really passionate about teaching people locally to be really good stewards of the land. So we provide, like, specific workshops and classes and we also provide a location where people can come. They can connect with our other volunteers Some of them are master gardeners, other who have been working with the land for a long period of time and you can come in as a volunteer and you can learn from them. You can help to grow food.

Speaker 6:

That's cool.

Speaker 2:

So yeah everyone in the garden is deeply passionate about sharing the knowledge of how to be a good steward, and then we're also deeply passionate about regenerating the soil, regenerating the land. So the stone garden originally was essentially a barren plot, and in eight years it is a thriving ecosystem.

Speaker 6:

That's awesome.

Speaker 2:

So there's a deep connection to composting, a deep connection to regenerative agriculture practices and alternative agriculture practices.

Speaker 6:

OK, OK, very good. Yeah, I was telling you before we started recording that I was born in Wisconsin and then I spent a lot of my summers on my grandparents' farm in Michigan and farming, or gardening, was a big part of what we did, and it was. I mean, when you grow up in it, it feels as though this is normal, this is the way everybody does things and I don't know that we ever I mean as a child maybe I didn't listen to it, or maybe it just wasn't as prominent, it wasn't as prominent of a subject, but organic gardening wasn't really a thing. I guess we were kind of doing it, I guess, but without the name. But so when you look at a place like Fremont or many other places and you don't have the ability to have large plots of land to be able to put a garden or whatever, this sort of space is really, really helpful for people to not only be able to do the gardening but, like you said, to learn how to do urban gardening and care for the soil and the land.

Speaker 6:

What is your expertise Like? What do you do? I know you're a volunteer and so I want to make sure we're clear on that. But this isn't just your first rodeo. You've been around this for a little while, is that right, yeah?

Speaker 2:

So I'm personally a naturopath and a nackapuncturist. So I became really I'm really passionate about health and how people can be optimizing their health so they can optimize their potential. And at a certain point I realized like I would put people on amazing diets and they would maybe get a little bit better, but not a whole heap better. And then I started to understand, uh-oh, there's a problem with how we grow food here, and we're coming to realize very much that modern agriculture, with the use of herbicides and pesticides, is really not supportive to human health. And so when I really realized that pillar, it became really important to me that I started to look after land, and so I deep dived into regenerative agriculture. I'm also an herbalist, so some of the education that I offer at LEAF is teaching people about herbal medicine.

Speaker 6:

OK, very cool.

Speaker 2:

But yeah, we are really passionate about regenerating soil here, and that's required. The more diversity of microbes that you have in your soil, the more nutrients your plants are going to have and therefore, the more potent they're going to be when you eat them.

Speaker 6:

Wow, that's cool. So you don't really have a Fremont accent, and so I'm just wondering is this where you grew up, or is this where you learned all this, or where did this come from?

Speaker 2:

No, so I'm from New Zealand.

Speaker 6:

OK.

Speaker 2:

And I visited with a friend of mine last year and I literally fell in love with the Stone Garden, which is one of our. Yeah, like it's this incredibly beautiful space the people who look after it are deeply passionate about.

Speaker 6:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, just looking after land and looking after each other. So I arrived, I fell in love with the space and then the community felt like the way that community should be operating to me. People are kind, they're very welcoming, they work really hard to support you and we're all interested in supporting each other.

Speaker 6:

OK.

Speaker 2:

So I have taken the opportunity to spend a bit more time here.

Speaker 6:

That's great. That's great. Well, we're glad you're here. We'll be right back. You can hear the rest of this conversation in just a moment.

Speaker 6:

I love books, and if you do too, then you're going to love Bantar Bookshop. Bantar Books has a well-curated selection of books for every reader. From the moment that you walk in the door, you know that it's a place that cares about providing you, the reader, with exactly what you need. Bantar Bookshop carries a large selection of books, and if they don't have what you need, then they can order it for you. Just ask the person at the checkout desk and they can help you. If you're looking for your hometown bookshop, then visit Bantar Books on Capitol Avenue. And if you want to hear more about their story, check out episode 28 on the Fremont podcast.

