Since 2001, City Slicker Farms has been partnering with the West Oakland community to grow and distribute thousands of pounds of fresh, healthy produce.
Learn how you can support a just and sustainable food system in West Oakland.
Last month, the City of Oakland passed the first hurdle to becoming a more urban farmer-friendly city when the Oakland Planning Commission passed an update to the City’s Agricultural Regulations that recognizes planting and raising food and livestock as a right, not a conditional privilege requiring a permit. Now, the proposal is moving onto the Community and Economic Development (CED) Committee.
The update would empower our city to grow and raise our own food in a few major ways. It makes it easier for anyone to start raising and selling food by changing the definition of a community garden from land cultivated by “more than one” to “one or more” persons.
In addition, the changes remove the lengthy and expensive permitting process that used to be required for raising and selling food on a lot by designating certain agricultural activities as “permitted outright.” These activities include growing fruits, vegetables, and herbs; keeping up to three beehives; and selling those food products on- or off-site. This means any community garden less than one acre in size with a sales area up to 500 square feet no longer has to apply for a Conditional Use Permit, a process that could cost thousands of dollars and take several months.
On August 1st, 2014, City Slicker Farms’ Union Plaza Park was vandalized (learn more about the damage from NBC Bay Area and the Contra Costa Times). Overnight, vandals tore out many of our plants and trellises, destroyed the back gate, damaged much of the fence, dismantled the doors to our chicken coop, and ripped out irrigation systems.
Though we were all distraught by the havoc that was wrought, we were also incredibly moved by the support and sympathy that was shared by our neighbors, volunteers, and supporters, who helped to begin the rebuild by rolling up their sleeves and giving generously to help recoup losses.
We are going to rebuild the Community Market Farm at Union Plaza Park, and we are going to bring it back as an even more vibrant place of food and community than it was before.
Earlier this year, we shared the news that our Barbara Finnin, City Slicker Farms’ Executive Director of six years, would be transitioning out of her leadership role in June. At the time, we launched our Executive Transition Committee and opened a national search to find the right candidate. As Barb’s last day with City Slicker Farms approaches, the Board of Directors has made the strategic management decision to bring on an Interim Executive Director to implement on short-term management and strategic planning work, while focusing our search for a long-term full-time Executive Director.
City Slicker Farms is seeking allies for the fall - committed volunteers who want to learn about and work in urban agriculture and social justice.
Allyships (formerly known as Urban Farming Internships) are a great opportunity to deepen your knowledge of food justice, to build your gardening skills, and to provide much needed support to City Slicker Farms' mission of increasing food self-sufficiency in West Oakland.
"As we move into our thirteenth year, we remain rooted in the community we serve and inspired by the forefarmers who have preceded us. The tradition of innovative resilience runs deep in West Oakland–from the grandmas who share their families’ southern recipes at our farm stand, to the four-year-old girl who helped build her family’s Backyard Garden, saying, 'Mama, I’m working in the garden like Michelle Obama.' During the next two years, we will build on this legacy as we develop the new 1.4-acre West Oakland Urban Farm and Park. By establishing this permanent agricultural and recreational resource for West Oakland, we will deepen our partnership with low-income communities to foster a just food system."
In early 2008, I was recruited to be City Slicker Farms’ Interim Executive Director while our founder, Willow Rosenthal Summer, was on sabbatical. During those three months, I gained a deep respect for the organization’s well-designed programs and philosophical approach, and the community we work with. At that point, we were a team of one full time (me) and two part time employees, three apprentices, and a wonderful group of volunteers all working on a shoestring budget.
1.4 Acre Innovative Project Will Provide Food and Community Resources as Vacant Lot Is Transformed into Nourishing Community Space
February 1, 2013 (Oakland, CA) – City Slicker Farms, a non-profit urban farming organization based in West Oakland, yesterday held a ground breaking ceremony to begin development of a new Urban Farm and Park, which was conceived in collaboration with the West Oakland community. What began in 2010 as a seed of hope is now coming to fruition following City Slicker Farms’ purchase of a vacant lot at the turn of 2013.
Recent blog posts
- Tell Oakland City Council to recognize urban farming as a right
- Join Us for a Oakland Mayoral Candidates Hunger and Poverty Roundtable
- An Announcement from City Slicker Farms’ Board of Directors
- My Transition: A Look Back and A Look Forward
- Fitzgerald Park and Outdoor Classroom Update
- Letter from Joseph
- Open Letter about Recent Projects at Fitzgerald and Union Plaza Parks
- Muriel's students love fresh veggies!
- City Slicker Farms' Supporters Voted...and We WON the IKEA Makeover!
- West Oakland’s Leaded Landscape: Making Tough Choices