New to urban farming? Want to meet the experts? Pollinate Farm & Garden hosts a speaker series and hands-on DIY workshops on a variety of topics. Classes are held in our community meeting and learning space, in our garden, or at another site as indicated. Learn more about our instructors, or become one yourself!
POSTPONED – NEW DATE TBD Know Your Farmer — Meet Andrew Brait of Full Belly Farm
In this informative talk, part of Pollinate’s Know Your Farmer series, owner and farmer Andrew Brait will discuss Full Belly Farm, its history, systems, products, and CSA program, and provide tips on getting a jump on this year’s heirloom tomato season. There will also be seasonal goodies for tasting. Registration: $5-$20 Sliding Scale: No one turned away for lack of funds.
Full Belly Farm is a 350-acre certified organic farm located in the beautiful Capay Valley of Northern California, north of Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay area. They are committed to fostering sustainability on all levels, from fertility in their soil and care for the environment, to stable employment for their farm workers. They strive to be good stewards of this farm, so that this generation and future generations may continue to be nourished by the healthy and vibrant food that they produce. Full Belly’s system includes: growing and marketing over 80 different crops; providing year-round employment for farm labor; using cover crops that fix nitrogen and provide organic matter for the soil; selling produce within a 120-mile radius of the farm; and planting habitat areas for beneficial insects and wildlife. One of the farm’s goals is to integrate farm production with longer-term environmental stewardship.
Wednesday, March 12, 6:30-8:00 — Hands-On Drip Irrigation Workshop with Steve Williams, owner of Stephen Williams Landscaping
Now, more than ever, every drop of water is precious. Drip irrigation is a practical and responsible way to provide water to our edibles and ornamentals.Do you want an easier way to water your garden, but are intimidated by irrigation systems? Come and learn what all the parts and pieces are from an expert. Participants will work with the parts and put together a simple system for watering vegetable beds. They will also receive a 10% discount on irrigation supplies. Registration: $20
Instructor Bio: Stephen Williams is owner of Stephen Williams Landscaping. He designs landscapes and irrigation systems of all sizes throughout the Bay Area. Stephen has also managed installation and maintenance crews for several large Bay Area landscape design firms.
Sunday, March 16, 1:00-2:30 — Care and Pruning of Citrus with Molly Goulet Bolt
When life gives you lemons, care for them! Lemons abound in the East Bay, but they still require special attention. Learn how to prune, fertilize and diagnose your backyard citrus in this hands-on workshop. In addition to pruning essentials, we will discuss common maintenance issues and organic disease management. Please bring gloves and hand pruners if available. Registration: $20
Instructor Bio: Molly Goulet Bolt prunes and cares for trees in the Bay Area. Her practice focuses on home orchards, but she also offers consultation and diagnosis for all trees. She believes that local food is good for people and the rest of nature.
POSTPONED – NEW DATE TBD Hands-On Garden Tool Sharpening and Maintenance with Blacksmith Grant Marcoux
The quality of garden tools is highly variable, and construction methods determine the price point. But price does not always reflect quality! Gardening is manual labor and can be very demanding. Knowing how to use and care for tools will reduce the amount of wear and tear on your body. A sharp, well maintained tool will be safer and easier to use, and cause less fatigue. In this hands-on workshop, we will discuss construction, selection and care for shears, shovels, axes, machetes, hoes, cultivators, weeders and more! Learn what goes into the construction of a quality tool, and how to care of it so that it will last a lifetime or more. Class space is limited, so enroll early. Bring your tools and get them ready for Spring gardening! Registration:$25
Instructor Bio: After retiring from a career in law enforcement, Canada native Grant Marcoux began a new career as a blacksmith. In addition to creating beautiful and practical metal works in his shop, Pilgrim Soul Forge, Grant repairs and sharpens knives and agricultural hand tools. Grant is blessed with a wonderful sense of humor, a fine aesthetic and an appreciation for quality. An urban farmer who now resides in Alameda, Grant grows vegetables, berries, several fruit trees, and keeps chickens and bees.
Sunday, April 6, 1:00-3:00 — Handmade Paper from Plants with Michelle Wilson
In this fun workshop, students will learn the basis for Western-style paper making, using edible and ornamental plant fibers. The hands-on portion of the class will cover basic paper sheet formation as well as fiber preparation and artistic embellishments. Participants will leave with several wet papers to be dried at home. This is a wet class! Please bring a new roll of paper towels and wear clothing and shoes that can get wet. This class is appropriate for children over the age of 8 when accompanied by an adult. Registation: $25; $15 Materials Fee
Instructor Bio: Michelle Wilson is a papermaker, printmaker, book and installation artist. Her work has been part of exhibitions at numerous institutions, including the X Initiative in New York, NY, the Chicago Center for Book and Paper Arts, the 2006 International Biennial for the Artist’s Book in Alexandria, Egypt, and at the Joshibi Art Museum outside of Tokyo, Japan. Her extensive teaching experience includes San Francisco State University, Bryn Mawr College, Moore College of Art and Design, the University of the Arts, the Samuel S. Fleisher Art Memorial, Appel Farm Arts and Music Center, the San Jose ICA Print Center, and the Kala Art Institute. In addition, she is a hand papermaking consultant to Signa-Haiti, an NGO in the process of developing a sustainable and bio-dynamic economy in Haiti.
Wilson has a BFA from Moore College of Art and Design, and an MFA from the University of the Arts. Her imprint is Rocinante Press. Formerly a longtime resident of Philadelphia, Wilson has recently relocated to the San Francisco Bay area.
Wednesday, April 9, 6:30-8:00 — Bee-friendly Habitat Gardening with Jaime Pawelek
Learn how to attract and conserve native bees in your home garden. You’ll explore native bee biology and ecology and use this information to help you design a bee-friendly landscape. You will also learn the best bee plants for your garden and tips to promote healthy plant growth. Participants will also learn about how to build their own bee condo, to invite cavity nesting bees into their gardens. You will receive a seasonal plant list and bee condo building instructions. Registration: $20
Instructor Bio: Jaime Pawelek is owner of Wild Bee Garden Design. She earned a B.S. in Conservation and Resource Studies from UC Berkeley and has worked in the Urban Bee Lab for over 4 years. She studies the biology and ecology of native bees and their role in urban ecosystems. She is also a gardener in Marin County and designs bee habitat gardens throughout the Bay Area. She teaches workshops for Master Gardeners, native plant societies and local schools.