Speaker 6:

It's that time of year again when everyone starts getting sniffles and sneezes and coughs. Well, howler's Pharmacy is here to help. They have been in our community for decades, so whether it's a seasonal issue or whether it's something that you have to take care of regularly, howler's Pharmacy is here to help you find exactly what you need. Check them out on the corner of Fremont and Peralta in downtown Centerville. If you are looking to buy or sell your home. Look no further than Petracelli Homes. You can find out more about them at PetracelliHomescom or pay Jennifer a visit in downtown Niles. And now back to our conversation. What does it look like for people who are invested in the garden, whether they're volunteers or whether they're renters? And then do you have programs outside of that that actually help educate people and help them understand what's going on?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, absolutely so. I guess. First of all, here at the Leaf Centre we offer plots that people can rent for the year. So you have your own plot. It's got amazing soil in it and it's watered automatically, so you can just come and really play. We have many people who live in apartments. They don't have the capacity to actually grow food. So that's here at the Leaf Centre. And then for those people also, we offer a range of educational opportunities. So on Saturdays we've been doing yoga here, we've been doing classes. For instance, we had a class last Saturday about what winter veggies to grow. So that's this.

Speaker 6:

Are those classes and everything just for the people who are renting here?

Speaker 2:

No, can anybody join in on those? No, everybody's welcome, because I'll tell you what I've got.

Speaker 6:

So my backyard is basically a concrete pad, so I have wine barrels that cut in half and then have them as growing some peppers and tomatoes and stuff like that, but I feel like I succeed sometimes and I don't succeed other times.

Speaker 6:

So I was thinking if you guys have ways of being able to teach me how to do what I'm doing better, I would love that. So if I don't have to have a space here which I'm sure I would love, but if I don't have to have one, I can still take advantage of the education. That'd be really cool.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, you absolutely can, so we have. When I think about that, I think, oh, we need to get some microorganisms into your containers. So we do amazing classes on worm composting, on composting in general and propagation as well. That's another thing that people are super passionate about and so, yeah, we absolutely have education you can access.

Speaker 6:

That's awesome, that's great, that's great. And so, as far as the plots that are rented here, how much do they generally run for? I mean, I'm sure they're probably all taken up and there's probably a waiting line for them as well.

Speaker 2:

But you know, we still have a few available. So if there are any punters that are keen. We're so keen to have you. It's $300 a year which gives you access to the plots as well, as you become a member of LEAF, you get a whole lot of specialized discounts for all of our education and you become part of the community.

Speaker 6:

That's awesome, very good, I love that. And then so the people who are renting their own spaces, then those, whatever they grow, is theirs basically. So then you have a number of raised beds that are that are that you guys run right, and then that's gardened by volunteers. Is that correct?

Speaker 2:

Absolutely so. There are some areas in this garden and also in our stone garden facility which are run by volunteers, and we grow food there for local food banks in.

Speaker 4:

Fremont oh wow.

Speaker 6:

That's great.

Speaker 2:

We have a lot of volunteers who are focused on a Monday and a Thursday and that food goes to people in the community who otherwise wouldn't have access.

Speaker 3:

Wow.

Speaker 2:

And we have a whole community of volunteers who are very passionate about that side of things as well.

Speaker 6:

Wow, that's really great. How much food do you are you able to use? I mean, I know this particular space has only been here for about a year or less than a year, but how much food do you guys normally donate or do you get from the garden?

Speaker 2:

You know, that is one question that is really going to flaw me, because in New Zealand we use kilograms, so it doesn't come to me automatically.

Speaker 6:

All right, everyone, get out your escalators, yeah, so I'm going to pass on that one because I will maybe muck it up terribly. There you go. And then, well, I will say this I mean there was, was it Cindy that was here working? So Cindy's working, and she was harvesting some fruit already and it was a bucket full, I mean. So I mean there's, there's, there's, oh yeah, we we give volumes.

Speaker 2:

Like there is some volume. We also run a fruit cleaning program, so if people have extra fruit that's on their fruit trees locally, they can bring it to us and we will take care of the donations to the local food banks. So yeah, that's awesome.

Speaker 6:

So the stone garden. I've been up there before a couple of times so I had met somebody. It was actually through the beekeeping part of that area. There was beekeepers that were doing a demonstration at Dale Hardware and I ran into them there and then they told me about that space and I don't live too far from there, so I've driven by it many times. I just didn't know what exactly it was.

Speaker 6:

And so they invited me. They said we were having a special beekeepers meeting. You're welcome to come in and see. And so I did and looked around and I was blown away by everything they had going on up there. It was really, really cool. So you said they've been doing that for about eight years and it started as just like a rocky patch of soil.

Speaker 2:

It was a dead barren lot. It's right next to the railroad. It's not been cared for as far as land is concerned. And it's interesting because we've done soil tests every year to just mark the progress and there's still one piece of land that is barren, which we use as our control plot. And then, yeah, when we soil test and you see the changes that have come, it's so heart threatening.

Speaker 4:

Right.

Speaker 2:

In a short period of time you can really make a really significant difference.

