Update

Hello everyone! Know that I’m holding up okay, mostly because of your words of support, and the love I’m getting from my friends and neighbors. Some quick clarifications before I go on with this post:

1. i’m getting in trouble for selling the chard. it is legal to grow vegetables and have various livestock in Oakland, so don’t freak out. the fact that i’ve been selling it is the issue. of course i would argue that my farmstand is by suggested donation.

2. i haven’t been fined, just threatened. like all good citizens, i’ll just wait to hear from the Man.

3.  I’ve heard that April 14 there may be some new rules about the selling of produce, so I’ll be fine and we’ll have gotten worked up about nothing.

Back to the post: This morning I went to Brother’s Market to get Mosed to take my rooster (I’m sure I’ll get busted for that soon as I’m under the microscope now–none of my neighbors have complained), and told him about what was happening. He’s really pissed, “You don’t sell!” he yelled. “We just come and pick, for the community.” I’ll probably make up a petition for people in the neighborhood to sign. Then I went to pick some weeds for my rabbits.

After I fed them, I read some email, and got a really scary one. The woman asked that I didn’t use her name, but here’s the story:

I believe that I probably know whomever filed the complaint about you, that they are probably an animal rights person, most likely a house-rabbit person who volunteers with animals at the Oakland Animal Shelter. I used to volunteer there with rabbits, and there was a feeling of horror among the other rabbit workers that you were breeding them for meat. Some of them are vegan, but others are just rabbit-lovers. They said they were going to complain about it to the city. That was a year ago, more or less. They crowed at one point because maybe your goats were forced off-site? I disagreed with them, because I think a person can love animals AND also conduct local farming, including eating your own animals. But they were VERY firm that eating rabbits was somewhere in the realm of murder, and I never said anything. Frankly I was afraid they would run me out of there on a pole. Their attitudes, along with my full schedule, led me away from volunteering at the Shelter eventually.

Now I feel guilty for having said nothing, because it sounds like they have finally made good on their promise. Honestly I don’t think it would have done any good for me to speak up. Those who were most horrified about the rabbits would have done it anyway. There might have been one or 2 other non-extremists like me, and I wish I had spoken up for their benefit.So they would see they are not monolithic. I also feel guilty for not having sent you some kind of warning, but I don’t know you, and I didn’t know if it would sound nuts. “The rabbit people are after you!”? And what could you do anyway?

This is pretty much what I figured, a rabbit person who hates me for growing my own food, lodged the complaint. I was sure it wasn’t a NIMBY neighbor, because we all get along.

I’m going to fight, but before that I’m letting myself cry a lot. Especially when I get messages like this:

We are all military wives stuck in Fort Polk Louisiana, all three of us were sad beyond words and then one day I picked up your book.
We have now started our own little garden on my two acre lot in the middle of a housing area. :)
We get bees this weekend and will have chickens and rabbits by the end of the summer.
I wonder if you know, really know, how your life, your writing and just who you are inspires and touches people.
Dont give up!! If you need us to do a bake sale to raise money for you, sell some of our seedlings or even do a yard sale, we will be more than happy to help you in any way we can. You have a huge support system that you might not have even known was there. :)

Amen for you all.

 

89 responses to “Update

  1. And now I’m cryin,’ darn it!
    The roller coaster of worrying about the type of folks in our world, and at the turn, being inspired.
    Thanks so much for sharing, and keep up the good fight and the fresh box of tissue.

  2. barter… no sales involved that they can regulate.

  3. I don’t think I’ve ever commented on your site, but I’ve read your book (LOVED IT. LOVE LOVE LOVE SERIOUSLY LOVED IT, made me want to garden more, be even more responsible for what I eat), and have been keeping up with your blog. I was so very sad to see what you posted and the accompanying EdibleSF article. Heaven knows we need more people like you investing in our communities, our environment, etc. In the midst of all this, I had a good laugh at the line “The rabbit people are after you!” I hope you can keep your spirits up.

  4. You could also do what the underground market does and make it a club where people pay a “membership fee” in lieu of exchanging money for food.

    I’ve run into the rabbit people before but not to the extent you have obviously. I always find it fascinating how some people find a small, cute furry creature’s life more worthy than a feathered one’s. They’ll turn a blind eye to factory farmed meat when they buy it from the grocery store but are appalled when someone raises an animal with care and love and slaughters it humanely all because they deem one cuter than the other.

    It’s these people that have kept me from publicly sharing where I live.

  5. On the one hand, I can understand the horror of the rabbit-loving people because I’m a HUGE dog lover, and once ran across a site that was something along the lines of ‘dogs for pets or food’. They sell all kinds of dogs for pets, but they also sell completely dressed carcasses of dogs ready to be broken down into different cuts for cooking and eating. I was literally sick to my stomach when I found it because I just love dogs and their loving personalities so very much. But- I had to argue to myself that dogs are eaten in other parts of the world, just not ours so much, (in fact, I think there was an ordinance passed in SF many years ago against killing dogs and cats because peoples’ pets started to go missing and the authorities found dressed dogs in plastic bags in various parks in the city) and I am seriously thinking about growing rabbits for food for myself, and that has to horrify rabbit lovers. I could also make the argument that rabbits have been people food for millennia, and they used to be eaten here in the US with much more regularity. I sometimes wonder how we got away from eating rabbits since they are such a great source of protein, reproduce so very rapidly, and convert feed so economically and efficiently. I mean, as a food source during a recession (and I disagree with the so-called experts that say that it’s over), rabbits are definitely a food source whose time as come.

    At any rate, I think the rabbit people are going to have to get over it because chickens are just the gateway livestock; rabbits will become the new chickens, as it were, because at some point, we will probably all have to fend for ourselves. When it finally does get to that point, I might have to get over people eating dogs.

    I hope the CoO does the sensible thing, and that it all works out for you. And I’m glad you’re getting so much support. You certainly deserve it.

  6. Hang in there! I’m a fellow Oaklander with 4 chickens that you inspired me to get. After they killed the grass this winter I’ve repurposed it to vegetable gardening, segregating them to another area of the yard. I’m sad that I only got to one of your previous farm stands. Your book and the articles in the papers about you have inspired so many. More than you’ll ever know about.

  7. Novella,
    You are an inspiration to all of us who care about where our food comes from and getting the best produce or meat from right outside our door, if we are lucky enough to grow our own.
    Hang in there, with you sphere of influence, light can be shed on the absurdity of the city. You are living in a food desert where people are killing each other for drugs. How crazy is it that the city would go after you for grow good food. Use your influence to get the word out. There are so many un-used lots in Oakland that would benefit from what you are doing and the neighborhood will benefit as well.
    Keep on keeping on.

