Not My Neighbors! And, an Apology

Hey Guys!

I’m really starting to feel better about this. Maybe it’s just hormones. Maybe it’s all your good vibes. Maybe I’m understanding how this is going to go down. BTW, I have a great lawyer–Janelle Orsi–so that’s covered.

Speaking of politicians, I’ve been going door to door talking to my neighbors and I want to clarify something for Mayor Quan and others: None of my neighbors complained about my farm. They are all signing a petition, and are slapping their heads that Oakland would be targeting me. We’re going to stage a group photo and send it to the Mayor, in fact. To reiterate: this isn’t a neighbor complaint issue. If it were, I would correct my behavior immediately because that’s how things are done in my neighborhood. We don’t snitch on each other. We help each other. If there’s a problem, we work it out by ourselves, not using the City.

So who did call? I must apologize to animal rights activists: I am sorry I blamed you. Because of emails I’ve received from the House Rabbit Society zealots and an informant, I think it must have been them calling the City of Oakland. I know there’s a difference between the HRS folks and vegans/animal rights activists. Some of my best friends are vegans! We all agree that factory farms are wrong. Thanks especially to logolady who left a comment on my blog. Thank you for calling me out. I’m going to stop fixating on who turned me in. It’s OK, I forgive them, and I’m moving on.

Maybe I’m feeling tranquil because I’m understanding that this is going to be a long, drawn-out process. I also see that certain organizations and politicians don’t want to help me or associate. It’s all kind of interesting to see how the straight world works. Wouldn’t want to stick your neck out, right, politicians?

Finally, a note of thanks to the Oakland Food Policy Council who has been working on the issue of urban agriculture in the City of Oakland for years. They have a really concise, simple petition that goes over how they see urban ag working in the City of Oakland. Please sign

47 responses to “Not My Neighbors! And, an Apology

  1. excellent news! a good neighbor is better than a good friend. and a good lawyer is much better than a politician. even the obamas caved to mansanto and dropped the word “organic” when referring to their garden. it’s tough being legit. you’re doing good things — keep it up.

  2. YAY! That’s great news!

  3. So happy to ready this entry and feel your tone and energy has lightened and you are feeling better! I told my flock of chickens all about what was happening to you, and they think the whole situation stinks. They wanted to let you know that they layed their beautiful eggs in your honor today. Here’s to you Novella (glass raised)!

  4. Silver lining sorta thing – the more publicity you get (I can see a spot on the Today show!) the more books you sell! haha I bet you turned yourself in! (just kidding)

    Oh when (not if) this gets resolved peacefully and in your favor, it will be a “precedent”, which will encourage other aspiring urban growers.

  5. FloodedByCEDA

    I”m glad to hear you have a great lawyer. She will find the legal system in Oakland different from the rest of the United States. In Oakland we have NO DUE PROCESS. The complaint to the oakland public ethics comission below can be found on the website Living in the O.

    October 30, 2010 at 9:48 pm # Michael Kilian
    xxxxx College Avenue
    Oakland, CA 94618

    City of Oakland
    Public Ethics Commission
    One Frank Ogawa Plaza, 4th Floor
    Oakland, CA 94612

    Dear Mr. Purnell:

    With respect to this complaint and the specific facts of the complaint, it is as follows:

    The City of Oakland is not following its own Oakland Municipal Code, 15.04.025 Appeal. The difference between appeals filed with respect to liens placed by the CEDA, Building Services Department , Inspection Services Unit and the number of hearings held since 2007 reflects a denial of due process.

    Pertinent to a Public Document Request these are the Appeals filed and acknowledged in the Tracking Logs provided;

    2007 – 521
    2008 – 389
    2009 – 520
    2010 – 118 as of March 2010

    The individual who made the request for the Tracking Logs was also provided with digital recordings for 2008 and 2009 and was provided cassette tapes for 2005 through 2007. The individual was able to covert the cassette tapes to a digital format. What was learned was that all the public hearings consisted of these:

    2005 – 7 hearings
    2006 – 3 hearings
    2007 – 3 hearings
    2008 – 8 hearings
    2009 – 10 hearings
    2010 – 2 confirmed

    It is my assertion that the difference between appeals filed and the number of hearings held since 2007 represents a denial of due process. This denial of due process is, in my opinion, not legally defensible.

