Urban Releaf, HOPE Collaborative, Communities for a Better Environment (CBE), and Acta Non Verba: Youth Urban Farm Project (ANV) are among several “green” non-profit and community organizations who have partnered for the “Green Up Day of Action,” to be held April 26, from 10am-2pm at Tassafaronga Park in East Oakland. This year’s Earth Day event builds upon CBE’s legacy of hosting “Love Yo Mama” Earth Day celebrations in East Oakland and a successful collaboration in 2013 which resulted in the planting of 25 trees and installation of edible herb gardens along 82nd Ave – making an immediate and long-term difference in an underserved community plagued by blight, poor air quality and lack of shade trees.
For 2014’s Green Up Day of Action, Urban Releaf plans to plant 25 trees, while CBE will coordinate neighborhood beautification actions at five locations in East Oakland. ANV will host the event at their farm, located opposite Tassafaronga Village on 83rd Ave. and E Street; activities include installing planter boxes along sidewalks in the neighborhood where residents can grow their own food; kids’ events include trash-sorting and clay pot making with a local artist.
More than 200 volunteers, including a large number of neighborhood residents, are expected to participate in the event, which helps fulfill the long-term vision of HOPE Collaborative’s Elmhurst Neighborhood Planning Initiative, whose goal is to support resident leadership in their community by creating a greenway in East Oakland in the area from 81st to 91st Avenues, bordered by International Blvd. and G street. Additionally, Urban Releaf will assist Bill Ritchie of the City of Oakland in planting 12 trees in the area around 105th Ave. and Edes. Other key partners include Bike East Bay, Global Green, Cal-FIRE, resident leaders from local schools and Neighborhood Crime Prevention Councils (NCPCs), and Oakland’s Parks and Recreation Dept. The event is registered through the City of Oakland’s Earth Day program (www.oaklandearthday.org), which provides access to volunteer sites across the city to tools, trash bags, and trash removal for the day.
“We want to do all we can to improve this area – not only restoring tree canopy to its maximum benefit, but including and employing the community in the process,” said Kemba Shakur, founder and Executive Director of Urban Releaf, who adds that 2014 marks the 15th year of the pioneering urban forestry organization’s involvement in Earth Day activities. In addition to tree-planting and neighborhood beautification efforts, “this event is about a community coming together to make their vision of a healthier neighborhood become a reality,” said HOPE Collaborative Project Associate Angela Hadwin.
“Earth Day is an excellent opportunity for our youth to see how what they do and learn at the farm extends to the entire community. They can see themselves as part of a bigger effort and community of people all working to make the neighborhood a healthier and safer place for everyone,” added ANV Founder and Executive Director Kelly Carlisle. “Every Oakland resident should have access to healthy food, clean air and clean environment. Children and families should feel safe to play in their front yards and have access to clean parks, fields and playgrounds,” said Nehanda Imara, CBE’s East Oakland Community Organizer.