Fruitvale

 

Ask artist Favianna Rodriguez to describe the food she grew up eating in Oakland’s Fruitvale district, and her response is akin to poetry.

“It’s two tortillas,” she says. “They’re soaked in a little bit of grease ... you have some carne asada and you just bite into them and you can taste the simplicity of a good taco.”

Navigating food in a new land

Jul 2, 2015
photo courtesy of Peralta Hacienda

It’s barely past 8 a.m. on a Wednesday morning in Oakland’s Fruitvale district, and the PeraIta Hacienda Park is already teeming with life.

When you’re trying to figure out a piece of information online, your search will typically bring you to Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia about practically everything.

But, what if you wanted to know something about Oakland – like why 880 is also called the Nimitz freeway – there’s another place you might land: Oakland Wiki.

In 2011, Oakland experienced a spike in violent crime after four years of declining crime rates. As of April of this year, crime has risen by 21 percent. In Fruitvale, merchants are struggling to combat the violence that is plaguing the neighborhood. One unlikely business is taking part in that effort. Cooper’s Chapel Funeral Home has been in the neighborhood for almost a century and now, a new manager is set on making the historic mortuary a vital part of the community.

Step inside a Fruitvale corner store

Nov 22, 2012

Corner stores in Oakland are predominantly run by immigrants from the Middle East. Most of the merchants are originally from Yemen. Some estimates report that 80 percent of Bay Area convenience stores are operated by Yemenese.

One of those stores is Foothill Market on 19th and  Foothill in Oakland’s Fruitvale district. The Hassan family runs it. Ali Farrad Hassan is a first generation Yemeni-American, and has been working in his uncle’s store for a few years now.

photo by Julie Caine

One way to get to know a new place is to ride public transportation – especially the bus. It’s like taking an unguided tour – a tour in which there’s often as much to see inside as there is out the windows.

The most popular buses in Oakland are the 1 and the 1R. The 1, which is the local route, makes 105 stops in three different East Bay cities. It’s a trip that takes four hours from start to finish.

Street Level celebrates 10 years of feeding the hungry

Nov 20, 2012

Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood has a history of welcoming new immigrants. At the turn of the 20th century, the area was full of orchards and beer gardens that served as an attraction to San Francisco residents. Today, you can see colorful markets full of produce and piñatas or eat delicious tacos at one of the area’s many food trucks. Many day laborers will wait on street corners eagerly looking for any type of work. And that’s why a center called Street Level Health Project was created a decade ago.

The Unity Council has deep roots in Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood. Founded in 1964, the center has expanded into a national model for community development, spearheading the creation of the Fruitvale Transit Village and growing to work with about 12,000 low- to moderate-income clients per year.

KALW’s Holly Kernan asked Gilda Gonzalez, CEO of the Unity Council, to talk about the organization’s history.

A Fruitvale food tradition threatened

Nov 20, 2012

Oakland is known for its food trucks, which serve everything from tacos and tamales to West African cuisine.  But few know that this latest culinary trend got its start in Fruitvale almost 30 years ago. Fruitvale still has the city’s largest concentration of mobile food vendors – a predominantly immigrant population. These micro-businesses provide owners low overhead and the opportunity to become successful entrepreneurs. But if running a small business isn’t hard enough in this economy, vendors now face the added challenge of armed robbery.

Julie Caine

Latino voters are credited with coming out in large numbers yesterday for President Barack Obama to help him secure a second term. Locally, Latino voters came to the polls with mostly one issue on their minds. 

Kyung Jin Lee

When the Oakland Police Department put out a call for new recruits earlier this year, more than 2,000 people applied – mostly from outside of Oakland. The applicants live in cities in the outer East Bay and in San Francisco, but they also hail from as far away as Illinois and Florida.

Photo by Jen Chien

Bike culture in the Bay Area runs the gamut, from high performance racing to hipster fixies. Keeping a bike can be an expensive hobby, and as with cars, some people use their bikes as an extension of their personal style.

At ColectíVelo, a community bike shop in East Oakland, bicycles are still seen for their primary purpose: transportation. The shop provides free space and tools, bike repair training in Spanish and English, and access to bicycles for those with low incomes.