Town Crier: Montclair 4-H included in author’s new book

November 14, 2014

It all started with a couple of turkeys. No, this isn’t a story of the first Thanksgiving. It’s the tale of a Berkeley writer who decided to raise her own backyard Butterballs.

 “When it came time to slaughter the birds, a bunch of neighborhood kids unexpectedly showed up,” Kiera Butler says. “The kids had so many questions about the birds, and we could see them beginning to make the connection between turkey-the-animal and turkey-the-thing-on-your-Thanksgiving-plate. It made me curious about how kids learn about food and farming.”
The next summer, Butler found herself inside the livestock barn at the Alameda County Fair — captivated by the 4-H students “in their crisp white uniforms wrangling animals many times their size.”
She began following Montclair 4-H members who came from a range of backgrounds — everything from lower-income to upper-middle-class families. She wanted to know just what the century-old club was teaching “the next generation of farmers, ranchers, restaurateurs, policy makers, and grocery shoppers.”
Butler’s book on 4-H, “Raise: What 4-H Teaches 7 Million Kids — and How Its Lessons Could Change Food and Farming Forever,” has just hit the shelves and it’s an eye opener.
I won’t play the spoiler here, but she’ll be making a 4 p.m. Nov. 22 appearance at A Great Good Place for Books, 6120 La Salle Ave., in Montclair Village.
It’s a timely Thanksgiving read.

Read on: Speaking of local authors, retired Skyline High teacher Tim Jollymore reads from his novel “Listener in the Snow” at 6:30 p.m. Sunday at

A Great Good Place for Books. Let’s get out and support my fellow Minnesotan.

Around town: As the holidays approach, look for an uptick in people asking for money. Two folks who’ve become part of the Montclair landscape are the woman who sells “Street Beat” newspapers and the young man with the cardboard signs — both in front of Rite Aid.

Regardless of how you feel about sidewalk solicitation, one thing is for sure. If you support them, they will come. And that’s exactly what we’re seeing.

Crime beat: Our homes are sanctuaries — so it’s scary to hear that a neighbor was accosted recently while working in his garage.

A thug forced him inside at gunpoint, then proceeded to rob the house with the help of a second suspect.

In a separate case, someone tried to break into two Montclair businesses in the early morning hours of Nov. 3.

The exteriors of Taqueria Las Comadres and Cybelle’s Pizza were damaged, but the burglar or burglars didn’t get inside the shops.

Email bag: Piedmont Pines reader Dina Eisenberg has formed a new group called the Montclair Entrepreneur Society. It’s for freelancers, coaches, consultants and other self-employed locals who want to collaborate.

The meetings are held at Sophie’s Cuppa Tea in the village, and you can email Eisenberg at

Got news? You can reach Ginny Prior by email at or on the web at


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