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    Planting the seeds of sustainable urban agriculture at OB Library
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Mar 15, 2019 | 8941 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    The launch date for the seed library will be Saturday, March 23 from 1 to 4 p.m. at OB Library at 4801 Santa Monica Ave.
    The launch date for the seed library will be Saturday, March 23 from 1 to 4 p.m. at OB Library at 4801 Santa Monica Ave.
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    Modern-day Johnny Appleseeds, Ocean Beach Library is starting its own seed library. “Seed libraries promote seed and food sovereignty, nutritional literacy, and most of all cultivates community connections,” said OB Library assistant Destiny Rivera, who’s spearheading the pilot project. “Seed libraries provide access to free seeds, but also are equipped with robust programs and workshops.”  Accessing Ocean Beach’s new seed library will be similar to the system used to check out books and other materials. “You check out a seed. You grow the seed, and then you return a seed,” Rivera said. The librarian added the new seed library program will also offer educational classes by established gardeners. “We’re partnering with UCCE San Diego Master Gardeners and hosting their programs here,” Rivera said, adding the launch date for the seed library on Saturday, March 23 from 1 to 4 p.m. at OB Library at 4801 Santa Monica Ave. will be really special. March 23 festivities - 1 to 3:30 p.m. – Guest speaker Belinda Ramirez from Project New Village will present, “Food justice and social reform start in our own backyard.” projectnewvillage.org. - 1:30 to 2 p.m. – Cathryn Henning from Wild Willow Farm and Education Center will discuss urban farming, regenerative practices and their impact in the community. sandiegoroots.org/farm/farm-school.php. - 2 to 3 p.m. – Concert with legendary jazz musicians Steph Johnson and Rob Thorsen joined by special guest Jesus Gonzalez. - 3 to 4 p.m. – An Educational Faire with UCCE San Diego Master Gardeners and the Mongol Tribe answering gardening questions and talking about their upcoming educational programs in association with the Ocean Beach Seed Library. Also, numerous local gardening groups and civic organizations are collaborating with OB Library on its pilot seed program.  “Ocean Beach Elementary is looking forward to joining the Ocean Beach Seed Library Program for our expanding school garden projects,” said spokesperson Donna Lamb. “We will be adding a greenhouse, which will offer the opportunity for our students to plant their own seeds and learn the lifecycle of the plants.” “The Ocean Beach Seed Library is a great addition to our Ocean Beach and Point Loma communities,” said Deanna Chandra, UCCE master gardener. “I’ve met many people interested in getting involved with sustainable urban agriculture in coastal San Diego, and this program helps folks get started.” Chandra’s focus will be on “supporting the technical sustainability of keeping the seeds alive and well while in their dormancy at the OB library. I was able to receive a grant through the Master Gardener Association to purchase supplies that will lend themselves to the program's success.”   Chandra will also be presenting a monthly six-part  “Beginning Vegetable Gardening” series at the OB Library. Each month, participants will be provided with education about how to successfully plant and grow their gardens. Topics will include planning, planting, soils, pest management, water wise gardening and harvesting.
