Our Day of Service 2017: Gardening at Urban Tilth

Posted by – June 26, 2017
Categories: Ecology & Sustainability Event Info
Acquisitions Editor Alison Knowles celebrating her weeding.
Acquisitions Editor Alison Knowles celebrating her weeding.

The staff of North Atlantic Books celebrated spring and our commitment to our community by spending at day working at Urban Tilth’s North Richmond Farm. Armed with shovels, hoes, clippers, and trowels, we weeded paths, broke beds and added compost in preparation for planting. We also trimmed garlic and planted hundreds of seeds.

It was a day to enjoy the fellowship of our colleagues in a setting other than the office or conference room, to get our hands dirty, and to connect intimately with how our food is grown and harvested.

Sales & Marketing Coordinator Katie Gezi (left) and Editor Ebonie Ledbetter (right) shuck garlic.
Sales & Marketing Coordinator Katie Gezi (left) and Editor Ebonie (right) shuck garlic.

Founded in 2005 to build a more sustainable, healthy, and just local food system, Urban Tilth is an Agricultural Park and Riparian Restoration Learning Center with the mission of creating a space in the heart of the most impacted neighborhood in Richmond where children, youth, and adults can deeply engage with nature. It has emerged as a local leader, a catalyst drawing together a variety of individual initiatives into a web of integrated, food- and community-focused efforts.

The organization helps the community grow its own food; trains and employs young people as “home grown experts”; teaches local residents about the relationships among food, health, poverty, and justice; fosters public foraging programs; and creates partnerships with local small farmers to increase demand for their produce.

Operations Manager Karen Windham rehydrates during her break.
Inventory Manager Karen Windham rehydrates during her break.

Urban Tilth uses thirteen school and community gardens and small urban farms to teach and employ community members to grow, distribute, cook, and consume thousands of pounds of local produce each year, to create a more equitable and just food system within a healthier and more self-sufficient community.

With NAB’s ground-breaking books in whole foods, permaculture, and herbalism, working at the garden was a natural fit for our day of community service.

NAB staff turns over soil.
NAB & Urban Tilth staff turn the beds.

Janet Levin, NAB’s Senior Director of Sales and Distribution, said, “Giving back to our community is something NAB staff believes in and enjoys doing as a group. There’s something about getting our hands in the dirt and pulling weeds and helping local farms such as Urban Tilth grow food for the community or planting seedlings along the Hayward estuary to better protect the environment that is a physical manifestation of the transformative content we publish. It’s the act of doing in an attempt to make the world a little bit better that I personally enjoy and am proud to be a part of.”

We are proud to join the hundreds of volunteers who work and learn at Urban Tilth. We encourage everyone to check out their website, which lists an abundance of volunteer opportunities. It’s a great way to make a contribution to a good cause, to connect with the nature and the process of growth, and to spend time with friendly people who are working toward creating a healthier community and environment.


About the Author

Leslie comes to book publishing from both sides of the fence—both as a veteran editor and marketing copywriter, and as an author. She joined NAB in 2013. Her first job was with an independent press in London where, because the staff was so small, she got hands-on experience in all aspects of publishing. For many years she was senior writer and publications manager at the University of California Press. She has managed the communications programs and written copy for a number of nonprofits. Her two novels, Slipstream and Breaking Out of Bedlam, were published by Crown/Shaye Areheart Books and her work has appeared in Faultline, O, The Oprah Magazine, The Writer, Flaunt, The Women’s Review of Books, and More. She likes deadlines, untangling sentences, and finding the right word. When she isn’t reading, writing, or walking, she enjoys cooking and feasting on the produce she grows in her Berkeley backyard.