Rachel Trachten

Writer and editorial associate

United States

I'm a Bay Area journalist writing about food and food justice in connection to urban farming, school gardens, education, health, and the arts. As a regular contributor to Edible East Bay and Edible Shasta Butte, I've had the opportunity to delve into issues ranging from regenerative farming to pesticide use on college campuses. I also enjoy writing personal essays about family, marriage, and health, which have appeared in the Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, and East Bay Monthly. Contact: [email protected]

Portfolio
Edible East Bay
02/11/2024
Garden of Generosity | Edible East Bay

On a December morning, the rising price of straw is on Brenda Kusler's mind as she deftly spreads straw mulch around baby cabbage plants. She takes a break from the cabbages to help stack and store tomato cages, then notices a tube that's come loose from the rainwater catchment system.

Edible East Bay
11/11/2023
Floral Duets: The Art of Barnali Ghosh | Edible East Bay

As many did early on in the Covid lockdowns, Barnali Ghosh went walking around her neighborhood, cell phone camera in hand. She photographed flowers and trees and also joined the #GettyMuseumChallenge, creating riffs on famous paintings by matching their shapes and colors to objects around her home.

Edible East Bay
02/03/2022
Worker-Owned Meets the Moment | Edible East Bay

On March 16, 2020, Andrea Talley arrived for her shift at Oakland's Mandela Grocery Cooperative to find a line of customers snaking down the block. The pandemic shutdown had just begun, people were panicked, and many items were in short supply. Talley, a worker-owner at the co-op, describes the experience of those days in a surprisingly upbeat way.

Edible East Bay
08/16/2023
Back To School (On the Farm) | Edible East Bay

Elizabeth Boegel was determined not to be a gardener. "I grew up camping and hiking and gardening whether I wanted to or not," she says. "My dad had a big garden anywhere he went, and my mother would preserve all the vegetables for winter.

Edible East Bay
05/12/2023
Cocina del Corazón | Edible East Bay

When the nonprofit World Central Kitchen (WCK) started hiring caterers and restaurants to prepare free community meals in the spring of 2020, Cocina del Corazón cooked between 100 and 400 meals weekly, providing nourishment for at-risk youth, the elderly, single mothers, refugees, and the unhoused.

Edible East Bay
Broth Baby and Preserved | Edible East Bay

Oakland business owners Cassandra Gates and Elizabeth Vecchiarelli make a habit of circling Lake Merritt together to brainstorm and offer each other morale boosts. "I'll talk for the first 30 minutes, and she'll talk for the second 30 minutes," says Broth Baby founder Gates, explaining the routine she's developed with her friend, the owner of Preserved.

Edible East Bay
11/10/2021
Frightful & Delightful | Edible East Bay

James Albon's wickedly clever graphic novel, The Delicacy, tells the story of two brothers from Scotland whose dream of growing organic food and opening a restaurant in London spins into a tale of greed, selfishness, and ultimately, murder.

Edible East Bay
03/14/2021
You Mean Fish Have Seasons? | Edible East Bay

It was the summer of 2011 when architect Brian Friel walked over to the South Berkeley Farmers' Market expecting to find citrus. He didn't. In fact, several of the items on his shopping list were also out of season, prompting Friel to realize he didn't have a good understanding of local seasonality.

Edible East Bay
11/10/2021
Moldy Magic | Edible East Bay

"The mushrooms found me," says Eleana Hsu, co-founder of Shared Cultures, describing a period when she was depressed at her desk job and hiking a lot to lift her spirits. The extra time out in nature spurred her interest in fungi, specifically koji: a mold fungus used to create fermented foods like soy sauce, miso, and sake.

Edible East Bay
03/14/2021
Meet the Harvest Made Market Cart | Edible East Bay

By Rachel Trachten Have you seen someone like me at your local farmers' market-a bedraggled shopper with an overloaded bag on each arm and a bulging backpack bringing up the rear? Even as I'm leaving the market, I can't help making one last impulse purchase, stuffing a few apples or a head of lettuce into my bag.

Edible East Bay
Illuminoshi | Edible East Bay

I'm here at Berkeley farm Urban Adamah, watching a cluster of fellow visitors making what appear to be mudballs, patting them into shape, then dropping them onto the ground. Nearby, another group is plunging their hands into bowls of sliced cabbage, enthusiastically mixing the vegetable with salt.

