Food

New portable sensor tests for gluten in minutes

Martha Benco, an Oakland native, knows what it’s like to rely on the truthfulness of labels and servers when it comes to checking whether there’s gluten in her food. “I have celiac disease,” says Benco, 35, who also has a way to test her food now. Benco says she’s been lucky so far—though she does experience mental fogginess, exhaustion and intestinal distress, her symptoms aren’t as severe as the sores inside the mouth or vomiting other people report. That’s why,…

Garden program provides crucial link for parolees after prison

The blender roared to life, shredding kale, mint, strawberries, bananas and ice into a delicious concoction. Anthony Forrest, the smoothie maker, handed cups of the nutritious potion to the students surrounding him in the school garden at Fremont High School in East Oakland. Forrest and his colleague Vernon Ray Dailey both work for Planting Justice, a nonprofit advocating for locally grown food, food education, jobs and shared green spaces. Forrest and Dailey are not secretive about their past: Between the…

Oakland’s Acta Non Verba brings farm to table

Amid glowing rows of rainbow chard and plump purple eggplants, Kelly Carlisle, founder of Acta Non Verba Farm, is celebrating her sixth community harvest. The farm, which sits on a quarter acre of Tassafaronga Park, offers local children a safe outdoor space to learn the art of farming.

Mural movement continues at lunch initiative’s office

Grinning at his colleagues clustered nearby and draping one arm across the shoulders of executive director Amana Harris, artist Justin Metoyer-Mullon cut a red ribbon. The ribbon stretched across the opening to the courtyard of the Marcus Foster Education Center to the right of a large, bright mural depicting the center’s namesake.  “We’re really using our art to transform our environment,” said Metoyer-Mullon, gesturing to the space behind him.  The five murals contrast sharply with the fence to which they…