Farmstand Canceled Due to… the City of Oakland

I thought I was just being paranoid, but it looks like the City of Oakland workers do read my blog (hi guys!) and will be coming to the pop up farmstand to bust me for illegal activities.

Here’s the deal: After getting off the plane from Salt Lake City and making my way home to a cup of tea, I sit down at my kitchen table and I see this guy in a City of Oakland car taking photos of my garden. I go down and he said I’m out of compliance for “agricultural activities”. I’m supposed to get a Conditional Use Permit for growing chard. The annual fee: $2500.

Last year, when I bought my lot, I went to the planning department to find out what I needed to get a business license and all that stuff. The very nice planning person told me that by the spring, the City of Oakland would be changing the laws about urban agriculture in the city, so I should just wait. Guess that hasn’t happened.

The photo taking city guy said they are going to use me as an example, and that I’ll get fined around $5000 for non-compliance. All of this was triggered by one person, who complained to the animal control, who then passed it on to the city, who is now making my life hell. I said to the guy–one person caused this, that’s not fair. “Life’s not fair,” he replied. What about City Slicker Farms? Or People’s Grocery? I asked, two urban farming non-profits in Oakland. No one has complained about them. And they say one person can’t make a difference!

Then the city guy told me I can fight it and be part of the discussion about how the laws are shaped. Well guess what city worker–you get paid an hourly wage to deal with this crap. If I play with the city, I’ll have to spend countless hours of my time (making it my 4th low paying/no paying job) so you can have a new law to enforce when one person (with money and power probably) complains about about another person’s private activities. I just want to grow food for myself and other people, I don’t want to go to meetings and speak bureaucrat talk.

The up-shot is: the Pop-up Farmstand is canceled until further notice, and I’m not going to post about my activities on this blog (I’ll still write about the farm, just not announce events). If you want to be added to my private email list to find out about events/tours/pop up farmstands, email me at myname @gmail.com with a statement about who you are and why you want to be added.

146 responses to “Farmstand Canceled Due to… the City of Oakland

  1. NO.

    What can we do to help? Call the city? Twitter? Make a noise? What?

  2. Don’t know if this will help, but I will start writing, and maybe calling, the City of Oakland to protest this out-of-date regulation. Growing food is not a crime. Personally, I think NOT growing at least some small amount of food (even some herbs in the kitchen window) IS a crime. Just hold on. The cool calvary is coming!!

  3. Tried to call already; got directed to Councilmember’s office Nancy Nadel. They took down my information and said they’d research but (paraphrased) said they wouldn’t be able to do much at all. Any new leads on who best to call, please post as am ready to man the phones!

  4. Aaron Wallace

    Best of luck! It all seems so officious. Here is to hoping somebody on the council reads and likes your book, heck it seems like other cities in the bay are more supportive of your work. You should try and get your councilperson out on the farm.

  5. Mayor’s Assistant says: speak at the Open Form part of the Council Meeting. Next one is at 5:30 PM on Tuesday April 5th @ City Hall, Frank Ogawa Plaza. If you want to speak about this go here to sign up http://www.oaklandnet.com/cityclerk/speaker_instructions.htm . Large groups have a better chance of making an impact if they show up en masse but have only one or two speakers.

    A petition is also a good answer… anyone have any experience in doing that?

  6. MotherLodeBeth

    To be honest I am shocked simply because I always assumed Oakland was a progressive thinking place. Am going to pass this info on to the folks over on KQED FM.Heck I bet even Sunset magazine would be interested in this.

    Have you contacted any media? NPR has done pieces and in this economy having whole healthy food in urban and poor areas is a must. I read everything you write and you inspire me.

    Please stay in touch and let those you love and respect you know what we can do to help.

  7. That’s some bull shit, right there! I’m all the way in Santa Cruz, but if I can help I’m all over it. I think Little City Gardens, in San Francisco had and conquered this issue. I would agree to making a media stink. Squeaky wheel and all. Really, this is the best use of the city of Oakland tax dollars. Good luck with this! We’re right behind you!

  8. That sucks, Novella. Sorry to hear that Oakland is criminalizing food production. What genuine asshattery. Let us know, please, if there’s anyone we can productively harangue from afar. In the meantime, yes, I think KQED or KPFA would be good to reach out to.

  9. This is absurd. I’ve emailed and called the city to express my rage.

    Reading this post on the same day I started your book: sad and shattering.

    I hope there is a peaceful resolution to this.

  10. Novella, may we please have a mailing group to get people supporting a petition and going to the Council Meeting? Please let me know at my email, I have time and bandwidth to assist/spearhead/show up with banners, whatever you think will help most.

  11. Others cities have authorized just what you are doing. Go prepared with the facts:

    http://www.seattle.gov/dpd/Planning/UrbanAgriculture/Overview/default.asp

    http://www.affordablehome.org/urban-ag/muaow_assets/Policy%20strategies%20to%20support%20urban%20ag.pdf

    http://www.sustainablecitiesinstitute.org/view/page.basic/report/feature.report/Report_Zoning_Urb_Ag;jsessionid=31E6395EEFD1AE7D796B6C7928779395

    These are just a start. I will miss reading about your adventures, Novella. I still follow your sister’s flicker account, but feel bad that you’ve both had to abandon your blogs due to circumstances such as these.
    Let your community of like-minded folks lift you up.

  12. Hmmm…I guess government employees have no use for food. That would explain why they treat farmers the way they do here, in Pennsylvania – and apparently on the other coast, too!

  13. That totally bites! Let me know if you guys get a petition or anything like that going. I would like to participate.

  14. Alexandra Danieli

    This is bullshit. I have never been to your farm stand but I’m prepared to do something, sign something, call somewhere. This just isn’t right!!
    Let us know how we can help.

  15. I think that your best bet for change is to get a large group to keep showing up at city council meetings and voice your concerns. I don’t think the City of Oakland wants to be in the feeding a shitload of people business, which is what will happen if they don’t allow farming within the city. Once oil goes sky high (and it will), people are gonna riot for food. Do they really want to foster that?

    The other think you might do is get a hold of Jenni Grant in Seattle, or Councilman Richard Conlin (Seattle) to get some ideas from them about changing city law. They are the two that got the law changed about keeping goats in Seattle.

    Then the other thing I would do is keep scrupulous and copious notes about what goes on, because this could be the fodder for your next book.

    Getting the media involved is a great idea, particularly if you can find someone from San Francisco, who have an enlightened (if not drop dead sexy) mayor who ‘gets it’- it would give them a chance to make fun of backwards Oakland.

    Municipalities work for the people, not the other way around, and this is the way of the future. They may as well get used to it now.