  8. I hope it’s not the bunny huggers – they can get seriously out of control. Back when I was writing for a newspaper up in Sonoma County and was starting to get into rabbits, I wrote an article about raising rabbits for meat (how to do it humanely, etc.). I got some of the most outrageous hate mail: people who said that I am a murderer for killing rabbits, even saying that I shouldn’t be left alone with children.
    This was about the same time as the big fur protest in Guerneville. A bunch of people got riled up because an antique store had a fur on display. It was a fake, but that didn’t keep them from picketing the store for months. Of course most of those folks were driving in from Santa Rosa, and goodness knows how many animals they ran over in the process. Hypocrites, all.
    Generally, if a person is for animal welfare, they’re probably sane. If they’re for animal rights, probably not, at least IME.

  9. pat mc veigh

    I am one of the volunteers at Cabrillo Horticulture, and have read your book.Please add me to your website/blog.
    Keep up the good work, and ask for us to let the City of Oakland know what a mistake they are making.
    Thanks, Pat

  10. It’s hard to deal rationally with nutballs. And there are always nutballs in people’s business. You have a strong and loving support network all over the country, so buck up. Thank you for keeping those of us who don’t live close apprised of what’s happening. A good cry is a good idea. Then get out those petitions!

  11. I’m just going to do this the simple way:

    I think you’re brilliant, I admire what you’re doing, and I absolutely adore your resolve. Eff the naysayers, just keep rocking.

  12. I’m sure you have more support than you could possibly realize. We got chickens because of your inspiration (LOVED the book), started gardening in our neighbors yard, and are now considering rabbits for meat (horror of horrors ;)

    ….keep fighting the good fight!

  13. I just wanted to let you know…I am a hard core vegetarian and I loved your book, especially about consuming your own rabbits. Although I personally don’t like eating meat I think it is a totally individual choice. I think it is awesome the way you are doing it as opposed to this mass production of food that is going on. Thanks for an inspirational book!

  14. I’ve dealt with some of the local House Rabbit Society folks here in passing, and it was enough to put me off of them forever.

    Here in a few weeks, I’ll be getting a pair of rabbits to (GASP) raise for my own meat.

    I’m sorry you’re dealing with this, but please know that there are tons of us out here supporting you. Good luck, and lots of love.

  15. That army wives comment made me cry too. So glad they told you how they’re finding the good in their own lives from what you are doing and sharing.
    The rabbit people are messed up. Sounds like a modern day witch hunt….anyone who believes differently than they are the hunted.

  16. Rock on, Novella! And do please let us know what we can do to help.

    I hope someone with bureaucratic, legal, or press credentials will be able to advocate for you with the city. This really does need to be settled firmly in favor of domestic food production. And about that possible source for the complaint – disgusting. The vegans are entitled to eat whatever they like, but not to dictate anyone else’s diet.

  17. Made me cry! Now, I feeling so very fortunate to live where many people still raise animals, and there is also mostly a ‘live and let live’ attitude. You will be in my thoughts as you weave your way towards the light in this mess.

  18. Hi Novella: The rabbit people are after me too. I have been getting out of control calls from some rabbit psycho bitch lady at all hours of the day and night. I send you my best wishes! Be carefull the rabbit people are really crazy! Love Cassie

  19. Novella,
    You are a treasure to the city of Oakland, and as a resident I will support you in any way I can. Let us know how we can help you fight this.

  20. Tammy Hoeltke

    Good luck with your dealings with ‘the man’, he is getting far too big for his britches these days!!

  21. I’m confused by your updates. You seem to be indicating you were operating a business outside of the law. This update points to the fact that you are also keeping animals you know are illegal. How is this a good example?

  22. Novella, you’re wonderful. I can’t count how many people new to “responsible eating” who’ve found your book/blog/articles and how their faces light up with excitement and inspiration. We here in Kansas City MO had to deal with some really crazy NIMBY types when working on the revisions of our city’s urban ag codes last year; it was really shocking the (fear-based) vehemence, the hatred that these people flared at us (when we all viewed what we’re doing as the noblest of causes!).

    One thing you might keep in mind that I learned in the process: to really make change when dealing with city governments, you’ll need three levels of people involved in the effort: (1) the passionate, raging grassroots door-knocker/flyer-distributer/word-of-mouth passers, (2) the slightly-more-self-restrained organizers of those folks, and (3) the bureaucrat/policy wonks who can actually get in the doors of the offices of the decisionmakers (and get them to listen to them). that’s how we got some changes made, and how we’re keeping tabs on our local responsible-food community’s development.

    Best of luck to you, dearie, and if I can send any documentation from our KCMO experience you way that might be helpful, just shoot me an email.

  23. You go girl! Fight those idiots! Now I don’t eat rabbits…it’s a “Thumper” thing….but you have the right to if you want to! As long as you aren’t breaking any laws, they have no right to do anything to you. As for “donations”, well, I got slammed with that once myself. I was going to hairstyling school, and we weren’t allowed to charge a set price, but we could let people donate or pay what they thought it was worth. I was literally making enough to pay my rent from people in my apartment complex, then another hair stylist in the complex turned me in to the IRS!! Luckily, I had been keeping records, and had fully intended to claim it on my yearly taxes. Didn’t know at the time it was considered self-employment, and I had to file quarterly. They were pretty nice, asked me how much I made, I said less than $2500 a year all total before taxes. They said never mind, just claim it on your yearly taxes and enclose a payment. That witch got hers, though. Her BF got violent with another neighbor and got them kicked out of the complex. Karma is a beeeeyatch, baby!

  24. Lovely letter from the military wives. This is what blogging is about, and it’s a good reminder when you’re worrying that being public may have let you down.

    Sounds like in the end you may be OK – I’ll be following you!

  25. Just want to add another voice to those on your side. I find what you do extremely inspiring. It definitely contributed to gardening and chicken keeping becoming a reality for me with bees/goats somewhere in the future. If there needs to be a FREE NOVELLA campaign, consider me on board!

  26. Novella,
    Hopefully in a few months this will all be a bad dream. It’s hard to argue with those who are resistant to ideas other than their own, but you know you are doing the right thing. You have inspired so many people, and that, my friend, is what makes it all worthwhile. Hang in there.

  27. @confused, raising rabbits, bees, goats and chickens is totally legal in Oakland. In some parts of Oakland it’s also completely legal to sell raw agricultural goods from your residential property as long as the food was grown on the lot you’re selling it from. And on April 14th the laws are to change to make it even easier for urban farmers to sell their products, so the big issue here is why are they making this an issue 2 weeks before the law changes?

  28. Good luck from Australia. That last email made me all teary. Hope the laws get changed soon… for the better.

  29. Novella! I feel like I know ya! I am so upset by the City trying to Shut You Down. Just know there are so many of us out there who have been inspired by and adore you. My mom and I gave your book as christms presents to everyone we know this past year. Needless to say, we are big fans. This can’t happen! (As a farmer myself, from VT, I read Farm City and was so inspired I started my own blog called Tomatoes in the Bedroom about growing tomatoes…well, in my bedroom…and other places too!)

    Everything will turn out alright, you have to reach out to your fellow urban farmers and band together on this. We’re all routing for you, Novella!

