City Slicker Farms began with a mission to empower West Oakland community members to meet the basic need for fresh, healthy food by creating sustainable, high-yield urban farms and backyard gardens. Since its founding in 2001, City Slicker Farms has been at the forefront of the 21st-century sustainable urban farming and food justice movement, gaining national recognition as a leader in supporting low-income communities of color to grow food in the city. In those sixteen years, we have built over 400 backyard and community gardens, produced 300,000 pounds of nutrient rich food, and trained thousands of community members in organic gardening methods and environmental stewardship.
By gathering to celebrate food, share resources and knowledge, and preserve food-ways, we nourish and strengthen the resilience of our communities.
Growing food in urban areas presents natural challenges. As a craft, urban farmers look for ways to produce the large quantities of healthy food in the smallest of spaces. Many of the techniques we use today were pioneered as City Slicker Farms and other like-minded organizations transformed hundreds of backyards, vacant and blighted spaces of West Oakland landscape into family and community gardens.
The bureaucratic and legal landscape often provided additional challenges for urban farmers and gardeners. As City Slicker Farms fought to provide direct access to West Oakland residents, the organization also partnered with the Oakland Food Policy Council, and other like-minded organizations to lobby for favorable laws that empower individual families to produce and distribute locally. The Urban Farmer's Toolkit is one of our proudest collaborations.
After enduring the rigors of farming on borrowed land since 2001, City Slicker Farms is turning yet another blighted lot in West Oakland into a lush food oasis—but this time on its own land.
~ Edible East Bay, 2015
City Slicker Farms’ newest project, the West Oakland Farm Park, is one of our most significant accomplishments to date. This project turned a vacant brownfield site into a thriving community park and urban farm, and created a permanent home base for our programs. Launched in June 2016 after deep community involvement in the planning and design process, the park is now a hub for sustainable agriculture, environmental awareness and action, and health education. Nowhere else in the Bay Area has an organization demonstrated the permanence of urban agriculture in the way that the West Oakland Farm Park proves possible, nor are there any similar parks in the city that integrate environmental and agricultural learning opportunities as fully as this site.