Category Archives: permaculture

Spiral Gardens Nursery in Berkeley

Daniel Miller, executive director of Spiral Gardens in Berkeley.

Spiral Gardens is a non-profit nursery, produce stand, and community farm located at 2850 Sacramento near Ashby Street in Berkeley. It’s been around since 1993 but it was new to me when I happened to drive by it back in April. A community treasure, it’s easily the best Bay Area nursery I’ve visited.

What makes the nursery so good is that every herb and vegetable is grown on site for our climate. The Bay Area’s unusual cool summer weather requires special varieties that big box nurseries don’t offer. The prices are affordable and the selection is huge. What other nursery has 19 varieties of tomatoes grown especially for our climate? Lettuces, beans, squash, corn, peppers, greens, carrots herbs and hard-to-find perennial vegetables that last multiple seasons such as tree collards, burdock, and cape gooseberries are offered. A plant geek’s heaven, everything is well labeled and often comes with a free history lesson. Berries and fruit trees are also sold (though not grown on site due to lengthy growing times) as well as non-edibles including natives, bee friendly and drought tolerant plants.

The experienced staff grows the plants and knows the plants. They are there to answer questions and offer advice. Volunteers are welcome to drop in anytime they are open. Monthly free workshops are listed on Facebook. Spiral Gardens also sells starts at the Saturday Berkeley Farmers Market. Excess produce grown on site is also given away to the local community seniors.

Spiral Gardens Community Food Security Project 510. 843.1307 Summer Hours: 11am to 6pm  Tues-Friday11am to 5pm Sat and Sunday

Kanchan Hunter of Spiral Gardens shows a neighbor how to transplant.

A sample of edible starts at Spiral Gardens. (clockwise from top left) corn, tree collards, tomatoes, burdock, five star lettuce mix, apples, mint and speckled lettuce

A neighbor harvests tree collards growing at the nursery.


Urban Adamah


Urban Adamah is and educational farm and community center located in the heart of Berkeley. “Adamah” means “earth” in Hebrew. The idea to combine leadership training, organic farming, and progressive Jewish living was launched a decade ago by Adam Berman in Connecticut. Five years ago he brought the program to Berkeley. It’s now an independent nonprofit that offers fellowships, programs and camps, workshops and public programs.

I happened to stop by the one acre permaculture farm a month ago after driving by it for years. By chance it was their harvest and free farm stand day. Farm manager Willow Rosenthal (above) helped volunteers gather vegetables and greens. Everything was washed, weighed and logged. At 11am the stand opened. 90% of the produce grown at the farm is shared with neighbors who otherwise don’t have access to fresh produce. Carrots, garlic, greens, and radishes were harvested while I was there along with donations from local businesses like bread, milk, and eggs. Since opening, the farm has shared over 25,000 lbs of produce. There are over 100 raised beds, two greenhouses, a chicken coop, goats, bees, aquaponics and more. Stop by the farm at 1050 Parker Street but see it soon. They’ve recently purchased a permanent home 2.2 acre home in Northwest Berkeley and they’ll be moving in December. Check their website: There are all kinds of workshops and programs from learning aquaponics to making heritage corn into tortillas.







Kat Morgan, office and special programs manager at Urban Adamah runs the Free Farm Stand on Wednesdays.