Speaker 6:

Yeah, yeah, that's cool, that's very cool. And then the bees play a big part in this as well.

Speaker 2:

The bees play a big part, and Cindy is actually one of our head beekeepers as well.

Speaker 6:

So yeah, so you said your beekeepers. Is the beekeeping part of leaf, then, or is that a separate thing, or is it kind of both?

Speaker 2:

No, I mean it's kind of both.

Speaker 6:

Right.

Speaker 2:

What you're talking about is a local beekeeping club, and they meet at the stone garden once a month. And then we have our own hives and we harvest our own honey which you can actually purchase if people are interested.

Speaker 6:

Yeah, that's cool.

Speaker 2:

But it's amazing Like we also run quite a lot of programs with kids which maybe I'll talk about afterwards no you

Speaker 6:

should yeah.

Speaker 2:

But when you get these teenagers and you suit them up and we actually put them in a hive, you cannot believe what happens to them. Right, and they cut off, they're kind of like I don't really want to play in the soil, oh, this is sort of awkward. And then you like get them in and you have them holding a frame of honey and you have them interacting and they're literally like oh my God, this is alive.

Speaker 6:

That is awesome.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 6:

So let's talk about that a little bit. Yeah, tell me a little bit more about the kids programs you have Right.

Speaker 2:

So I guess, first, one of our signature programs is called Students for Leaf, so we ran it through the summer and we have a group of students that come in twice a week and it's kind of a combination of volunteering and education. So I was part of that program this year. We bring the kids in, they help with harvesting, they help with watering, they help with weeding, they do all of the tasks outside and then we do education with them as well. So this year there was a heap of herbal medicine because I was there, you know, and it's so cool Like they start off like oh, my mom made me do this, and then by the end they have this cool community of other kids that they feel really connected to. They can identify a whole lot of plants in the garden, they feel connected to it, they've been responsible for things and they can grow. One of our students this year is going back to her school and is helping to establish gardens within her school, like that's what we want.

Speaker 6:

That's amazing, yeah, right.

Speaker 2:

So, yeah, we also. There's a really strong relationship between scout groups in the Fremont area and these gardens, and so scout groups come, they have projects that they want to do, they make use of our space and a lot of our volunteers help them with what it is they're trying to achieve.

Speaker 6:

Okay, Wow, that's really awesome.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 6:

And so Leif's been doing this with kids for a while, then Leif has been doing this with kids for a long time.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I mean we are really passionate about supporting young people to connect back to the land, because there's a million other things that take them in the opposite direction. Yes, that's right, yeah, and we all need help to recognize that this is a place that makes you feel good, that is fun and that you can achieve things.

Speaker 6:

One of the things that I think that is helpful about learning about gardening is that you know and this kind of goes back to kind of like the little technology soapbox that I started off with a little bit but one of the things that I think that is helpful, though, is that there is kind of a natural timeline in things that are natural, I guess.

Speaker 6:

In other words, we like things fast and immediate, like right in front of us, so we resort to fast food or we resort to so many other things that come out of our technological advances, and those are all helpful, but I think that oftentimes, that becomes the benchmark timeline for everything that we do Like.

Speaker 6:

If I want something, there's got to be a mechanism for me to get it right now, and I shouldn't have to put out a lot of energy, a lot of effort, but I'm entitled to have something immediately. And I think that when you are gardening and you realize that for thousands of years, you know, humans have been like having to work this way in order to be able to get what they need in order to live, and it takes time you plant something in the spring and you have to wait months before you actually see it provide for you what you need, and I think that there's a sense of patience, a sense of hard work and, I guess, care that you have to put into it, and after all of that, then you finally get the fruit of your labor, the amount of attention that goes into that.

Speaker 4:

And.

Speaker 6:

I think. For me, when I think of a value that gardening would bring to our newer generation, it is. Let's remember what patience is, let's remember what care is, let's remember what true investment is into things and let's not just expect it just because it's available. If you have enjoyed this podcast, consider supporting it with a small gift at buymeacoffeecom. Thank you for your support and thanks for listening.

Speaker 2:

One of the projects we did with the students for LEAF is that we grew calendula plants and then we harvested them and dried them again. So there's time period in all of this. You have to wait for the plant to grow, you have to wait for the time where it is absolutely in flower.

Speaker 2:

You then harvest it and dry it, and then we made that calendula into an infused oil which again takes another six weeks, and then we made that oil into a balm that you can use as a first aid cream, and so to take kids from the very beginning to the very end, so they go home in their hand with something that they've created which is really beautiful medicine that can support their whole family. But they have been involved from the very beginning to the very end.

