Wine and Chocolate at Community Garden on Saturday

By Steven Finacom
Thursday April 29, 2010 - 07:56:00 PM

Any old messiah can turn water into wine. But wine into water? That takes a community effort. 

This Saturday, May 1, the Friends of the Kenney Cottage Garden group is holding a wine event at their garden on Fifth Street in West Berkeley. Several vintages and varieties of donated wine, chocolate, cheese, and other snacks will be available.  

A modest $10 donation requested from each attendee will help the group hook up a connection to East Bay MUD water—thus the theme. 

The event runs from 2:30 to 6:30 pm at 1629 Fifth Street, just north of Virginia. The location is just around the corner from trendy Fourth Street.  

Drop by any time, have some refreshment, view the evolving gardens and talk to the community gardeners. A plant nursery, cisterns, and garden beds are up.  

The garden—on a block of Victorian homes and light industrial uses—is turning into a rare community oasis in a neighborhood with few open spaces and public facilities. 

The Fifth Street lot, currently owned by the City of Berkeley Redevelopment Agency and leased to the Northern California Land Trust, is planned for a permanent community garden and is also the proposed site of the historic Elizabeth Kenney Cottage.  

In conjunction with the garden effort, the NCLT, Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association, and FKCOG—all non-profit groups—are working to raise funds and plan to bring the one story 1880s wooden dwelling to the front of the lot. 

The Cottage is the oldest building surviving from early Downtown Berkeley (it once stood on Addison, below Oxford) and is a unique, prefabricated, structure designed and manufactured in Berkeley. It’s currently on a temporary University Avenue site. 

The three groups hope to bring it home to West Berkeley where it would be refurbished, in the midst of the community garden, as a neighborhood community and arts center. 

You can find more information on the garden group at  

(Steven Finacom is on the Board of Berkeley Architectural Heritage and is involved with the fundraising effort for the Kenney Cottage).