Edible East Bay
07/19/2020
CoCo San Sustainable Farm | Edible East Bay

Carolyn Phinney was a master at overcoming obstacles even before Covid-19. Now the pandemic is yet another hurdle to navigate as she runs a thriving farm in Martinez, donating her produce to emergency food programs and families in need. Phinney is quick to say that she knows nothing about farming.

Edible East Bay
Better Burgers for School Lunch | Edible East Bay

By Rachel Trachten | Photos by Carmen Silva In the cafeteria at Madera Elementary School, a long line of chatty kids winds its way to a surprisingly elegant serving table. The usual microwaved lunches are nowhere in sight. Instead, the children get freshly cooked burgers or veggie burgers with whole-wheat buns, roasted squash, crisp lettuce, and juicy tangerines.

Edible Communities
12/01/2022
Hand in Hand: American Farmland Trust Nurtures Creative New Partnerships

SPONSORED Kids in New York schools are munching on local farm-grown veggies for lunch. Women ranchers in Oregon are circling up to expand their networks and learn from supportive peers. And farmers in Virginia are using cattle to create healthier soil and safer animal habitats. These changes are coming about thanks to three innovative programs...

Edible East Bay
11/10/2018
Ready Set Reuse! | Edible East Bay

Paul Liotsakis says he's once again "on the bleeding edge" of a new concept. The 48-year-old Alamedan joined the organic food industry before standards were set and worked as an installer of solar and wind energy systems before there were permitting laws. Now Liotsakis is championing the GO Box, a reusable alternative to take-out food containers.

Edible East Bay
07/19/2020
School & Community Garden Check-In | Edible East Bay

In March when everything shut down, school and community gardens were in full spring swing. Neighbors walking past the gardens noticed pea vines curling up behind locked gates and wondered what would become of the food, and what would become of garden-based education. Here's what we learned from some organizations we spoke with.

Edible East Bay
07/19/2020
New Products from Renewal Mill | Edible East Bay

The process of upcycling works its magic in two ways: first, it makes use of something that would otherwise be wasted, and second, it transforms that item into something of higher quality. The idea of making a valuable upcycled product was percolating for Claire Schlemme back in 2012-2014 when she was in Boston running an organic juice company called Mother Juice.

Edible Communities
05/21/2019
Teaming Up Against Toxins

University of California Berkeley students and groundskeepers see beyond the spotless green fields. Monsanto probably didn't see trouble brewing on a campus beach volleyball court. In the spring of 2017, UC Berkeley junior Mackenzie Feldman heard her coach tell the players not to chase the ball in bare feet if it went off the court.

Edible East Bay
11/17/2016
Dark Heart Chili Sauce | Edible East Bay

Joel Devalcourt had been trying to perfect his chili sauce recipe when serendipity led him to a bottle of nut oil. More specifically, it was some La Tourangelle walnut oil that Joel and his wife Yvette found in the pantry of a Berkeley home where they were house sitting.

Edible East Bay
08/12/2016
Eat.Think.Design at UC Berkeley | Edible East Bay

"How would you get more people who aren't eating butter to eat butter?" Sixty-five UC Berkeley grad students puzzled over this light-hearted question as they vied for just 25 slots in the public health innovations course Eat.Think.Design.

Edible East Bay
08/25/2021
Just Fare | Edible East Bay

If there's been one theme in the 2021 economic recovery, it's that workers are demanding higher wages and better working conditions. But for Gabriel Cole, CEO and cofounder of the Emeryville-based social enterprise company Just Fare, that was the goal long before the shutdowns.

Edible East Bay
11/15/2019
Beans, Bars, & Bonbons | Edible East Bay

The difference between the chocolate maker-an artisan who uses raw cacao beans to make chocolate-and the chocolatier, Medrich explains, is that the latter is a confectioner who uses the chocolate produced by the chocolate maker to turn out truffles, bonbons, and other treats.

Edible East Bay
08/16/2013
INVEST IN THE FOOD YOU LOVE | Edible East Bay

Kathy Juarez, a retired high school drama teacher living in Santa Rosa, is a fan of the cheeses from Petaluma's Weirauch Farm & Creamery. She initially tried them out of loyalty to one of her former students­-now cheese-maker-Carleen Weirauch. Juarez was impressed, and even took an opportunity to visit the Weirauch farm.

Issuu
01/04/2010
CD Magazine #9

Dance families - Gabrielle Roth/Jonathan Horan, The Molongas, Suhaila Salimpour. Gathering Potential - Connecting the holidays with movement, Cave Concerts and the sounds of the Hang, Chocolate Rapture, Top Toasts, Paint Dancing, Debbie Rosas, Chakra Balancing, Movement Menu listings...