Gardening 101 Was a Huge Success

Feb11_6The Plant Exchange’s Speaker Series kicked off this last Saturday with Jeff Bridge of Ploughshares Nursery. With beautiful weather and at almost full capacity, Jeff taught a group of 28 everything we need to know to start our gardening journey.

The interactive workshop featured hands on instruction and many opportunities for attendees to try the skills and techniques discussed. Jeff covered everything from how to read fertilizer bags and seed packets to how to properly make and grow cuttings. He discussed what factors to take into account when planning a garden and led a vibrant Q&A session where he fielded attendee questions and provided personalized guidance. Each attendee walked away with one planted seed, one started cutting, and the knowledge to succeed. Jeff received outstanding reviews from our attendees and the two hour presentation concluded with audience cheers and applauds.

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Sustainable Urban Gardening Series Launches Feb. 11th!

Whether you’re starting a brand new garden or looking to enhance an existing one, this series is for you! Walk away with a new set of skills, techniques, and best practices you can start using immediately.

Held on the 2nd Sat. of every month (Feb. – Sept.) from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m., our new workshop series offers hands-on interactive guidance on a variety of exciting and popular topics.

Our first workshop will be Gardening 101: Everything You Need to Know as a Beginner Gardener taught by Jeff Bridge of Plougshares Nursery. See our Sustainable Urban Gardening Speaker Series page for event flyer, full presentation description, and to buy tickets.

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Kaiser Permanente Joins The Plant Exchange for Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service

The Plant Exchange and Ability Now Bay Area, with the help of Hands on Bay Area, participated in Kaiser Permanente’s annual MLK Day of Service on Monday, January 16th. 60 physicians, staff, family, and friends lead by East Bay Kaiser Permanente came together in service to honor Dr. King’s legacy and his commitment to improving lives by mobilizing communities.

Dr. King devoted his life to advancing equality, social justice, and economic opportunity for all. He challenged us to build a more perfect world and taught us that everyone has a role to play. By volunteering to meet the needs of the community in which it serves, Kaiser Permanente put Martin Luther King’s words into action.  Continue reading

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Save the Date! Saturday, March 25th

10-year-anniversary-stickerHappy Birthday…to us! Celebrate our 10 Year Anniversary at their next semi-annual Plant Exchange on Saturday, March 25th from noon to 4 p.m. at 4500 Lincoln Avenue in Oakland.

The FREE event features live music, wonderful specialty food trucks, enticing raffle items, advice from the Alameda County Master Gardeners, a pop-up store with unique garden items, and more!

The all-volunteer run Plant Exchange celebrates abundance, generosity and community spirit. Come early and bring your friends. Event flyer and additional details coming soon!


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An Interview With Ability Now Bay Area’s Executive Director


Executive Director Leslie Werosh, MPA – For more information or to register for a 1 hour “Discovering Abilities” Tour, please visit our website at or call (510) 531-3323.


1. Tell me how you first got involved in with the organization or cause and why you’re interested in working there

When I was in high school in Chicago, I volunteered at an organization that provided a continuum of care and network of services for people with developmental disabilities. When I started, I did not know anyone with a physical or developmental disability, so I was not sure what to expect. As I arrived what I saw was exactly what everyone hopes for: excitement, laughter, belonging, and true happiness. Almost immediately I met a young woman with Downs Syndrome. She was young, passionate, energetic and ready to embrace life. I thought, “what’s so different about her”? She had values, goals, and interests, just like the rest of us. At 17 years old, I remember leaving thinking that inclusion is the only option. I left that day a different person and one that was committed to making sure our communities would see people for their strengths, contributions, and the true person that they are.

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Our new flyer for October

Hi Everyone!

Here is the new flyer for the Fall Plant Exchange.

Print it out, post it, send it to all your plant-loving friends.


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Fantastic Multi-Estate Sale This Saturday!

Join us this Saturday at 4500 Lincoln Avenue in Oakland for an estate sale fundraiser and BBQ! Culled from five different estates, everything is priced to sell. Come catch a deal while helping the Plant Exchange pay its bills!

Among our treasures is an incredible rolling stainless steel kitchen prep table with drawer. We also have garden decorations, sporting equipment, hand tools, a gas BBQ, a smoker, kitchenware, fine china, model cars, collectibles, furniture, and a wide array of household items, including some vintage pieces.

It’s all happening this Saturday, August 6, from 9:30am to 3pm. (No early birds, pretty please!) If you haven’t yet been to our new location, it’s easy to find (just down the hill from the Mormon Temple) and we have plenty of on-site parking. Credit cards accepted.

P.S. We will be BBQing, so come hungry!!

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Save the Date! Saturday, October 8!

It’s getting to be that time of year again folks… The fall Plant Exchange is almost here! From noon to four on Saturday, October 8th, hundreds of gardening enthusiasts will converge on 4500 Lincoln Avenue in sunny Oakland, California, to trade plants of all shapes, strains, and sizes.

To those of you who missed the last event in March, our new location has a dedicated lane for drop-offs and plentiful parking. Food trucks will be in attendance, so come hungry!

And as always, there will be live music and a lounge area for you to enjoy. The event is FREE! Bring your friends.

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Gardening workshops in the works…

We want to give a big shout-out to Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment, which just awarded us a grant to initiate a new program of monthly speakers! Rose Foundation is not an endowment, but a public charity which does its own fundraising in order to support grassroots organizations engaged in protecting the environment, consumers, and public health, so it’s a real honor to be chosen as a recipient.

This is a tremendous opportunity for us to reach out to the community. In the coming months we’ll be inviting experts on all aspects of gardening to share tips as well as offer hands-on workshops. As we begin the planning process, let us know what skills you’d like to develop and what subjects you’d like to see covered. We’re all ears!

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Another Plant Exchange Behind us

Thank you all — attendees, volunteers, organizers, the master gardeners and experts, Get Goes Mobile Cafe, Tamales La Oaxaqueña & Grillaz Gone WIld, The California Sons & Encore Vocalists, and, of course, Ability Now Bay Area.  Oh, and whoever that nice woman was who, out of the blue, brought the volunteers all those Cliff Bars!

We hope you all scored some great finds and had some wonderful interactions.

As we research our new babies, gaze out on our gardens with an eye for logistics (perhaps, nurse a sunburn or two), please take a little time to think about the experience you had and send us some feedback.  Doing anything in a new place for the first time is always a bit of  a learning experience, and judging by the number of people we had (over 800!), we had a lot of first-timers as well as long-time attendees.

This is your event, we want to know what your impressions were, what we could do differently, what delighted you, what you wished you could do — right then, when you were standing right there!

I’ll just leave this link to the Contact Us page right here.

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