City Slicker Farms Hosts Free Seed Giveaway Tomorrow

West Oakland's City Slicker Farms is doing a seed giveaway tomorrow to help urban farmers get their gardens growing.

“It runs the gamut. We’ve got all the vegetables you can think of and flowers of all kinds,” said Joseph Davis, the farm's manager. “It’s just a grab bag of everything that’s been donated to us.”

The farm annually receives large donations of seeds from Renee’s Garden, an Felton-based heirloom specialty seed company. The donations have been a great resource to the farm, enabling City Slicker to grow seedlings and crops for West Oakland residents.

Photo: City Slicker Farms

After accumulating a surplus of donated seeds, farm managers decided to share their bounty with the community. “We’ve done seed giveaways before,” said Davis. “And we do other giveaways whenever we have too much of something.”

City Slicker farms has been raising food and awareness at its current location on Peralta Street since 2016, but for much of its 17-year existence, the farm moved from place to place.

“That’s what happens when you plant on vacant lots,” said Rodney Spencer, executive director of City Slicker Farms. “They’re not vacant forever.”

Spencer was enthusiastic about the permanent location. “It’s been awesome in every sense of the word,” he said. “Awesome learning. Awesome community. Awesome wins. Awesome losses.”

The weather of the past winter had provided some particularly awesome learning, delaying planting schedules and affecting harvest. “We’re on a five-year plan now,” said Spencer. “We realized after the past year that what we want to do will take longer.”

Herb, vegetable and flower seeds are available. | Photo: City Slicker Farms

The goal of City Slicker Farms is to provide healthy, low-cost or often free food to the residents of West Oakland.

“Rich, poor, black, white, Asian, Latino,” said Spencer. Everyone is welcome to plant and harvest at City Slicker Farms. “Growing your own food is empowerment.”

Contrary to the myth of the Egyptian tomb, seeds don’t last forever. But the seeds up for grabs at City Slicker aren’t that old. “Seeds have a shelf life,” said Davis. “But it depends how well they’re stored. Proper storage can lengthen their life.”

“These weren’t stored at perfect conditions,” said Davis, referencing that perfect conditions might mean subzero temperatures. “But these were stored pretty good.” The oldest packets date back to 2014, he said.

The seed giveaway is going on at City Slicker Farms during their drop in hours, Thursdays and Saturdays, from 10 AM to 4 PM. “We’ll do the giveaway until they’re gone,” said Davis.

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City slicker farms hosts free seed giveaway tomorrow