    Best, Caroline

  30. You are amazing, Novella. And I’m not the only one as you know.

  31. Keep your chin up – you have a lot of support out here and a whole army that will happily and heartily stand beside you if need be. Let us know if there is anything we can do to help. The City of Oakland should have enough on their plate without harassing someone over their freaking chard sales.

  32. Geez! Can’t these animal-lovers turn their energy to fighting factory farms, instead?!

    I also can’t believe the Oakland City guy said they were going to make “an example” out of you. How thuggish of them…

    You keep doing what you’re doing. I bet it will all work out.

  33. Well, the City may not be showin’ you the love, but your fan club sure seems to be! This proves that one person CAN make a difference. Hope everything works out for the best, Novella. Keep fighting the good fight!

  34. Hang in there–let us all know how we can help.

  35. I’m a newbie here but adding one more voice to the outrage. Hang in there.

  36. From a couple in the northwest whose ecological, sustainable plans are also being thrwarted by the ill-informed and inflexible powers that be, hang in there! Taking this bullet now might make it easier for people behind you to follow your path in the future!

    Bastards.

  37. Keep your head up.

  38. Marsha Bushman

    I wish you all the best.

  39. Insane_Libertarian_Wacko

    I found your site via some blog links, and was very disturbed to hear your story. I’ve dealt with some animal rights lunatics my self, so I understand the frustration you must be dealing with. I just want to lend some advice:

    • Keep things in perspective. You are contending with local authorities now. Who initiated the complaint is irrelevant with regard to the decisions you now have to make. It’s very easy to get wrapped up in the reason why your being singled out, and lose sight of what the best course of action is from here on out. If some one shot you in the back, your first task is to get medical attention, not question the shooter’s motives. The same is true here. Deal with the immediate problem, then, only once you’re in the clear, deal with the source.

    • The people at the animal shelter mentioned in the e-mail may have been behind the complaint. From what you’ve said, I’d bet on it. But you’re a long way from proving anything. Don’t single anyone out, and don’t confront anyone directly about it until you have something more concrete. Understand, as perverse as their reasoning is, they were within their rights to file a complaint. They may have wronged you, but not in any way the law will recognize.

    Now for the obligatory “If I were you” statement:
    I’d put an ad out in the local papers. “Charity Barbeque”. Purchase and slaughter 50 rabbits and cook them up to order at $5.00 per plate. Donate the proceeds to the animal shelter (minus your costs for the rabbits of course), thereby demonstrating through your generosity your caring for the well-being of animals. If they decline the donation, you’d probably find a local news station willing to run the story. Newspapers at minimum will run with it. Then their are countless blogs whose readers (like me) have been made aware of this situation and are watching it closely. They can stand on principal, but fall under public scrutiny for their alleged actions. They don’t want that. If they wanted attention, they would have confronted you directly, their passive aggressive tactics mean they’re afraid of confrontation. Use that. If they do accept the donation, they lose credibility. If nothing else, the people who turn up for the charity barbeque, many of whom probably haven’t had rabbit meat before will gain a new experience. Those people will see first hand how an animal can be treated humanely and still be a part of the food chain. Some may inquire about raising rabbits themselves and want your advice. If nothing else, that segment of the public will by more attuned to your position and lend their sympathies.

    In support of your position, I pledge to cook a rabbit a week until I hear this has been resolved. Granted I normally have one every two weeks, but it a convenient excuse to increase my meat intake :) As the rabbit Nazis are no doubt reading this, I think a formal apology is in order. With out that, they should know that every passing week, with every succulent bite of roasted, stewed, pan fried, grilled and baked rabbit that passes my lips, they have a little more blood on their hands. I do care well for my rabbits, but only because they provide me with food. Were it not for that fact, they simply would not exist, they’d have never been born at all.

    There’s no shame in what you do, or from what I’ve read here, in how you do it. You may never be understood my small-minded elitists, compelled by their own ignorance (or psychiatric instability) into anthropomorphizing everything with a cute face. They somehow hold them selves to be morally greater than you, yet they see themselves as equals with your food. No rational argument can reach the insane, but you can force them out of your life by shattering the ego that drives their insanity. You seem like a nice person, which makes this harder, but now is a time to be cold, calculating and ruthless. Keep your actions within the realm of your own morals and the law, but don’t let those things keep you from taking the fight to them.

    Good luck with this situation.

  40. Nigella, not only are you an Oakland treasure, you have a national following (thank you so much for Farm City!). It doesn’t really matter who complained about you. If the City is not showing you exactly what ordinance you violated, and tells you to vaguely hope for relief with the new one….well, I would be skeptical of a better outcome. And the guy seriously told you they are making an example of you?
    I hope some right-minded Oakland attorney will come pro bono to your aid and challenge them. Even if they do have an ordinance about not selling food that you grow on your property–why should they have that?
    Email me if you want more free advice from a fan with an advanced degree in bureaucracy.

  41. Aargh, Novella–I think I just called you Nigella, so sorry. Yeah, you’ll be wantin’ my advice all right…. :-x

  42. “Rabbit people” and “Rabbit Nazis” This is sounding scary. I would never eat rabbit because I cannot stand it. Now, understand that I made this decision and took my stand when I was eight-years-old.

    I have three hens that I love very much. I eat their eggs and treat Thelma, Louise, and Fancy with tenderness and fresh fruits, vegetables, scrambled eggs, and bowls of cooked oats. They will never be eaten. Okay, maybe Thelma and Louise, but not Fancy. She talks to me and likes to sit with me in the swing. See, I can love my animals and eat other animals I raise. Maybe there are “chicken people.” Like someone said, if he did not eat his rabbits, they would not exist. The same goes for cows, goats, and all livestock. Milk-giving animals and egg-producers can contribute without sacrificing.
    If I choose to protect my hen and make her a “house chicken,” complete with diaper and a parrot cage, that is okay. But, I could never feel the obligation to protest the eating of chickens. I guess that is the difference that makes these people crazy.
    “Farm City” was a great book. Fight this. Is there a site where we can register a protest? Sign a petition?

  43. Pioneers often suffer for the benefit of those who follow. Thank you for being a pioneer.

  44. The City of Oakland will not send a police response to a number of crimes now but have the resources to watch you. What a joke . There is only one way to deal with gov’t drones and that is to make them fear to come in your neighborhood.

  45. That posting really got me thinking, and feeling. What you have done, and others like you, is plant such a wonderful idea in the brains of so many of us. Was I growing a garden and raising chickens before I read your book, yes, but now we are expanding to honeybees and raising rabbits. Raising your food with humanity, humility and respect is the way to truly be thankful for that animal that gave it’s life for you. Thank you for the message you have put out there Novella, you have sincerely had a positive impact on my life, and I’m not the only one.

  46. I just happened to find your blog with the first post of your saga. I’m so sorry for what you are going through. You have all of our support!

  47. novella, even here in netherlands you have someone who stands up with you.
    I have enjoyed your book (and think you should keep writing!).
    be proud of yourself and what you have out there where you live, and you are doing the RIGHT THING.
    I definitely hope that some of the people who wrote above, will keep their promises and help you out of needed, but think that in the end, all will be well again.
    so, chin up girl, and nose in the air, and off you go!!!
    lots of love from a fewllow urban farmer.

