Kenney Cottage Community Garden Groundbreaking

Text & photos by Daniella Thompson

Saturday, 31 October 2009, was Groundbreaking Day for the Kenney Cottage Community Garden at 1631 Fifth Street. The narrow lot, zoned MU-R (Mixed-Use Residential), has been owned by the Berkeley Redevelopment Agency for several decades. BAHA targeted it as the ideal site for the historic Kenney Cottage, which has been temporarily parked at 1275 University Avenue since 2003.

Several years ago, BAHA submitted a proposal to the West Berkeley Project Area Committee (WBPAC), which is charged with assisting the Berkeley Redevelopment Agency in the completion of the West Berkeley Redevelopment Project. After deliberating over a number of options for the lot, the committee recommended that it be made a community resource.

BAHA partnered with the Northern California Land Trust (NCLT), which has leased the lot from the Berkeley Redevelopment Agency.

Neighbors of the site created Friends of Kenney Cottage Garden, enlisting the assistance of the Ecology Center’s Berkeley Community Gardening Collaborative (BCGC).

Representatives of all the above organizations were on hand to celebrate the groundbreaking, as volunteers, including members of the Kappa Alpha fraternity, built garden-bed boxes in the rear of the lot, planted trees and shrubs along the fence, and sowed a cover crop.


NCLT executive director Ian Winters and John McBride of WBPAC and BAHA.


Former BAHA presidents Carrie Olson, Susan Cerny & Wendy Markel at the projected site for the Kenney Cottage.


Councilmembers Kriss Worthington and Jesse Arreguin, BCGC project director Beebo Turman.


Students of the neighborhood’s Brincadeira Viva Academy in a capoeira performance.


The groundbreaking ceremony.


Gardener Jamie Day and volunteer Wendy Markel prepare the ground for sowing.


Kriss Worthington with Claire Risley of WBPAC.


Asa Dodsworth in an expansive mood.



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