Ashby Community Garden

Urban farming in your community

Welcome, Ashby Community Garden, a collectively run garden located on the 1300 block of Ashby Ave, in South Berkeley, is where we raise food and share our knowledge of urban farming.

 The Ashby Community Garden was founded in 2004 on a privately-owned empty lot in South Berkeley. Today there is a flourishing garden of Community fruit trees, chickens, a beehive, and about 22 individual plots. Click here to learn about our latest activities.

We're here to grow our own food and cut out the middle man; we are independent of any city program and run on a volunteer basis only.  Volunteer members maintain the garden, grow food year-round, and hold community events. Check our calendar section for new events.

The Ashby Community Garden is open limited hours, depending on member's schedules. Stop by to see what's growing, or for information contact:




Open to Public, Sundays, 1pm-3pm,

Please email to confirm open times. 

You are also welcome to work in the garden during our open hours , Sundays, 1-3pm


Take a peek at our brand new video lovingly made by Sabereh Kashi of Woven Multimedia 

September Food Swap- Sunday, September 25, 1-2:30pm

Join other swappers in trading home-grown/ home-made food and self-care items!
Your registration beforehand is recommended, but drop-ins are always welcome.

 Eventbrite Registering
More info: Facebook Event

Medicine Making at the Garden- Sunday, August 21, 2-5pm


Would you like to learn how to make your own herbal tinctures?  How about herbal preparations for respiratory ailments? Or immune booster concoctions?  Then get ready to get your hands dirty!

Join us for an afternoon of medicine-making at the Ashby Community Garden. This is a hands on workshop!  We are going to make the following herbal remedies and learn how to use them, too!

•    Tinctures of Calendula, & comfrey (for first aid)

•    Oregano & rosemary oxymels  (for respiratory ailments)

•    Lemon/honey/ginger (for colds & flus)

Bring your own 8 oz mason jar with cap

A $5-$15 donation is suggested

July Garden Work Days - Saturday, July 23, 12pm-4pm

Sunday, July 24, 12pm-4pm, Garden meeting & potluck at 3pm

We  invite everyone to participate in garden work days. Come and learn more about the Ashby Garden and get involved in fun projects.

Some activities include:

sheet mulching, seed saving, harvesting, sign painting, and building a trellis. Come enjoy the brilliant colors of summer in the Ashby Community Garden. 

Improving Your Soil Quality (Workshops for Urban Food Growers)

A three week series presented by Rob Bennaton with the UC Cooperative Extension-Alameda County. Students will learn about soil quality, sampling and risk mapping, and soil organics. Each class will build on previous week's material, but students can come to any class regardless of attendance to all.

Dates & time:
Saturdays, 4-5:30pm
June 4- Improving Your Soil Quality (for the Urban Food Grower) 
June 18- Soil Sampling, Risk Mapping & Heavy Metals Safe Growing 
June 25- Advanced Organics Soils Management

Ashby Community Garden      
1370 Ashby, between Acton & Mabel
in South Berkeley, 1 1/2 blocks east of San Pablo Ave (south side of street)

Contact Annika:
Dates & time:
Saturdays, 4-5:30pm
June 4- Improving Your Soil Quality (for the Urban Food Grower) 
June 18- Soil Sampling, Risk Mapping & Heavy Metals Safe Growing 
June 25- Advanced Organics Soils Management

Dates & times: Saturdays, 4pm - 5:30pm

June 4- Improving Your Soil Quality for the Urban Food Grower 

June 18- Soil Sampling, Risk Mapping & Heavy Metals Safe Growing 

June 4- Improving Your Soil Quality (for the Urban Food Grower) 
June 4- Improving Your Soil Quality (for the Urban Food Grower) 
June 18- Soil Sampling, Risk Mapping & Heavy Metals Safe Growing J

June 25- Advanced Organics Soils Management 

Contact Annika: 

Can You Dig This

Thursday, March 24th, 7:30pm

California Theater, 2113 Kittredge, Downtown Berkeley

Reserve Tickets Online by March 13 to bring this inspiring film to Berkeley!

