We take sustainability seriously, and when we were looking for a center of operations we made sure to find a place that was in line with our passion for environmental conservation and commitment to sustainable practices. That is exactly how we found the O2 Artisans Aggregate, O2AA for short.
O2AA founder Paul Discoe has curated a group of tenants who have like-minded ideals; all the companies and artisans at the eco-industrial park take part in sustainable methods of making their projects. Over 25 businesses here, including Paul Discoe’s Joinery Structures and Design Studio. The park comes in at two and a quarter acres off of Magnolia Street in West Oakland, and is zoned for light industrial use.
The lots include Ponderosa Millworks, an arborist and sawmill which has been working in the East Bay for over 40 years. They utilize urban trees that have been removed, and that the lumber industry usually regards as waste, to create beautiful mill slabs and furniture, working hard to make sure wood waste in the Bay Area is upcycled and stays local. There is Soba Ichi, a restaurant serving authentic handmade soba noodles headed by chef Koichi Ishii. Everflux Technologies, who turn liquid food waste into fermented plant juice for plant fertilizer, assisting farmers and home gardeners alike in moving away from pesticides and other chemical fertilizers. Next door at Den Sake Brewery, founded by Yoshihiro Sako, they brew their sake in small batches with traditional brewing methods and use single-origin rice grown in the Sacramento Valley. Also on the lot, our fellow wild harvesters Salt Point Seaweed responsibly forage and farm seaweed along the California coast and create sustainable, high-quality seaweed snacks. Those are just a few of the incredible businesses and makers we call neighbors and friends at O2AA.
On top of being a community of environmentally conscious makers, the park has taken on the incredible task of finding new and inventive ways to create systems that enable the different tenants to reduce and upcycle materials and waste streams.
Though sustainable operating in our current world sometimes seems unimaginable, O2AA makes the work look easy (though we all know it’s not.) We have several familiar methods of sustainability, including solar panels for solar power, composting facilities, and an aquaponic greenhouse, where the plants are able to grow from the fish waste, while they in turn clean the water for the fish to live in. Though these might already be enough to create an impressive sustainable community, our efforts go much further.
Through the visionary leadership of O2AA’s project developers, we all work together to make one artisan’s, restaurant’s, company’s actual trash, the others’ proverbial treasure. Let’s start with the restaurant onsite, Soba Ichi. Soba Ichi not only serves incredible food, but uses O2AA’s own onsite soba production company, SO2BA, to make its celebrated handmade noodles daily. It doesn’t stop there; they mill the buckwheat onsite, and then a tailor uses the sacks that hold the buckwheat for their own projects. The restaurant’s scraps are used for compost, and the okara, a soy product leftover from the tofu making process, is turned into millet for animal feed for the chickens that live at O2AA. The vegetable oil is reused as biofuel for cars, and the restaurant takes advantage of the aquaponic greenhouse to grow its own food.
O2AA is constantly developing new ways to turn industry waste to capture resource streams for reuse on-site, instead of creating unneeded waste. Their leadership has helped us achieve new levels of sustainability that we would never be able to do without the community they’ve fostered. At Juniper Ridge, we like to say “when you can’t get out there, bring nature home.” And when we’ve come back from wild harvesting and sustainably harvesting plants, whether from the mountains, deserts or coast, we are honored to bring them back to steam distill them onsite at the O2 Artisans Aggregate, our communal home.