  16. MotherLodeBeth

    Looking at your Publication link I couldn’t help but wonder why you dont get in touch with all those folks who have done piece on you as well as Penquin Press who publishes your book and ask them for help as well.

  17. Novella, you are an ASSET to the city of Oakland! You bring this before city council and your head will spin watching them backpedal on this mis-step.
    With the number of code violating, non compliant buildings in this sometimes disgustingly blighted city, you should NOT be cited for GROWING FOOD
    What you are doing on your farm is exactly what city council and cohorts have been advocating for for years.
    Bring this to the attention of the press and others in the city and right this injustice!

  18. Novella don’t let them get you down! Keep plugging girl – find a way through the nonsense! We have faith in you & the good work you’re doing!

  19. Max Allstadt

    Some of the local agricultural groups you mentioned haven’t just been left alone by the city. They’ve been given grants and they’ve had local politicians show them a lot of support. I know, I sat on a board that gave City Slickers 75 grand.

    The political atmosphere in this town is very pro-farming. That makes your situation very fixable. I will do what I can.

    The best contacts at City Hall for this will be Rebecca Kaplan and Nancy Nadel. Kaplan, in particular, has a pet peeve about the overuse of Conditional Use Permits (CUPs). She’s already successfully pushed legislation which has removed the CUP requirements for a number of business types.

    Here are the emails to use, you’ll want to CC their policy aides too.:

    NNadel@Oaklandnet.com
    Xwang@Oaklandnet.com (XiaoJing Wang, policy aide)

    RKaplan@Oaklandnet.com
    AChan@Oaklandnet.com (Ada Chan, policy aide)

    Ask them to put legislation on the CEDA committee agenda that removes the need for a Conditional Use Permit for “Plant Nursery” use. They’ll also need to research other definitions of agricultural use and remove restrictions on them too. My immediate inclination is to ask for an exemption for parcels under 10,000 square feet. That should be relatively non-controversial.

    Also, if it makes you feel any better, I’m 99% sure that the $2500 is a one time fee, not an annual fee. It’s still stupid. We have so much languishing vacant land in this city that the last thing we should be doing is getting in the way of people trying to cultivate it.

  20. I’m a relatively new reader of your blog, I doubt there is anything I can do to help because I live in Italy. No fees here for home gardening but if you have a business-like activity I guess you have to pay fees here too. Also, lots of animals and poop, composting and smells don’t help to go unnoticed. Good luck.

  21. What I love most about Oakland? Progressively proactive residents like you. What I hate most about Oakland? Haters on every level. Especially that not-so-rare breed of hater that fakes like they are doing us all a favor by complaining to The City over bullshit vs sitting down with a neighbor and working out a challenging situation. Please stand up to this. You are not alone on this! Mr Oakland will be watching.

  22. Pan's Daughter

    Maybe you should start selling crack or open a brothel to get the authorities to leave you alone.

    (I’ll be happy to write a protest letter to the City Fathers or other Powers That Be.)

  23. The Oakland Food Policy Council has been working with the City to get them to update zoning regulations for urban agriculture – it’s one of our top priorities. That was probably what City staff referred to when you went in for permits. However, there have been delays, and I think a sense of political urgency may be helpful in moving this issue forward. I encourage you all to check out the OFPC online (http://www.oaklandfood.org/home) or on facebook for information on moving this policy forward.

  24. That is heartbreaking news! I hope you do fight it. People like you make cities BETTER, they should not be persecuted. Just a suggestion, although I’m sure you don’t want to go hat-in-hand, if you do start a fund to pay the fine, or to pay yourself for fighting it (maybe hire a lawyer?) I’m sure many people would open their wallets to help. Maybe you could also find some pro-bono legal assistance? Is there a law school near you (Berkeley)? GOOD LUCK!

  25. Wow! I think you will regret not fighting this because you would be giving in to the powers that be. Use whatever clout you have to get support. Get some media to the council meeting and take advantage of all the help being offered through the comments. I live in Georgia, so I can’t really be at the council meeting, but good luck!

  26. Wow! That’s really lame. I hope this works out in the end.

  27. What if someone threatened the city workers family? throw a rock through his window or something.

  28. That really sucks! Gosh, just when my faith in humanity gets restored one douche bag has to ruin it for us all.

    I hope this ends up working out for you!

  29. Keep us updated, maybe there is something all us folks can do, like maybe bringing Michelle Obama in and plant a garden on the city hall concrete lawn. I love your stories and this is a major bummer, not to mention the huge money they are dumping on you.

  30. Daud Abdullah

    It appears the City is broke and will try anything and any way to make money. I feel you should keep everything you are doing public and even take this issue to the television, it is too bad that all it takes is one person to say something negitive and there is the City with their hand out asking for money and throwing law books at you.

  31. Yeah,, total bullshit! May flying monkeys land on their heads!

  32. Damn! What a drag. Hopefully you’ll be able to get some people together to help. When a similar thing happened here in LA, we managed to get the law changed, but it did take some time and effort. The good news is that it doesn’t look good, these days, for local politicians to oppose urban agriculture projects. Good luck to you and feel free to contact me if you want any info on how we did the law change.

  33. That totally sucks Novella. A farmer here had the same thing happen to him. Cost him $11,000 in attorneys fees and he still has to do 50 hours of community service.
    I expect the same thing to happen to me at any time. Code enforcement has been here twice as a result of neighbor complaints and told me I was not in violation. However, they can change their minds at any time.
    Duane
    The Funny Farm
    Atlanta

  34. I live on the other side of the country, but am willing to do what I can to help. I’m so sorry. Stay strong.

  35. First, what activity is in violation? The animals? Selling w/out a license?
    Correct the violation then protest at the next council meeting. You may have to join or even spearhead the effort to change the laws.
    after all it affects you directly. the politicians, only tangentially.

  36. after all, government is Not your friend.

  37. sad to say but our president and his admin. are actually trying to outlaw the growing,raising, buying, and selling homegrown foods. Everything that Hitler did when Hitler was elected into office in Austria Obama is trying to do here. Look up Kitty Werthmann Story. If you need link let me know ill post it.

  38. So sorry to see good people have to go through BS to do something that is constructive. I understand about “that one neighbor”, I had trouble with a former HOA over lasagna gardening in the front yard and a “too visible rabbit hutch”. So we shed the small mentalities of the HOA and moved to an area that is into the whole green movement. If you need letters written, phone calls, etc. to speak up for you, just post names, addresses, phone numbers, local state representatives, whatever and I’ll be glad to put my two cents worth in on how “UN” progressive Oakland is!