    October 22, 2010

    City of Oakland
    Public Ethics Commission
    Page 2 of 2

    How did this happen…

    Please find attached an example of the City not following municipal code.

    2607 Seminary
    12/12/08 – Inspector makes field observation regarding *exterior* of building.
    1/14/09 – John Stewart, Principal Inspection Supervisor, denies 1st appeal submitted by property owner
    1/15/09 – Inspector informs property owner that he MUST provide access to interior or City will obtain warrant
    1/29/09 – Inspector declares property substandard
    3/20/09 – Property owner submits 2nd appeal
    4/7/09 – Sandra Smith, Administrative Assistant, denies 2nd appeal
    5/28/09 – Administrative hearing held with SD Rine. This is really painful to listen to. The property owner is not a native English speaker. The hearing examiner makes no effort to accommodate the interpreter. The inspector’s allegations do not appear to represent real Health and Safety violations. SD Rine tells the property owner that in the US, when people buy a house they are required to bring it up to whatever the new code is.

    6/15/09 – Final Order received from Hearing Officer. *Appeal denied because owner’s contention that the heavy fines are preventing him from making improvements to the property is not an acceptable excuse for not completing the work.* Heavy fines assessed.

    What you have here with respect to liens and the Inspection Services Unit is the exercising of an informal Appeal system that operates outside of the Oakland Municipal Code. What we have here are Inspectors making decisions as to which property owners are allowed to make Appeals. I also have some real issues with a hearing system that does not accommodate non-English speakers.

    To my initial point: the City of Oakland is not following its own Oakland Municipal Code. Yes, I do have an issue with management cascading from the CEDA director to the level of the manager of Inspection Services.


    Michael Kilian

  6. Hello again from Fukushima, Japan. 🙂 I am sure I don’t have to write my detailed location because Novella probably knows it by the web’s geo-location function.
    I myself didn’t think Novella’s neighbours were involved in the ongoing harassment issue against her urban farm. I am sure Novella has enough help to get the ongoing problem straight and just.
    Since I have had an old American friend since a long time ago, I knew American politicians were not trusted in the US since decades ago unfortunately.

    But it is ridiculous for the local politicians of the city to refuse to offer Novella a help and arrogantly let the injustice and arbitrariness prevail in well known Oakland. Some people already commented here it is easier to sell cracks in Oakland. Apparently the noble politicians who refuse to help Novella are allowing all these pathetic politics go on (?). At least they have lost another point by ignoring the arbitrary and/or unjust ruling on Novella’s own property by the City Hall. If the arbitrary ruling against her property is legal in Oakland, other similar farms related to the urban farming NPOs must be visited by the same staff and be given same notices and warnings of “fines” as well without delay. Noble politicians of Oakland, you must know this is a fairness, don’t you? If other urban farms don’t face the same fate, the ruling against Novella’s urban farms has to be retracted immediately. It may result in a disciplinary action against the responsible city officials but these officials knew they were always responsible for wrong rulings. They must know arbitrariness, injustice, bureaucracy and so on are not permitted as long as they are public servants. I have to wonder if the politicians in question actually went to college.

    I can understand some irrelevant urban dwellers rather choose to buy factory farming meat. Understandably they want to believe the animal cruelty problem will go away as long as they don’t see an urban farm raising rabbits and ducks in a historical district of Oakland which is in fact nothing more than a graffiti-laden broken street (I just mean maybe). In fact, they choose to turn a blind eye to the factory farming problem. Therefore, sadly, no problem will go away from them. They need to face the problem in a different way.
    I myself don’t eat much meat or fish, actually, because of the ongoing global financial crisis. As Asians, we don’t eat much of them. But we all need some of them to survive cold winters just like ancient humans did. Only hypocrites try to deny such a truth of human life by turning blind eyes.

