URBAN FARM TOURS
Lower Bottom Strange Grange, West Oakland
Snapshot:: Ducks, bees, aquaponics, rental property, creative use of small space
Hosts: Monica White & Brandon Crisler
Lot size: 2665 sf .....Farm Use: 800 sf .....Percentage: 30%
Come on down to wild West Oakland and see what the citizens of Lower Bottom are up to. This site is a testament to what can be done as a renter in a tiny space utilizing every edge and shady square foot of a small corner lot. Encroaching just slightly onto the sidewalk you will see a jungle of high density plantings in a beneath-fence raised bed, Muscovy ducks and an aquaponics system made from a scavenged clawfoot tub sandwiched in the alley between the houses and a potted herb garden that ascends the stairwell. The small front garden hosts a beehive, and shady strips on the North side of the house provide animal food forage (aka wild weeds) and mushroom habitat. Monica and Brandon utilize every inch of their small plot with edible landscaping and celebrate the life and diversity of their west Oakland neighborhood.
Kansas Street Farm, East Oakland
Snapshiot: Rental property, extensive free-range chicken areas, rainwater catchment, vegetable garden
Host: Sheila Cassani
Instagram user: littlehouse_life or #kansasstfarm
Lot size: 2000sf (back cottage area) ......Farm Use: 1200 sf (600sf chicken area, 600sf edible landscaping) ......Percentage: 60%
Located at the border of Oakland's Dimond and Laurel districts, Kansas Street Farm offers an example of sustainable urban living while renting. Down a long driveway to a quaint 1920s cottage this hidden oasis aims to maximize available space for year-round food production. Mature fruit trees, a seasonal variety of veggies, fruiting vines, medicinal herbs, and pollinator friendly plants populate the garden. In addition, a growing flock of free-ranging hens provide an abundance of fresh eggs and play an integral role in an creating a more closed-loop system. Kansas Street Farmers, Sheila and Matthew, delight in reusing and repurposing found materials, experimenting with rainwater catchment, drip irrigation, and the art of fermentation.
Obsidian Farm, South Berkeley
Snapshot: Food forest, medicinal & culinary Herbs, perennial Carribean crops, greywater, chickens, vertical gardening
Host: Wanda Stewart Lot size: 3,200 sf Farm Use: 2,200 sf Percentage: 68%
Obsidian Farm exists to model, inspire, and support whole life transformation - in individuals and in community – through the act of gardening and the lens of African American culture and traditions. It is evidence of all that’s possible in a small, urban space, while knowing little to nothing about homesteading, permaculture and sustainability to start! This year-round garden is designed to grow food and medicine for family, friends and neighborhood consumers for now and in the days to come. With most of the edible landscaping planted in the front yard where the sun shines best, this land boasts 20 fruit trees and berry bushes, nearly 50 culinary and medicinal herbs, bountiful crops of perennial and annual vegetables, chickens, worms, and an excellent dog. Because much of our commitment is to teaching and growing through and across ethnicity and culture, you’ll find more than just collard greens growing. We’ve got perennial Caribbean favorites – callaloo, Jamaican red peas and “cho cho” (chayote) – thriving too in the happy, healthy little food forest sprouting on our corner!
Permaculture Institute of the East Bay, South Berkeley
Snapshot: Permaculture, food forest, nursery, straw bale building, chickens, ducks, bees, mushrooms, compost production
Host: Christopher Shein
Lot size: 6800 sf Farm Use: 2500 sf Percentage: 36%
Started in 2007, PIE features a full chicken farm, ducks, food forest, perrenial vegetables, straw bale building, rainwater catchement, timber bamboo, plant nursery, vertical gardens, kids’ forts, an array of mushroom habitat and a massive composting system. This site generates an abundance of food, building materials and compost each year as well as offering a relaxing and diverse habitat for the humans who live here. Host Chris Shein is a premier Bay Area permaculturist. He runs the permaculture program at Merritt College and authored the book Vegetable Gardener’s Guide to Permaculture. Don’t miss this stop if you are curious to know more about permaculture.
