Sustainable Urban Gardening Speaker Series

2019 speaker series

W H E N: 2nd Sat. (Feb. – Sept.) from 2 – 4 p.m.
W H E R E: 4500 Lincoln Ave., Oakland, 94602
T I C K E T S: Tickets are $10 in advance or $12 at the door

2 0 1 9  S P E A K E R   S E R I E S

  • Saturday, February 9th – CANCELED due to weather
  • Saturday, March 9th – Gardening 101 with Lori Caldwell, Compost Gal
  • Saturday, April 13 – Compost and the Carbon Farming Connection with Tommy Fenster, StopWaste
  • Saturday, May 11thGardening for Renters with Lori Caldwell, Compost Gal
  • Saturday, June 8thThe Art of Pruning with Tony Wolcott, Diablo Valley College
  • Saturday, July 13thCrash Course in Fungi with Justin McDavid, A-Horizon Ventures, LLC
  • Saturday, August 10th – All Things Citrus with Susan Fritz, Alameda Master Gardener
  • Saturday, September 14th – Perennial Herb Gardening with Jimena Saravia, Alameda Master Gardner

Want updates? Join our mailing list or email us at

Interested in purchasing group discount tickets, a season pass for 15% off, giving a horticulture presentation, or volunteering? Email or call (510) 866-8482.

Click here to purchase a ticket or use the payment button below.


Saturday, April 13th, 2-4pm

Compost and the Carbon Farming Connection

Tommy Fenster, from StopWaste, will speak on how to use compost along with other gardening practices to turn gardens into bay friendly landscapes and mini-carbon farms. 

Topics to include:Speaker Series 4_13_19_Insta (2)

  • Climate Change and Carbon Sequestration
  • What is Carbon Farming/Climate Smart Gardening
  • The Five Principles of Climate Smart Gardening
  • Climate Smart Gardens = More Resilient Landscapes
  • Climate Smart Gardening and Biodiversity
  • How to Turn Your Lawn into a Climate Smart Garden
  • Questions and Discussion

Tommy Fenster is a staff member of StopWaste. StopWaste is a public agency whose mission is to reduce the waste stream, create markets for recycled products and increase energy efficiency in Alameda County by providing tools at home, at work and at school. Tommy has been working at StopWaste since 2013. At StopWaste, Tommy works to educate Alameda County residents on ways to use compost and mulch (recycled products!) along with other management practices to create climate resilient, bay friendly landscapes. In addition to his work at StopWaste, Tommy is a graduate student in Biology at Cal State East Bay working on quantifying the differences between conventional and regenerative agricultural systems.


Saturday, March 9th, 2-4pm

Gardening 101

Learn how easy and fun gardening can be!  Join Lori Caldwell and learn the basics to be a successful first time gardener.  Topics will include: 

Gardening 101_Insta

  • Deciphering the terminology
  • Plants 101
  • Healthy soil building
  • Transplanting and plant choice by season
  • Seeds vs. starts
  • Non-toxic pest control
  • Reuse in the garden and tips and tricks

This class is taught by Lori Caldwell, Owner/Operator of CompostGal: Consulting, Landscaping & Education. Her mission: “To connect people to the soil and all that it provides”.

She offers sustainable gardening classes for beginning and intermediate level gardeners. Topics include: composting, growing edibles, drought-tolerant gardening, Hugelkulture, natives and non-toxic pest control.  In addition to garden maintenance projects, Lori also provides lawn conversion services using the permaculture technique known as sheet mulching.



Saturday, September, 2018 from 2-4pm

Natural Pest Management

Planting a variety of flowering plants that bloom throughout the spring and summer gives you a beautiful garden, and can also reduce the number of garden pests. This workshop, including a 30 minute Q&A period, will provide you with everything you need to know to naturally control pets in your garden. In this class you will learn: Planting a Garden

  • How to combat garden pets by planting the right varieties
  • How to attract beneficial insects with careful plant selection
  • Companion planting secrets for Veggie gardens
  • Environmentally friendly and sustainable gardening practices

This class is taught by Suzanne Bontempo, Our Water Our World and Julia Strzesieski, Cole Hardware Marketing Coordinator.

Saturday, August 11, 2018 from 2-4pm

Intro To Mushroom Cultivation with Theresa Halula.

Screen Shot 2018-07-17 at 2.54.41 PMSpeaker Theresa Halula has been growing mushrooms indoors and outside since 2005. She is an active Permaculture Designer providing landscape services in the East Bay Region. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Art from the California College of Art and Permacutlure Design Certification.  Mushroom Cultivation is an elective toward the Landscape Horticulture Permaculture Certificate. Ms. Halula promotes understanding the ecological relationships of living organisms with the natural cycles of life, which includes the role of fungi and the ecological services they contribute as decomposers and as symbiotic partners in that dance.

Saturday, July 14, 2018 from 2-4pm

Two workshops to choose from – One for beginners and one for our advanced gardeners and plant lovers

Workshop #1: Intro to Gardening

IMG_5529Gardening Basics What are all of the essentials you need to know to be a successful vegetable gardener? We’ll review the importance of selecting the planting site for sun/shade, improving and preparing your soil, watering, mulching, fertilizing, deciding what to plant and keeping pests at an acceptable level.

Cool Season Gardening Did you know that we can garden year-round in the Bay Area? We’ll discuss what you can grow, how to prepare your soil and how to protect your cool season garden from pests.