  39. $2500 to sell chard?!? … and all because someone complained, not about your chard, but about your animals? That doesn’t make any sense. Best of luck with the bureaucrats, Novella! Maybe invite them for tea next time?

  40. This is unbelievable! It outrages me that someone would take the time to complain about a couple harmless animals (probably from their cell phone while in the drive-thru line at a fast food joint) when there are so many more important things to worry about. I would be proud to be your neighbor, and will definitely sign a petition or anything else to help out.

  41. Read about you on RootSimple and I’ve started subscribing to your blog. I’m sorry that the authorities haven’t found their way past the outmoded rules and regulations and haters are turning you in. What a sad state of affairs. Look forward to reading your archives and seeing what you come up with in terms of solutions… Good luck to you.

  42. Novella,
    I’m so sorry to hear that one annoying person can do so much damage. Please let me know if there is anything I can do. I feel like the only thing I can do is write a letter. Something is better then nothing I suppose.
    People need to mind their business.
    Hope things turn around.
    Wren

  43. Start leaving produce on the complainers doorstep. Fight ignorance w/ neighborly acts!

  44. Golden Poppy

    This is so sad to hear – I know how nerve-wracking it can be to go through this. I have a front yard garden at my home, and we have had numerous visits and warnings from code enforcement over the last several years ALL due to my next door neighbor. The garden beds needed permits because they considered them ‘structural’, the garden bed wood needed to be protected from rotting because of this ‘structural’ classification, we let the grass die before we dug it up, and got warnings for that ….we got warnings because the green beans were too high ‘overgrown’…and on and on. I have a stack of violations. Its absurd how difficult it is just to grow some food on land you own.
    My recommendation is to stay strong, be kind, and know that you are on the right side of the argument.

  45. We are trying to address the need to be able to act sustainably where we live. We are a working group that came out of the Dervaes trademark BS… This is a national problem! We are blocked in multiple directions by state, city and neighbors who do not understand the problems we are facing. Please take a look at the group – we are writing a petition now and your input is welcome!

    http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_189320441090744&ap=1

    This a rough draft of the petition… we need a national response and a local response…

    http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_189320441090744&view=doc&id=194288280593960

    Let us know how we can help Novella!

  46. That’s the oxymoron of government logic for you. Hopefully, this can be used as a springboard to finally get those regulations corrected. Good luck, Novella.

  47. So are you in violation because you sold your produce or because you grew it?

  48. Here are the current list of demands:

    We the undersigned demand:

    – the right to grow food sustainably on our property

    – the right to create safe inspected gray water systems to water from our households (with the understanding that we will not use toxic chemicals in our homes and will respect strict observation of hazardous material disposal)

    – the right to dry our clothing outside on a clothes line

    – the right to collect rain water from our roofs

    – the right to keep small livestock such as chickens or rabbits

    – the right to create and use composting piles and systems

    – the right to choose sustainable energy systems for our property with due regard for safety (some wind systems require a great deal of clearance for safety reasons)

    – the right to plant permaculture systems which do not look like traditional gardens

    – the right to address use of toxic pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and other chemicals both by HOAs and by neighbors through a system of redress at the local level.

    – the right to share or sell what we grow or raise

    – the right to process small batches of food for sale in our home kitchens

    – the right to bicycle safely to and from our destinations

    – the right to public bike locking systems

    Hopefully we can all start to see we are in a fight for our lives and livilihoods and need to stand together.

    Are there any lawyers out there – who will help Novella? A lot of us are not built for bureaucratic battles…If you have this skill set please jump in!

  49. Novella, I’m the chair of Slow Food Eat Bay and if you need any help at all, we are at your service. arthur@slowfoodberkeley.com

  50. hmmm well that’s not so nice City of Oakland.
    Why don’t go pick on somebody else? Or how about not at all.
    As a resident, I expect better.
    This collecting of $2500 or more seems rather opportunist of the City…
    Detroit I understand has a long history of urban farms. I would guess that residents don’t have to pay to grow food.
    As exasperating as legal challenges can be Novella, I think you will find that more than a few people have your back in words and numbers.
    You should not be penalized (or threatened) for helping doing good because the City of Oakland wants some money.

  51. Completely ridiculous. $2500+ is insane. Pittsburgh just finalized our code, it’s not bad:

    http://www.growpittsburgh.org/growpittsburgh/UrbanAgZoningCode

    I hope Oakland reconsiders.

  52. Couldn’t you give the food away for free to your customers and manage some other sort of arrangement, if you know what I mean?

  53. MotherLodeBeth

    Leona asked a good question, So are you in violation because you sold your produce or because you grew it?

    To those posting comments about doing something mean or violent to whomever complained or the city workers, I suggest these comments dont help her situation. Just the opposite.

  54. Novella, I live in the deep South, have read your book, and heard about this on Root Simple. I blogged about this, mostly directing people to your site and Root Simple. I used your picture and hope it was okay. Fight this! If I were there, I would help you.

  55. I’m glad I live in the country. What a load of crap

  56. That’s plain crazy!! You go girl!!

  57. Andrea Haegele

    Don’t forget Michelle Obama has a garden..she might like to know that someone is getting penalized for growing her own. lol, wink, wink

  58. My hubby will be down that way on business next month, I’ll have to have him stop by and support you! I hope you fight this, we have a small farm, but I refuse to sell anything because of the hoops I’d have to jump thru!

  59. I’d be glad to help too – petition, city council mtg, whatever — I’m there!

  60. Trish Corlew

    NPR? You need to get in touch with your local Tea Party. This is the exact thing that we are trying to fight. The Tea Party will come out en mass to support your freedom to grow your own food on your own property. This is what we are talking about when we say the government is too big and too intrusive in our lives.

  61. I live in Oakland and this is sad.

    I hope you noted down the name of the person you consulted in the planning department – if you make it clear that you made an effort to discover what would be necessary for compliance it should help you to successfully appeal that wack fee, from the view of someone who speaks a little of the Bureaucrat dialect.

    Hope you prevail – with minimal effort. If I were in such a jam I would certainly take the Slow Food contact above up on his offer of help.

  62. Kristin Kimball

    Novella, we got your back on the east coast. Farm on.

  63. I loved hearing you speak in Salt Lake (you patted my baby after). I’m sorry about the lousy legal stuff. I hope everything works out. It’s insane that cities want to charge people extra for doing something positive with their land.

  64. Beware of bringing large groups to Oakland City Council meetings. If seats are full and your group has to stand, they will suddenly invoke the fire code and move everyone out to another room with a TV monitor, so that they can’t speak at the podium. They may also move your item further down on the agenda to “run out of time” and not get to it.