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    Senior Gleaners gather surplus food in San Diego to help feed the hungry
    by LUCIA VITI
    Mar 15, 2019 | 33925 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    A crew of Senior Gleaners working the coast including the Cayetano pick in Mission Beach. / Photo by Daryush Bastani
    A crew of Senior Gleaners working the coast including the Cayetano pick in Mission Beach. / Photo by Daryush Bastani
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    Calling all active seniors in need of productivity and vegetable farmers and homeowners with backyards filled with fruit trees. San Diego’s Senior Gleaners are ready, super excited and able to glean surplus produce in an effort to feed the hungry. Celebrating 25 years as a nonprofit organization, this dedicated group of volunteers collects food that would otherwise be wasted. Members glean surplus produce from farms, fields, groves, and backyards. The group also collects damaged or outdated foods and products donated by grocers, food services, and even restaurants throughout San Diego County. Picking occurs almost every Tuesday morning, year-round. Grocery crews are scheduled four mornings a week to grocery stores the include Windmill Farms, Vons, Ralphs, Keils, even Outback Steakhouse. Crew sizes and detailed surplus varies. The coastal communities of La Jolla, Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach and Point Loma are abundant with produce. “With all of the negativity in today's world, gleaning, a tradition established by landowners who set aside portions of their harvested bounty to feed the poor, is positive and productive,” said Monte Turner, Senior Gleaner board president. “We help to feed the hungry, reduce waste and keep retirees active.” According to Turner, the Senior Gleaners collected more than 280,000 pounds of produce and distributed nearly 252 tons of food in 2018. And yet, San Diego continues to waste 500,000 tons of food annually while 500, 000 people live in poverty or are considered food insecure. “While not starving, many San Diegans don’t know where their next meal is coming from,” he said. “We don’t have a hunger problem, we have a food distribution problem. Rather than compost edible food or fill landfills with what becomes harmful methane gas, it makes more sense to support groups like ours who get food to the people who need it.” Turner spoke of the emotional satisfaction that he gets from gleaning. “I love being outside with friends picking fruit appreciated by people who frequent food pantries,” he said. “People often receive canned goods and unsold grocery food items but rarely fresh fruit. And San Diego is fruit country (oranges, tangerines, lemons, grapefruits, avocados apples, and pears are among the County’s produce surplus). “We often pass trees loaded with fruit and within a few weeks, the fruit is unsightly, rotting on the ground, attracting insects and feeding rats,” he continued. “To date, we’ve collected less than 10 percent of what’s available, leaving huge untapped resources.” Turner noted that it’s now standard practice for nationwide grocery chain stores to connect with groups like the Senior Gleaners to ensure that edible food is feeding the hungry, not landfills. “Food organizations like ours are being tapped into after a recently enacted state law that requires cities and counties to reduce the amount of organic, soon to be toxic material, to be dumped into landfills,” he said. Senior Gleaners supply small distribution groups – those not served by large food banks – which includes churches, senior centers, low-income housing units and food pantries. Volunteers are needed for gleaning and transporting at least 300 pounds of produce to Heaven's Windows, a satellite facility of the San Diego Food Bank and Feeding America. There is no minimum time requirement, however all volunteers must be 55 or older. Donors receive detailed receipts to claim tax deductions. The federal Good Samaritan Food Donation Act protects donors from liability for “damages incurred as the result of illness,” as long as the donor has not “acted with negligence or intentional misconduct.” The Senior Gleaners of San Diego County is a certified non-profit organization affiliated with the San Diego County Office of Aging and Independent Services/ Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, a nationwide program that encourages seniors to serve their community. For more information, visit seniorgleanerssdco.org.
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    Ocean Beach Pier repairs begin, scheduled to finish before Memorial Day
    Mar 07, 2019 | 16201 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Huge waves brought on by king tides damaged the Ocean Beach Pier in January. / Photo by Jim Grant
    Huge waves brought on by king tides damaged the Ocean Beach Pier in January. / Photo by Jim Grant
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    At a March 7 press conference in Ocean Beach, Mayor Kevin Faulconer and District 2 City Councilmember Jennifer Campbell announced that significant repairs will be required to restore and reopen the iconic OB Pier landmark ahead of Memorial Day weekend. In January, the pier was closed to the public for safety and repair following a series of unusually strong storms and forceful king tides that battered it. City staff determined more than 2,200 feet of pier guard rail, electric, water and sewer lines need serious repair or replacement. Fixes are underway at an estimated cost of $430,000, the City said. “The pier will remain closed in the meantime,” said City spokesman Alec Phillipp, adding cost estimates for repair timelines, costs and projections for pier re-opening are ongoing.  The City also attributed bluff damage south of the OB Pier six weeks ago to the impact of king tides with large surf in the 10- to 12-foot range.
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    Kindness Gems in Pacific Beach helps raise funds for sex trafficked victims
    by VICTORIA DAVIS
    Mar 06, 2019 | 8381 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Kindness Gems necklaces with Citrine, Garnet, Goldstone, Lapis Lazuli, Aquamarine.
    Kindness Gems necklaces with Citrine, Garnet, Goldstone, Lapis Lazuli, Aquamarine.