  48. Hang in there and fight the good fight. Even though many of your supporters aren’t close to you geographically, we’re ready to take up your cause and support you in any way that we can.

  49. I second what John said. I’m based in Philly (originally from Seattle too!) and have been following your work for years. I am deeply inspired by your urban farming and your brave risk-taking adventures. I’ve been growing my own vegetable plot for a few years and am helping my neighbor start up her chicken coop in the next few weeks! Keep your chin up. What is one negative voice in a sea of support? And as TS Eliot said, “If you aren’t in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?”

  50. Jill Posener

    Hi Novella,
    These are discussions that animal lovers need to have in the open, in the full light of transparency. Unlike other neighboring cities, Berkeley still allows people to keep roosters (they are banned in Albany for example), and if there are complaints they can be made under the noise ordinance. Recently there was an attempt to ban roosters in Berkeley because one or two neighbors had a problem over a rooster. The local council member, whose aide sits on the Animal Care Commission, tried to ram this ban through at the Commission. Thankfully, the roosters won out – this time. The useful thing was that for the first time a public debate was happening about the increasing number of small ‘farms’, chicken coops, people growing their own food and perhaps even (shock, horror!) killing it themselves. The huge billboards that ask rhetorically ‘Farms in Berkeley?’ when advertising commercially produced milk was suddenly true, though not as the advertisers intended!
    Point is – this stuff has to be dealt with openly. The House Rabbit Society and the local people who do their best to save the thousands of rabbits that are bred for pets and see the awful abuse and disease these animals suffer, do great work. They work tirelessly with shelters and are often treated with a sort of disdain by dog and cat rescuers who don’t see the rabbit rescue issue as of the same importance.
    Many vegans are what you or some of your supporters call ‘extremists’. We say the same about any number of people who feel, with a passion, what the rest of us feel less strongly about. But I’m hopeful that if these conversations about small, urban, home farm husbandry can take place in the open, we will have fewer situations like yours where you are being threatened, and where the heavy hand of the Oakland Police Department (they run the animal shelter after all) is used to shut down alternatives (like yours) to the commercial and brutal meat industry. If you are not already in touch with some of our rooster and (meat) rabbit folks here in Berkeley, I hope you will seek them out. They are passionate about their backyard farms also.
    Good luck!

  51. Add me to the list of supporters Novella. It’s amazing that the city got this one so wrong (or is it). Keep us posted in case we need to mobilize!

  52. Its not a neighbor, its PETA people.

  53. I saw the article about you in the sfgate.

    I’m sending some love from Arlington, VA.

    We are getting some bees this weekend – partially because of reading your book. Blessings to you, Novella.

  54. Wow, this sucks.

    Keep us posted with what we can do. I live 300 miles north of the bay, but I would do what ever you need help with that I can do. I was happy to read about your plight in SFGate.com, you certainly need to get the word out.

  55. Novella – Amazing the damage anonymous cowards can do to the rest of us.
    If its about the rabbits, they should have spoken to you first. If its about selling produce, don’t they have to prove you are? Moral support offered in full, along with what ever support out of staters can provide. and lesson learned for the rest of us, I guess.

  56. My city is a bit nuts like this too. I can have rabbits for meat but a hutch outside is illegal which is odd because all of the cities around us allow them outside and lots of people have them outside , I just have a neighbor who hates our farm like back yard( gardens all over!). We have pet chickens but as the neighbor had called the city about a day run we had and lied and said they lived there which was not true as a coon could have aten them easily. We now are forced to keep our legal chickens on the front porch while we wait for the city to allow coops. At least every time the neighbor walks her yappy dogs se gets to see my 6 girls;)

  57. Hope it will all work out for you. Rabbits aren’t cats or dogs so I can hardly see why these people are making such a big fuss. Treating food animals humanely is a huge step up from factory farming so they ought to be able to appreciate that. Maybe if you invite the rabbit people over so they can see the way it works at your farm, they’ll gain some appreciation of your hard work. Keep on gardening and keep on writing.

  58. Typical bureaucratic bull**it. Hopefully, you’re correct and this too shall pass, perhaps with new, saner legislation. If not, it’s fund raiser party time! I’ll help in whatever way I can. You’re a shining, inspirational star. Pls don’t leave Oakland!

  59. Novella,

    first off! where can I buy your book, in support of what your doing!
    second thing- VOTE with your feet and move out of that place- really- freedom is doing what you want, when you want- and under a republic we are free! – under a democracy are allowed to do only what 51% of the people say so… if your not feeling free to make your own liberty with out government interference move to a state that isn’t insistent on running/ruining your life.
    In most of the north western states you can grow and do what you wish on your own property- states like Cali- NY/NJ/MI/DE/Ill have nanny rules with a nanny mentality – one of the first things you learn about the constitution is for a law to be broken someone has to suffer damages. you should sue the city as they damage your right to produce your own food supply with a fee attached to a permission slip on you doing something other states won’t bother you on…growing your own food….

    just a thought- find a good lawyer, that likes to have his name in the paper. :) if you insist on staying in a controlling nanny state that is… or move to freer venues as all states surrounding your state wouldn’t bother you doing what you are doing. – best wishes – be warm and well…

  60. Kudos for getting on the front page of the SF Chronicle this morning! It is about time that the issues of urban farming become front and center in this town. Thank you for being the person that has gotten the conversation started! Please know that you have support, and have an army behind you. Rally the troops if you must, Oakland and the entire Bay Area will be better for it. Remember the story of three Berkeley women who “Saved the Bay?” Well, we need to save our ecology, feed our people real food, and encourage the next generations. As I teach children and teenagers about ecology, horticulture, pollinators and ethnobotany I am reminded that YOU are MY next generation. Let us know what you need.

  61. novella, just read the article in sfgate and came over to see what the story was. can’t believe your sad tale. lots of cities are trying to figure out how to deal with the urban farm thing–i was sure that SF would be a leader for us all. but no. apparently no.

    http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11039/1123852-53.stm

    here’s the update on what’s happening here. alas not so forward thinking in some regards, but we’re still working on it. keep up the good fight! we’re watching and waiting and hoping that things will come together for you!!!

  62. Jason Walters

    Wow. Rabbit activists. I’ve lived out in the desert so long I’d forgotten such things even existed. Insane_Libertarian_Wacko is right, however: the thing to do right now is to deal with the situation you’re in legally, and not to worry about who turned you in.

  63. Consider putting a PayPal link on your page – I will contribute! People put links online to fund their nascent book projects, which they will sell for money; it seems like you could put up a PayPal link to help pay fees, if you are strapped for cash?
    Anyway, keep on with what you’re doing, but do comply, until the laws get modified.

  64. This news made it to DrudgeReport (drudgereport.com). Very bad publicity for Oakland… I think this law is going down.

  65. Novella:

    I loved your book.

    I’m a lawyer who gardens (techlawgarden.com) and I’d be happy to chat with you to see if I can be of any help on a volunteer basis.