  65. What can we do to help you? I maybe in Kentucky, but I know how to write letters, I know how to use the phone and I know how to research information. My fingers are at your command.
    Casi

  66. I live in Idaho Falls Idaho and I just wanted to write & say how sad I am to hear that the city of Oakland would take this stance. It shows an ignorance & small minded attitude. Probably someONE small minded & ignorant & using their little bit of position to wield some power. Times are changing & more people like you need to be supported, not thwarted. All the best to you in your efforts to gain back the control you had of your life & activities.

    We DO need more people like you! Urban farming is a thing of the future if we want this country to thrive in the future.!

  67. You can make a free online petition at Change.org if someone wants to take charge of that. I don’t live in the area, but I’m more than happy to sign the petition.

  68. Also, Novella, you should put your book fame to good use for the community. A call needs to made to the local media outlets to make them aware of the situation. Let them interview you and put your face all over the local news. The city will make some changes then.

  69. Novella,
    I heard about this in the FB group “Back to the Basics–Hope for the best, Prepare for the Worst”.

    If there is anything your loyal readers & supporters can do – just ask!!

    City of Oakland workers… may all of your vegetables have worms in them.

  70. Completely nuts!

  71. Wow, looks like things are getting stirred up. You are going to have to take a little time and fight this. I know, it is spring and things need to be done. Ask for volunteers and delegate. Lots of towns are fighting their stupid laws and winning. Looks like it is your turn.
    I will follow in hope there is something online I can do. I am in Arkansas, so showing up isnt on the list. Best wishes to you.
    J

  72. What an enjoyable (and may I say insightful) read! You may not know it, but this post of yours gave me so many realizations. I wonder if it occurs to you and other people, too, but there are times when I get wonderful ideas from things that don’t have anything to do at all with what’s in my mind. On a different note, I read a lot of blogs, it’s what I do before I head off to the gym, and I can’t believe some of the trash that some people are putting out, like a magic bullet for this, and a so-called-secret for that. Like in the topic of body-building, I’ve read quite a number of blogs that talk about products that make building muscles almost instantaneous! Imagine, bodybuilding without breaking a sweat?! Come on! At the very least you need to have a workout program which you will actually follow! Now I’m ranting, sorry. I’ll look around your blog some more before heading to another one.

  73. Novella, this is disheartening news and I agree with so many other folks who suggest you tap into the local media. Being silent usually isn’t an effective way of fighting a battle to win and certainly with all the peaked interest in edible landscapes, having your farm in Oakland is a bonus media attraction for Oakland. Landscaping blogs, local neighborhood users groups, local bookstores who have newsletters (Laurel Bookstore), Tribune, Chronicle, Guardian etc. You may know a few key people in influential positions that could make some inroads on your behalf. It’s not in the best interest for the City of Oakland to have this particular matter blitzed and reflect poorly on them. Bad economy. Edible Landscaping on the rise. Community gardens. You have a lot of power. Keep us posted & shout out if you need backup from your masses of admirers.

  74. Very disappointed to hear this. Not only a hassle for you but a slap in the face of people trying to do the right thing. Would the govt all just prefer us to keep eating junk and consuming our way to the detriment of our health and the health of our planet. Ridiculous. Unless the city plans to feed me and my family they better let me feed my own or I may start showing up on their doorstep at dinner time. I hope you decide to fight this for yourself and for everyone. Your little farm is what encouraged me to fight for goats and ( I think I have won!)

  75. This is very ridiculous & I agree that it must be challenged. If anything we need more urban gardening, not less — “rules” are there to serve us, not hinder. Go to City Council, contact the Mayor, your councilperson (if you haven’t already), contact them again & again & again! Contact the new “interim” City Manager. It’s already on KQED blog, make sure it gets on their news, the Trib, Chron.

  76. FloodedByCEDA

    PREDATORY CODE ENFORCEMENT welcome to Oakland. The city is out of money so watch out. Try complaining about sewage flowing into a creek or you garden. You will get hit with a much bigger fine.

  77. Can we start a Support Ghost Town Farm facebook page? We can gather you an army of farm nerds there!

  78. I’m sorry to hear about your run in with the chard police. It feels like our government, on all levels, has abandoned common sense.

  79. So sorry to hear the news. Like everyone else, if there is anything we can do (petition, calls, etc.) please let us know.

  80. Pingback: Farmstand Canceled Due to… the City of Oakland (via Ghost Town Farm) | Queer Oakland

  81. I know what Ghost Town Farm is going through . Here in Washington State we have a small farmstand . We get visits from various County persons . We simply give them armloads of produce to leave us alone . Sometimes they come back twice a week . We have a 17 page booklet on “How to Farm” in our County . Mostly it’s on how deep to plow , how much water we use and the length of our growing season permit.

  82. Er, uh… More or less what I’ve been trying to bring to light for the last two years. CEDA staff are running this City like a third-world nation. You have to go through the middle man, The Man, The City, first, give them their cut. No vested property rights. Come to Audit Oakland CEDA. Join the movement and become empowered.

  83. and they do not realize the extent of their gall, yet collect a paycheck enough to put you off “your” property….

  84. It’s your property, who the hell cares what you do with it! So even if you don’t hold farmstands, you’re not allowed to garden period without a permit? I don’t get this nonsense.

  85. Novella, I only recently discovered your writing, and am so disturbed to read what you are going through. From the other comments, it seems you have alot of real offers of help. I hope you will consider accepting it. I read many good suggestions too, like going public and using your voice to stop this nonsense. Everything happens for a reason: this may be a chance to really do some good that can affect the lives of so many. And, thank you for all the good you have already done!

  86. Here’s some info for all of us:

    Oakland City Hall
    1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza
    Oakland, CA 94612
    Phone: (510) 444-CITY
    TTY: (510) 238-3254

    Write, call, show up, make noise, grow food and community!

  87. It was really fun to meet you today and see your farm. All our best wishes to you for success with the Oakland agriculture folks.
    Dyanna and Rob

    http://berkeleytoday.wordpress.com/2011/03/30/novellas-garden-of-eden/

    http://berkeleytoday.wordpress.com/2011/03/30/farm-city/

  88. Anyone know Alice Waters to advise her of this nonsense.?
    I would think the Trib would love to interview her as well as all radio and TV stations should have a press release sent to them.

