News from the Farm | August 18, 2014

The Seven Year Itch

We received this sweet story from one of our CSA members about the community that has been created at their CSA site – University Terrace. If you have any stories of community building at your CSA site, please send them to us. We would love to read them (and share them, too!). Have a delightful week – and enjoy your box! 

Seven years ago Alix Schwartz decided that the people living at University Terrace, a condominium complex housing UC faculty and staff here in Berkeley, should start to receive Full Belly boxes. We arranged the pick-up hours to be from 4 to 7 every Friday. There were also neighbors beyond UTerrace who wanted to join in, and Pancho started delivering boxes in the large re-purposed garage on our property on August 3, 2007. 

So the story started – with a launch party at which Alix made organic mojitos and others brought cheese, bread, dips, and so on. We set up tables on a grassy space by the garage and the complex’s tot lot. The little ones played there while their parents enjoyed drinks and companionship. We all had such a great time that we decided to make the event an ongoing one.

We’re still doing it seven years later. People sign up on a roster to be “veggie-minders” and to set up the soirée. Everyone contributes the occasional bottle of wine, soft drinks, cheese, bread, chips, etc., and a tradition grew and grew. When the weather turns colder and wetter, Pancho makes the deliveries to the University Terrace commons room in our former high school building. All those still around at 7 take care of the clean-up. 

We have some retired people here, including me. I help out with making sure that the pick-up point is always open and things set out by 4, with others taking over when they get home from work. 

Last week we sent out a notice to everyone at University Terrace and all those subscribers in the surrounding area to announce a grand 7th anniversary party, with Alix repeating the mojitos (both alcoholic and virgin!) of that first launch. Some 50 people showed up during the course of the party!

What a crowd! And how many reminiscences! At least three babies have taken their first independent steps at the soirée. Nathaniel, who was six months old at the first party, is now a tall seven-year-old. Oriane, who was a bump on her mother’s belly what seems like yesterday, wore a pretty pink dress and took part in the games in the tot lot.

There was sadness, too. Linda and Joanne are no longer with us. Several old friends have moved away from Berkeley. But the griefs have been countered by the joy of making new friends over the years. Many neighborhood Full Belly subscribers have become honorary University Terrace residents, bringing their children to our annual Easter egg hunt and trick-or-treating around our complex. Resident musicians have played for St. Patrick’s Day and other occasions, with children and adults dancing and dancing! 

Thank you, Full Belly Farm, for offering a great opportunity for building our neighborhood! We hope to update you seven years from now! 

— Phyllis Brooks Schafer, CSA Member