Susan Fritz has been a Master Gardener since 2014 but has been gardening since childhood when she started learning from her parents how to care for ornamental plants. She is the current project lead for the Speakers Bureau of the Alameda County Master Gardeners.

Workshop #2: Advanced Soil Amendments

compost-teaWant to learn more about composting and how to use composting tea and ferments to care for your plants? Topics covered will include:

  • Compost Tea – Learn how to make homemade teas for more roots, better flowers, or lush growth
  • Ferments for plants – Ferments are all the goodness of organic ingredients that’s been concentrated, stabilized and made ready to feed to your plants through the process of fermentation.
  • Organic Pest and Fungal Management – Learn how to make your own organic, and safe, pest and fungal management concoctions

Come with your questions for Jesse Porter, Owner of Oakland Garden Supply. Read more about Jesse and the team at Oakland Garden Supply here.

Saturday, June 9th, 2018 from 2-4pm

The Art of Pruning

Pruning101Take the mystery out of tree pruning with this hands-on workshop! Learn the basics and leave with skills you can start using immediately. The workshop will also include a show-and-tell of different types of wood, branches, branch collars, compartmentalization of decay in trees. Bring your questions and come prepared for a fun interactive learning experience.

Topics covered include:

  • How trees grow
  • Why pruning keeps trees healthier
  • How trees react to pruning
  • Seasonal pruning
  • How to prune properly
  • Common pruning mistakes
  • Identifying a properly pruned true
    and more!

Tony Wolcott is a Certified Landscape Horticulturalist, Certified Irrigation Designer, Board Certified Master Arborist, Master Composter, and Bay Friendly Designer. His work experience includes being the urban forester at the Cities of Albany and San Francisco, non-profit work with Friends of the Urban Forest, Our City Forest, and arborist representative with Bartlett Tree Experts. Currently he is professor of Arboriculture within the Horticulture division of the Biology Department at Diablo Valley College.

Saturday, May 12th, 2018 from 2-4pm

Intro to Urban Permaculture

Screen Shot 2018-04-19 at 8.16.55 AMPermi-curious? Hear stories from real, on the ground, projects showing ways we can meet our needs while being beneficial to all life. Hear stories about Permaculture design. If you love good food, regenerative farming, natural building, community building, renewable energy and are curious about a design system that ties it all together then come check out this free introduction.

We’ll discuss practical ways you can use permaculture design in your life to grow your own healthy food, harvest and clean your own water, build your own home, transition your career, reduce your carbon footprint and increase your carbon rootprint while building lasting, quality community relationships with people that share your values.

Taught by David Cody of the Urban Permaculture Institute. To learn more about permaculture design trainings in the SF Bay Area, visit the Urban Permaculture Institute at

Saturday, Apr. 14th, 2018 from 2-4pm

Growing Edible Herbs and the Healthy Soil Connection

HerbsApril is a great time to add annuals or perennial edibles to your garden! Jeannie Pham will be on-hand to talk about the many benefits of growing your own food and the healthy soil building techniques to increase yields, keep down pests and diseases and use less water. Topics for this talk include: rebuilding soils, the best crops and herbs for your area, pest control, crop rotation and more! Participants will receive a handy edible reader for reference.

Jeannie Pham is a Master Composter, StopWaste of Alameda County Educator, and edible and native plant aficionado. She has been enthusiastically gardening, composting and teaching classes on environmental topics for the past nine years

Saturday, Mar. 10th, 2018 from 2-4pm

Urban Gateway Livestock: Chickens ‘N’ Bees

Screen Shot 2018-02-27 at 1.47.24 PMChickens and bees are the “gateway livestock” for urban homesteaders. Requiring relatively little space, these hard working critters add a lot of value to a beautiful and functional urban farm or garden site.

Backyard chickens are all the rage! Not only are they a source of fresh, wholesome eggs — a small backyard flock adds beauty and provides fertilizer, pest control, and hours of entertainment. They are the ultimate ‘pets with benefits’! Learn the basics to get started with a flock of your own. Honeybees are responsible for 1 out of 3 bites of the food we eat every day! New to beekeeping or just want to understand more about what’s involved before plunging in? Learn the basics of backyard beekeeping including hive types, tools and safety equipment.

Yolanda Burrell is a mother/wife, entrepreneur and urban farmer. Yolanda is owner and founder of Pollinate Farm & Garden, an award-winning edible plant nursery and urban farm store with a twist: Pollinate provides supplies and know-how for seed-to-table organic farming and gardening, food preservation, artisanal food crafting, small scale livestock raising and beekeeping.

Saturday, Feb. 10th, 2018 from 2-4pm

Gardening 101: Everything You Need to Know as a Beginner Gardener

Feb-10-2018Learn how to grow edible and ornamental plants from seed and cuttings with Jeff Bridge of Ploughshares Nursery. This is a hands-on workshop will be demonstrating techniques and best practices so grab your gardening gloves! Jeff will discuss choosing soil, watering your plants, how to avoid common mistakes, and the basics of fertilization. Bring your questions and garden conundrums for Jeff to answer after the demonstration. Gardening is fun and interesting. Come away with everything you need to start your own small garden!

Jeff Bridge is the Manager of non-profit Ploughshares Nursery in Alameda California. Jeff is grateful for the opportunity to bring his twenty years experience working in the best Bay Area nurseries to benefit Alameda Point Collaborative’s supportive housing program for formerly homeless families and individuals.