  89. Hello Novella! I was inspired to drop you a note and express my feelings of a sunken heart and anger over your interaction with the city of Oakland bureaucrats. I also wish to express my admiration for the paradise you’ve created right where you are with organic food, chickens and the rest. I’m so envious!
    When people that hide behind the moniker “government official” in order to aggress against and extort money from people that just wish to live peaceably growing food in their own gardens, then we all need to take notice and remind ourselves that we were born free and have the right (not the privilege) to grow a garden on our own property without asking permission from a busy-body city bureaucrat. They need to leave you in peace and get a real job. One that doesn’t steal from the people to pay their busy-body bureaucratic position which aggresses against others. In the words of William S. Burroughs:

    “Most of the trouble in this world has been caused by folks who can’t mind their own business, because they have no business of their own to mind, any more than a smallpox virus has. ”
    — William S. Burroughs

    Much luck to you and I hope you garner community support in defense of your natural right to be left alone without having to ask permission to and pay for your right to grow food.

  90. Ugh! I was hoping to follow in your footsteps here in Oakland, but now I have to wait and see. I’m happy to make noise about my displeasure, sign a petition and what have you…

    Lily

  91. They certainly are making an example out of you. About how much of a kick-ass rockstar you are!! This is going to bite them in their collective ASSES.

    It so super sucks that you have to go through all this legal bullshit, but take good notes! Document it all with your wit, your style and your laughter!

    Sending you good vibes!

  92. soarswitheagles

    Seriously? With all the crime in the city they can’t find something better to do with their time? Since when is growing / selling chard — or goat shit for that matter — harmful? Are they going to impose a fine on the kids who grow lemon trees in their yards and set up a lemonade stand, too?
    Grow up, Oakland.

  93. My advice, move away… get out of the communist state of kalifornia asap. I wouldn’t live there if someone paid for me to do it. Their laws are based on irrational ‘feelings’ based ‘pseudotopia’ premises, especially when it comes to self defense and welfare for illegals(social leaches) and that’s just the beginning. The great ponzi will end sooner or later, and you’ll be the last one laughing (if you get out in time) when the GOV workers, busy bodies, greenies, peta etc. are dealing with chaos and looters. I’ll sure be laughing as I view it from afar, that’s a fact. Kalifornia is truly the land of fruits and nuts where common sense has flown the coop, disappeared over the horizon… never to return.

  94. You all seem surprised that “liberals” would act like this.

    The current Dem part is, if possible, more right wing than the Republicans. They love nothing more than to dictate every facet of your existence, and demand you pay for it.

    And most of you seem to think it’s a good idea to give them more money for the “benefits” they provide, blindly ignoring that those benefits come with rules and policies and mindless bureaucrats.

    My bet is Michele 0 wants nothing to do with the matter, won’t even send a form letter. You still seem to think that the First Family actually gives a shit about anyone but themselves.

    This problem will resolve when you tell the government to fuck off, by starving it of tax revenue. There is a difference between “liberal” and “Statist.” Learn it.

  95. Vote with your feet. MOVE somewhere else. This is unbelievable they won’t let you grow your own food. We live in KY and it’s great here!

    another thought would be to try to get on FOX tv. let the world see what idiots they are!

  96. So, we’ve all had enough, and we just can’t take it anymore!
    Off all the things the city of Oakland needs to do, this ain’t in the top 1,000. Here are the email addresses of all the city council members and some of their staff members. Time to send those emails people. I’ll try and find this agriculture code. Hopefully its huge so I/we can send it to them and clog up their inbox with their own laws.

    jbrunner@oaklandnet.com
    zwald@oaklandnet.com
    mbarra-gibson@oaklandnet.com
    ebuchen@oaklandnet.com
    gsjohnson@oaklandnet.com
    pkernighan@oaklandnet.com
    nnadel@oaklandnet.com
    schaaf@oaklandnet.com
    cburgos@oaklandnet.com
    rfuentes@oaklandnet.com
    dbrooks@oaklandnet.com
    lreid@oaklandnet.com
    atlarge@oakland.com

