Oakland Animal Shelter has a full house

At the intersection of Fruitvale Blvd. and the railway tracks, despite the traffic noise, there’s another noise that stands out —the barking of dogs in the big fenced back yard of the Oakland Animal Shelter. The dogs bark over the sounds of trucks, cars, and freeway, over the railway track’s light signals, and are an early, outside indication that the shelter is totally packed.

Berkeley farmers’ markets become zero waste zones

By Lauren Rudser and Brittney Johnson/Oakland North The three weekly Berkeley farmers’ markets are now zero waste zones. The goal is to reduce, recycle or compost all materials generated by the markets –- and shoppers are asked to do their part when it comes to how they transport their purchases home.

VIDEO: What’s in your box? CSA members look forward to spring

by Elise Craig and Brittney Johnson/Oakland North Community Supported Agriculture or CSAs are programs that allow consumers to skip the grocery store and buy their produce directly from farmers. Every week, subscribers get a box full of the fresh fruit and veggies of the season delivered to a pick up spot near their homes. Some CSAs even deliver free range eggs, farm-fresh cheese and flowers.

Organic roots: From the rancho to the market

By Diana Montaño/Oakland North The tropical crops of Maria Inés Catalán’s youth don’t grow in Hollister. Instead of winding through the papaya and mango trees of her native Guerrero, Mexico, here, wearing black loafers caked in mud from the past week’s rain, she steps carefully over the kale, broccoli and artichoke plants that thrive in the Northern California winter.

Filmmaker to screen “Redemption,” story of Oakland recyclers

Jason Witt is an Olympian of recycling—he can recycle up to 800 pounds of bottles and cans a day. “He’s the captain of his ship,” said Amir Soltani, a writer and activist who has been following Witt for the past year as part of his upcoming documentary on West Oakland recyclers. Soltani said there is a lot of physical effort and finesse involved in manning a cart the size of Witt’s, which, at the end of each day, is stacked…

O.N. opines! On politics, on creepy comedy, on Xma$…

In these commentaries, Oakland North writers weigh in on 1) keeping Black Friday in perspective; 2) keeping certain kinds of humor in the back room, where maybe it ought to stay; and 3) how the new secretary of state selection looks through the eyes of a journalist raised in West Africa.

A fragrant shop helps Ethiopians far from home

by ISABEL ESTERMAN Inside Oakland’s Albo African Gift shop, at the corner of Alcatraz and Telegraph, a deep herbal aroma wafts from a row of colorful bottles labeled ‘frankincense.’  Ethiopian Singer Hamelmal Abate’s mournful vibrato pours out of the stereo, crooning over an incongruously lively beat, while the store’s owner, Genet Asrat, sits behind the counter, her black sweater brightened by a bold patterned scarf with a yellow border.  The phone rings nearly continuously, and Asrat switches back and forth…