Speaker 6:

Wow, that's really cool.

Speaker 2:

I think to understand that, to have an experience of that is actually what life is.

Speaker 6:

I had this conversation in a different area of life with my son, more along the lines of music, when I was growing up.

Speaker 6:

If you wanted to listen to music you had to go out and buy a cassette, or you had to get a vinyl record, or you had to, you know.

Speaker 6:

Later on CDs came along but you just didn't have music at your fingertips. I couldn't just play it on my phone because we didn't have phones and we didn't have a way of being able to do any of that. But I like going to live concerts because it's important for people and to hear live music because it's important, I think, especially for the next generation, but also for me, to remember how did we get this music that we're able to enjoy right now? Each one of these musicians had to practice for years to get good at what they're doing. There were people who worked at learning how to compose music, or they took their gifts and they hammered out a song, and then that song had to be transposed into all the different instruments and produced, and the process of going from a song's origin to what we listen to is this long process that comes on the back of people who have done it for so many years. They practiced for so many years.

Speaker 2:

Decades of commitment.

Speaker 6:

That's right. And so then we have this music which we, in the first 30 seconds people decide whether they like the song or not, and then they just like oh, you know, and it's like that really is the work of somebody, who not just one person, but many people who have come together to make this possible for you. And I'm not saying that every piece of music is of the same value, but it's just interesting that I think that we become very, very quick critics of things that we have right in our hands immediately, and oftentimes what we don't take into account is the process that it took to get to us.

Speaker 6:

So even at a fast food restaurant like McDonald's or something like that. Everything you have on there the lettuce, tomatoes, onions, all came from somewhere.

Speaker 2:

Totally, and somebody had to craft it. Not only did the earth have to provide it, but somebody had to be the farmer, somebody had to harvest it. It then needed to be transported to where it is now being created, into something that ends up on your plate.

Speaker 2:

But to have an appreciation for actually the challenge of it, for how Mother Nature is unpredictable, for how hard it is to actually feed ourselves. Like right now, with modern conveniences, we take it and we run to it, and in future I'm not sure that we will be able to, because, in order to create that system, we are actually destroying the thing that feeds us, we're destroying the soil, and so, yeah, I really think it's important that people understand where their food comes from and that they understand how it's like. The most important thing is that we look after the earth, because it's she who provides for us, and it's that disconnection that is part of sending us in this trajectory. That is probably not going to serve us long term.

Speaker 6:

Wow, that's great. I love that you guys are doing this. I love hearing your passion for this as well. So I'm curious. When I first met you and came into the garden, I asked what brought you to Fremont? Because, from all accounts, I've never been there, but New Zealand looks pretty awesome. So I would say, if I were to compare Fremont to New Zealand, I don't know if New Zealand seems like a pretty awesome place, but what specifically has lured you to come be a part of our community here in Fremont? What is it that you see in the Fremont community that you want to invest in?

Speaker 2:

It was really the people, because in New Zealand, we've grown up with a lot of beauty, shall we say. We've grown up with a lot of nature, and people take it for granted and they are not particularly motivated because they were a little bit protected down here. You're less protected here, people are. It's very clear that global warming exists. It's very clear that we are having significant impact, and when I came here, I was like, oh wow, these are people, these are movers and shakers. Man, they are interested in creating change, because change is what's required, and so I feel a certain sense of urgency around that. And so when I came here, I was so excited to meet other people who were passionate, who were thinking really systematically about okay, how do we create education, how do we create community and how do we move the dial forward?

Speaker 6:

That's great. Well, I'm glad you're here. This is really cool.

Speaker 2:

I'm super grateful to be here.

Speaker 6:

I'm going to ask you a few questions about like for my own personal benefit. So I mentioned my wine barrels in the backyard, right? So if I'm let's just say I can't make the time or the you know, even afford to be able to get one of the plots that you guys have here, but I do want to do something at home. What are some of the things and you mentioned when I mentioned the struggle that I was having with some of my plans? You know, you know listed off of two or three things that you were like I should check this and this and this. What are some of the things that people might like, misunderstand or they might make a mistake on? What are some common mistakes that people might make if they're trying to do something at home that they should be aware of?

Speaker 2:

Right, that's a great question. Okay, so we'll start with the number one thing is feeding the soil, okay, and so one thing that we're really passionate about at LEAF is worm composting.

Speaker 6:

Okay.