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    Bri Downes and Julia Freifeld
    Bri Downes and Julia Freifeld
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    For three years, Julia Freifeld was a crisis counselor for survivors of sexual violence. She worked with her clients while also pursuing her own education at California Polytechnic State University. Feeling, as she described, “emotionally burnt out,” Freifeld looked for another way she could invest in the victims she cared for while still maintaining “my own inner peace.” That’s when she started a sea-glass-based jewelry company called Jewels for Change. “I felt like sea glass symbolized the journey of going through rough ocean waters and then coming out this beautiful and resilient survivor,” said Freifeld. The young entrepreneur would sell her jewelry to raise money for local nonprofits and charities. After discovering Healing Gemstones—a practice that’s been highly utilized along California’s coast—Freifeld transitioned Jewels for Change to Kindness Gems her senior year. She took on the company full time after graduating in 2017. “Gemstones have such a capacity to heal people and make people feel like the best versions of themselves,” said Freifeld, who now lives in Ocean Beach and heads Kindness Gems from her office in Pacific Beach. “I’ve always felt jewelry is a super sentimental thing. You go on vacation and you get a necklace there that will always remind you of that trip. Jewelry has an emotional tie as well and I feel like I’ve met so many people who have a necklace that their great grandmother gave them or even how a wedding ring is this significant symbol of love.” Partnering with another local jewelry enthusiast Bri Downes, who Freifeld met at Ocean Beach’s weekly farmers market, Kindness Gems sells necklaces, rings and earrings decorated in Citrine, Rose Quartz, Aquamarine, Moonstone and many others. “There are times where I have people at a booth for 45 minutes telling me their stories, their struggles…and I’m able to get to know each of them very personally,” said Downes. “That’s what makes this business so incredibly special.” Operating online and through farmers markets in Ocean Beach, Sea Port and Gaslamp, Kindness Gems also donates 20 percent of all their proceeds to help AIDS survivors and sex trafficked victims. “We want to give back to the many different organizations that are doing so much good in the world,” said Freifeld. “We work on a quarterly basis where we choose a philanthropic project to work with. This quarter we’re working with organizations that give support to people with AIDS.” Next quarter, Freifeld and Downes will partner with nonprofits helping survivors of sexual violence, such as Generate Hope San Diego, RISE and the Community Resource Center in Encinitas. “What I absolutely love about this company is, once we’ve chosen an awareness project to support, then begins us learning all about the different organizations,” said Freifeld. “It’s a process of us understanding the issue, how it’s being tackled and supporting their journey through our jewelry.” Kindness Gems also gets their pieces out to the community through wholesales with Earth Elements, a store front located in Carlsbad, Encinitas and Los Angeles. Since the business is one founded on compassion, Freifeld and Downes have also started a 24-hour act-of-kindness discount. Customers who purchase jewelry in person at a Kindness Gems booth or wholesale will fill out a slip at checkout, committing to an act of kindness within 24 hours and get a 10 percent discount on their purchase. “We’re not going to follow people around and make sure they do what they say they’ll do,” said Freifeld. “It’s all about getting people excited about giving back and, in return, getting a healing piece of jewelry that signifies their kindness and compassion.” She added, “Whether or not you believe in the healing power of these gemstones, these rocks are working to change lives.” Customers can catch Freifeld and Downes selling their Kindness Gems jewelry at the Ocean Beach Farmers Market every Wednesday, at Seaport Village’s on Saturdays and in Gaslamp on Sundays. Those looking to buy online can go to kindnessgems.com and use the promo code: SPREADKINDNESS.
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    La Playa Trail Association explores military history in the hills of Point Loma at its next presentation
    by KAREN SCANLON
    Mar 06, 2019 | 1038 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Artillerymen, in 1936, practice firing mortars at Battery Calef-Wilkison. The concrete skeleton of this battery is visible from Naval Base Point Loma’s recreation facility and café. (Photo courtesy Cabrillo National Monument.)
    Artillerymen, in 1936, practice firing mortars at Battery Calef-Wilkison. The concrete skeleton of this battery is visible from Naval Base Point Loma’s recreation facility and café. (Photo courtesy Cabrillo National Monument.)
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    Author - historian Kenneth Glaze enjoys a beautiful sky over Cabrillo National Monument at the entrance of the restored base end station of San Diego’s largest gun.   (Photo courtesy Karen Scanlon.)
