Archive | May, 2011

Taking the Summer Off

28 May

Hey everyone;

Sorry I’ve been gone so long from the blog. To be honest, the blog isn’t a fun thing for me anymore. Not only do I know that the City of Oakland employees regularly read it, there are the haters so I get upset even reading the comments. For these reasons, I think I’ll retire the blog or just post events once I get my CUP. Just to clarify for the last time: I didn’t get busted for having a business, I got in trouble for growing food and raising livestock in a commercially zoned lot. By the rules now, you can grow and keep livestock at your place of residence, but you can’t keep livestock on a lot without a house on it. That’s why I applied for a CUP. Oakland changed the rules so you can grow vegetables legally on a lot now (when I got in trouble it was illegal).

But that’s not why I’m writing (and that’s why I loathe keeping this blog now–having to constantly defend myself; I’m a lover, not a fighter). I’m writing to say something good has come out of this whole thing with the City.

I figured out that I really shouldn’t grow vegetables during the summer.

Because I’ll had to wait for my CUP for a couple months, I didn’t plant any summer crops save for a few tomatoes, beans, and carrots. Bill looked outside and said, “there’s not much growing out there,” and I said, “I need a break.” I realized that I’m exhausted. Plus, the water bill is huge in the summer. Then I suddenly realized the logic: we can grow year-round here in the Bay Area, which is great, but then you don’t ever get a break. How jealous I am of those East Coasters who get to sit on their asses all winter long and read seed catalogs. So here’s the new plan: Summers Off! I’ll get to travel and take camping trips. I’ll just keep the trees alive by periodic deep watering, and cover crop the rest of the beds. But what about the tomatoes? The summer cucumbers? I will gladly support my local farmers at the farmer’s market. I love it when a plan comes together.

Have a great summer, see you in the fall. For those of you hoping to visit, sorry, no tours until I get my CUP.

Turned in the CUP

4 May

With a big sigh of relief, I turned in my Conditional Use Permit to the City of Oakland. I’ve been told that it will take 6-8 weeks for them to review my plans, and then I might just be legal. Based on my experiences with bureacracy, I’m sure it won’t be that easy. Oh, and for those wondering, how much did the CUP cost? $2858.13. Holy shit, that’s a lot of money to grow a garden and keep a few ducks. I actually felt like a total ass writing that check. But I know that the wider community raised the money, and the farm has social value over the small amount of money it might bring in. Thanks again to everyone who chipped in their hard-earned dollars and sent words of support.

Frankly, I was just relieved to stop filling out paperwork. Thanks so much to my lawyer, Janelle Orsi who made everything make sense.

Today I was out watering the garden and I actually felt really angry again, not just exhausted, as I have been for the past few weeks. I have a lot more to add, but I think I’m going to keep very very quiet until the process is over and I have my CUP in hand. Look for a call to action around July 4, eh?