Tuesday, June 14, 2016

City Slicker Farms -- Urban Gardens

Northern California is full of foodies and incredible farmers' markets and upscale supermarkets, and yet has a number of food deserts, areas where residents have very little access to fresh food and rates of related diseases like diabetes are very high.  In 2001, a group of neighbors founded City Slicker Farms, utilizing empty lots and back yards to grow fresh, healthy food for the neighborhood on a sliding scale.

Last weekend, the organization held the Grand Opening of its new space, West Oakland Farm Park. The park expands City Slicker's programs to include a community garden for individuals, teaching space, and even a park and playground for families to enjoy.
For those with an unused backyard, City Slicker can help them turn it into a source of healthy food.

Seedlings are free to community garden participants and include many varieties of greens. 
There were many organizations with information about accessing health care and healthy foods, including some educational games for the kids.
Kids got a prize for estimating blueberries rather than candies. 
At the other end of the space were the park, with a Caribbean singer playing music to get the kids moving, and the playground.
I first heard about programs like these, which give urban neighborhoods new meeting places, green spaces and jobs in addition to fresh vegetables, when I read about Karen Washington and her work in the South Bronx.

I hope this space allows many families a space to play in and establish healthy habits of all kinds. The people of West Oakland deserve it!

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