    Unfortunately, I found it unjust for the urban farming NPO people not to offer help to Novella Carpenter as well. “NPOs” stand for Nothing Practical organs, it seems. In the future, therefore, I will be forced to be very careful against any NPOs of any country.

    Injustice is unwelcome. If the arrogant people let injustice prevail like the Oakland City Hall’s staff do (these ridiculous people apparently answered to Novella’s initial complaint like “life is not fair”, suggesting the ruling was probably unfair already), they may have another Fukushima in their own neighbourhood. You know, hubris and nemesis. Unfortunately, this is not a joke.
    As an independent Japanese farmer who also worked in large Japanese cities before, I would advise these indifferent officials, politicians, NPOs and some other people to rethink and correct their ridiculous actions.
    I hope the injustice will go away and Novella will not be forced to find a new family for her animals outside the shamefully administered city’s “demarcation line”. It is the most stupid thing for the urban dwellers to try to destroy beautiful things like urban farms. Because what goes around comes around to them.

  7. This is good news, Novella. Thanks for the update. Please keep us posted; I, for one, remain very interested in this particular “kettle of fish;” er, chard and rabbits. You will prevail!

  8. Oh, how unfortunate. I love rabbits, and I do not eat them, but I do support your right to have your farm. I’ve long loved the house rabbit society, as a rescue organization which finds homes for bunnies. To hear that they are engaging in such underhanded behaviour makes me really sad. It also tempts me to tell them what I think of their behaviour, but I will refrain as I doubt it would be helpful.

    I hope I get to try your veggies some day! Don’t give up!

  9. Great update. Keep on truckin’ Novella!

  10. Hi Novella!
    I am taking a class at the College of Marin and we were assigned your book to read. You have inspired me to plant more veggies and fruit trees. Thank you. Our teacher is is Francine Allen and I am loving your book. More power to you and I hope that this issue with the city will have a postive outlook and make you and your neighbors stronger but I am also sorry you are having to go through all of this political redtape. Happy farming.

  11. It might serve you and your argument better if you stuck to the truth in your blog posts and in the press.
    No one from HRS “turned you in.” They’ve been asked for support and comment and have denied because of the way the story has been spun. You were caught for selling meat. Which you must know is illegal, because you’ve written over and over in this blog suggestions to skirt laws, stay under the radar, and continue to sell meat.
    And your neighbors — maybe not all of them, but some of them — are worried. Your animals are not properly contained and end up on their street and on nearby properties regularly. The city then has to clean up your mess when your neighbors don’t want to return animals that are destined to death. Maybe none of them “turned you in,” but they’re not universally on your side, either.

  12. ghosttownfarm

    hi katie;
    thanks for the comment on my blog. i’m writing to ask which of my neighbors are concerned. not for retribution, but so i can go over and talk to them. the problem i’m having with the HRS is that there isn’t good communication, just passive aggressive stuff that is making my human life very difficult. if i knew who was worried, i could go over to them and talk about the issue face to face with them. i might even change my behavior.
    i’m not saying i’m perfect: i’m not. i make mistakes, just like everyone. my farm isn’t perfect, and no farm is. i’m doing the best i can. does everyone love you? do you have enemies? you probably do. imagine if they decided to turn you into the city of oakland–there are a million ways to do it. rather scary, actually. so the way i see it, the attacks on me are totally personal and not neighborly concern. i went to the city today and they told me: it’s not your neighbors, we send out different people for neighbor complaints. but you say you know i have a concerned neighbor–please tell me who it is. i’m not talking about someone in temescal. i’m talking on 28th street, 29th or 27th street.
    i know someone came over recently and was worried about my free range rabbit on my deck. that’s my buck and i let him run around free. he likes to get exercise, as you know if you have rabbits.
    i also had a pet rabbit (yes, i have pet rabbits too–are you surprised?) who escaped during a farm tour and hasn’t come back. i figured someone from the neighborhood found and keep him. he’s neutered.
    anyway, life is more complicated than anything you read on my blog–which is just one side of me. i’m super bummed that you and your friends are attacking me through the city. it’s just such a disgraceful waste of time, tears, and public money.

