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.
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.
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.
At the West Oakland Grown Harvest Festival this past weekend, we celebrated harvest time and the Rebuild of the Community Market Farm at Union Plaza Park with a community art workshop led by Attitudinal Healing Connection, an West Oakland-based organization that is breaking cycles of violence by providing platforms for creative expression and communication for children, youth, adults and families.
The goal of the workshop was to create art with our friends and neighbors that will have a permanent place at the farm at Union. We chose concepts for the art panels that represent the values of City Slicker Farms and what we strive to embody at our farms: Growth, Community and Sharing.
After the August vandalism incident at Union, many asked me if we should install additional security or cameras at our farm site. I think it is natural to respond to a crisis like this with fear and trepidation that it might happen again – I know I did.
But as that fear subsided, and our resolve increased, we knew that our response must be to build community, not take punitive action. So we asked Attitudinal Healing Connection to help us in a first step of creating permanent art for the space that communicates what the Community Market Farm is all about.
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.
Recent blog posts
- Backyard Gardeners Build Pruning Skills
- Neighborhood Food Act makes it easier for renters to garden
- Last Day to Double Your Impact!
- A Letter from City Slicker Farms Ally Ariel Guidry
- Karen Williams Letter
- The Helen Turner Children’s Center Garden Project: A Picture Book
- Win Prizes While Learning How to Reduce Food Waste!
- Goal: Build Thirty Backyard Gardens Before the End of the Year
- This holiday weekend, #GiveASeed and double your impact with City Slicker Farms!
- Team Instructacoop Builds a New Home for our Chickens at the West Oakland Farm and Park