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In Honor of Hilary Bass and Her Legacy

Hilary Bass give a speech on sustainable local agriculture at Dig Deep Farms in Ardenwood

In observance of National Women's History Month, we honor Hilary Bass - co-founder of DSAL - for her tireless work to strengthen our community and make it safer, stronger, and better for everyone.

Hilary, we can never thank you enough for the positive changes that you have brought into so many lives.

Ashland and Cherryland faced decline during the 1970s and 1980s as jobs left the area, leaving neighborhoods struggling with poverty and high crime rates due to a lack of income and resources.

Over two decades, Hilary dedicated herself to building DSAL, benefiting thousands in our community. Through free Health & Fitness classes, nutritious food programs, job opportunities and re-entry internships, neighborhood beautification, and community-strengthening events, DSAL has helped improve safety and well-being in our neighborhoods.

Projects like the $23M Youth Center in Ashland, Boxing Gym, Fitness Arena, and Futsal Park in Cherryland, offer safe spaces for healthy activities and community bonding, reducing crime and promoting better physical and mental health outcomes.

Recognizing the need for a better local food economy, 100 acres of farmland were secured, and the DDF Food Hub was established.  This infrastructure has aided tens of thousands of food-insecure residents - an especially critical support during the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Under her leadership, DSAL secured $30M in grant funding, supporting local businesses and individuals working to revitalize our area. This innovative approach earned recognition from esteemed entities such as the Department Of Justice, US Dept. of Agriculture, Health and Human Services, Congressional leaders, and the CA State Association of Counties. validating the impact of the approach that Hilary introduced and nurtured since DSAL's creation.

Collaborating with Hilary has been invaluable to our community, providing support and opportunities to many.  The spark that Hilary ignited in DSAL burns bright inside every participant in the organization, and the social fabric that has been woven as a result of her efforts is a dynamic canvas that reflects the cultural richness and creative spirit of our community working together, towards a better future for us all. 

"...I extend my deepest gratitude for your extraordinary leadership and unwavering dedication during your tenure as Executive Director of DSAL. Your impact has been profound, touching the lives of countless individuals, myself included.


Together, we embarked on a mission to transform our community through art, culminating in the creation of 8+ stunning murals that now grace the streets of Ashland. They stand as testaments to our collective vision of progress in innovative crime prevention, creative solutions to our community's challenges, and positive possibilities for our streets.


I want to acknowledge your pivotal role in founding the REACH Ashland Youth Center (...) Your foresight and dedication have empowered countless young individuals to reach their full potential.


Your leadership, vision, and unwavering commitment to serving others have left an indelible imprint on our community. While your presence will be dearly missed, the legacy of your achievements will continue to inspire us for years to come.

Thank you, Hilary, for your boundless passion, tireless dedication, and profound impact on our community. May your future endeavors be filled with joy, fulfillment, and continued success."

With deepest gratitude,

Arts Program Manager | Media Instructor

Alameda County Office of Education

Whole Child Programs Department

Vintage photo of well-dressed women holding signs picketing unfair treatment and harsh working conditions

The Importance of National Women’s History Month

National Women’s History Month honors the successes and sacrifices of U.S. women. On March 8th, 1857, women in New York City factories protested against tough work conditions. They began a movement to fight against unfair hours, pay, and how women and kids were treated.

At the time, children as young as five worked long, hard hours in factories and mines - often 10 to 16 hours or more per day.

Children were paid very little money for their work, much less than what women earned. Women themselves were paid very little compared to men. Children's work often got in the way of their schooling and health.

This year's theme celebrates “Women Who Advocate for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion", celebrating women who strive to remove unfair treatment and prejudice from people's lives and organizations, aiming for a better and more positive future for everyone.

We express our gratitude to all the strong and caring women who work tirelessly to create fairer and more just communities every day. Thank you for your dedication and service.

Kimberly Thomas stands next to blooming sunflowers

Kimberly Thomas - Black History Month Appreciation Honoree

Another strong and influential woman - our very own Kimberly Thomas, was honored at the Black History Month Appreciation Event in February. Selected by Senator Aisha Wahab, Councilmember Angela Andrews, and HUSD Board Trustee Sara Prada, Kimberly was recognized for her significant contributions to our community.

This prestigious recognition is a result of Kimberly's dedication to creating positive change, and her continuous work toward bettering herself and those around her throughout our community.

Kimberly's work at the Dig Deep Farms Food Hub, has changed lives. Her positive attitude and radiant nature, along with her dedication to fostering inclusivity make our area a better place.  Kim puts her heart and soul into ensuring equitable access to nutritious food for those in need. 

At the event, she was commended for her role in fostering positive change within the reentry population, cultivating essential workforce development skills that have a profound and enduring impact.

Kimberly's presence radiates warmth and positivity, and we are thrilled to celebrate her strength and character. Congratulations to Kimberly for this well-deserved recognition. Her journey inspires us all, and we're proud to have her on our team.

Beyond the Board Catering - a gorgeous platter of charcuterie resembling a bouquet of flowers
Beyond the Board Catering business owner Koy Saeteurn

Woman Owned Food Hub Vendor - Beyond The Board Catering

Koy, the owner of Beyond The Board Catering has ten years of experience as a professional chef. She grew up on her family farm where she learned the value of fresh ingredients and supporting local farms. Her passion for food led her to start her own boutique catering business where you can nibble on elevated platters of snacks as beautiful as exotic bouquets!

Beyond the Board is based in San Leandro, California, and specializes in artisanal cheese and charcuterie boards, using premium ingredients. They even offer local delivery to your event! 

With a focus on equality and in support of women-owned businesses, we are glad to have Koy as one of our vendors sharing space at our Food Hub kitchen facility! 


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