Green & Natural

Writers’ picks

Some of us who want to grow fruits, vegetables and flowers just aren’t lucky enough to live in a place with a backyard. Downtown’s Fremont Community Garden to the rescue!

Some of us who want to grow fruits, vegetables and flowers just aren’t lucky enough to live in a place with a backyard. Downtown’s Fremont Community Garden to the rescue!

Photo By ryan donahue

Best place to buy tchotchkes and save animals

SPCA Thrift Store

The biggest surprise at the Sacramento SPCA Thrift Store on E Street is visible when you walk in the door: an exquisite—and extensive—selection of small statuary, knickknacks and art. Whatever style you’re aiming for, there’s bound to be something that will fit that empty space in your apartment. There are plenty of glass and ceramic figurines, but also items in porcelain, metal and wood. It’s astounding what people don’t want anymore! Of course, the shop has the usual mix of used clothing, furniture, books and general stuff (including kitchen items: pots, pans, dishes, utensils). Keep the Earth green and the animals safe from cruelty by checking the SPCA Thrift Store first for whatever you need.

1517 E Street, (916) 442-8118,

Best guy going green

Bill Maynard

If it’s going green locally, this guy’s got his fingers in the dirt. As in real green, you know, as in leaves and trees, not just some version of pollution toned down with a green label. Bill Maynard has dedicated his life to turning Sacramento green with greenery. He is the community garden coordinator for the city Department of Parks and Recreation, a Master Gardener with the University of California Cooperative Extension, works with the Sacramento Area Community Garden Coalition promoting school gardens and green spaces, and assists the Sacramento Hunger Coalition with Food Security projects. To find Maynard, just attend your neighborhood seed swap or community gardening event. He’ll likely be the organizer.

Best reuse of the news

SN&R and The Sacramento Bee

This is not a diss, but this newspaper is great for cat piss. Horrendously cheesy rhyming aside, shredded-up newsprint makes a nice, absorbent and resourceful cat-litter material. Veterinarians, such as Mueller Pet Medical Center (6420 Freeport Boulevard) use newspaper as litter for patients who have foot wounds, and they say it’s A-OK to use on a daily basis, too. Purina even makes a newspaper-pellet litter, but skip the middleman and take last week’s worth of news to make today’s cat toilet. But which is the best for this job: SN&R or The Sacramento Bee? SN&R may cost nothing to acquire unlike the Bee, but it is, after all, just a weekly. The verdict: Both are winners!

Best place to grow your goods without a backyard

Fremont Community Garden

If you’re feeling blue because you have no backyard, get a bit more on the green side by joining a community garden. The Fremont Community Garden offers 52 plots to grow your own produce. Though it’s surely not a place to improve your cannabis business, vegetables and fruits are regulars here. On a nice summer day, you can walk by to see the many families and green-friendly hipsters working side by side to get the most out of the land. It’s growing season and the community garden is packed, so get yourself on the waiting list so you can begin to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

14th and Q streets, (916) 808-4943,

Best reason to avoid grocery shopping

Community-supported agriculture

The best things in life are delivered: pizza, movies, care packages from Grandma and, now, groceries. Community-supported agriculture is becoming a popular alternative to shopping in the produce department at the local grocery store—and for good reason. Not only do CSAs bring boxes of fruit and veggies to you, but they come from local farms, which means they’re fresh, seasonal and delicious. Plus, you’re supporting farmers in your community, not Monsanto-loving factory farms. CSA boxes are available in a variety of sizes to fulfill your fresh produce needs.

For more information, visit the Farm Fresh to You website at, or find another CSA that suits you—there are tons.

Want to find good-for-the-planet used furniture at a good price? Try Taber Furniture on Del Paso Boulevard.

Photo By ryan donahue

Best place to buy ‘recycled’ furniture

Taber Furniture

Tired of paying an arm and a leg for new furniture that may be trendy, but isn’t comfortable? Or putting together your own less-expensive furniture with a wrench that you can barely hold in your hand because it’s so small? Then check out Taber Furniture in north Sacramento. They buy good used furniture (the last time we stopped by, they had several Ethan Allen dining-room sets in great shape) from dealers or estate sales. They’ve even got a website, so you can get an idea of the current selection before you make a trip to Del Paso Boulevard. Used furniture: good for the planet, good for your pocketbook, just plain good style.