 Click here to get your ticket:

Synopsis: South Los Angeles. What comes to mind is gangs, drugs, liquor stores, abandoned buildings and vacant lots. The last thing that you would expect to find is a beautiful garden sprouting up through the concrete, coloring the urban landscape. As part of an urban gardening movement taking root in South LA, people are planting to transform their neighborhoods and are changing their own lives in the process. Calling for people to put down their guns and pick up their shovels, these “gangster gardeners” are creating an oasis in the middle of one of the most notoriously dangerous places in America. CAN YOU DIG THIS follows the inspirational journeys of four unlikely gardeners, discovering what happens when they put their hands in the soil. This is not a story of science and economics. This is a story of the human spirit, inspiring people everywhere to pick up their shovels and “plant some shit.

#plantsomeshit #Canyoudigthisfilm 

Our Hearts Go Out to Victory Lee!

Victory Lee of the Victory Garden Foundation has been a strong supporter of our garden. She provided us with a grant to purchase tools and a wheelbarrow, gave us of loads of seeds and plant starts, helped get this website started, among many other gifts to our garden, including her presence.

Victory transitioned on 2/4/16, We will post plans for Gatherings in her honor soon.

Garden Work Day- January 31st, 2016, 11am-4pm

Everyone is welcome to join us this Sunday, January 31st in the garden for an intensive get-r-done day. We have plenty of projects including seed sorting and propagation, Cleaning and sorting tools, pruning the grapes, painting, and of course, weeding and mulching.

The quinces, pineapple sage and calendula are blossoming, our rainbarrow is almost full, soon to overflow into the rain garden constructed last year, and you will see many varieties of mushrooms popping up, including turkey tails and oyster mushrooms.

 Potluck dishes are always welcome, so come join in the fun!

Open House- January 3rd, 2016, 1pm-3pm

Get your garden gloves and join us the first Sunday in January to start out the year with neighbors and friends in the garden. pruning, planting and making plans for Spring. We have seeds and cuttings for you to take home too!

FOOD SWAP- celebrate 2016-Jan 3rd, noon-1pm- Swap your homemade creations with other participants. Here are some of the exciting things that will be at the food swap: salt herbs, pepper sauce, lemon-ginger kombucha, fermented fruit vinegar, Matsoni yogurt, lemons bars, flavored marshmallows, cookies, solid moisturizer, bitters, quince liquor, preserved tomatoes, fruit jam, mint tea blend, drinking shrubs/ vinegars, meyer lemons... and more

to participate please sign up at: 

For more info see FaceBook page, Celebrate 2016 Food Swap 

Natural Dye Workshop,  Sunday November 22, 2015

About 12 participants attended the natural dye workshop, taught by textile artist, Rachel Haight. Rachel prepared dye baths from many plants in our garden, including pokeberries, marigolds and rose madder root, and other materials, as turmeric, red cabbage, and eucalyptus. 

We learned about what parts of plants to prepare for dying, using mordants to set the dyes, and tying the fabrics to create patterns and textures. All participants left with several examples of dyed fabrics, including silk scarves Rachel obtained from Dharma Trading Company in San Rafael.

Berkeley Project Day at Ashby Garden, Oct 24th, 2015

Ashby Garden hosted 22 UC Berkeley students on Berkeley Project Day, a community work day sponsored by the City of Berkeley. With the energy and enthusiasm of these students we weeded, sheet mulched, cut back ivy and cleared away a space to use as a future children's garden. Many thanks to our student volunteers and the City of Berkeley for organizing this day.

Soil Not Oil Conference, Richmond CA, Sept. 4 & 5

Getting to the root of global climate change, the 2015 Soil Not Oil International Conference brought together farmers, ranchers, scientists, policy makers, NGOs and community leaders to explore how sustainable, regenerative agriculture practices can help mitigate the planet’s global warming. We Bee Gardeners gave a presentation of our work at the Ashby Garden at this event and had the opportunity to meet others taking steps to reduce practices causing disastrous change to the climate and abuse of the land.

Flavorful Fermentations from Garden Produce, Sunday, July 19, 1-3pm

Wonderful and informative class taught by Sepi Hosseini and Allison Shiozaki with vinegar infusions from Jenny Shore and fresh food from the garden.