  13. Rebecca McKinney

    I wonder – for the people who want to block urban farms in general, shut down yours, cast a negative light on what you’re doing – when gas hits $5 a gallon, where are they going to get their food? For that matter, where do they get it now and what do they know about how it’s produced? Just because something was grown or raised organically doesn’t mean it was done sustainably or humanely.

  14. I really hope everything works out for you. I found your book Farm City at the library and it has inspired my husband and I to try our hand at bee keeping in Pittsburgh, PA. It also helped me come to peace with our own watermelon thieves. So Ghost Town has been an inspiration in our household. Good luck.

  15. So glad you’re feeling more positive. I think the petition from your neighbors is a great idea! And while you’re at it, why don’t you start a simple petition on or about this — I suspect tens of thousands of people would be happy to sign it – I think it could only help your cause.

  16. The same thing has been happening to us! I have been going into meltdown mode since about January! But when I calmed down and got organized that’s when options started to open. Don’t give up! We started a petition, a blog, and fb page devoted to legalizing small scale livestock in Jacksonville, fl. We are now going on the local NPR show, a local newspaper, and meeting with the health dept ( who is actually on our side!). Believe me, the goats leave over my dead body. It is our basic human right to grow our own food, living in the urban core doesn’t change that. Good luck Novella! we’re rooting for you!

  17. Novella, I have to say that as soon as I read your book, I became a fan. I read your blog everyday and vicariously live out my own farming fantasies. (I grew up in Washington State on 7 acres and have had orchards, gardens, and livestock, all which I miss). Living in the Hollywood hills, I highly doubt that any of my neighbors would tolerate 1/2 of what you have. I plan on trying out chickens this spring, so we will see how far I am allowed to go. Today I decided to explore all areas of your blog. I realized that you give out your address. I have never had the opportunity to go to Oakland so I google mapped your location, nice to put a “face” to your farm. The picture of where you lived was very different in my head, for some reason I had your cul-de-sac at the top of a hill, weird. I have two very different ideas about your situation: 1)After seeing your location, what can you do with the abandoned warehouse/multi storied building across the street? Could you open a business in that building that could cover all of your permit needs? Could this house other businesses that relate to your endeavor, create a co-op of sorts?! A whole world of Ghost Farm?! 2) Why do you want to live in the city? I always fantasize about moving to an area where I can have some acreage(my job will never allow this). Your success as an author would mean that you would travel a ton anyways. Either way, do not let the little bumps in the road turn into mountains. I have a feeling you will change Oakland into the leading urban farm experiment. It needs an identity. CLEARLY all of your readers/fans support you. It’s kind of creepy that those who don’t leave comments. I guess that’s the glory of a blog. I cannot imagine spending time reading/stalking a blog that I did not care for, they must have more time on their hands than I do. I think that it’s kind of cool that living off the land was big when I was a kid and now it’s returning. Have you ever read Carla Emery’s book, The Encyclopedia of Country Living?! I read every page as a kid, twice. Have a super great day, there are tons of people pulling for you. p.s. you should have the Beekman Boys visit you on their show and bring national attention to your cause. I cannot wait for your next book…

  18. Elizabeth Berg

    Are facts of no importance to you, Novella? Maybe you’d better go back and check with your neighbors again. I can tell you for sure that this didn’t come from the House Rabbit Society. And if you persist in blaming us for things we didn’t do, we will take you to court.

  19. As a resident of West Oakland, I DO NOT support your slaughterhouse in my neighborhood. Please get to know your community entirely- including those who disagree with you- before you claim that you are supported by them. We do not oppose your garden/urban farm; we oppose the slaughter of animals in our neighborhood. We are NOT happy to have you as a neighbor and we do NOT feel that your illegal commercial garden is a positive contribution to our community. I will do what I can to make sure that others who do not support your slaughterhouse become more vocal so you are better informed.

