Oakland Bites: Urban garden edition
on May 5, 2009
Hey all, Casey Miner here guest-blogging for Oakland Bites. Elise asked me to write about my experiences with urban farming in Oakland, which is one of my favorite topics, so. The deal is basically that even though Oakland is a very urban city, there’s some funky, innovative stuff tucked away. Look hard enough and you’ll see quite a few lots growing fruits, veggies and herbs, not to mention hosting chickens and goats. Part of the fun of farming in Oakland is that you get to do it on a residential scale, whatever that means to you. Local writer and farmer Novella Carpenter raises goats, chickens, and rabbits in addition to her vegetables, and does all kinds of preserving, beekeeping, you name it. (She also blogs; check it out here.) I extracted honey from my very first beehive on a tour of her place a few months back and was totally in awe of how much creativity and productive force she crams into that tiny lot.
Helping people get going on a smaller scale is City Slicker Farms, where I volunteer on weekends. City Slicker helps low-income folks in West Oakland get vegetable gardens going in their backyards as a way both to empower people and to make the neighborhood as a whole more food-secure. Though the city has no shortage of grocery stores, they’re mostly on the other side of downtown and totally absent from West Oakland. The idea is that once people have a few planter boxes going, they can feed not only their families but their neighbors as well, either by sharing the bounty or bringing it to sell at the farmer’s market CSF runs on Center Street. Growing is a slow thing, but there’s something incredibly tangible and immediate about watching a garden spring up in just a few hours. Makes me wish I had my own little patch of dirt.
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