1815 Del Paso Boulevard, (916) 927-2496, <br<K.M.</p>

Best place to build a bike

Bike Forth in Davis

If you’re looking for a way to reduce your carbon footprint, you probably already know that riding a bike and recycling are both smart options. But did you know how easy it is to combine the two? At Bike Forth, operated by the Davis Bike Collective, you can pick and choose from scrapped and donated bicycle parts to build your own custom bike. The shop volunteers teach you how to put together your two-wheeler, and in return, you pay a small fee for parts and shop use. You can even avoid the shop-use fee by volunteering your own time to help others with their bikes. For the ultimate green one-two punch, take a cue from those crunchy-granola Davisites and build a recycled bike.

1221 1/2 Fourth Street in Davis, (530) 758-1483,

Best eco-friendly artist

Gioia Fonda

In the quirky world of Sacramento artist Gioia Fonda, there are endless possibilities in objects. Whether she’s transforming organic items such as tumbleweeds into tiaras or repurposing an abundance of plastic shopping bags into a quilted masterpiece, Fonda sees gutter garbage and piles of trash as still-life drawing opportunities rather than an eyesore. Her downtown art studio is proof of that. Many Sacramentans are guilty of tossing objects into the garbage bin that Fonda converts into pieces of art: bottle caps, strawberry baskets, even finding an artistic purpose for abandoned cutlery.

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Best way to chill out with a green thumb


I’m not a seedy member of society, but most of my co-workers, property-owning neighbors and social acquaintances are all pretty happy to spark a joint after work or smoke a bowl before a movie. If you’re like them but aren’t sure about the chemical compounds of your street or dispensary goods, organic quality control is available. Check out Constantly Growing or J Street HydroGarden and find out how to, um, grow your own. With organic fertilizers, in liquid form or even Jamaican bat guano, working stiffs can get a green thumb and their chill on. While you’re shopping, you can also obtain additional indoor lamps for your, uh, rare orchid varieties. Now if only they sold solar panels for those lamps.

Constantly Growing, 1918 16th Street; (916) 448-1882; J Street HydroGarden, 2321 J Street; (916) 444-4473;

Best way to actively clean up the environment

Volunteer with American River Conservancy

Biking to work, cutting down on garbage waste and using natural energy sources are great preventative ways to preserve and protect the future of our environment. Sometimes, however, you just have to get your hands dirty. The American River Conservancy works to protect natural habitats through education and good ol’ hard work. ARC regularly seeks volunteers to build trails in protected wildlife areas and pick up trash along the American River. Thanks to several volunteers, ARC just completed a new hiking trail along the south fork of the American River. It’s time for you to pitch in.

348 Highway 49 in Coloma, (530) 621-1224,

Best new farmers’ market

Oak Park

I remember when the idea of buying fresh fruits and veggies in Oak Park was but a gleam in the neighborhood’s eye. Then came the small farm stand at McClatchy Park, put together by Alchemist. Before you knew it, a full-blown farmers’ market was born, at 35th and Broadway, across from Old Soul Coffee Co. With a variety of vendors selling everything from honey to honeydew, birds of paradise to birdhouses; activities like face painting, information booths and giveaways from local nonprofits, and weekly performances from Sacramento-area musicians, Oak Park is indeed one proud papa. They grow up so fast, don’t they?

Every Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. through October 16; corner of 35th Street and Broadway;


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What have you done to make your life more green-friendly?

SN&R’s Facebook friends respond:

“I reuse plastic containers (from hummus and stuff) rather than buying Tupperware. Those containers are good for sending your friends home with leftovers, too!”—Mary Louise Picerno

“I collect coffee grounds from the office and bring them home on my scooter. I return to work with big, juicy tomatoes.” —Ian Merker

“I don’t flush every time. Yellow, let it mellow; brown, flush it down.” —Lyn Win