    Author - historian Kenneth Glaze enjoys a beautiful sky over Cabrillo National Monument at the entrance of the restored base end station of San Diego’s largest gun. (Photo courtesy Karen Scanlon.)
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    A 110-horsepower steam-driven Case ordinance tractor trudges along Rosecrans Street burdened with 12-inch mortars for newly constructed artillery batteries at Fort Rosecrans, 1915 to 1919.  (Photo courtesy Cabrillo National Monument.)
    A 110-horsepower steam-driven Case ordinance tractor trudges along Rosecrans Street burdened with 12-inch mortars for newly constructed artillery batteries at Fort Rosecrans, 1915 to 1919. (Photo courtesy Cabrillo National Monument.)
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    Scattered in the hills over Point Loma’s military reservation are the concrete remains of 12 artillery batteries, and 15 searchlight bunkers. Some of these 60-inch GE carbon-arc lights were kept in camouflaged buildings and rolled into position along narrow-gauge tracks, while others rose from beneath the ground in pop-up shelters. What a perplexing sight for residents 100 years ago of steam-driven ordnance tractors trundling along Rosecrans Street, their trailers burdened with 12-inch mortars. (Weight of the entourage wrecked the pavement.) These guns were en route to the new artillery batteries White and Whistler at Fort Rosecrans. La Playa Trail Association explores this history at its next lecture featuring author and historian Kenneth Glaze discussing his book “Fort Rosecrans and the Army in San Diego 1859 to 1950.” Everyone is welcome on Tuesday, March 19 at Point Loma Assembly, 3035 Talbot St. Light appetizers and sips begin 5:30 to 6 p.m., the lecture at 7 p.m. A suggested donation of $10 is accepted at the door. Glaze is among a handful of volunteer Army and Coast Artillery historians at Cabrillo National Monument. This group of military enthusiasts is responsible for the restoration of one of four base end stations for San Diego’s largest gun, the 16-inch mortar at Battery Ashburn. “Bunkers for Ashburn existed at the Mexican border, Solana Beach, La Jolla, and here,” Glaze says. “They were placed far enough apart to get a good angle at the target of a suspicious ship in range.” Cabrillo National Monument is host to visitors from around the world. “They come for the view, and three main attractions,” Glaze says, “the Visitor Center, Old Point Loma Lighthouse, and our bunker.” The restored base end station is open for public touring the first four Saturdays of each month, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. It is closed on rainy days and fifth Saturdays. “Welcome to 1943!” they greet as you descend stairs to the underground bunker. Dressed in World War II herringbone twill fatigues, Glaze and volunteer-in-park cohort, Dave Boyer, stand ready to enlighten park visitors to past military activity in the area. Receiving the variety of questions from park guests, Glaze began to take note. From his experiences working in the bunker, and some serious research, he compiled a comprehensive history volume, “The Illustrated Fort Rosecrans: A Reference Guide to the Army’s Coast Artillery Corps in San Diego.” (The Coast Artillery was a division of the U.S. Army.) “This was pretty luxurious for a base end station,” Glaze notes. “When constructed, the bunker’s functional title was Battery Commander’s Position. It didn’t see much action, but soldiers held constant vigil for trouble. Up to 12 soldiers could bunk here—half on duty, half resting.” The bunker has two levels with a precarious climb to the bunkrooms below via metal rungs attached to the wall. And there was no plumbing, bunker bathrooming was “Bucket, chuck it!” Post war records describe some two-dozen vessels passing of which were investigated by base end personnel. “Nothing was ever fired upon,” Glaze says, “but the commanding officer here daily tracked every ship off our coast. Anything deemed to be big would be actively tracked.” Soldiers continually practiced plotting and tracking at this nerve center. A bell controlled by a telegraph system ran every 30 seconds. “We were controlling some pretty big guns!” This is, after all, the extreme southwestern edge of the continental United States, and its closest military post to the enemy of their watch. By profession, Glaze is a flight instructor and flies tow planes for Sky Sailing, a glider operation in northern San Diego County. His interest in local history goes back to 1971 when he first discovered the military bunker at Cabrillo National Monument, which he would help restore 40 years later.
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