  97. This is already on the books in Vermont and Maine:

    Local Food and Community Self-Governance Ordinance of 2011
    [101121-RMLF] page 1 of 4 pages
    AN ORDINANCE TO PROTECT THE HEALTH AND INTEGRITY OF THE LOCAL FOOD SYSTEM
    IN THE TOWN OF (NAME OF TOWN) , _ (NAME OF COUNTY) COUNTY, MAINE.
    Section 1. Name. This Ordinance shall be known and may be cited as the “Local Food and
    Community Self-Governance Ordinance.”
    Section 2. Definitions.
    As used in this ordinance:
    (a) “Patron” means an individual who is the last person to purchase any product or
    preparation directly from a processor or producer and who does not resell the product
    or preparation.
    (b) “Home consumption” means consumed within a private home.
    (c) “Local Foods” means any food or food product that is grown, produced, or processed
    by individuals who sell directly to their patrons through farm-based sales or buying
    clubs, at farmers markets, roadside stands, fundraisers or at community social events.
    (d) “Processor” means any individual who processes or prepares products of the soil or
    animals for food or drink.
    (e) “Producer” means any farmer or gardener who grows any plant or animal for food
    or drink.
    (f) “Community social event” means an event where people gather as part of a
    community for the benefit of those gathering, or for the community, including but not
    limited to a church or religious social, school event, potluck, neighborhood gathering,
    library meeting, traveling food sale, fundraiser, craft fair, farmers market and other
    public events.
    Section 3. Preamble and Purpose. We the People of the Town of (name of town) ,
    (name of county) County, Maine have the right to produce, process, sell, purchase and
    consume local foods thus promoting self-reliance, the preservation of family farms, and local
    food traditions. We recognize that family farms, sustainable agricultural practices, and food
    processing by individuals, families and non-corporate entities offers stability to our rural way of
    life by enhancing the economic, environmental and social wealth of our community. As such,
    our right to a local food system requires us to assert our inherent right to self-government. We
    recognize the authority to protect that right as belonging to the Town of (name of town) .
    We have faith in our citizens’ ability to educate themselves and make informed decisions. We
    hold that federal and state regulations impede local food production and constitute a usurpation
    of our citizens’ right to foods of their choice. We support food that fundamentally respects
    human dignity and health, nourishes individuals and the community, and sustains producers,
    processors and the environment. We are therefore duty bound under the Constitution of the State
    of Maine to protect and promote unimpeded access to local foods.
    Local Food and Community Self-Governance Ordinance of 2011
    [101121 RMLF] page 2 of 4 pages
    The purpose of the Local Food and Community Self-Governance Ordinance is to:
    (i) Provide citizens with unimpeded access to local food;
    (ii) Enhance the local economy by promoting the production and purchase of local
    agricultural products;
    (iii) Protect access to farmers’ markets, roadside stands, farm based sales and direct
    producer to patron sales;
    (iv) Support the economic viability of local food producers and processors;
    (v) Preserve community social events where local foods are served or sold;
    (vi) Preserve local knowledge and traditional foodways.
    Section 4. Authority. This Ordinance is adopted and enacted pursuant to the inherent,
    inalienable, and fundamental right of the citizens of the Town of (name of town) to selfgovernment,
    and under the authority recognized as belonging to the people of the Town by all
    relevant state and federal laws including, but not limited to the following:
    The Declaration of Independence of the United States of America, which declares that
    governments are instituted to secure peoples’ rights, and that government derives its just
    powers from the consent of the governed.
    Article I, § 2 of the Maine Constitution, which declares: “all power is inherent in
    the people; all free governments are founded in their authority and instituted for their
    benefit, [and that] they have therefore an unalienable and indefensible right to institute
    government and to alter, reform, or totally change the same when their safety and
    happiness require it.”
    §3001 of Title 30-A of the Maine Revised Statutes, which grants municipalities all
    powers necessary to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the residents of the
    Town of (name of town) .
    §211 of Title 7 of the Maine Revised Statutes which states: “it is the policy of the
    State to encourage food self-sufficiency for the State.”
    Section 5. Statements of Law.
    Section 5.1. Licensure/Inspection Exemption. Producers or processors of local foods
    in the Town of (name of town) are exempt from licensure and inspection provided
    that the transaction is only between the producer or processor and a patron when the
    food is sold for home consumption. This includes any producer or processor who sells
    his or her products at farmers’ markets or roadside stands; sells his or her products
    through farm-based sales directly to a patron; or delivers his or her products directly
    to patrons.
    Local Food and Community Self-Governance Ordinance of 2011
    [101121-RMLF] page 3 of 4 pages
    Section 5.1.a. Licensure/Inspection Exemption. Producers or processors of local
    foods in the Town of (name of town) are exempt from licensure and inspection
    provided that their products are prepared for, consumed, or sold at a community social
    event.
    Section 5.2. Right to Access and Produce Food. (name of town) citizens possess
    the right to produce, process, sell, purchase, and consume local foods of their choosing.
    Section 5.3. Right to Self-Governance. All citizens of (name of town) possess
    the right to a form of governance which recognizes that all power is inherent in the
    people, that all free governments are founded on the people’s authority and consent.
    Section 5.4. Right to Enforce. (name of town) citizens possess the right to adopt
    measures which prevent the violation of the rights enumerated in this Ordinance.
    Section 6. Statement of Law. Implementation. The following restrictions and provisions
    serve to implement the preceding statements of law.
    Section 6.1. State and Federal Law. It shall be unlawful for any law or
    regulation adopted by the state or federal government to interfere with the rights
    recognized by this Ordinance. It shall be unlawful for any corporation to interfere
    with the rights recognized by this Ordinance. The term “corporation” shall mean
    any business entity organized under the laws of any state or country.
    Section 6.2. Patron Liability Protection. Patrons purchasing food for home
    consumption may enter into private agreements with those producers or processors
    of local foods to waive any liability for the consumption of that food. Producers or
    processors of local foods shall be exempt from licensure and inspection requirements
    for that food as long as those agreements are in effect.
    Section 7. Civil Enforcement. The Town of (name of town) may enforce the provisions
    of this Ordinance through seeking equitable relief from a court of competent jurisdiction. Any
    individual citizen of the Town of (name of town) shall have standing to vindicate any
    rights secured by this ordinance which have been violated or which are threatened with
    violation, and may seek relief both in the form of injunctive and compensatory relief from
    a court of competent jurisdiction.
    Local Food and Community Self-Governance Ordinance of 2011
    [101121 RMLF] page 4 of 4 pages

  98. Interesting. Little Bo-Peep and the big bad wolves?
    It seems as though the old East German state lives on in many places and People.

    And we, like sheep.

    If only the idea of property rights was part of the new American way.

  99. In addition to contacting Nancy Nadel (who lives less than 10 blocks from you Novella), I would try contacting Carletta Starks, Community Liaison/Policy Analyst for Councilmember Nancy Nadel, District 3
    CLStarks@oaklandnet.com
    Phone: 510/238-7032
    She may be more responsive and would actually listen. I worked with her to get an illegal halfway house investigated and booted out.

  100. Bullshit. Mendacity I say. F*ck Oakland. I thought that was the last bastion of common sense folk left in California. But it seems I would be wrong. Jast add to the list “Cities I will not visit and spend my tourist dollars in”

  101. u shoud be arrested! growing greens! chard! whats wrong with u!!

  102. Village Gardener

    Please let us know if there is anything us out-of-towners can do for you? I’d be happy to write letters and I’ll make sure to direct people to your blog.

  103. this really is a food revolution, and you really are one of the first freedom fighters. but they haven’t razed your garden or taken away your animals. not yet. but you have to fight.

    and please let us help. i’m not in your local foodbank area, like a lot of the commenters and supporters who come here – but we’re here – you’ve got a small army behind you. and they’ve got folks behind them.

    i know you’re a person who just wants to raise your own food, and help others do the same. but for it to happen, we all have to fight. and this is your fight novella. fortify yourself with some prosciutto and fava beans and get to it, you gorgeous hunk of farmer fabulousness you!

  104. westcoastcycling

    Much easier to hassle you instead of dealing with real criminals…

  105. Hey Novella,
    Loved the book. Love your blog. Love what you are doing. Good luck and keep it up. Don’t let the f@#kers get you down.

  106. This really sucks. The same thing happened to me. I had to get rid of all my animals or face a $1,000 fine. I have a 1/2 acre located 2 miles from the city limits, but the township rezoned a few years ago and decided they wanted to encourage development, so now most of the county is labeled residential and no animals are allowed except indoor house pets. You can’t even have an outdoor dog, cat or rabbit.

  107. FloodedByCEDA

    Here is a link to an article about another Oaklander who is farther along with the predatory code enforcement process.

    http://www.berkeleydailyplanet.com/issue/2011-02-16/article/37330?headline=Oakland-Plant-Blight-Shakedown-Update-3-Yes-It-s-More-Than-Just-About-The-Rosebushes-

    You have no right to due process or appeal in Oakland.

  108. Novella,
    If I remember correctly, you own the land you are farming, and pay property taxes to the City of Oakland. Shouldn’t you have a say in what happens on your privately owned property?

    Even though I live in Massachusetts, I will send an email to the city of Oakland, expressing my dismay at this fee they are levying on you and others who are only trying to bring fresh, healthy food to people.

    Keep up the good work and know that there are many people behind what you are doing.

