This winter, in an effort to keep Backyard Gardeners’ fruit trees healthy and share pruning skills, City Slicker Farms’ staff and mentors are embarking on a first-ever fruit tree pruning project, heading out into backyards across West Oakland. Although CSF has traditionally offered some winter assistance to Backyard Gardeners, such as pruning and dormant spraying, Backyard Garden Program Coordinator, Alison Fischman, found that it was not meeting Backyard Gardeners’ needs.
West Oakland renters applying for a Backyard Garden got a boost this year thanks to the Neighborhood Food Act. The new law makes it illegal for landlords to prohibit their tenants from growing edible fruits and vegetables for their own consumption. Backyard Garden Program Coordinator Alison Fischman said the new law will be a positive change for the City Slicker Farms community.
Today is the day we say goodbye to 2014 and welcome in a new year! At City Slicker Farms, we’re proud to be celebrating all of the accomplishments we made over the past four growing seasons, and all of the relationships we’ve built with our donors, program participants, allies, and volunteers.
Dear Friends of City Slicker Farms,
My name is Ariel Guidry and I am writing to tell you about how much City Slicker Farms has changed my life since I became an “ally” (a long-term volunteer) through the Urban Farming Education program.
Dear Friends of City Slicker Farms,
My name is Karen Williams and I live in West Oakland. Like a lot of our neighbors, my husband Robert and I come from a long tradition of tending a garden at home. For us, growing food is a practice that’s rooted in our family’s history. We do it so that our children can have a strong sense of where they come from.
In early October, Childcare Garden Program Coordinator Sarah Karlson and a very enthusiastic group of staff, children, and parents worked together to build a garden for Helen Turner Children's Center in Hayward. This garden was specifically designed to be accessible by children in wheelchairs. In just four hours, the group assembled boxes, strung trellises, shoveled soil, planted seedlings and installed irrigation. At the end of the day this beautiful garden was finished!
City Slicker Farms is partnering with StopWaste, a public agency that encourages recycling in Alameda County, to promote the use of your green bin at home.
Backyard Garden Program Coordinator Alison Fischman was on maternity leave for four months this year, but she's not letting that stop her from reaching her goal of thirty Backyard Garden builds.
Every year, we aim to build at least thirty new backyard gardens for West Oakland residents.
As we get closer to the start of construction on the new West Oakland Urban Farm and Park, the staff is abuzz with design plans and dreams of the future. One of the changes we’re most excited about is our new chicken coop--a beautiful 4-section compound that will house a 20-chicken flock.
The new coop is the project of a group of Masters of Architecture and Design MBA graduates from the California College of the Arts who received an IMPACT Award from CCA’s Center for Art and Public Life. Logan Kelley, Leila Khosrovi, Shawn Komlos, Hachem Mahfoud, Frances Reid, and Brendan Williams--Team Instructacoop--have been working on an innovative coop design since March.
"Five of us were in a class together at CCA called Professional Practice and we kind of 'hatched' this idea together," Frances said. "We met with City Slicker Farms folks and were flying a bunch of ideas that would be useful for the new Farm Park. The chicken coop seemed to rise to the top really quickly for all of us."The design features three paddocks that can be opened or closed via a central vestibule, allowing the chickens to graze in one paddock while the other paddocks regenerate, or providing a dedicated paddock for a chick hatchery. A roost located directly above a worm bin will convert chicken poop into compost. The design also has the potential to include a rainwater catchment system.
Thanksgiving arrives this week! But with this annual ritual often comes a swell of food waste in our community. Every day residents of Alameda County generate tons of food scraps and food-soiled paper, and the holidays can contribute a disproportionate amount of this. In fact, food scraps and food-soiled paper represent 35% of the stuff that’s going to our landfills.
But it doesn't have to be that way! Unlike many cities in the U.S., here in Oakland we can divert food waste from becoming waste at all – by putting food scraps and food-soiled paper back into the nutrient loop in the form of compost - through the municipal green bin system. That compost comes back to City Slicker Farms, a nutrient-rich soil amendment we add to all our urban farms and backyard gardens.