  20. I find this strange dichotomy around animals and not just here in the comments, but in our society in general. People hate that others hunt or raise their own meat animals and yet don’t bat an eye at buying factory farmed meat, dairy and eggs at the grocery store (not saying the people commenting here feel that way, just people I know personally that have expressed that opinion). It’s like they fight tooth and nail to be disconnected from their food as much as possible and would prefer if everyone did the same. Yes, killing animals, whether it’s slaughtering or hunting, is uncomfortable to even think about, but I think it’s important to understand what’s involved if you are going to eat animal products.

    Slaughterhouses (commercial ones) are notoriously inhumane (hence the proposed bills in several states that will bar video and photography of any agricultural practices without written permission of the owner). Maybe what we, as urban farmers, need to do is find a more rural property right outside of the city owned by a pro-urban farming person, where they will allow us to slaughter our animals safely and humanely – almost like a co-op of sorts. Because if I’m going to raise my own meat animals as humanely as possible, I sure as shit don’t want to send them to a commercial slaughterhouse.

  21. I find it interesting that people that don’t agree with you think it’s okay to report you to the city instead of talking to you personally. Obviously, they know where to find you. If you weren’t trying to teach other people about empowering themselves, not too many people would know what you do in regards to feeding yourself. How many horrible things happen everyday to human beings that aren’t reported or even noticed? It’s a profound thing to kill an animal that you’ve lovingly raise yourself. Not quite the same as slapping that cello wrapped chunk of meat into the grocery cart.

  22. ghosttownfarm

    dear cp;
    thanks for the comment. i’m not proposing to have a slaughterhouse in west oakland.
    re: neighbors. of course not every single person in west oakland will support ghosttown farm, i’m talking about my adjacent neighbors. super-local, like 28th street, 29th street along MLK. what street are you on? anyway, it’s your right to be against me, thanks for voicing your opposition to a slaughterhouse, which i have no idea where you got that idea.

  23. ghosttownfarm

    hi elizabeth;
    i am sorry. you are right that not everyone in the HRS is gunning to destroy me, and i know many of you do amazing work with helpless animals who are abused. i’ll cease naming organizations like yours.
    keep up your good work!

  24. You are an amazing person. Keep up the good work and don’t let the bastards get you down.

  25. Is it a bad thing that all I want to do is tell the HRC to suck it? Are they going to take me court for writing that? I try to put out nothing but positive energy, because that is what the universe will send back to you, but aaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, that is all I have to say to the haters! Thank you Novella, for being the bigger person in your responses. I also won’t name HRC again, or even think about after tonight. Now, what to have for dinner? Maybe one of my beautiful rabbits that I’ve been raising for their delicious meat.

    P.S. Hey, C.P., do you speak for every person on your street, on your block, in your zone???? I bet not. Why not take some of your own advice, douche!

  26. Re: Rachel @ Dog Island Farm- Yes, that dichotomy exists and I think you see it in more dramatic relief among the vegan/vegetarian communities. These people feel self-righteous because they don’t eat “dead animals,” yet all the while they do not realize that just about any food they eat contributed to the death of at least some animals. In the case of any particular bag of grains or bread, tens of millions of birds, rodents, and insects (including butterflies) were killed in the growing and harvesting process, not to mention that monoculture farms are to blame for dead zones in the oceans and species extinction in some places. And here is Novella killing a handful of rabbits. Which is worse, that is, which is more morally repugnant: the person who thinks he or she is saving the world by eating the grains (which may have killed millions of animals), or the person who eats a single rabbit which she raised and killed with respect?

  27. Faustianbargain

    @uri: that’s like saying that you might as well eat a ginormous cake everyday because you have a slice of cake every Friday.

    I guess my problem with some of the arguments for animals in a homestead is that there is no need to raise animals for food to sustain oneself. Is there a rulebook that says that you MUST have chickens, ducks, goat and rabbits in an urban homestead? Here is when I roll my eyes and dismiss your entire lot. The hand wringing and complaining about not being able to feed oneself because the gubmint is after you you say politely..lame.