    This dispute is outside my area of expertise, but I’m willing to do some research and see if I can be of help anyways. Please feel free to reach out to me.

  66. Didn’t some irate rabbit people pop up in the comments here a while back? Wonder if they’re one and the same.

    I too am a geographically distant supporter. I’ve loved reading your blog, found it through your sister’s online works (love her stuff, too), and your book is wonderful. I actually recommended it to a couple vegetarian farmers who are friends of mine with no qualms, as you are so kind and respectful of your animals that I knew they would not be bothered, but likely pleased to read about the people like you who are out there.

    I’ll be looking forward to updates and any calls to mobilize.

  67. Novella,
    I’m 3/4 through your book and loving it.

    I grew up in Berkeley and am now living on an urban homestead (chickens, bees, gardens) in Colorado.

    Keep up the amazing, inspiring work and continue to fight the good fight for access to quality food!

  68. Autumn Bernstein

    hi Novella,

    We haven’t met but I live in Oakland and buy eggs and goat milk from my neighbor and I hope to have my own urban farm someday, so I feel really passionately about what you’re doing and want to support it. I’m a full-time community organizer (I work on sustainable transportation issues) and I’d be happy to help with the political side of things – getting the city council to do whatever they have to do to stop this madness. Do you know who at the City is handling this? What exactly are they saying will happen on April 14th?

    Autumn

  69. Hang in there and don’t let the Man get you down. I think that because you have made the news first with this, before the detractor(s) could, you have a much better chance to steer the direction and trajectory the media coverage takes. And the article on sfgate.com does that real well.

    Let’s see what happens with the law in a couple weeks. A lot of cities are going to have to face the fact that many citizens are taking up urban farming for a lot of common sense reasons.

  70. Diane Sigman

    Okay, where do we send you money?

    Those idiots!!!!!

    I cried when you bought your lot. You have lots of people supporting you. We won’t let you lost your farm.

  71. I sent email to the mayor and city administrator asking why they were so het up about swiss chard and rabbit pot pies in commerce when they could “selectively enforce” sales of marijuana and handguns in commerce in Oakland.

    I’m not surprised about the rabbit people. I have a house rabbit. He’s a great little personality, but he’s an English spot bred to be a pet and not one of those Arkansas white or whatever meat rabbits. Some are for eatin’ and some are for pettin’. Some of the rabbit people are anthropomorphising way too much. I figure it’s far better to eat meat that came from an animal that had a decent life with fresh air and tasty things to eat.

    I enjoyed your book, have lots of friends with chickens thanks to you(free fresh eggs ftw!) and hope that your outcome is amicable.

  72. Why should you be able to “skirt” the rules? Frankly you should have to be permitted since you ARE selling food. I would like to see your liability policy. Wait until someone sues you for getting sick from something you grow. You should be no different than any other “farm”.

  73. I loved reading your book; loved it when you got to purchase your lot! You are an inspiration to many; keep us posted as to how we long distance friends can help. I believe you are an asset to the city of Oakland!

  74. You need to demand who it was that filed the complaint. Get their name and post it. Do not let anyone claim to file anonymous complaint. Tell the government drone that you have a right to know who your accuser is. If the drone refuses to give you the name and or refuses to back down let him know that he and his agency will be seeing you in federal court and them refuse to deal with him in any way. Them get a Pittbull lawyer. If you don’t protest your rights you give them up.

  75. there is NO reason you should need a permit like these big farms. its not like you are making a buttload of cash yearly on such a small piece of land. id be happy to send in donations if they ever wanna get lawyers involved or take this any further. what you are doing is great and the city should recognize that.

  76. Just a voice from Massachusetts. Friends and I have been growing, preserving and sharing our veggies for years on you small and not so small suburban lots. This year, I’ll be taking the next step and raising chickens. Already checked. It’s legal. I’ll have to have an NPIP inspection, but that’s free. This town is actually trying to encourage agriculture and preservation of open space. We’re not perfect, but we’re trying. As for farmstands and farmer’s markets, there are laws here governing them. Veggies OK. Eggs have to be NPIP. Preserved foods, breads, etc have to be prepared in approved kitchens, meat must be frozen, etc.. All the rules are on the state’s website. The “right to farm” law is on our town’s website. There are establish urban faarming programs in Boston, Worcester and Providence RI. You might try using the associated websites for info, contacts and advice. You also might try contacting the Northeast Organic Farming Association for advice. Each of the states in the northeast has its own chapter and collection of helpful folks. If you can afford it, come to the NOFA Summer Conference. Its mid August at the beautiful University of Massachusetts/Amherst campus. There will also be state and Federal reps to offer advice and resources. Maybe you’ll get to kiss a llama. Networking is key. Might as well get to know the MAN because he’s not going away. His biggest concerns are going to be welfare of the animals, food safety, noise and sanitation.
    Good luck on your journey and wish me luck on mine.

  77. Those are such beautiful emails. Thanks for being such a strong part of the growing urban farming community and being a front-runner for issues like this! People’s comments about ways to get around the issue of “selling” your goods are really interesting. Every day it seems like urban farming is becoming integrated into society more and more… even if there are bumps along the road!

  78. Wow! Thank god our injustice system doesn’t operate on this kind of conjecture! An email from a fan declares it was the house rabbit/vegan/animal-rights nut jobs she volunteered with over a year ago and never had the balls to actually discuss the issue with? It’s so brave of her to point a finger at a group of folks she “thinks” it might be—no proof, just her opinion will do here. But you and all your supporters just jumped right on the anti-animal-people bandwagon, didn’t you? Pretty responsible of you Novella—and no doubt bound to bring the folks in the community together. Nice work!

    You all need to grow up. There are some facts here that are simply being ignored. Novella, you bought a piece of property and decided to do whatever *you* wanted with it—to continue being punk. You didn’t bother to check with the city about what you could and couldn’t legally do there, you just did what *you* wanted. Right there is where you lost me.

    How much rigamorole did you go through with the city over the Oasis? You are not just some simple, put-upon, poor lil’ urban farmer, you are a business woman! You know there are laws and regulations and permits required for EVERYTHING! Yet, you *chose* not to engage with government when you bought the lot and actually had something to lose. I’m trying to open a business and I have no false ideas about being able to just do whatever the hell I want because I’m neato and what I want to do is neato and will (in my opinion) benefit the community.

    See that’s the key part, you *are* living in a *community* where other people have rights as well and everyone has to work together for the sake of the greater good. That’s what government, regulations, and permits are for. Individuals inside a community don’t get to do whatever they want just because *they think* it’s better. Just like with the Oasis, if you believe you are doing something better—work to change the status quo. Don’t just do it and congratulate yourself for being punk, only then to turn around and cry and nap and blog-moan and wrongly place blame when the city comes calling. You brought this on yourself by not getting the permit. You made your shit vulnerable in choosing not to do right by it. An animal lover could have called all they wanted—and gotten absolutely nowhere—if YOU had done what YOU were supposed to. Take the responsibility! You’re so keen on being an example. What kind of example is it to say “Waaaa, poor me! The MAN! The ANIMAL LOVERS! POOR ME!!!” Blaming everyone else and talking about how stupid the city’s requirements are doesn’t make you any kind of example I want to follow or have my kids exposed to. You are acting like a self-absorbed child. You simply DO NOT have the right to have a for-profit farm and not follow the requirements your city has laid out for for-profit farms! Accept that. Own it. Say it! Stop blaming others and own your own crap.