Speaker 2:

Right, because it hits two birds with one stone. The first is that if you have a worm bin, you are able to compost or get rid of all of the trash related to your fruits and vegetables Okay, right. And then that feeds a living system which then creates the most unbelievable compost for you. Okay, so it's high in nitrogen. It will feed your soil from a nutrient perspective, and it will also feed your soil from a microd perspective.

Speaker 3:

Okay.

Speaker 2:

So the biggest thing about a wine barrel is it's not connected to the earth.

Speaker 3:

Right.

Speaker 4:

Right.

Speaker 2:

So you have to get the microbes in there. They're not able to come up from the ground.

Speaker 6:

Gotcha Right.

Speaker 2:

So if I was, the first thing I'd say is right, we need to get you some worm compost.

Speaker 6:

Okay, right.

Speaker 2:

Because it's super simple as well, like literally, once you have the bin and you have the worms, it almost takes care of itself once you understand how to

Speaker 5:

do it.

Speaker 2:

And then the second thing I would say is that people need to understand what plants grow really well for the climate and to be growing the right plants at the right time. Okay, Right. So, for instance, you can't, it's not smart to grow basil right now.

Speaker 6:

Okay.

Speaker 2:

Right, basil is a summer plant. You want to put it in the spring. Yeah, it likes a lot of heat and it likes to be dry, but now is the time for your winter veggies. Okay, so now is the time for.

Speaker 6:

And what are those? What are my winter veggies?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, you're cruciferous vegetables, so we're talking broccoli and cauliflower and cabbage.

Speaker 1:

Okay.

Speaker 2:

It's also a great time to put in winter greens. So this is the time like with the type of heat you have in Fremont, we can't really easily grow lettuce in the middle of summer.

Speaker 5:

But now's the time to put in the lettuce.

Speaker 6:

Okay, nice.

Speaker 2:

And the parsley's, the Italian parsley's, your carrots. You can't grow tomatoes now, right, tomatoes you don't grow, even though we get them in the supermarket.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, but again.

Speaker 2:

It's more learnings, right. Tomatoes don't actually grow through the year.

Speaker 3:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Unless they're growing in a hot house, unless they're flowing in from some other part of the world or tracked in from Mexico, they're not growing here at this time.

Speaker 6:

So, yeah, I would say that would be the first thing, making sure you have the right vegetables or plants at the right time of the year, totally.

Speaker 2:

Totally, and also don't go too big, too early is also what I tell people Like you're better off growing I don't know three or four different plants in a really small plot initially than putting in a massive garden which then has, like, a significant maintenance requirement.

Speaker 6:

Okay, yeah.

Speaker 2:

So start like start growing some herbs right or start growing some lettuce so that every day you can have an amazing fresh salad from your own garden.

Speaker 6:

That's great. Yeah, I love that. Billy Roy's Burgers in Centerville is a great place to enjoy family food and great service. You can find them off the corner of Thornton Avenue and Fremont Boulevard in Centerville. Milk and Honey Cafe is a family owned restaurant located at 342-65 Fremont Boulevard. Right now they are offering a mid-autumn festival family meal special for dining or to go. You gotta check it out. Just drop in or give them a call and ask them more about it. To find out more about the best family-friendly Taiwanese restaurant in Fremont, go to milkandhoneycafecom or check them out on their Facebook page and Instagram. Gembielectric exists to empower your production. If you're a business owner, you know there's nothing that you want more than to focus on what you do best so that you can grow your business. Don't let electrical problems or projects stop you from your greatest production. Call GemBiElectric and let them help you empower your production today.

Speaker 5:

The Eloni College flea market is happening every second Saturday of the month from 9 am to 3 pm on Eloni's Fremont campus. Can I ask you, what are you hoping to find today?

Speaker 3:

Oh, we're just here for a fight?

Speaker 5:

Yeah, because our kids are actually playing right here, so we're just going to go check it out, so we're just going to the side and we're like, oh, let's go check out the flea market.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, awesome.

Speaker 5:

Just whatever.

Speaker 6:

What are you looking for today? Anything that I can't just go to Target and find. Have you seen anything? Things pop out, but you've got to walk the whole flea market before you pull the trigger on anything.

Speaker 5:

I hear that. Thanks so much for your time. What are you guys hoping to find?

Speaker 3:

Anything and nothing at all. We'll see what we can see First time here. No, no, I mean we go to thrift stores and flea markets and it's just interesting to see what's out there, and you never know what you'll find Treasures, I mean, stuff you'd not normally find at Target or Walmart or anywhere. And plus we're out here in this beautiful weather, so it's all good, it's win-win.

Speaker 5:

Literally the second person in the road who said something you can't find at Target.

Speaker 3:

There you go Nice. Have a good one. I didn't call them, I'll be sure.

