On a rough-and-tumble corner in Oakland's Ghost Town neighborhood, the most unexpected of sights awaits you. Behind a chain-link fence, on an abandoned lot, sits a thriving urban farm. I stopped by Ghost Town Farm yesterday afternoon for its informal farm stand, where preserved lemons, dinosaur kale, and extremely local honey, among other selections, were being sold.
The force behind this farm is Novella Carpenter, author of best-selling memoir Farm City, which notably begins, "I have a farm on a dead-end street in the ghetto." In the book, Carpenter describes the evolution of the empty lot next to her rented flat from garbage-filled wasteland to thriving urban farm. It's a great read, and I recommend you pick up a copy of the book, which is now in paperback.
If you're planning on visiting the Bay Area, be sure to check Novella's blog to find out about the time of the next farm stand. Her site is also packed with anecdotes and advice on everything from building a cob oven to keeping livestock in the inner city. Curious as to what she's raising? Check out my photos of her 4,500-square-foot farm. While I didn't get pictures of the bunnies and chickens, I did snap some photos of one of the goats, one of the beehives, and quite a few of the veggies and fruit trees that abound on this unexpected piece of agrarian culture in the middle of the city.