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LEAF News July 2024

Every LEAF Day is a Team Day!

From Elaine, President of LEAF

June was a crazy busy social month with lots new volunteers, visitors checking out our "secret" garden, and friends who were curious about the progress of our new-old garden. We all had one thing in common, we loved talkin' dirt about compost, cherry tomatoes, worm poop, crunchy beans, humongous red onions, barn owls, their big eyed owlets, and carpenter bees. We are a bunch of Gardening Nerds. YES!

We started the month off listening to live music at Bruce's June Bug Jamboree Fundraiser, which lead to workshops on container gardening and honey bees, and field trips by students and teachers from the CA School of the Blind. We had visits from StopWaste who outlined the timeline for our new grant, Alameda County Dept of Agriculture who wanted to see an urban farm, United States Dept of Agricultural (USDA) who assessed our gardens for potential grants, and UC Davis who conducted 2 workshops and did soil sampling. We did lots of talkin' dirt and collaborating, and in doing so, our team got stronger. GO TEAM!


Please hit the donate button if you feel aligned with our mission so we can continue to develop spaces to educate our community, build healthy soil, and provide food for those most in need.

Any amount you can give is greatly appreciated.

We also accept checks. Payable to LEAF at PO Box 2816, Fremont CA 94536.


Mr Carpenter Bee visits LEAF

A male California (or Valley) carpenter bee visited the Bee Sanctuary! What a beautiful bee. It was over 1 inch long, golden, hairy with green eyes, whereas the female is all black. It is the largest bee found in California. It lives in the limbs of oak trees and is rarely seen. The amazing coincidence is I saw this bee two days in a row in the morning on the same purple sage bush.


UC Davis Scientists visit LEAF

Ivan and Josh presenting to the Students for LEAF and LEAF Science Team.

We had the incredible fortune of having 5 members from UC Davis Department of Land, Air, and Water Resources come to our gardens to give a beginning soil science presentation and to take soil samples of our 3 gardens to understand what effects regenerative agricultural practices have had in the soil over time.

Josh who is leading this partnership with LEAF is an National Science Foundation and UC President's Postdoctoral Fellow. He loves to teach and is "broadly interested in studying how both rural and urban farmers can cultivate healthy and biodiverse soils for sustainable crop production in the face of rapid environmental change." Josh is funding this project with his fellowship grant and with in-kind support from many of his department colleagues. Thank you Josh!

His team of Ivan, Mariel, Connie, and Kayode took soil samples from our 3 gardens where cultivation started at different times: Stone 10 years ago, Bee Sanctuary 4, and Urban Garden is the control. The team ran out of time to complete the sampling so Zoe, a member of our LEAF Science Team, stepped up and finished them on the weekend. Many thanks to Josh, his Team and to Zoe!

Josh and team have taken the soil samples to their labs to perform the numerous soil tests. We are all looking forward to hearing the results within the next month or so!


USDA visits LEAF Urban Garden

Allison, Catherine, and Annie from the USDA join us at the LEAF Urban Garden

LEAF Urban Garden just received our United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) "The People's Garden" plaque for supporting a resilient, local food system. We easily met the criteria to:

  • Grow using sustainable practices that benefit people and wildlife.

  • Teach about local, resilient food systems.

BTW, the People’s Garden was named in honor of USDA’s founder, President Abraham Lincoln, who described USDA as “The People’s Department.”

Joining The People's Garden was the first baby step towards applying for a USDA grant. I was excited that the USDA team were willing to come and assess the Urban Garden. They absolutely loved our gardens especially the integration of regenerative practices in all we do. They are providing directions on how to navigate the USDA grant process and have already directed us to specific grants.


CA School of the Blind visits LEAF

LEAF Beekeeper with a CSB Student in a beekeeper jacket.

Students and their teachers from the California School of the Blind took a field trip to our gardens. They enjoyed the wonderful smells and tastes of our fresh rosemary, lavendar, mint, cherry tomatoes and red onions. One of the students guessed all the the herbs correctly ; ) They also felt the vibrations from the buzzing bees in an observation hive. The session was capped off by a honey tasting and they all took home honey sticks. Good day for both students, their teachers and us ; )


Baby Owlets nest in LEAF Owl Box

After 10 years the owl box between Stone Garden and the Bee Sanctuary is finally occupied by twin barn owlets. (The Box is near the left side of the walnut tree.) There have been 3 sightings of Ms Barn Owl, their beautiful white feathered mom.