Speaker 5:

There's a new area opening up.

Speaker 4:

Yeah. So a lot of people have been asking when Olive Way is going to open. So logistically, we are ready to open up Olive Way for vendors and we also have plans to build an arch there to have a welcome sign. That's facing Mission. So we're really, really, really excited about it. So we are looking for vendors. That wants to vent underneath our beautiful and historical olive trees?

Speaker 5:

So for people who haven't been to the campus, can you describe that area?

Speaker 4:

Yeah, olive Way is a path in the middle of our campus that is lined with historical olive trees. That has been with the campus ever since it was first built. It's beautiful, the olive trees are still here and it's under the shade. It's a very nice arch of these trees that goes over, so when the vendors are selling under it it's very magical. So for the Olive Way spaces, it's approximately 15 by 15. So it's a little bit bigger than our regular spaces and the exciting part is they're only $20 per space and cars cannot park there. So that way when the guests are walking through it, it's going to be just the vendors and the beautiful and interesting things that they will be selling.

Speaker 4:

One thing for the benefit of the vendors we are having featured vendors that are going to be placed right there along Olive Way. That's facing Mission Boulevard. So that way it attracts the traffic and draws attention for people coming in and it'll be the gateway to the main area of our flea market. So I'm really excited about that space. And look at that, people are already walking over Olive Way right now. So that's what's really exciting, because as you walk through there, that is literally the gateway to our flea market.

Speaker 5:

Hey Van, Are there any promotions that the vendor should know about?

Speaker 4:

Yes, so we're still currently running our current garage seller promotion, so you buy one market and you get the second one half off.

Speaker 5:

Anything else.

Speaker 4:

Yes, so we are also going to be having a six months promotion for January until June of next year, and that one, if you lock in a six months agreement with us, your six months price will be 40% off, and you can sign up and lock in those six months as soon as right now or the next time you guys come to our information booth and ask us about it. So if you want to lock it down from January to June of next year, it's going to be 40% off. So it's a really, really good deal.

Speaker 5:

So that six month promotion is for next year, but people can come by this year and lock it in.

Speaker 4:

Yes, that is exactly correct.

Speaker 5:

So the last time we talked to you, we're looking for a popcorn vendor and a coffee vendor. Any luck. Do you still need them?

Speaker 4:

Yes. So we're still looking for a coffee vendor and popcorn vendor. So if anybody knows of anyone or has a favorite, please shoot them my way or text us the business and I can reach out to them to see. If they want to, then at Aloni College Flea Market.

Speaker 5:

And if people want to contact you, how do they get in touch?

Speaker 4:

So our phone number is 510-659-6285 and the email is fleamarketataloneedu. More information can be found at aloniedu slash flea-market.

Speaker 5:

We release these podcast episodes on Fridays, and that means the next Aloni Flea Market is tomorrow.

Speaker 6:

That's really cool. Yeah, I think, you know, although I grew up gardening, my job as a kid was more go pick those weeds and then when the fruit actually grew or the vegetables grew, then I had to go harvest it. But as far as what it took to get to that point, I didn't really have much knowledge in that. But I had a lot of great memories of things that I learned in that experience, and so for me it's one of those things where I have a one-year-old that keeps ravaging my habanero plant and I don't think he realizes how much. You know, I have some jalapenos and some habaneros and he bites into them and then, you know, I'm hoping at some point he'll learn his lesson, just to leave him alone. But he insists on picking them and eating them. So I don't know, but my peppers have grown really really well, you know.

Speaker 2:

Absolutely, and that's all about timing and the fact that peppers grow really well here. So we have two resources at LEAF. One is LEAF WIKI, so this is a WIKI page with a whole lot of information about the plants that grow well specifically for Fremont and when you should grow them.

Speaker 2:

So that's the first thing, and then we have something called Talking Dirt, which is a webinar run by three amazing local gardeners, and you can be part of that for free. You can rock on and you can ask any question you'd like, and you have amazing experts to help you.

Speaker 6:

Wow, that's cool.

Speaker 2:

So there's actually there's no lack of resource.

Speaker 4:

I guess it's just about going.

Speaker 2:

Okay, am I interested in this? Do I feel passionate about?

Speaker 6:

it.

Speaker 2:

If the answer's yes, it's all here for you.

Speaker 6:

That's awesome. That's really cool. Is there a vision for LEAF to go beyond what you're doing now, like we have this garden and we have the stone garden? Are they targeting any other areas in the city that they might be involved in?

