There are an infinite number of ways to metaphorically put down roots in Oakland, but urban farmers have limited options. Oakland Parks & Recreation's Community Gardening Program maintains just 16 community gardens around the city.
To rent a plot, participants pay a $30 annual fee; spaces are assigned as they become available, but preference is given to Oakland residents. In most OPR-maintained gardens, youth-led projects and rental plot gardens are offered to nearby residents.
For some Oakland residents, produce grown in community gardens fills gaps created by food deserts in neighborhoods where it's difficult to find healthy, affordable options.
Although new stores may carry organic and sustainably raised items, food gentrification continues to keep products out of reach for many individuals and families.
In future coverage, we'll report in depth on some of the local organizations promoting food justice through urban farms and nutritional education. Today, we take a look at 11 community gardens around Oakland that are open to the public.
Allendale Park Community Garden, 3711 Suter St.
Alongside basketball courts and a picnic area, Allendale Recreation Center in East Oakland offers a kitchen garden located near the parking lot. The garden utilizes a raised-bed design to grow herbs and vegetables that residents can harvest. Rental Plots are offered.
Bella Vista Park Community Garden, 11th Avenue and East 28th St.
The Bella Vista Park was rehabilitated with a $500,000 grant from the National Park Service (NPS), transforming an elementary school garden into a larger community space that features roughly a dozen vegetable and flower beds. The plants that are grown help to foster a butterfly habitat. Rental Plots are offered.
*Open to volunteers on the 2nd Saturday of each month at 2:00 pm.
Dover Street Park Community Garden, 5707 Dover St.
Dover Street Park is home to the Healthy Hearts Youth Market Garden, run by justice food collective Phat Beets Produce in partnership with the Dover St. Neighborhood Group and the Healthy Hearts Clinic at Children’s Hospital Oakland.
The urban farm is also is the nation's first "first clinic-based vegetable garden," created in June 2010 for hospital patients and residents of the Dover neighborhood.
- Wednesday: 1:30-5:30 pm
- Sunday: 10-1 pm (potluck brunch offered on the first Sunday of the month)
Golden Gate Community Garden, 1068 62nd St.
According to Oakland North, there are roughly 20 plots at Golden Gate Community Garden. Although access is restricted, the gate lock's combination is given out to neighbors who want to use the green space. Rental Plots are offered.
Temescal Community Garden, 876 - 47th St.
Established in 1984, the Temescal Community Garden is the first community garden in Oakland. It is maintained by active participants who occasionally schedule events, including potlucks and work parties. Rental Plots are offered.
*Open to volunteers on the 2nd Saturday of each month at 10 am.
Edible Demonstration Gardens at Lake Merritt, 666 Bellevue Ave.
Located at the south edge of Lakeside Park, the Edible Gardens are home to demonstration plots nurtured by a team of volunteers. Free demos, workshops and volunteer opportunities are held here every month.
Program participants learn planting and harvesting techniques, on topics such as plant selection and herbal remedies. Open daily from 9am - 5:30 pm. Some Rental Plots are offered.
* Lakeside Park Kitchen Garden is open to volunteers on the 4th Saturday of each month at 9 am.
Mosswood Community Garden, 3612 Webster
With a contribution from Kaiser Permanente, the Mosswood Community Garden opened in 2008 at the northwest corner of Mosswood Park. The rectangular space is fitted with 20 plant beds, organized into five rows of four. Rental Plots are offered.
Stonehurst Edible Schoolyard, 901 105th Ave.
The Stonehurst Edible Schoolyard was founded in 2010 as the result of a collaboration between OPR, the Oakland Organizing Committee, Alameda County Nutritional Services Department, and All Ah We/All of Us.
The 18,000-square-foot space acts as a "living laboratory" for school children (and their parents) at Esperanza Elementary School and Korematsu Discovery Academy. It provides affordable, organic, and non-GMO produce for the community, and features a vermiculture composting system that produces rich soil from food waste from the school cafeteria.
Arroyo Viejo Park Community Garden, 79th Ave and Arthur St.
Established in 2001, the community garden inside Arroyo Viejo Park is a short distance away from the Webster Elementary School (East Oakland Pride Elementary School). It is comprised of 4' x 8' raised plant beds. Rental Plots are offered.
*Open to volunteers on the 1st Saturday of each month at 1:30 pm.
Bushrod Park Community Garden, 584 59th St.
Part of the Bushrod Park and Recreation areas, the Bushrod Community Garden opened in 1973. It is a tranquil area not far from Dover Street Park Community Garden. Rental Plots are offered.
*Open to volunteers on the 1st Saturday of each month at 10 am.
West Oakland Urban Farm, 2847 Peralta St.
West Oakland Urban Farm opened to the public in June 2016. Operated by City Slicker Farms, the park and farm offers a farmer's market, cooking/nutrition programs and a backyard garden program. The on-site community garden also features raised bed garden plots, which families and communities groups have 24-hour access to.
* We've updated this article to reflect City Slicker Farms' new location and information.
To inquire about available plots, contact program administrator Karen Francis at 510-238-2197 or email OaklandCommunityGardening@gmail.com. To apply for a spot, complete this registration form and send it to 666 Bellevue Ave., Oakland, CA 94610.
Check here to view all volunteer locations and dates.
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