Green Faerie Farm , Berkeley
Snapshot: Goats, rabbits, chickens, quail, bees, topsoil building, natural building, tropical fruits, fruit trees, integrated animal husbandry, small scale dairy
Host: Jim Montgomery Lot Size: 7800 sq ft Farm Use: 3600 sf (Garden 2400 sf Livestock 1200 sf ) Percentage: 64%
Established in 1995, Green Faerie Farm includes a large vegetable garden as well as many mature fruit trees, and a smattering of unusual tropical plants such as cactus nopales, kiwi and pineapple guava. At any given time the farm also boasts some 20 chickens, 30 rabbits, a couple of beehives, a handful of quail, 2‐5 Oberhasli dairy goats and their kids. Sustainability features include a greywater system and a milking parlor made entirely out of natural and scavenged materials. Over the past 20 years the addition of livestock manure and composted bedding has raised the level of the topsoil in the veggie garden nearly 3 feet. The animals eat plant matter passed over by the residents closing the nitrogen loop elegantly. . Host Jim Montgomery has been keeping animals for over 30 years and offers a wealth of information about their care and integration into a small scale urban farming operation for the health and bounty of all involved.
Earthly Arts Farm, South Berkeley
Snapshot: Fruit orchard, veggie garden, composting toilet (humanure), rainwater catchment, greywater re-use, creative re-use, aesthetic & drought tolerant landscaping
Host: Sequoiah Wachenheim
Lot size: 10,600 sf...... Farm Use: 4,000 sf .......Percentage: 37%
Earthly Arts Farm is an oasis of beauty and conservation in the heart of South Berkeley. Farmer Sequoiah began 10 years ago by sheet mulching every square inch of lawn in the back yard. Next, she shaped irregular beds for the annual and perennial vegetables and fruits in the interior of the yard and planted 26 varieties of fruit trees around the perimeter including: pears, persimmons, apples, pomegranates, peaches, cherries, mulberries, apricots, plums, lemons, limes, and oranges. Over the next 8 years, a small outbuilding out of salvaged wood and reclaimed windows was built, a 1500 gallon rainwater catchment tank , 2 greywater systems and drip irrigation were installed, chicks became egg laying pets, a bunny was rescued and made resident, a greenhouse was built, bees were established, compost bins were built out of reclaimed fences, and of course, countless pounds of delicious, organic, local produce were admired and consumed. The farm is permaculture and french intensive inspired and imbued with an artistic aesthetic reflecting Sequoiah's years of experience in garden design and visual arts. Front and side yards boast drought tolerant ornamental gardens and pollinator habitat. This is the site to visit to learn about maximizing food production while conserving water.
GhostTown Farm ,West Oakland
Snapshot: On surface raised beds, fruit orchard, creative reuse, chickens, bees, vegetables
Host: Novella Carpenter
Ghost Town Farm Blog
Lot size: 4500 sf..... Farm Use: : 4000 sf..... Percentage:88%
GhostTown Farm is the setting and inspiration for Novella's well known memoir, Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer. It started as a squatted farm on a empty lot in 2003. Raised beds were built from found materials on top of the concrete pad that covered the property. For many years it was a place where neighbors could come and harvest produce on an as-needed basis. Now privately owned it is home to chickens, bees, vegetables, and fruit trees. Over thirty dwarfing fruit trees have been planted, including a citrus hedge and a wall of espaliered apple trees, creating a perennial garden with an eye toward massive fruit production. If you have never heard Novella talk, this is a wonderful opportunity to experience her charm and wit on her home turf. Novella will delight you with stories of farming in the heart of West Oakland. Novella is also co founder of Biofuels Oasis and co-author of the book The Essential Urban Farmer (with Willow Rosenthal).
X-LARGE (East Oakland)
URBAN FARM TOURS DOOR PRIZES
Farm Tour Health Basket
A Jar of Homemade Jam
Five Drought Tolerant Succulents for the Bay Area
Your Choice of $20 Worth Of Nursery Plants
Farm Tour Goodie Basket
A set of handmade note cards
A Jar of local Honey (x2)
A dozen farm fresh organic eggs from happy local chickens