Volunteers gather at the Memorial Tabernacle Church for a lawn party to restore the church's garden on Saturday, May 6, 2017. (Yesica Prado/Oakland North)

On a warm Saturday morning, people began to slowly stroll into the Memorial Tabernacle in Oakland’s Bushrod neighborhood. They were gathered not for a morning service, but for a special kind of lawn party. Trail mix, cookies, apples, and fresh-cut pieces of banana were laid out on colorful bowls on a table, but nothing smelled more fresh than the two 4-foot piles of compost and wood mulch laid out on the road in front of the church.

StopWaste, a public agency dedicated to reducing waste in Alameda County, hosted the lawn party to revitalize the Memorial Tabernacle’s community garden, using this hands-on project to educate volunteers on how to convert a water-thirsty lawn into a fruitful garden.

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If you go to the California Department of Water Resources’ drought Web page, you’ll only find this message: “The DWR Drought Web site has been shutdown due to no longer being in an official drought.” Water supply has always been a tough issue in California and residents have long been warned to conserve. But this year has been one of the biggest years of precipitation since 1970, according to the Department of Water Resources.

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