  109. That is why I am moving out of the Bay Area to someplace with smaller government. I would prefer to live in the northern reaches of California, in the Sierra foothills, or on the Central Coast; but there are a lot of the crazy laws at the state level as well. So, that means I am looking at rural Texas, the Pacific NW, NC and TN.

    Freedom means having to put up with a bunch of stuff you don’t like (Frank Zappa paraphrased). I’d rather have to put up with my neighbors not using their yard the way I would prefer if that means I get to use mine in the way that I want.

    If there is anything we can do to help, please post it on the blog!

  110. Ken Hargesheimer

    http://www.foodrenegade.com/maine-town-declares-food-sovereignty/

    “Sedgwick, Maine has done what no other town in the United

    States has done. The town unanimously passed an ordinance giving

    its citizens the right “to produce, process, sell, purchase, and

    consume local foods of their choosing.” This includes raw milk,

    locally slaughtered meats, and just about anything else you can

    imagine. It’s also a decided bucking of state and federal laws.”

    What does this mean? In the debate over raw milk, for example,

    the law allows consumers and producers to enter into a purchasing

    agreement without interference from state or federal health

    regulators, regardless of current regulation that requires milk

    to be pasteurized to kill pathogens such as salmonella and E.

    coli. And, it relies on the consumer to educate themselves on

    the risk of consuming local products of their choice.

    For those of you who like to follow the latest food movements,

    “What’s better regulation or raw?”, it is something to think

    about and it will be interesting to see how many other towns will

    follow this movement and if they can truly supersede federal and

    state governments on food safety.

  111. Max Allstadt

    I know Oakland’s code pretty well, so here’s an honest assessment of your situation:

    Good news is, it isn’t a $2500 annual fee, it’s a $2500 one time fee.

    I think you should apply for the Conditional Use Permit, and if you get pushback, use your large base of support to bolster an appeal.

    Even then, some of what you’re doing will be restricted, but the alternative is that you’ll get fined and shut down almost completely.

    The only thing you can do as-of-right under your current zoning is grow vegetables for your own use, and raise chickens for eggs for your own use, goats for milk for your own use, and rabbits as pets. No on-site slaughter is permitted anywhere in Oakland outside of heavy industrial zones.

    With the Conditional Use Permit, you should be able to grow vegetables for sale, and possibly even produce eggs and milk for sale.

    You can definitely sell veggies on site with the CUP.

    Eggs, milk and cheese are subject to State, County and Federal food safety regulations, which will be difficult to pass without a major upgrade to your facilities and/or compromising principles you may have about pasteurization or other such things.

    Raising animals for meat sales may also be permissible, but there’s no way in hell they’ll let you slaughter them on-site, and again, health codes may be an issue. It may even be possible to get a permit to sell meat, but there will be refrigeration requirements and such to contend with.

    So there you have it. Not pretty, but not an apocalypse. I may be a little off on some of this, but I think I’m pretty close. And let me note clearly for the record: I don’t support all of the laws you’re up against. Some, but not all. What I’m trying to do here is paint a realistic picture of the obstacles that exist.

  112. Pingback: Oakland: Cracking Down on Farming? | Generation Green

  113. We set up a electronic action alert page that enables readers to send a quick and easy letter to the mayor and supes.

    http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/6016/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=6263

  114. Don’t let the bastards get you down, Novella. You’ve got an army of supporters standing with you!

  115. We also published a blog post, and it links directly to our quick, easy-to-use web tool targeting Mayor Quan’s office.

  116. I am sorry to heard about your situation. I just want to let you know that when I get issues like this I usually call the highest bureaucrat on the agency that wants to fine you and keep calling him until he returns the call and solves the issue.

    Not working with you is completely unacceptable. After that. You need to call the City Administrator. He is the boss of all of the people at the City. If you bug him enough he may help you. In fact ALL readers of the blog should email Walter Cohen (see below) about this issue and Eric as well (see below as well) they do read emails and they do not want to have a campaign against them. Walter is on the way out but Eric is staying around we heard. He wants to be as friendly as possible to all. After all he needs a job, I assume and pissing of voters do not get you to keep a job in a City like Oakland.

    I hope this helps. It takes works. It sucks. But you got to play their dumb game.

    Best of luck!

    The information is below:

    Walter Cohen
    Agency Director
    250 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, Suite 3315
    Oakland, CA 94612
    wcohen@oaklandnet.com
    Telephone: (510) 238-2229
    Fax: (510) 238-2226

    TTY: (510) 238-6451

    Deputy Directors

    Eric Angstadt
    Deputy Director of Planning & Zoning
    250 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, Suite 3315

    Oakland, CA 94612
    eangstadt@oaklandnet.com
    Telephone: (510) 238-6190
    Fax: (510) 238-2226
    TTY: (510) 238-3254

  117. Pingback: Novella Carpenter, City Farmer, Busted! « The Permaculture Project LLC

  118. Max Allstadt

    You may be able to escape a fine for this, as long as you agree to stop doing unpermitted activity, or apply for the Conditional Use Permit and only engage in activity permitted by that permit. Otherwise, I am quite certain that calling Angstadt and Cohen won’t accomplish anything.

    Plus, it’s a furlough weekend: The city is closed ’till monday.

    Other than that, the only solution is to change the law, or wait a while for attention to shift elsewhere and resume your farmstand and promote it through private communication.

    I totally disagree with most of the laws in effect. However, because they exist, I also think it’s incredibly unwise for a best selling author with a popular blog to openly write about doing stuff that is in violation of city codes.

    For a while, Oakland and other authorities were so clueless about the web that it was possible to be flagrant about doing things that while illegal, are also rather innocuous. Raw milk cheese could be promoted on blogs and no consequences followed.

    Now the authorities are catching up. If you think the laws are dumb, if you trust your fellow farmer, the safe way to go about your business is with private facebook groups and similar tools.

    On top of this, I’ve noticed some PETA nutjobs trolling on this site. As a bestselling author who’s got national attention, realistically it was only a matter of time before these misguided ideologues decided to start messing with Ms. Carpenter the same way they’ve messed with live chicken sales in San Francisco.

    There needs to be a legal path for all manner of urban farming, but until there is, it’s not a good idea to expect special treatment because of fame. The more likely result is unwanted attention because of fame.

    This is why people who run underground music venues in Oakland don’t do interviews. Is there too much red tape in the way of people who want to have concerts in their warehouse spaces? Yes. Can we pretend the red tape doesn’t exist? No.

  119. Novella, not to sound like broken record every time we get together, but why not take Billy and get the hell out of that urban abyss? America’s cities are a social, ecological, and cultural dead end. Why not come live out here in the Black Rock where a) the law won’t bother you, b) there’s no crime, and c) we genuinely want people like you?