  28. Uri, I use that argument a lot actually. Millions of animals are killed from habitat destruction, trapping, poisoning, crushing in machinery, etc due to monocropping. Also, I’d like to point out that to feed our society we must utilize as much land as possible to produce food. Some of that land is not arable (slope, climate, poor soils, etc.) and the only food we can produce on it is livestock.

    Faustianbargain – funny thing, it wasn’t until we got animals that we were able to be completely self sufficient in organic soil management. Even with composting kitchen scraps and yard waste we weren’t able to produce enough compost to keep our soil fertile. With the chickens, goats and rabbits we now don’t have to buy commercial soil amendments (which have shown to be increasingly contaminated with pesticides).

    Also, because my family is going without groceries for a year, we aren’t able to buy specialty health foods, out of season foods grown in other countries or supplements (not that I would want to anyways) to provide essential nutrients. We eat a balanced whole foods diet rather one made up of manmade food based off of poor science. Yes it’s a choice we’ve made to go without buying such things, but IMO it’s more ethical in the larger scheme of things.

  29. Faustianbargain

    Rachel..I see what you are saying, but is it really sustainable?

    ‘Ethics’ is rather relative. I am saying that the entire world population should become vegan tomorrow, but when you weigh the pros and cons, every home being sustainable with animal husbandry is not viable in the long or short term..especially in urban settings. Cities and towns are overpopulated…at least more so than rural areas. The bay area has one of the densest population maps. In such a setting, everything is stressed..water, sewerage, all kinds of pollution, power..a lovely breeding ground for stress..not to mention disease. An abundance of chicken, rabbit, goat poop in a city environment…that too all in one unacceptable and irresponsible.

    Novella said that the apartment she is residing in is zoned ‘historical’. Perhaps that is euphemism for old buildings with questionable plumbing. This is something that could fuck up everyone in the neighbourhood and the city has to foot the bill. It has been known to happen.

    The whole world isn’t ‘against’ novella..nor is the city of Oakland. I think respect should be mutual. An island is in the middle of nowhere…urban homesteaders must decide if they want to be an island in the middle of urban chaos. If they choose that option, there is a price to pay. There is always a price to pay if one chooses to be different at everyone else’s inconvenience.

  30. Faustianbargain

    P.s. In this case..the monetary price is being paid by donors and supporters.

    To novella, I don’t like to call people names to their face, but I guess it is better than talking about them behind their backs. I think you are being a brat. There is a lot of ‘I want’s. The law shouldn’t be bent just for you just because you are different from others. Berating oakland(which has more than its share of problems) is not a solution either. Crack houses and corruption will not disappear with chard. There have been a lot of logical farts in the arguments i read that support you. I applaud you for making others pay for what you want to do..somewhat like huckleberry Finn. But I do not admire you for that. Your story is full of holes and it makes me want to ask a lot of questions. But I guess the answers don’t matter because the questions from one person doesn’t matter anyways..

  31. it amazes me sometimes how shortsighted people can be. i wonder how many people will come clamoring at the gates of urban farms when the big economic collapse hits and they can’t go to whole foods to buy tofu anymore?

    the most revolutionary thing anyone can do, is to grow their own food. it is also the most ecologically sound thing to do.

    novella, keep up the good work.
    ~a 27th street neighbor.

  32. @faustianbargain- Ok, I know you know the analogy with the cake is no analogy at all, but I’ll take the bate. Unless the cake is a metaphor for animal killing… in which case, yes, I suppose that is what vegans say: “I will have this food which killed millions of creatures and is causing species extinction rather than eating one animal.” (I know it doesn’t fit your analogy perfectly, but your analogy makes no sense.)

    Not to mention, like Rachel pointed out, “vegan” foods require animals, living and dead, to grow (think about all the blood meal, bone meal, fish emulsion, and manure that goes into the average organic farm). The plants have no qualms about it.

    The majority of the world’s over 6 billion people survive off of small-scale polyculture farming. It is a mostly uniquely Western luxury to put the farms away from the population and use monoculture, petroleum-based farming and then ship all the food around by truck. Get a grip on reality.