Speaker 2:

So we actually have a third garden which is right next to the stone garden, which is called the urban garden, and so this is currently a barren lot. We're doing it in partnership with ACWD and also the city of Fremont, and it's a bigger area and we plan to develop it in the same way that the stone garden is developed.

Speaker 2:

So it will be a much bigger area for us to bring people to, to educate them and also for us to grow more food and herbs and also pollinators. So we're really passionate about pollinator plants, amazing flowers, so that we're we're creating a hub. Really, it's an educational hub, but it's also like a hub of beauty with these, a place that people can come to and they can really feel what land feels like when it is cared for.

Speaker 6:

That's great, that's great yeah.

Speaker 2:

So we we are we're in a transition around that we are looking for volunteers. We need help in all its forms. Yeah.

Speaker 6:

I was going to ask that. So what does it look like to be a volunteer? Do you just show up, or is there kind of a process to go through in order to become a volunteer?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so we run volunteer days at the moment on Mondays and Thursdays, and you can go on our website and there's a process of connecting to that. We're also running volunteer days in the weekends and those days are going to increase moving forward and we're super, we're super interested in seeing you.

Speaker 3:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

That's awesome. Like, the more more people we can connect with, because I think most people who connect with leaf are like this is amazing and lots of people don't know that we even exist.

Speaker 6:

Right, right.

Speaker 2:

And so that's how. That's how push at the moment. So check out our website follow us on Instagram.

Speaker 6:

I was going to say, yeah, your Instagram like has like blown up recently. As far as like your presence, I feel like I you know I'm seeing stuff from leaf all the time. I think it's great. It actually is really inspiring. So I'm excited to see that you guys are putting stuff out there to encourage people to be a part of it. That's really great.

Speaker 2:

I mean that's the thing for nonprofits right it's like these guys have been doing really amazing work for a long time, and now we're starting to tell our story.

Speaker 6:

That's great.

Speaker 2:

And it's in telling your story that you make connections with people who are really interested in what you have to share. That's right, that's cool.

Speaker 6:

I think it's a big opportunity of technology in some ways, and then I'm pretty sure we covered this, but I just wanted to ask this question because I want it to be clarified. Fremont gives us moderate temperatures year round. So when I was growing gardens as a kid, I was in Wisconsin and Michigan where we had, you know, a foot of snow or three feet of snow on the ground for like chunks of the year and we didn't grow anything, you know. So in case somebody's thinking well, I missed my opportunity to be a part of this program because the summer's almost over. Is there gardening opportunities year round?

Speaker 2:

Absolutely. I mean, this is California baby it's incredible.

Speaker 4:

What grows here is unbelievable.

Speaker 2:

So, yeah, we're used to the beauty of summer but there's so much food that you can grow. You can just food that's specific to winter crops, but, yeah, you can grow easily in Fremont year round and so, and also there are many benefits right to be growing in these climates and water as well.

Speaker 6:

That's great. That's great. Well, I love this. This is so beautiful, like we are sitting on hay bales and if we were on video, there's like an outhouse behind us. So that's not really the greatest vision, but what you and I are looking at is pretty beautiful, and we're here at the the garden, the leaf garden, but it's part of the California nursery, which is in.

Speaker 6:

Niles and we've got palm trees and just a beautiful day to be out here, so this is wonderful. I love what we're doing. What do we got along the fence over here? What are these trees? So these?

Speaker 2:

are apple trees that were put in like only six months ago and we're so excited because we pick them really specifically they are. They called Etta apples, so they come there. They were actually created by one of the original botanists who worked in the California history nursery. And so there are his varieties, so we specifically found them, and then we already have apples like six months later we already have apples.

Speaker 4:

I mean, you've got no idea. I see that the things that we're excited about.

Speaker 5:

That's awesome.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and then you can see, under that, we've planted lavender and we again that's, that's new we specifically have chosen different types of lavender so that in time, from an herbal perspective, we can teach people about the different varieties and how you use them differently.

Speaker 2:

We just put in a, an herb garden in this, in this, at the leaf center as well. That's over there at the back there. We did it with volunteers Again, and by next summer that will be literally available to use for medicine. So yeah, we're super excited there's berries that are about to go in here. We have a lot of fruit trees in this leaf center, so when people come they can plant in the planters and then they'll also be able to forage from the trees that are growing here.

Speaker 6:

That's awesome, very cool. So these, these planters that have the big cages on them, how are they different? Or why are they caged and the other ones are not?

Speaker 2:

Right, that's a great question. So, and it's a new thing for me, Right. And in Fremont, the two things we have to be aware of is gophers and squirrels.

Speaker 6:

Yeah, right.

