City Slicker Farms and a Perks of Being a Landowner

June 2, 2015 - garden totes

click to enlarge A new permanent plantation site should concede City Slicker to double a volume of food it distributes by a sliding-scale plantation stand. - SCOTT RUSSELL

  • Scott Russell
  • A new permanent plantation site should concede City Slicker to double a volume of food it distributes by a sliding-scale plantation stand.

Staff members during City Slicker Farms like to tell a story of a West Oakland nonprofit’s early days, when volunteers would plantation a half-dozen plots of land with a singular set of tools, and receptacle H2O from site to site around bicycle since some of a locations didn’t have a H2O hookup.


There are a series of ways one can magnitude how distant City Slicker has come from those common roots — including a roughly 9,000 pounds of affordable furnish that staff and volunteers grow any year (all of that gets distributed by a sliding-scale plantation stand) and a hundreds of backyard gardens that City Slicker has helped establish, providing low-income West Oakland residents with a magnitude of self-sufficiency. And, as a classification prepares to start construction on a code new 1.4-acre civic plantation and park during 28th and Peralta streets, there is this:

For a initial time in a fourteen-year history, City Slicker Farms is now a landowner.

That might not seem like a large deal, yet according to City Slicker Interim Executive Director Ariel Dekovic, it’s frequency a normal for Bay Area civic farmers, many of whom count on some kind of good — yet eventually proxy — partnership with a open or private skill owner. And, of course, this is one of a subtexts behind several high-profile cases of “Occupy”-style riotous gardening, in that romantic farmers have taken over dull lots and squatted on them. For many civic farmers, even a tiny tract of land is only too costly to buy.

But interjection to a $4 million state extend it perceived in 2010, City Slicker Farms was means to squeeze an dull West Oakland lot that has, during several points, housed a junkyard and a paint factory. Now that a dirt has been privileged of toxins, a farm’s supporters are prepared to start construction in aspiring — and for a initial time they’re creation skeleton but worrying that they’ll be forced to pierce again dual or 3 or 5 years down a road.

Dekovic estimated that City Slicker itself has farmed on during slightest 10 opposite sites over a march of a history, and during any site, staffers have eventually had to puncture adult their garden beds and pierce them someplace new. And even yet all of those arrangements were accessible and jointly beneficial, a miss of life done it formidable to make long-term plans, or penetrate a lot of collateral in an desirous construction project.

“In a end, if we don’t possess a land, we don’t get to confirm what happens to it,” Dekovic said.

click to enlarge A digest of a new civic plantation and park. - CITY SLICKER FARMS

  • City Slicker Farms
  • A digest of a new civic plantation and park.

Among other designed features, a new plantation will expected embody a greenhouse, a fruit tree orchard, and a village garden during that internal residents who don’t have their possess garden can say a tiny plot. One of City Slicker’s extended goals is for a plantation to be an educational heart — a place during that pledge civic farmers of all ages can come to learn about topics such as beekeeping and carpentry. The plantation will also double as a pleasing open park — finish with a stadium for kids — that will be open each day from morning to night. To assistance compensate for all of this, a classification has launched a $25,000 crowdfunding campaign.

When taken in multiple with a nonprofit’s 3 existent plantation sites, a new plcae should concede City Slicker to double a sum production, Dekovic said. And that, ultimately, is City Slicker’s mission.

“At a finish of a day, we wish to put a hole in craving and miss of entrance to healthful food,” explained Ernestine Nettles, a member of a area legislature that has helped devise a new farm.

Nettles, a lifelong West Oakland proprietor and zealous gardener, pronounced that in a Fifties, her relatives fed people with vegetables from their backyard. Back then, she said, all her neighbors knew how to garden. Everyone grew their possess onions, garlic, carrots, and mustard greens, and a kids all knew who had a sweetest plums or apricots — “who had a sweetest all in West Oakland.”

That’s a kind of enlightenment — in that flourishing your possess healthy food is only a normal partial of life — that Dekovic and Nettles would like to see make a quip in West Oakland. Hopefully, only like a new City Slicker farm, that can be a change that’s permanent.

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