    Of course, maybe you just think you’re some kind of white-lady-farmer/savior-of-Oakland and therefore, you and all you do (which you and your fans keep reminding us is just GARDENING—which my grandmother did before you were ever born!) should be given special consideration outside the laws that all the regular black/poor citizens of Oakland have to abide by? There’s so much oppression in Oakland—I wish all the black people living under the *real thumb of THE MAN* had the resources to document their shitty circumstances on their own blogs (with PayPal buttons & Kickstarter!). Ooooh, or could you imagine if they could all manage to get The Chronicle to cover their sad stories of *real* tragedy and hardship (more than once?)! Will you seriously just shut up already? Pay for the damn permit and move on! Your life is so nice and cushy compared to lives of your neighbors—how are you not violently embarrassed by this self-indulgent, self-absorbed, poor-me show?

    I used to think you did good work. Now i just think you’re another privileged, whiney, white person who thinks they’re special and better than everyone else. Gross. Totally done with you.

  79. Oh god, the Man is after us! The vegans are after us! EVERYONE IS AFTER US!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  80. Insane_Libertarian_Wacko

    Bold words always seem to come from “Anonymous”.

    First, everyone here must concede the point, if permitting is necessary to engage in those activities in that community, the duty falls to Novella to comply or face the consequences. That is true. Those restrictions are not universal however. The vast majority of the people in this once free country would never have imagined they needed government approval to engage in such activities. Still, she should have checked for her own sake. That said, these ordinances are insane.

    No one ever said “This is who started it”. There are suspicions, based on what one reader has written. Experience has taught me not to discount those suspicions, but as of now, no one has taken any action, nor recommended any action being taken without verification of those details. It’s not like she’s rallying a lynch mob, you may be over reacting a bit. Take your medication.

    I don’t see this as a race issue, split along lines of Black or White. It’s a matter of personal liberty for all. Your anger is sadly misplaced. If you feel blacks are treated differently than whites in this matter, you should be aspiring to elevate black citizens to the same or greater level of freedom you think white people enjoy. But you seem to prefer dragging whites down into the same level of injustice you think plagues you. Equality of the lowest common denominator. Thank God better people than you fought for civil rights, that we might all be free. Of course, I remember the outrage in the black community when Martin Luther King Jr was detained for speaking to a large assembly of people who had gathered without a permit. But clearly, permits trump freedom, I’m sure you agreed with the arresting officers in that case too.

    By the way, blogs are free, as is the PayPal button, and the last I checked they didn’t inquire about a person’s race when signing up. It’s not a matter of financial means, race or social standing that keeps anyone from writing their own blog. You only need to have a message that resonates with people to build a following of readers. Anonymous, if you’d care to publish your own blog, I’d be happy to read it. Then I could cancel my subscriptions to “The National Journal of Self Pity”, and “Persecution Complex Quarterly”.

    I also don’t see this as an attempt to garner sympathy, putting on a show “Oh, poor me..”. That’s complete bullshit. I respect her and support her, but I’m not sympathetic. As you correctly stated, with a little more forethought and some research into the municipal code, a small permitting fee could have avoided this whole problem. I don’t feel sorry for her, I feel sorry for everyone effected by such frivolous laws. What we have here is a productive member of society taking the initiative to feed herself and the people of her community. Yet somehow, that’s put her on the wrong side of the law. You don’t weep for the martyr, you weep for the world that creates martyrs, and God willing, you change that world by fighting those who oppose such change. We aren’t united in sympathy for Novella. She and her readers are united in pity for those like you Anonymous, who will never be able to look beyond their own problems and realize the freedom they rightly deserve.

    You say you’re going into business for yourself. I guarantee you will have similar stumbling points. Be it zoning laws, ordinances, industry regulations, union provisions, labor laws, state tax laws, federal tax laws, Import/Export tariffs and taxes, lawsuits from customers, suppliers, employees, competitors… every small business finds it’s self under a barrage of bureaucratic bullets, and the best team of lawyers couldn’t dodge them all. She got hit this time, but what’s important is that she pick herself back up and keep going. It’s a learning experience for her, and if you’re serious about starting your own business, I’d hope you would take a lesson from it yourself.

    If it isn’t clear by now Anonymous, I don’t like you. Your apparent and perverse social ideology can only be born of ignorance. You over-play the race card, using it to silence anyone who annoys you, a poor substitute for righteousness. In doing so, you shame yourself and your family. Never the less, I do wish you well on your business. Taking on that responsibility should aid you in all the growing up you have to do.

  81. Insane_Libertarian_Wacko

    Wow! Thank god our injustice system doesn’t operate on this kind of conjecture! An email from a fan declares it was the house rabbit/vegan/animal-rights nut jobs she volunteered with over a year ago and never had the balls to actually discuss the issue with? It’s so brave of her to point a finger at a group of folks she “thinks” it might be—no proof, just her opinion will do here. But you and all your supporters just jumped right on the anti-animal-people bandwagon, didn’t you? Pretty responsible of you Novella—and no doubt bound to bring the folks in the community together. Nice work!

    You all need to grow up. There are some facts here that are simply being ignored. Novella, you bought a piece of property and decided to do whatever *you* wanted with it—to continue being punk. You didn’t bother to check with the city about what you could and couldn’t legally do there, you just did what *you* wanted. Right there is where you lost me.

    How much rigamorole did you go through with the city over the Oasis? You are not just some simple, put-upon, poor lil’ urban farmer, you are a business woman! You know there are laws and regulations and permits required for EVERYTHING! Yet, you *chose* not to engage with government when you bought the lot and actually had something to lose. I’m trying to open a business and I have no false ideas about being able to just do whatever the hell I want because I’m neato and what I want to do is neato and will (in my opinion) benefit the community.

    See that’s the key part, you *are* living in a *community* where other people have rights as well and everyone has to work together for the sake of the greater good. That’s what government, regulations, and permits are for. Individuals inside a community don’t get to do whatever they want just because *they think* it’s better. Just like with the Oasis, if you believe you are doing something better—work to change the status quo. Don’t just do it and congratulate yourself for being punk, only then to turn around and cry and nap and blog-moan and wrongly place blame when the city comes calling. You brought this on yourself by not getting the permit. You made your shit vulnerable in choosing not to do right by it. An animal lover could have called all they wanted—and gotten absolutely nowhere—if YOU had done what YOU were supposed to. Take the responsibility! You’re so keen on being an example. What kind of example is it to say “Waaaa, poor me! The MAN! The ANIMAL LOVERS! POOR ME!!!” Blaming everyone else and talking about how stupid the city’s requirements are doesn’t make you any kind of example I want to follow or have my kids exposed to. You are acting like a self-absorbed child. You simply DO NOT have the right to have a for-profit farm and not follow the requirements your city has laid out for for-profit farms! Accept that. Own it. Say it! Stop blaming others and own your own crap.

