Each third Saturday in September in California, the California Coastal Cleanup Day gathers thousands of people to help clean tons of trash from our beaches and waterways. The 2017 event occurred on September 16th.
This Saturday (October 17, 2009) marks the 20th anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake. Everyone who was in the Santa Cruz/SF Bay Area has their story of where they were, and KQED’s Forum call-in program had a great hour yesterday. It’s been long enough ago that for my students (juniors and seniors in high school) the earthquake is now only history. Following is my story of life with Loma Prieta.
When the earthquake struck at 5:04 PM, I had just returned from my workday delivering bread for Uprisings Baking Collective. We baked in the basement of Casa Zimbabwe, a four story building in the Berkeley Students Cooperative. My general reaction to earthquakes is “Cool, feel the shaking,” and that’s just what I did for the first several seconds of Loma Prieta. After several seconds (5, 10, 15??), my earthquake drill training started to kick in as I realized this was not ending as quickly as usual. I headed for the door between our office and the hall, placing my self in the “safest place in the building.” There were probably about 5-10 of us in the bakery area, and I remember some people were heading outside.
When the earth stopped shaking, we all sort of said “Wow, that was big,” and headed back to work. Nothing had fallen off shelves, or any other obvious damage, so we had bread to bake and paperwork to complete.
A few minutes later, the bakers started saying that they had heard on the news that the Bay Bridge had fallen down. “No way” I thought, they must be exaggerating (in the end, “fallen down” was a bit of an exaggeration, but part of it had). Some of us headed up the block to the Pacific School of Religion (at the top of Berkeley’s “Holy Hill”) to see what we could see. I remember seeing smoke from the SF Marina District, but not much else is in my memory (we probably could see the smoke from Hustead’s Towing in downtown Berkeley, but I can’t remember this).
I finished up my paperwork, and left the bakers to their work. On my way home, I stopped by my sister’s apartment (on Vine, just west of Shattuck) to see how she was doing. She was fine, and I faintly remember hanging out for a while with her and some of her neighbors/friends, watching news on the TV.
In the course of the next few days, at the bakery we had to redesign our routes to get to SF, Marin, and the Peninsula using the Richmond/San Rafael and the San Mateo bridges. I think we took a couple days off, but were quickly back getting food to the people. At one point I heard that an organization that cooked dinners for people with AIDS needed help getting prepared food from West Oakland BART to the Red Cross center in Oakland (they were cooking it in SF, then bringing it over on BART). Our vans, with their racks, were perfect for this, so I helped out for a couple days after work. I remember lots of vans showing up at the BART station, shuttling the food to the Red Cross.
As I drove around the Bay Area on my bakery route (I drove our SF/South Bay routes), I was able to get a tour of the minor destruction area (the heavy destruction areas were closed off). I remember seeing many houses damaged in the Richmond and Sunset districts in SF.
That about sums up my memories at this time. I’ll probably come back and add more as the anniversary refreshes my memory.
Update: December 2010: I have created a web site, uprisingsbakersbook.org, where I’m adding recipes and other pages from the book. I’m working on permissions from the publisher and bakeries, so I’m starting with bakeries that are closed. Look for weekly updates.
In 1983, the Cooperative Whole Grain Educational Association published Uprisings; The Whole Grain Bakers’ Book. The Foreword of the book is at the bottom of this page.
As a former collective member of Uprisings Baking Collective in Berkeley (one of the contributors to the book), I didn’t want this book and organization to just fade away. There were 32 collective/cooperative bakeries who contributed to the book, many of which are still in business. Collected below are a list of links to the bakeries that are still operating. If I missed any, please fill in the form at the bottom so I can update the page.
The book is a valuable resource for bakers and wannabe bakers. One of its strengths is the index—including the traditional categories of major ingredients and types of foods, but also including a special section on Recipes by Special Dietary Characteristics such as No Eggs or Dairy; No Dairy (but contains Eggs); No Eggs (but contains Dairy); No Wheat; No Sweetener, or Fruit-sweetened; No Added Oils or Fats (may contain high-fat ingredients); No Baking; and No Salt, or Optional Salt.
While Uprisings is out of print, many used copies are available. If you can’t find it at your local bookstore, try abebooks.com using the search box here. abebooks.com is a network of independent bookstores around the country, your independent alternative to Amazon.com.
Click this link to search for Uprisings on AbeBooks:0938432125
There is another book out there with the exact same name, but a different author. If abebooks doesn’t return any books using the ISBN number provided here, try a search for the title Uprisings Bakers to get the other book. I’m not sure if this is the same book, re-published by a new group of authors. If anyone knows about this, please let me know.
Welcome to Uprisings, the whole grain bakers’ book. Uprisings has been collectively compiled by experienced bakers from many small independent bakeries. If draws its inspiration from a number of uprisings—of grain, of bread, and of people. The most basic of these is the grain growing from the earth, nourished by the rain and sun. Wheat, rye, corn, barley, buckwheat, millet, rice—these are the fundamental ingredients of whole grain baked goods. Bakers, with a little help from yeast and other leaveners, create another uprising, as dough rises to produce fresh-baked loaves, filling our senses. The third uprising is the cooperative ethic of the bakeries we work in. There are no bosses, no employees. Instead we all do the work together, sharing the responsibilities and the rewards. Our businesses put priority on serving the needs of the community, not on making profits for a select few.
We think it’s a great loss that so many of us are unfamiliar with these uprisings. Few people enjoy the delights of eating fresh whole grain bread, let alone those of making it themselves. It’s also a loss that so few people have the satisfaction of helping to run their own workplaces, doing interesting work that meets real needs. Cooperative whole grain bakeries are part of a rising tide of people taking more responsibility for what goes on in our lives. We want more and more of us to regain power over our food, our work, our health and well-being—in short, our personal, social, and economic existence. To achieve this, we heartily encourage these and other kinds of uprisings in all areas or our lives.
It’s that time again. Time to wander the aisles of the college town “free stores.”
These stores don’t pay rent, and the aisles move daily (if not hourly). The merchandise are the items the students don’t feel like taking with them. Walk around student neighborhoods as finals and graduation come to an end, and you’ll find all sorts of treasures. A couple months ago I got a “new” CD/tape/radio player that a neighbor had nicely set out on the curb (replaced with an iPod and speakers?). Then, a couple bike wheels. Today, a nice hand-vacuum.
So, help keep these items from the scrapbin of history; give them another life in your house.