    The whole world going vegan? Again, get a grip on reality. What are we going to do, ship corn to all the starving people? And let them die of pellagra? Ship them all rice? And make them slaves of Monsanto? Or even better, build them all Whole Foods. If you want to change a starving, impoverished person’s life, you give him or her a goat ( not a bag of rice.

  33. I’m sorry my tone led you to believe that me and “my friends are attacking you.”
    I was actually very interested in you and your work until this blew up and you started saying things that didn’t make sense like that the city sent Animal Control out because you’re growing chard.
    Then I delved further back into the blog and saw some pretty scary things, like advice on how to break the law. I don’t doubt that your animals are well cared for, but you’re encouraging people who might not be as scrupulous to do some pretty shady things that may involve a lot of hurt.
    But you really lost me when you named People’s Grocery and asked why the city wasn’t cracking down on them. Now your calling out House Rabbit Society, whom I called to get the other side of the argument (which they didn’t provide me with, because they don’t want to be involved!).
    I didn’t mean to attack you, but give you an honest perspective that by being untruthful and by naming names without evidence (which I see you’ve apologized for) you are losing support. My support.

  34. Faustian, you are making assumptions and jumping to conclusions.

    Your opinion holds no more weight than any other. You say chard will not overcome crack – but is that a reason to disallow chard? At least it is a healthy thing!

    Your stated concerns about an overabundance of rabbit poo and so on are not backed by facts. The poo is actually one of the advantages of keeping rabbits, for the urban farmer. My uncle used to keep rabbits as a business – he sold high quality, organic compost to a number of small organic herb farmers. He never ate a single bunny, nor did he pollute with their poop. You are barking up the wrong tree.

    As you say, your concerns are the questions of one person. Inform yourself (you’re already on the internet) and then come back.

  35. Faustianbargain

    Uri, you are missing the point.

    Emmy, what does this got to do with your uncle? He had a legit business and probably more space…and he didnt kill his rabbits on the premises. Why are you beckoning him?

    Oakland isn’t disallowing chard. That was novellas initial complaint…followed by her fans repeating what she said…thanks for making my point. If chard has nothing to do with crack…then it works the other way too.

  36. Faustianbargain

    Good grief, people…this is ridiculous.

    ‘I want to grow chard. To grow chard, I néed to raise chicken, goats and rabbits so that I can collect their poo to grow chard. I am raising them so I might eat it anyways….because I want to feed myself. But the excess! I can’t waste, so I will sell it! But wha???? I need a permit to sell and run a food business! The unfairness of it! And why can’t I do this in a postage stamp sized lot…oppression!! Revolution!!’

    Please…give us a break.

  37. @Faustian,
    To properly amend the soil on my lot that I grow food on it takes 10 truckloads of compost, which I have to bring in, using fossil fuels. Not to mention I have no control over what is in that compost in regards to pesticides and chemicals. And it’s prohibitively expensive at $26/yard. That is not sustainable, so what do you propose I do? We use ALL of our animal waste (composted of course) for our beds with nothing left over. It all goes on the beds and then becomes food for us – eliminating more fossil fuels needing to be used for the transportation of food to my plate. I fail to see how that’s irresponsible and unsustainable.

    I’d also like to mention that industrial monoculture agriculture is what stresses California’s water resources more than any urban area ever could, even when we do grow food here.

  38. @Faustian and everyone else that missed it. I left this comment on another post in regards to the laws governing growing chard.

    I wanted to point something out. Kitty sent me what appears to be the new codes that will go into effect tomorrow. After reading them and the rest of Oakland Municipal Codes it appears that you will need a conditional use permit to do any agricultural activities. The city’s general description of crop and animal raising agricultural activities is: Crop and Animal Raising Agricultural Activities include the raising of tree, vine, field, forage, and other plant crops, intended to provide food or fibers, as well as keeping, grazing, or feeding of animals for animal products, animal increase, or value increase. There is no mention of selling so it’s easy to assume that to grow any food plants (yep, that means vegetable gardens and fruit trees) or raise any food animals in residential zones in Oakland regardless of whether it’s for personal use or for profit will require a CUP.