  120. What the… ???

    You are personally mentioned nearly every time someone refers to Oakland as a “green” city. The administration seems more than happy to accept the good press, but yet they want to come down on you as an example.

    I am so tired of city government cannibalizing its citizens, working against the people who are making change, and meanwhile the politicians are out there selling your hard work as an example of how Oakland is moving forward into the future.

    Can I write you a letter of support to back your application for a conditional use permit/ temporary variance? Is there anything else I can do to help?

  121. If you have to pay a fine let me know where I can donate with paypal, and I will be happy to do it.

  122. I’d like to suggest considering NOT paying any extortion money the city gang is threatening and bullying you with. A bad law is no law. What right does ANYONE have to demand money from you to grow food on your own land? Humans are born free- until these government politico types get involved and try to bully and steal from their neighbors. Tell them to “go to hell!” Bring as much attention to their organized crime gang-like behavior to extort money from you for simply growing food. Let them shame themselves in public, unless they think they are so far removed from the “average citizen” they convince themselves aggression and theft against their neighbors is rationalized. Your “fine money” only feeds their coffers and keeps their violent behavior in perpetual motion.

  123. Novella, I really just want to add my voice to the chorus. This is really just bullshit, and everyone knows it. Some suggest moving, but I don’t think your heart will let you do it… when you’ve had a good cry are are ready to rally, know that the fair food army is here to fight with you. You’re a hero and an inspiration to an entire generation, and we need your voice. Don’t give up!
    With much love and a virtual hug,
    Kris

  124. This is outrageous. I used 2 live in oak (now los ang) & I remember reading in the ebay xpress about a couple who raised a couple of pigs! I think taking this 2 the press will go further than city hall. Maybe u can get alice waters & other celebrity bay area urban gardners to be vocal 4 u. If I was still in the area, i’d come bt 4 some berries or chard. $2500 2 grow chard. Really?

    Good luck!

  125. this is way too much. you don’t have a license to slaughter animals or a permit to grow and sell crops. you didn’t know you were supposed to have one? i thought you were the expert? the most intelligent comment thus far is from Max Allstadt, “I also think it’s incredibly unwise for a best selling author with a popular blog to openly write about doing stuff that is in violation of city codes.” they even told you to wait but you didn’t… you shouldn’t claim ignorance (which may actually be the case) but instead pretend that this is a grand act of civil disobedience. As other comments have suggested, Fox News will love this stuff!

  126. MotherLodeBeth

    After reading other posts who ask questions I hadnt considerd I also would like to know how much research had you done before raising food/meal animals per the city laws about such things?
    Considering your open house days were well known I am curious why the city hadnt sent a letter of concern before now. It’s not as if you just started the last few months.
    And all the public schools, community gardens that grow food to give away, do they also have to buy some type of license?The whole not supposed to grow chard where there are farm animals is also weird to me.
    Could it be that you are now making money from the book and traveling to talk about your lifestyle that puts you in the professional genre rather than someone simply growing their own foods?

  127. I just heard about your situation, came to your blog site and started reading. Then I realized you are the Author of the Farm City book. That is waiting for me to be read…….I am still working on two other Food books and two garden related books, so have only browsed through it…..
    the more I am shocked that the city of Oakland are giving you trouble.
    I sure hope the city will realize their nonsense, because this is what that is
    Nonsense!

    I just can’t understand how cities can have such stupid, unreasonable rules. It is time they are going with the flow…..with the new world we are living today in. Locally produced food is what we need and that includes growing it where we live, including in the cities.
    In times of today, where the meat in the grocery store could be GMO, cloned or at least laden with Antibiotics, animals raised in dirty, mass producing CAFO and the resulting recalls because of contaminations, and your vegetables are laden with toxins, undeclared Round-up Ready GMO……all these food problems……we ought to be able to not only grow our own food and process it. No we should be able to earn a little money on the side from our crops. Who is it going to hurt if someone sells a few vegetables from their land. It is wrong.
    Growing locally benefits the environment and benefits people. How can they deny that?????
    I wish you the best of luck, we need more people doing what you do, not less.
    Isabell

  128. FloodedByCEDA

    There is no way a 4500 square foot farm can stay in buisness with $2500 City conditional Use fee and all the “help” from the city government it will bring. It’s a miracle this farm exists at all with the high cost of being in Oakland (property tax , Water bill, Manditory garbage service, Insurance, Rent).

  129. Please email me and let me know where I can donate money for you. Or please let me know what kind of letter to write. I am not in Oakland, but this is just disheartening.

  130. douchebaggery!!

  131. Well, I’m sorry to say that I am not in the least surprised. For the very sad record, you are not alone. As the contact person for East Bay Pesticide Alert, a couple weeks ago I received a call from an Oakland resident who is being targeted similarly, with repeated visits from a city person threatening larger and larger fines. Needless to say, this has caused great stress for this resident/ longtime homeowner.

    We have discussed putting together a program as EBPA had not long ago when Asa Dodsworth was being targeted and given citation after citation over his edible yard in Berkeley. See the flyer about that event near the top of our Light Brown Apple Moth page (www.dontspraycalifornia.org). We helped Asa to be VERY public about the idiocy and the city backed off. But these kinds of abuses by seemingly mindless, and sometimes apparently vicious, city or county employees are more likely if people try to defend commons (perfect typo!) sense alone. Glad to see so many ready to stand with you, Novella. What do you think of speaking at such a self-defense event? If any readers of your blog want to be notified if we put together a program, please email me at beneficialbug@netzero.net. Please put ‘urban gardens’ in the subject line.

    Some of us surmised it could have been a case of some city person trying to look relevant to try to save a questionable job.

    Stop wasting money and instead put it into cleaning or replacing the toxic soil on empty city lots to prepare them to be used as gardens and parks, all pesticide-free.

    May A Thousand Parks Bloom!

  132. I think you need a lawyer.

  133. Pingback: Pie N Politics » Guess the folks that want to eat their own gardens in Oakland need to just say No and stand on their constitutional rights

  134. Hectic, hectic, hectic.

    There is far too much else in the world that they SHOLD be getting shirty about – what a waste of a position in the municipality! A small backyard garden – what on earth is the matter with people in position these days????

  135. Pingback: Baltimore’s can-do approach to food justice | Greediocracy

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  137. Pingback: Urban Farming Coming to Baltimore’s Food Deserts | Organic Connections

  138. Pingback: Baltimore’s can-do approach to food justice | Bluegrass reVISIONS

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  140. Pingback: Oakland: Cracking Down on Farming? | Center for Environmental HealthCenter for Environmental Health

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