From the UC Blogosphere...
The East Oakland non-profit organization Planting Justice hires former inmates, many from San Quentin, and pays them a family sustaining wage to work on urban farms, orchards and nurseries, and offer environmental education, reported Patti Brown in the New York Times.
Of the 35 formerly incarcerated workers hired by Planting Justice since 2009, only one is known to have returned to prison. Employees must commit to staying sober and drug free.
Jennifer Sowerwine, UC Cooperative Extension specialist at UC Berkeley, said that the organization's founders, Haleh Zandi and Gavin Raders, have “shifted the conversation around food justice.”
“It's not just about food security, but the security of providing living wages,” she said.
Sowerwine said she learned about Planting Justice a few years ago in an urban farming focus group and worked with the program on many projects. She suggested the New York Times reporter do a feature story on Planting Justice, set up the interview and attended the site visit to support the introduction.
Planting Justice, in partnership with the Multinational Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture, were recipients of a Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program Grant from USDA at the same time as Sowerwine.
"We collaborate and support each other's programs through providing mutual guidance, co-sponsoring events, and offering opportunities for shared learning for our participants," Sowerwine said. "We are exploring deeper partnerships with a MESA/PJ training program at the Gill Tract as well in an effort to raise the profile of urban farming, and amplify successful and innovative urban agriculture approaches."
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By Linda Lewis Griffith UCCE Master Gardener
Citrus tangerina ‘Dancy'
Best flavor in Zones 12 and 13, but good through zone 24.
Large, vigorous, upright tree (20-30') with erect branches. Dwarf tree (4-10') suitable in large pots or as espalier.
Trees produce fragrant flowers in early spring. Fruit ripens December-February. Fruit holds well on tree.
Pruning is only necessary to remove dead branches or twiggy growth. May also be done to shape tree as desired.
Keep soil moist but avoid free-standing water. Water newly planted trees frequently. Well established trees may be watered every other week. Container plants may require daily watering in hot weather.
Dancy mandarins are the standard tangerines found in markets before Christmas. Their fruit is smaller than other mandarins and measure 2 ¼ to 2 ½ inches in diameter. Fruits tend to be seedy, with anywhere from six to 20 seeds in each fruit. Fruit is flattened and somewhat pear-shaped due to the neck at the stem end. The flesh is a deep orange color with a rich flavor. Rind is thin, reddish-orange, leathery and tough. Skin is loose and easily removed, but not puffy until well past maturity. Remove fruit by clipping to prevent peel from tearing.
Trees are large and densely-foliated with a tendency to bearing fruit in alternate years. Crop thinning by judicious pruning may encourage trees to produce fruit annually. Branches are nearly thornless.
Trees are moderately cold-hardy and will survive to 20 degrees F. But the thin-skinned fruit are more fragile and can be damaged if temperatures drop.
Dancy mandarins are self-fruitful and do not require a nearby pollenizer to enhance productivity.
Dancy mandarins are thought to have originated in India and were taken to China where they are still extensively grown. They were first planted in Florida in 1867 and quickly became the leading mandarin variety in the country. They have also played a role in the development of other citrus varieties, such as tangelos and tangors.
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