Alameda Backyard Growers' Urban Farm Tour was a barnburner of an event by most anyone’s standards.
Over 120 people rambled through the gardens of three San Jose Avenue homes during the Sept. 10 fundraiser and donated nearly $1,000 to help support the group’s volunteer efforts.
Amanda MacLean’s garden was among those on the tour. She, along with Alameda resident Janice Edwards, co-founded Alameda Backyard Growers in an attempt to forge closer ties with their neighbors.
McLean’s garden, planted only two months ago, was designed by in Alameda. It contains 17 varieties of fruit trees and bushes.
Other gardens on the tour route belonged to Birgit Evans and to Ann and Paul Canavese. A tomato tasting fueled the visitors' energy as guests sampled over 20 different varieties of homegrown, vine-ripened offerings.
Proceeds from the event will be used to purchase an orchard ladder, fruit picking poles with baskets and other supplies the group uses as part of its ongoing fruit gleaning program.
Volunteers from the group help harvest fruit trees by request in Alameda backyards.
They donate almost all of what is picked to the . The fruit is then offered, at no charge, to food bank clients in need. It is estimated that about 1 in 13 residents in Alameda currently rely upon the food bank.
“We like to say we are building community one veggie at a time,” said MacLean. She notes that the Alameda Backyard Growers group has mushroomed, with over 300 members today.
In addition to its fruit gleaning program, MacLean said, she hopes they will hold occasional afternoon work parties to help older island residents with large gardens that are hard for them to maintain on their own. MacLean anticipates another backyard garden tour will be held again next year.
Alameda Backyard Growers meets monthly and welcomes new members. There is no cost to belong. For more information, you can read about them here.