    Of course, maybe you just think you’re some kind of white-lady-farmer/savior-of-Oakland and therefore, you and all you do (which you and your fans keep reminding us is just GARDENING—which my grandmother did before you were ever born!) should be given special consideration outside the laws that all the regular black/poor citizens of Oakland have to abide by? There’s so much oppression in Oakland—I wish all the black people living under the *real thumb of THE MAN* had the resources to document their shitty circumstances on their own blogs (with PayPal buttons & Kickstarter!). Ooooh, or could you imagine if they could all manage to get The Chronicle to cover their sad stories of *real* tragedy and hardship (more than once?)! Will you seriously just shut up already? Pay for the damn permit and move on! Your life is so nice and cushy compared to lives of your neighbors—how are you not violently embarrassed by this self-indulgent, self-absorbed, poor-me show?

    I used to think you did good work. Now i just think you’re another privileged, whiney, white person who thinks they’re special and better than everyone else. Gross. Totally done with you.

    _____________________________________________

    Insane_Libertarian_Wacko (apt name by the way)—You’re writing is so delightful, I’m touched you decided to grace us all with it once more. You are wrong on so many counts, it’s pitiful and embarrassing. But I won’t bother to break it down for you point by point because I don’t care about you and your insanity—you weren’t the subject of my post. The main point I made, you agreed with, because I was RIGHT!

    The only other thing worth commenting on is your silly assumption about my race and the offensive comments you made regarding your perception of my race and how I feel about it and act because of it. You haven’t a clue what color I am, what my circumstance is, or what my social ideology is. FYI, all your assumptions are DEAD WRONG smart guy! You’re writing on race and class is some of the most ignorant I’ve seen in a LONG time—be proud, insane (white) Libertarian guy!

    To clarify, I wrote to NOVELLA, not YOU! Your ego (and your insults) really don’t mean crap to me. Novella and her readers were laying blame that was ONLY hers on other uninvolved people in the community. There was no need nor excuse for that and I took the time to say so. You agreed with that, but you don’t like me anyway, you’re happy making assumptions left and right, *and* you’re referring to yourself as insane all the while! I love it! You’re hilarious! Thanks for the lolz!

    And Novella pretty much did say she thinks an animal person did it because she’s so tight with all her neighbors it couldn’t have been any of them. Of course, that’s spectacular logic because after her neighbors, the only folks left in all of Oakland are people who care about animals, right? Read the comments from beginning to end and see how an entire community of people who care about animals has been maligned based on one person’s accusation (that Novella reprinted and agreed with). All the while, the fault is hers, not theirs, not the laws, not anybody but the one person who’s refusing to accept it and who’s soliciting support from her fans for that position.

    And your attempt at schooling me on the trials of business ownership are also hilarious. Who knew insane Libertarians were such good comics? I’ve owned numerous businesses and they were legal and permitted and didn’t run afoul of the law. Maybe Novella (and you) need to be taking a lesson from me? Especially because you kindly offer that this was a stumbling point for her. She didn’t stumble over something she didn’t realize was there. She opened a for-profit business (it’s no one’s fault that her profit isn’t that grand—ANY profit is beyond personal use and therefore means she’s engaging in COMMERCE) and CHOSE not to do it legally. Get that? SHE CHOSE NOT TO DO WHAT SHE KNEW SHE NEEDED TO DO. She owns another business and I guarantee you she didn’t handle permits for that one with her punk rock ‘ain’t-gonna-do-it’ attitude. Now that she’s been all over the paper and interwebs with her sob story, maybe the IRS and Franchise Tax Board will come knocking. I seriously doubt she was collecting or paying sales tax.

    Oh, and by the way, as someone who’s ended up in the ER thanks to an ecoli tainted food, I don’t happen to agree that laws around food production, safety, distribution, and sales are frivolous or insane. Do you know there are places in this world where using untreated human waste as manure is considered a good organic practice? Yum! I think people who sell their own-grown produce and who grow and butcher live animals and then make them into pies for retail sale *should* be on the local government’s radar, the Board of Health’s radar, and yes, the IRS’ radar.

    If I have to abide by laws when I open my business, then fairness says everyone else doing business does too. Mistakes I understand. I can even understand the motivation for intentionally avoiding the law. What I don’t understand is not being prepared to suck it up and own it when you get caught. What I don’t understand is acting—after-the-fact—like the problem is the law or some anonymous animal person or group instead of yourself and the ballsy attempt to get away with it as long as possible. She got away with it and then she got caught. Instead of being chagrined, she’s pointing the finger, and crying, and blogging about her travails and needs for a nap in order to recover from the overwhelming oppression of it all. You are so punk, Novella!

  82. Still anonymous

    Wow! Thank god our injustice system doesn’t operate on this kind of conjecture! An email from a fan declares it was the house rabbit/vegan/animal-rights nut jobs she volunteered with over a year ago and never had the balls to actually discuss the issue with? It’s so brave of her to point a finger at a group of folks she “thinks” it might be—no proof, just her opinion will do here. But you and all your supporters just jumped right on the anti-animal-people bandwagon, didn’t you? Pretty responsible of you Novella—and no doubt bound to bring the folks in the community together. Nice work!

    You all need to grow up. There are some facts here that are simply being ignored. Novella, you bought a piece of property and decided to do whatever *you* wanted with it—to continue being punk. You didn’t bother to check with the city about what you could and couldn’t legally do there, you just did what *you* wanted. Right there is where you lost me.

    How much rigamorole did you go through with the city over the Oasis? You are not just some simple, put-upon, poor lil’ urban farmer, you are a business woman! You know there are laws and regulations and permits required for EVERYTHING! Yet, you *chose* not to engage with government when you bought the lot and actually had something to lose. I’m trying to open a business and I have no false ideas about being able to just do whatever the hell I want because I’m neato and what I want to do is neato and will (in my opinion) benefit the community.

    See that’s the key part, you *are* living in a *community* where other people have rights as well and everyone has to work together for the sake of the greater good. That’s what government, regulations, and permits are for. Individuals inside a community don’t get to do whatever they want just because *they think* it’s better. Just like with the Oasis, if you believe you are doing something better—work to change the status quo. Don’t just do it and congratulate yourself for being punk, only then to turn around and cry and nap and blog-moan and wrongly place blame when the city comes calling. You brought this on yourself by not getting the permit. You made your shit vulnerable in choosing not to do right by it. An animal lover could have called all they wanted—and gotten absolutely nowhere—if YOU had done what YOU were supposed to. Take the responsibility! You’re so keen on being an example. What kind of example is it to say “Waaaa, poor me! The MAN! The ANIMAL LOVERS! POOR ME!!!” Blaming everyone else and talking about how stupid the city’s requirements are doesn’t make you any kind of example I want to follow or have my kids exposed to. You are acting like a self-absorbed child. You simply DO NOT have the right to have a for-profit farm and not follow the requirements your city has laid out for for-profit farms! Accept that. Own it. Say it! Stop blaming others and own your own crap.

