Backyard Garden Program
The Backyard Garden Program builds food self-sufficiency by empowering low-income households to grow fresh produce where they live. Low-income households interested in growing their own food apply to this free program. Our staff then tests their soil for contaminants. Based upon the soil analysis and what the household wants to grow, the household makes a garden plan with our staff. Together, the household gardeners and City Slicker Farms’ staff and volunteers build a garden in only four hours. Backyard Gardeners not only work with City Slicker Farms to create a garden in their yard; they are partnered with a garden mentor to support them through two years of growing food for the table. Mentors provide technical assistance and bring needed supplies, including compost, plants, and seeds for the garden. Backyard Gardeners are responsible for maintaining their gardens. We encourage them to share their harvest and their knowledge with others from the community. After one year of participation, experienced Backyard Gardeners are recruited to provide paid or volunteer mentorship to newer Backyard Gardeners, helping to sustain and expand the program. Backyard Gardeners who have been in the program for six months are eligible for add-ons such as additional garden beds, a composting system, an herb garden, and laying hens.
City Slicker Farms expanded the Backyard Garden Program by collaborating with First Five Alameda County, who funds us to bring gardens to qualifying childcare sites throughout the county in order to promote optimal, early childhood development. This collaboration functions the same as the Backyard Garden Program, only its focus is on establishing gardening and cooking programs in childcare centers in order to expose children and their families to healthy foods and tools for self-sufficiency.