Flourish Magazine

Flourish Fall 2013

Flourish Magazine, the North Bay's Guide to Sustainable Living. Serving Marin, Sonoma and Napa counties and sharing the stories of local people working towards sustainable living, organic foods and eco-conscious lifestyles.

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Page 20 of 55

"The whole back area was a trash pit. The weeds were taller than we were." development director, had the seeds of an idea. She approached chef Ken Frank, owner of Michelin-starred La Toque, and suggested that he recruit local restaurants to form a cooperative and farm the site. Several restaurants seized the opportunity, and after U.S. Bankruptcy Court cleared up issues related to the title, the co-op's members signed an agreement. In March 2010, they started to restore the garden, and the first harvest followed that fall. "One of the most successful things about Copia was the garden. The community really embraced it. It was a beautiful garden," says Frank, adding that Copia spared no expense, putting in water, irrigation lines and even a large outdoor kitchen. By the time the restaurants took over the site, however, "The whole back area was a trash pit," he says. "The weeds were taller than we were." The co-op added soil and compost and used a little tractor to clean up the area, and now, he says, "The gardens look pretty tidy. The more you put into them, the more you get out of them." Nine restaurants—Ca' Momi Enoteca, Carpe Diem Wine Bar, Fish Story, Hog Island Oysters, Kitchen Door, La Toque, Oenotri, The Thomas & Fagiani's Bar and Zuzu—are the co-op's members, and each is within walking distance of the garden. They all agree to maintain a plot that is organic and neat, do their own work and carry insurance. The owner of the property is the bondholder, ACA Financial Guaranty Corporation in New York, and Frank says that although the company will probably sell the property eventually, it does not have any immediate plans to put it on the market, so the garden is secure for the moFALL 2013 • FLOURISH 21

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