A leading urban-farming and food-justice organization in Oakland, City Slicker Farms, recently got awarded $4 million from the State of California to buy land for urban farming and a new park.

With this money, City Slicker is going to purchase a 1.4-acre parcel of land (a brownfield site) in West Oakland and create the “West Oakland Urban Farm and Park” on it. This farm and park will include “lawn space (for kids to run, play, and exercise), a vegetable-growing area, a community garden, a fruit orchard, a chicken coop, a beehive, a dog run, and a tot lot.” All of these intended features are based on a thorough community-planning process coordinated by City Slicker. The farm/park will be open 24/7 and will, of course, be completely free.

Looks like a great project that has everything in order — a good community planning process, a good mix of uses, and good progressive solutions to critical community and global problems. Congratulations to City Slicker for winning the $4 million award that will help make this project a reality.

Here’s more on the history of City Slicker via Bonnie Azab Powell of Grist, where I found out about the story above:

City Slicker got its start in 2001 on a parcel of borrowed vacant land in the “food desert” of impoverished West Oakland (see Grist’s food-justice story), where 32 percent of residents live below the poverty level and mortality rates for diabetes and heart disease are well above the county rate. They soon started a “pay what you can” farm stand, and then a program to help residents grow their own food in their back yards. Today, City Slicker Farms operates seven Community Market Farms, more than 100 backyard gardens, a greenhouse, and Urban Farming Education programs. It grows 20,000 pounds of food annually.

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Photo Credit (including caption) via City Slicker Farms