    Of course, maybe you just think you’re some kind of white-lady-farmer/savior-of-Oakland and therefore, you and all you do (which you and your fans keep reminding us is just GARDENING—which my grandmother did before you were ever born!) should be given special consideration outside the laws that all the regular black/poor citizens of Oakland have to abide by? There’s so much oppression in Oakland—I wish all the black people living under the *real thumb of THE MAN* had the resources to document their shitty circumstances on their own blogs (with PayPal buttons & Kickstarter!). Ooooh, or could you imagine if they could all manage to get The Chronicle to cover their sad stories of *real* tragedy and hardship (more than once?)! Will you seriously just shut up already? Pay for the damn permit and move on! Your life is so nice and cushy compared to lives of your neighbors—how are you not violently embarrassed by this self-indulgent, self-absorbed, poor-me show?

    I used to think you did good work. Now i just think you’re another privileged, whiney, white person who thinks they’re special and better than everyone else. Gross. Totally done with you.

    _____________________________________________

    Insane_Libertarian_Wacko (apt name by the way)—You’re writing is so delightful, I’m touched you decided to grace us all with it once more. You are wrong on so many counts, it’s pitiful and embarrassing. But I won’t bother to break it down for you point by point because I don’t care about you and your insanity—you weren’t the subject of my post. The main point I made, you agreed with, because I was RIGHT!

    The only other thing worth commenting on is your silly assumption about my race and the offensive comments you made regarding your perception of my race and how I feel about it and act because of it. You haven’t a clue what color I am, what my circumstance is, or what my social ideology is. FYI, all your assumptions are DEAD WRONG smart guy! You’re writing on race and class is some of the most ignorant I’ve seen in a LONG time—be proud, insane (white) Libertarian guy!

    To clarify, I wrote to NOVELLA, not YOU! Your ego (and your insults) really don’t mean crap to me. Novella and her readers were laying blame that was ONLY hers on other uninvolved people in the community. There was no need nor excuse for that and I took the time to say so. You agreed with that, but you don’t like me anyway, you’re happy making assumptions left and right, *and* you’re referring to yourself as insane all the while! I love it! You’re hilarious! Thanks for the lolz!

    And Novella pretty much did say she thinks an animal person did it because she’s so tight with all her neighbors it couldn’t have been any of them. Of course, that’s spectacular logic because after her neighbors, the only folks left in all of Oakland are people who care about animals, right? Read the comments from beginning to end and see how an entire community of people who care about animals has been maligned based on one person’s accusation (that Novella reprinted and agreed with). All the while, the fault is hers, not theirs, not the laws, not anybody but the one person who’s refusing to accept it and who’s soliciting support from her fans for that position.

    And your attempt at schooling me on the trials of business ownership are also hilarious. Who knew insane Libertarians were such good comics? I’ve owned numerous businesses and they were legal and permitted and didn’t run afoul of the law. Maybe Novella (and you) need to be taking a lesson from me? Especially because you kindly offer that this was a stumbling point for her. She didn’t stumble over something she didn’t realize was there. She opened a for-profit business (it’s no one’s fault that her profit isn’t that grand—ANY profit is beyond personal use and therefore means she’s engaging in COMMERCE) and CHOSE not to do it legally. Get that? SHE CHOSE NOT TO DO WHAT SHE KNEW SHE NEEDED TO DO. She owns another business and I guarantee you she didn’t handle permits for that one with her punk rock ‘ain’t-gonna-do-it’ attitude. Now that she’s been all over the paper and interwebs with her sob story, maybe the IRS and Franchise Tax Board will come knocking. I seriously doubt she was collecting or paying sales tax.

    Oh, and by the way, as someone who’s ended up in the ER thanks to an ecoli tainted food, I don’t happen to agree that laws around food production, safety, distribution, and sales are frivolous or insane. Do you know there are places in this world where using untreated human waste as manure is considered a good organic practice? Yum! I think people who sell their own-grown produce and who grow and butcher live animals and then make them into pies for retail sale *should* be on the local government’s radar, the Board of Health’s radar, and yes, the IRS’ radar.

    If I have to abide by laws when I open my business, then fairness says everyone else doing business does too. Mistakes I understand. I can even understand the motivation for intentionally avoiding the law. What I don’t understand is not being prepared to suck it up and own it when you get caught. What I don’t understand is acting—after-the-fact—like the problem is the law or some anonymous animal person or group instead of yourself and the ballsy attempt to get away with it as long as possible. She got away with it and then she got caught. Instead of being chagrined, she’s pointing the finger, and crying, and blogging about her travails and needs for a nap in order to recover from the overwhelming oppression of it all. You are so punk, Novella!

  83. Just saw your talk at Cuesta College, it was great!
    However I did not have the time to talk to you about something that may actually help you. I am a high school agriculture teacher, urban farming is what we do! Kids want to raise animals and we have to find a way for them to do it on whatever land we can find; this may be school land or in some cases their backyards. A few years ago California passed proposition 2. In large part this was an animal rights driven bill, and did not do alot of good for many farmers! However it has helped us greatly with kids keeping animals in their backyards. Maybe this can help you! Good luck in your fight, we are rooting for you!

  84. I think it’s really irresponsible to post that email. You don’t know who ratted on you. Now everyone is jumping on the bandwagon hating on “animal lovers” and vegans. Many urban gardeners (like myself) are animal lovers and veg*ns and you are isolating part of your community out of misplaced anger with absolutely no proof.

    And seriously, other commentors? Grow up! Saying you’re going to eat an extra rabbit a week in protest is ineffective and immature.

  85. “Saying you’re going to eat an extra rabbit a week in protest is ineffective and immature.”

    But delicious ;)

  86. “’Saying you’re going to eat an extra rabbit a week in protest is ineffective and immature.’

    But delicious ”

    Killing animals to make up for it. Charming! You people fucking disgust me.

  87. Pingback: Cultivation Meets Regulation: Bay Area Urban Agriculture | Health Impact News

  88. Livestock in proximity to human populations is a health hazard. It always has been and it is likely to be worse in population dense urban conditions. Many urban dwellers aren’t mature enough to properly take care of their dogs such that their animals don’t impact their neighbors lives. The health, noise and smell issues are real ones, that is why those zoning laws existed in the first place. The laws which you broke. If you want to raise farm animals move out to the country. Farms and human population centers are separated for many reasons. How much of a self entitled narcissist do you have to be as an adult to allow yourself to ignore all of those reasons and ignore all of your neighbors to begin raising livestock in the middle of a city?

    No disrespect meant, but you broke the law. You ignored all of the good reasons behind the law.

  89. Pingback: Revisions to El Cerrito, CA Bee and Chicken Ordinance? | *Urban Farm And Beehives*

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