BACS is our third Food Bank

LEAF is partnering with BACS by donating produce and goods, providing gardening consultation, and highlighting items they need. They have been so grateful for the fresh veggies and clothes they have received so far. These are the items still needed:

  • Tents and sleeping bags

  • Mobile power bank and portable chargers

  • New or used clothing and shoes, especially size 15 shoes

  • Food, fresh perfect and imperfect fruit, and pet food

Please drop off these items at BACS from Wednesday thru Sunday from 2:00 to 4:30 pm at 40963 Grimmer Blvd. Ask for Jin or Fili.


The LEAF Center new gazebo is the perfect place to have a picnic, relax, and even work. Come by and see the gazebo along with the large 4 feet x 12 feet planters where you can grow your own veggies and fruits. Your produce will thrive in this spacious "gated community" with soil customized for planter beds and with automatic drip irrigation for only $300/year. (Planter cages are not included.)

Planters are available through our annual

Email your questions to


June 23, Intro to Beekeeeping Workshop with Syndee and Spencer

Josh is coming all the way from UC Davis where he is a NSF & UC President's Postdoctoral fellow to teach you all about worm composting. Thereafter with our guidance, you will make your own worm bin with worms to take home.

End of summer is the best time to prune your fruit trees and Phil is the fruit tree pruning expert to show you how. After learning the proper techniques from Phil, there will be hands-on pruning of our fruit trees.

Alan propagates almost all the edible plants and flowers grown in the LEAF Bee Sanctuary either from seed or by cuttings. He will show you his techniques including how to propagate a pineapple.

Registration is required. Details are available at Workshops.

Workshops are held at LEAF Stone Garden located behind the Mission Valley Vet Clinic at 55 Mowry Ave near Mission Blvd, Fremont.


It's tough to find knowledgable gardeners to ask questions. Talkin' Dirt Online provides a platform to engage with others from your home on the first Wednesday of each month from 7 to 8 pm. Join Master Gardeners and a Horticulturist for an online gathering. Regardless of your gardening experience, we'd love to have you!

Next online gatherings are Wednesdays July 3rd and August 7th

To register, visit

at Fremont Main Library

Our new series at the Fremont Main Library is called Talkin' Dirt LIVE. We will host FREE gardening workshops on the 1st Saturday of the month  starting in July through October from 11 am to Noon.

Our in person workshops are Saturdays July 6th & August 3rd

Fremont Main Library in the Fukaya Room A Conference Room located at 2400 Stevenson Blvd, Fremont.


We have fresh wildflower raw honey and composting worms for sale. Honey and worm sales fund their medical care and their living spaces.

Summer Special: $20 for a pint jar, $10 for 1/2 pint, $8 for 1/4 pint

Composting Worms are $20 for a small plastic container.

Purchase at our LEAF Shop


At LEAF, we work year-round to feed our community by planting, nurturing, and harvesting fresh produce that we donate to our local food banks such as Tri-City Volunteers, Centro De Servicios and BACS.

YTD Produce Donations: 1930 lbs.

Our 2024 Goal is 4500 lbs.


Thanks for your donations of 1149 lbs of fruit this year!

We accept donations of fresh, perfect and imperfect fruit! 

Every Monday and Thursday from 9 am to 11 am, you can bring donations of fruit from your trees to LEAF Stone Garden.

Our new gleaning partner is BACS. Donations of fresh perfect and imperfect fruit can be taken to BACS directly from Wednesday through Sunday from 2:00 to 4:30 pm.

Located at 40963 Grimmer Blvd near Irvington Ave, Fremont

Have questions? We've got answers at


LEAF volunteers are needed on the 2nd Saturday of every month from

9 am to Noon to help us tackle projects that benefit from a group effort. These volunteer hours count towards the high school community service hours requirement. Be a part of a community helping a community. We also have projects that will qualify for Eagle Scout Projects.

  Our next volunteer days are: Saturday July 13th and August 10th


Any amount you can give is greatly appreciated.

We also accept checks. Payable to LEAF at PO Box 2816, Fremont CA 94536.

©2023 Local Ecology and Agriculture Fremont (LEAF)

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