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Grassroots Graton - December 2015 - Heather Granahan


Grassroots Graton -  December 2015 - Heather Granahan

by Heather Granahan

Bambu Uprooted 

Bamboo Tree HouseThe lovely jewel box set in lush enchanted gardens known as the Bambu Tea House has been raved about by locals and visitors alike since it’s opening in downtown Graton a few months ago. Discover Magazine found it one day and prepared a feature article about it. Yelp-ers gushed, and visitors came from afar just to experience it. Bridal showers were booked, private parties and intimate tea duets held among the whispering bamboos. I celebrated Jessica Barrilleaux’s long journey to the open doors in this space. Now, with much shaking of the head, I have to share what some of you will have found by happenstance; due to a sudden change in the new landlord’s plans, the Bambu Tea House did not get its lease and is forced to close its doors. 

The landlord does not want the lovely developed gardens, which are being transplanted for now. Will another venue take advantage of what was developed? Unknown. For now, the Bambu dream will be packed and stored, we hope temporarily. Discover article was called off, towering mature bamboo dug up, last delicacies consumed and last teas sipped. As neighbors flocked in for a final bask in the beautiful setting, Jessica shared that while sad about having to close, she is glad that she is not closing due to failure of her dream, which will look for a new location in which to blossom. A sad footnote that we should not as a community let pass: the beautiful little golden Spirit House that graced the garden (pictured here) was stolen in the midst of this huge change. I truly hope that by the time this is printed in two weeks that it has been located and restored to the owner that painstakingly brought it to Graton from the Far East. Please keep your eyes peeled and report any sighting.

Get Your Tree On at the Firehouse 

Once again, our local heroes at the all-volunteer Graton Fire Department are opening the tree lot around the new firehouse (yes, I will always call it New). Support their year-round services (and funds to buy new seedlings) by getting your tree there. As more and more local tree farms fall to vineyards, we can help keep this little oxygen farm/bird hangout going,

Give like a Gratonite

Material gifts are so last decade. My neighbor, aka Sister Ginger Snap, leads an amazing group that shows us how to give in the sweetest way. Several times a year, they engage in a flurry of cookie baking and assemble packets that are delivered to as many of the over 700 clients of Food For Thought (FFT) as they can reach. More bakers, assemblers and ingredient fund donations are needed for the Christmas bake-a-thon Sun Dec 20, 1pm. You can bake at home and bring them in, or join in. They also accept donations of groceries and small hygiene items (hotel shampoo, anyone?). More info at FFT 707-887-1647 and

Food For Thought has bridged nutritional gaps for folks with HIV for 26 years, and is now to include those suffering from other critical diseases. There are more people affected by HIV in our country than ever, including in our community where many are ill and at nutritional risk. 

Give to Food For Thought and our loved ones at the same time by sharing a meal on the Thursday, December 3rd, Dining Out For Life event that is Food For Thought’s biggest fundraiser. Choose a meal at one of over 80 restaurants including WillowWood and Underwood Bar and Bistro right here in Graton. 25% to 50% of your purchase will go directly to Food For Thought’s life-sustaining programs, you’ll have a great meal and a memorable moment. 

2015 was a tough year for some (speaking as one who fought a winning round with a bit of cancer for much of it). Personal and worldly tragedies strained the physical and mental health of many. Vote with your actions this year to get more resources available to our fellow humans with these challenges and make 2016 a more resilient year for our most at risk.

“A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members.” – Mahatma Gandhi