Sepi taught us how to make plum vinegar from our abundance of yellow garden plums and sauerkraut from both red and green cabbages. We also learned about the process and health benefits of fermentation.

Allison used a different fermentation process, using the fruit fermented whole, not strained, to make banana vinegar. Although we don't have bananas yet in the garden, this process can be used with apples, figs, and other fruit.

Jenny brought several vinegar infusions from both red wine & white vinegars infused with garden herbs, mint, thyme, cleary sage and other garden herbs.

We Bee Gardeners at the Albany Art & Green Festival

On May 3, We Bee Gardeners participated at the Albany Arts & Green Festival for the 2nd year. Thank you to all who helped out or visited our booth at the festival!


We Bee Gardeners deliver fresh picked Produce to South Berkeley Seniors


Garden member Nora Shourd has been harvesting Ashby Garden produce and produce from the Gil Tract Community Farm for weekly deliveries to Seniors at Soujouner Truth Housing and Phillips Temple. The fresh produce is much enjoyed by the residents. Alice (above, left) is the director at Sojouner Truth.

Nora works at the Over 60s Clinic on Sacramento St, and has been taking produce there too. Bonnie has been helping Nora with deliveries and also has started taking Ashby Garden produce to Harriet Tubman Terrace residents on Fridays, where the fresh collards, chard, and tasty mustard greens are much appreciated and help residents supplement diets with nutrient rich food. 

More volunteers and support are needed to continue this activity. Your time or money (our volunteers are most often under-employed, low-income individuals who could use a bit of compensation for their efforts) could make a difference in the quality of life for the seniors living in these facilities.

Contact Bonnie at if you can help.  

New Chickens Are Here

Our beautiful new chicken run is now finished and home to the new occupants, six young pullet gals, who moved in on March 27. Two New Hampshire Reds, two Brown Leghorns, and two Seabrights were selected from the Wooley Egg Farm in Marin and are adjusting to their new digs!

Rain Garden Workshop at Ashby Garden

Saturday, March 15, 2015, 1-3pm
Sponsored by: We Bee Gardeners & the Land Use Committee/ BCAC
About 18 people gathered in the garden to learn about keeping storm water on site and away from building foundations and from carrying pollutants to the Bay. 
In the workshop we built a rain garden to catch the overflow from our rain barrel and storm water from the greenhouse roofs. A 3' deep basin was filled with gravel, compost & a bit of sand and planted with plants that can handle both wet & dry conditions.

Berkeley Project Day was on March 7

Last Saturday we had a crew of about 25 volunteers from UC Berkeley volunteer in our garden as part of Berkeley Project Day. We had fun working on various tasks, which you can read about below. Check back for pictures of this event.


Dig a hole, approximately 5.5 ft long x 3 ft wide x 3 ft deep for our upcoming workshop



Shovel gravel from truck to wheelbarrows and drop off in back of garden



Cut old chicken wire on the fence in back, roll up & put aside



Weed along paths & around beds, pull out nasturtiums, grasses, etc.



Cut down blackberry bushes along east side front fence, outside & inside



Weed front gate area, cut back cactus, dig out & replant smaller cactus.



Rake away wood chips from entry gate to 8-10 ft up the pathway

remove soil to level pathway to create a much gentler slope from the sidewalk



Plant starts from the greenhouse into prepared plots



Separate the seed from the shaft, place seed in a jar and label



Cut down fava beans and chop into soil



Give each side of the garden a thorough watering



Paint signs for the crop swap and the garden 

The Urban Farmer Store Donates a Rain Barrel to Ashby Garden

Angie Knutson, a garden member who also installs irrigation for the Urban Farmer, and her partner , Bennett, installed our new 205 gallon rain barrel, generously donated by the Urban Farmer Store in Richmond. By luck the installation took place before December's heavy rains, so we now have some water in store until it rains again (hopefully soon).

Thank You Urban Farmer Store!

Berkeley Project Day, Saturday November 8th

UC Berkeley students from the Environmental Design Dept. came to the garden to help with projects and ongoing maintenance. Five garden members lead teams of students in completing new projects: 

Nora- preparing community beds and planting cover crops.