    It’s important to look through your city’s codes. Now most people will say there’s no way for the city to enforce such silly laws, but as Novella has so kindly demonstrated, all it takes is one person who doesn’t like you to make a call to the city.

  39. Faustianbargain big is your lot?

  40. Ok, this person is obviously a troll, is not interested in informed conversation, and does not deserve any further response.

  41. Faustie: My uncle had a standard, “postage-stamp size” backyard lot in San Diego. Probably smaller than Novella’s, as his house was also on it! ALL of the rabbit droppings from his operation went into compost. I mention this simply to show another example of how this sort of thing can work.

    You seem to be on a big crusade to shut down this tiny operation. Don’t you have anything better to do than troll this blog?

  42. Faustianbargain

    Ok. Fine. I am a troll. Talk amongst yourselves. Good luck.

  43. Personally those who are unwilling to kill an animal for meat but are willing to eat meat have no right to eat meat! I have meat rabbits and yes butcher them. I give my rabbits a good life until the end. We rarely eat meat as we like know what that animal has gone through and refuse to eat abused meat. Eggs are the same, I will not support the large egg farmers, I keep 6 hens. I do support smaller farmers, those with under 300 chickens. Manure will not polute the water any more the dog and cat crap, both of which contain more illnesses in thier waste then chickens!

  44. Max Allstadt

    Someone named Emily Wood was quoted in the Chronicle as being against raising animals on Urban Farms for health and safety reasons. She has a semi-open Facebook page.

    Here is an abridged list of pages she is a fan of on Facebook:
    Hopalong and Second Chance Animal Rescue, Goat Rescue and Sanctuary of Sonoma County, Farm Sanctuary’s Farm Animal Adoption Network, San Francisco Bay Area Vegan Events, Leaping Bunny, House Rabbit Society, Animal Legal Defense Fund, VegNews Magazine, Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM), Vegan for $3.33 a Day, Compassion Over Killing, My Sweet Vegan, Animal Place, East Bay Animal Advocates, Farm Sanctuary, United for Animals (Formerly East Bay Animal Advocates), Stop Big Cat Rescue Tampa from using domestic rabbits as live food, The Busy Bunny, Rabbits ARE companions, NOT LIVE STOCK!, AFRP Rabbits, I Blame the Patriarchy, HRS Rabbit Center, East Bay Rabbit Rescue, Mickaboo Companion Bird Rescue, Helping Animals in the SF Bay Area, Pawesome, East Bay SPCA – Oakland SPCA/Tri-Valley SPCA, Vegan Taxidermy, Pokey LaFarge, Harvest Home Animal Sanctuary, No Kill Nation.

    Pretty clear that her objections to raising animals have another motivation behind them besides the welfare of Novella’s neighbors.

  45. Not only that, but she lives in NORTH Oakland – so this is once again a case of the rich neighborhoods harassing the poor. It’s been said before, but how is this worse than another vacant lot, or crack house?

    In my neighborhood, there is a cockfighting house. They get busted, they stop for a while, and then soon you hear another rooster crow. It’s disgusting thinking about what will happen to the poor thing! Is the answer banning chickens? NO. The answer is banning cockfighting.


  46. I am so sorry you have to go through that. To be honest, I know it’s only a matter of time before someone calls on us. All of our neighbors are moving away to other parts of town, and the new ones, (not friendly ones mind you)are taking their place. I think our partridge with their crowing at 6am will just about do us in. We’re always on the edge of our seat here, our town is NOT urban farm friendly, but on the other hand we’ve built a very good relationship with our neighbors, who are leaving hence the dillema. I wish the best for you, and I think re education as far as uban farming goes is the best way to fight our cities policies. Many people’s perception to urban farming is distorted, it’s time now that we get our point across the table. Best luck to you and your family.
    – Quail’s Hollar Farm

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