UPDATE: Please check out our modified winter volunteer schedule for our Community Market Farms Program by clicking here.
If you are interested in volunteering with the Backyard Garden Program, please visit our Eventbrite page and sign up for a Backyard Garden Build. The page will be updated as Backyard Garden Builds are scheduled, so please check back for updates.
Thank you for your interest in volunteering with City Slicker Farms! Volunteers make our programs possible, and we are very grateful to have the support of hundreds of volunteers each year. We have a wide range of opportunities for people of all skill levels. Individual volunteers are welcome to drop in and volunteer at our Community Market Farms during open hours, and to attend backyard garden builds on Saturday mornings. If you would like to bring a group to visit or volunteer with us, please go here. If you are interested in volunteering please read our FAQs below.
Frequently Asked Questions about Volunteering
When and where can I volunteer in the Community Market Farms?
Our farms are located in West and North Oakland, and have open hours every week. Please see our hours and locations or go here to learn more about individual farms. Just pick a time and location that is convenient for you and drop in. You are welcome to come check out all of our sites and volunteer at the one you like the most.
How long are volunteer shifts?
You can stay for as long as you like during our open hours, whether that means 30 minutes or all day. It's up to you!
Do I need to make a commitment to come every week?
No. You are welcome to drop in as often as you like, whether that is twice a week or once every six months. If you are interested in a making a commitment to volunteering regularly, and in a more intensive learning experience, you might be interested in an internship.
Should I call or e-mail ahead of time?
What kinds of things do volunteers in the farms do?
That depends on what is needed on the day you volunteer. Tasks can include prepping and planting beds, transplanting seedlings, building and maintaining compost piles, watering, weeding, pest management, mulching, chicken care, harvesting and more. You will be trained on how to do any tasks that you haven't done before.
How can I volunteer building backyard gardens?
Backyard garden builds are in or near West Oakland, and are generally scheduled for Saturday mornings starting at 10:30 am. You can sign up to volunteer by visiting our Eventbrite page and registering for a Backyard Garden Build. All of the information you will need to volunteer is located on the event page, including address, start time, and what you will need to wear and bring. If you would like to be added to our BYG volunteer e-mail list for updates, please write us at byg[at]cityslickerfarms[dot]org and ask us to add you.
What kinds of things do volunteers at backyard gardens builds do?
Volunteers work with our staff and members of the household receiving a backyard garden to assemble garden boxes, move compost from our truck into the boxes, and plant out and water the new garden beds.
Do I need to have gardening experience to volunteer?
Absolutely not! We welcome all levels of gardening experience. Our staff will provide training for all new volunteers, whether they are new to gardening or just new to City Slicker Farms. If you are an experienced gardener you might be interested in becoming a Backyard Garden Mentor. Please read on to the next question to learn more!
What do volunteer Backyard Garden Mentors do?
Mentors are matched with participants in our Backyard Garden Program. Mentors commit to volunteering for at least two years to provide quarterly follow-up visits and technical support to one or more households. We ask that mentors have gardening experience and attend regular mentor meetings.
How can I become a Backyard Garden Mentor?
To learn when we are recruiting mentors and when we are hosting mentor trainings, please email our Backyard Garden Coordinator at byg[at]cityslickerfarms[dot]org. In order to become a mentor, you must attend the mentor training.
What should I wear?
Wear clothing and shoes that can get dirty! We also recommend wearing a hat and closed toed shoes. We can sometimes provide you with gardening gloves, but if you have your own you are welcome to bring them.
Do I need to bring anything?
Please bring water, and if you are planning on volunteering for a long time or through lunch, bring food as well. You do not need to bring any gardening tools, but if you have hand tools that you like you are welcome to bring them along.
Can I get school credit or hours through Project 22 for volunteering with City Slicker Farms?
We are generally happy to work with your educational institution to help you get credits for volunteering with us. We are also happy to work with volunteers looking to receive community service hours through Project 22. Please make sure you have all of the necessary paperwork and understand the requirements for your program, and then contact us to discuss the details.
How can I bring a group or class to volunteer?
Please see our group visits and service learning page.
If you have other questions, please contact us at 510-763-4241 or by email at info[at]cityslickerfarms[dot]org. Thank you and we hope to see you soon!