Mark- Building a nifty new hugelkultur on the community side.

Ally- Tuning up and redesigning the paths in the pollinator garden.

Rachel- starting new seed flats for winter /early spring crops.

Bonnie- painting front gate signs, stakes for pollinator garden, water signs.

Natural Dyeing Party - Saturday, October 18,  2014

Hosted by Rachel Haight, please RSVP>

Rachel has been experimenting with growing dye plants and preparing dye baths and shared her explorations and knowledge in a free community garden workshop this October.

Participants made dye baths from many garden and collected plant material including, dyer's camomile, rose petals, onion skins, hibiscus, marigold, and turmeric. This is a wonderful alternative to the toxic chemicals used in most commercial fabrics.

It was a fun experience for all with delicious food provided by Rachel and some stunning natural dyed pieces. Stop by the garden to see the results.

Cal Rotaract Volunteer Day Transforms Garden - 9/13/14

We had a very productive and fun work day at the garden with the help of 10 volunteers from the Cal Rotaract Program. The City of Berkeley, through the leadership of Shallon Allen, generously donated 20 bags of decorative mulch, new work gloves, and 3 bags of potting soil. Margaret Shyu, from Cal Rotaract, organized the work crew, with Lawrence, our site leader.

 Some of the Garden Improvements: 


  • Sheet Mulching on paths
  • Installations of new beds on the street front 
  • Harvesting of grapes and hops
  • Preparing seeds for saving
  • Starting new larger Sign for front
Thank you to all our great volunteers and garden members Nora, Rachel, Ellen, and Ally for helping out. Also to Ben, who showed up before the Cal volunteers, who led the mulching project, and Bianca Soares, who provided the photo essay of the day.
Check our photo gallery for more pictures soon.


Take Action for the Bees 

Please join us in asking the CEO of Lowe’s, Robert Niblock, to show bees some love and stop selling bee-killing pesticides.

Demand the White House Protect our Nation's bees

Tell Congress to support the Save America's Pollinators Act

Protect bees in your own backyard - here's how

Native Bee Workshop - Taught by Jaime Pawelek - 8/23/14

About 35 people attended a very successful workshop where we learned about native California bees, explored the bees in our garden (more than 12 species identified on the spot), built bee houses for mason bees, and planted a pollinator garden. You can learn more about Jaime's work on her website, Wild Bee Garden Design and more about native bees at the UC Berkeley Urban Bee Lab website.  See more pictures of this event in our photo gallery.

Bee Related Articles & Resources

1. Native Bees May Help Save Crops:

2. Fish And Wildlife Service Agrees to Phase-Out Genetically Engineered Crops and Ban Bee-Killing Pesticides on National Refuges

3. Possible Connection Between Roundup and Colony Collapse Disorder

4. New tests find bee-killing pesticides in 51% of “bee-friendly” plants from garden centers across U.S. and Canada

5. Pesticides & pollinator decline

6. Neonics: More Evidence of Harm

7. California stung by lawsuit to protect bees

Tomodachi Program Students paint colorful stakes for the Garden

100 high school students were selected to visit and study at UC Berkeley from July 21st to August 10th, 2014. They came from the Great East Japan Earthquake affected prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima. The students experienced an intensive three-week course on global leadership development and community service. During their stay, they visited Berkeley and painted these colorful labels to identify Ashby Garden plants, and to make Berkeley Pollinator Friendly.  See pictures in the Photo Gallery.

Comfrey Tincture Workshop - Taught by Lourdes Gonzaga - 6/21/14

Comfrey is an important herb in organic gardening, used as a fertilizer and herbal medicine. One name for comfrey is ‘knitbone’, a reminder of its traditional use in healing bone fractures. Modern science confirms that comfrey can influence the course of some types of muscle and joint pain. Comfrey extract is used as a skin treatment. The plant contains allantoin, which is thought to stimulate cell growth while depressing inflammation.

This class was part of the Transition Albany/Berkeley Health Series, taught by Lourdes Gonzaga, a homeopathic practitioner who teaches homeopathy in first aid. See pictures of this event in our photo gallery.