West Oakland, a neighborhood well known for its lack of grocery stores, is taking matters into its own hands with a plan to grow fresh produce in a new neighborhood park.
City Slicker Farms, a pioneer of food-producing gardens in Oakland's low-income communities, is beginning construction on a new permanent farm and park for West Oakland [UPDATE: the park opened June 10, 2016]. Located at 28th and Peralta Streets, the long-awaited project will turn 1.4 acres of formerly industrial property into a thriving green space and working farm for the neighborhood.
“A new urban farm and public park is a huge benefit for the West Oakland community," said Ariel Dekovic, interim executive director of City Slicker Farms, on Tuesday. “Any West Oakland resident who wants fresh, healthy food or wants to learn how to grow it will be able to do that in the heart of our city."
The new West Oakland Urban Farm and Park will include a children's playground, a working farm, open space (with room to run, play, and exercise), a community garden, a fruit orchard, a chicken coop, public art installations, and a beehive.
“Personally, growing my own salad greens, harvesting tomatoes and green beans alongside my neighbors in a safe space, and putting fresh food on my dinner table is truly a transformative experience," said Samaki Dorsey, a West Oakland resident and member of the City Slicker Farms Farm Park Council, a group of residents involved in the development and operations of the park. "I now know where my food comes from. And I love that our new farm and park will bring together the individuals and families of West Oakland."
The park will be open seven days a week, from morning until night, without charge. City Slicker Farms is collaborating with other community-based groups and individuals to provide ongoing outdoor and educational programming for the community at the site. Food grown on the farm will be available for purchase on a sliding scale basis to community members at a weekly farm stand.
Rendering via Lowney Architecture