Speaker 2:

And so squirrels. Squirrels was a big problem here, and so we are in the process of creating cages around in order to minimize squirrel damage.

Speaker 6:

And will all of them have it, or is it just a couple?

Speaker 2:

Possibly in time. Yeah, In time. It's a project that will be going on for the next few years because there are scout groups that are creating the cages Okay. Right and they do a lot of work on how long term volunteers he supports these kids. They get construction skills. They do a whole lot of math in order to make these things, and then yeah, and then we have cages so that that people can grow their plants without having them be eaten by the squirrels.

Speaker 6:

That's awesome. That's very cool. Yeah, I was going to say a lot when we were, when I was growing up. We'd have deer get into our garden or we'd have other animals. But yeah, I can see we have a lot of squirrels One squirrels, regular squirrels, and gopers.

Speaker 2:

Honestly, it's not too much of a problem here Right Like we are okay. They're not necessary. But some people you know it's gating when you put a lot of time and effort in and then overnight your lovely plant can disappear.

Speaker 6:

But yeah, what's interesting, I think, is, as you were walking through the garden with me just a little bit ago and as I'm looking at it now, none of these raised beds have just one crop in them.

Speaker 2:

Absolutely.

Speaker 6:

And I would think for somebody who's renting, you know they're trying to get everything they can out of that, but there's got to be a symbiotic relationship, sort of like idea, behind all that. Right, yeah.

Speaker 2:

So one of the biggest issues with modern agriculture is monoculture. Like, when you have monoculture, it's taking the same nutrients from the ground the whole time. There are the same bugs that want to eat it. You end up really out of balance, and nature never does that. If you go into a forest, you don't, unless it's like a maybe a redwood forest that gets rid of everything else. But most forests it's all many different types of plants. So it's very clear. All the research tells us that like polycultures is the way to God. So that's one of the like, one of the powerful things about these gardens there are we plant flowers.

Speaker 6:

Oh hey, there we are. Yo, yo, welcome to Niles, that's right, it's got to be one more loud whistle, probably before, maybe not. I think that's it. Oh, there it is. There's a third one.

Speaker 2:

I think I'm having you think it's three. I'm like whoa, there we go.

Speaker 6:

There's the more, that's great. Yeah, so um polyculture. We're talking about polyculture.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, yeah.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so we're talking about plant vegetables right next to herbs, right next to flowers, and we find that that's the most successful way to have a garden that produces amazing food.

Speaker 6:

Yeah, and are there some plants that don't grow well together? They don't play. Play together well.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yes, a few, but it's more. It's more the other way. There are some plants that are best mates and you absolutely have to put them together Right, like tomatoes, tomatoes and basil. You really you want to. You want to put them together Right. The basil is so powerful for supporting your tomatoes. Calendula is another fantastic companion plant to have all through your garden. It brings the bees just love it. It brings the pollinators. It brings the butterflies. You, we, want a garden that is teeming with bugs.

Speaker 2:

That is the way to have you know, really amazing food.

Speaker 6:

Oh, that's awesome, Very cool. Well, I'm inspired. I would love to come out here and, although I've got my wine barrel pots at home, this is inspiring and I think that what you guys are doing is is really awesome. So if anybody wants to volunteer, then I would say I'm sure there's a link or a place that they can find out information about that. We can put it on in the show notes where you can go to that, or just come out here on a week, said Mondays and Thursdays.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so go to our website.

Speaker 6:

It's fremontleaforg. Okay.

Speaker 2:

Check out our Insta Again that's fremontleaf and connect with us. We'd love to hear from you. And yeah, and come on down, Everybody is welcome.

Speaker 6:

That's awesome.

Speaker 2:

We really want to see you.

Speaker 6:

Yeah, katie, thank you for your time, really appreciate it. This was really cool. I love doing it out here and although we didn't end up in the comfortable picnic table over there, we had to sit on a couple of bales of straw, this worked.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, absolutely it was good. Thank you so much. Yeah, thank you.

Speaker 1:

This episode was hosted and produced by Ricky B, scheduling and pre-interviews by Sara S. Rachel Prey is the print editor in charge of our newsletter. I'm Gary Williams. Andrew Kovett is the editor. Music provided by soundstripecom Be sure to subscribe wherever it is that you listen so you don't miss an episode. You can find everything we make the podcast, our newsletter and all of our social media links at thefremontpodcastcom. Join us next week on the Fremont Podcast.

Speaker 4:

This is a Muggins Media Podcast.

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Promoting Youth Gardening and Patience
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Promotions, Vendor Search, and Garden Expansion