1.4 Acre Urban Public Park Grows Healthy Food & Empowers Community

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Alright this is John Kohler from growingyourgreens.com. Today we have another exciting episode for
you. Today, where I am, I’m in the city, man,
I’m in the city of Oakland, California, oak town, and where I’m today, I’m here
in West Oakland, to share with you guys a cool project, that’s going on here or that’s
growing on here. It’s actually called, ‘The West Oakland
Farm Park’, and this is a public park, with actually, and it’s a home of City Slickers
Farms. So this is a unique farm in a sense that,
this is a park, but it’s not a publicly owned park, actually. It’s basically a privately owned, publically
operated park, it’s known as the POPOP. So, this is a new concept, I don’t know
if they’re around the country but, here in California, anyways, they have these now,
and so it’s operated like a park, but it’s a real farm, so it’s, you know, private
property, but they operate it as a public service probably. It actually in the front section of it, they
have a public park. So they have a restrooms and, you know, barbeque
and seeding area, place you could hang out, green space, as well a little kids area. But in another part of the park actually,
they have a community garden area, so for the local residents, to grow food, if they
don’t have access, or space to grow their own food, as well as a farm in the background
there where actually they grow food and make food available for local people at low, or
even no cost. So with that, what I wanna do for you guys
is actually, take you across the street, to the City Slickers Farm and the farm park and
show you guys around. So, now I’m gonna ahead and enter the farm
park here, and you know, when I first saw this, ‘cuz I looked it up online, before
I came here today to make a video for you guys is, you know, I had heard of the City
Slickers Farms, I mean, back in the day when I started gardening actually, you know, at
a big scale at my home, ‘cuz they’ve been around there, an organization that has actually
been around for quite some time, but I looked it up like, “Wow!, they got a public park,
that’s actually growing food, this is cool, I gotta check it out , make a video to share
with you guys, to share with you guys, what I believe, other municipalities and other
cities and other places, should incorporate, you know, into their cities. Places to grow food, for the public to hang
out and more importantly, to get education about how food is grown, where it’s grown,
and more importantly, especially for the kids, right, and also being able to provide access
to food, to the local people here because here in this area, this area in West Oakland,
is a food desert. There’s liquor stores, you know, they might
sell a few produce items, but it’s probably wilted in all of that, here they’re providing
really good food on a sliding scale to local community. But aside from just the food, they’re also
providing them, fun. They’re providing a public park where kids
could play football and play in the grass and people can come hang out and sit and eat
their lunch in the nice sun and actually, even kids could play on the playground. So let me go ahead and show you guys, maybe
the playground, here in the park and I’m gonna maybe take a little, fun break. So in this area, the farm park, is actually
like a park for kids, right?, and that’s really cool, get the kids out here, they’re
having fun, like playing in the little playground sets and little, I guess, there’s little
like, farm house play zone area and all different kinds of, different structures for them to
climb on, as well as like park benches to have a nice picnic, and the farm park is,
you know, how it’s green space and all this stuff, so that’s really cool, that the kids
could come out, but not only when they come out to play on the swing sets, where they
could also see on the other side of the park, are where the food comes from and that’s
the park, the part of the park that I’m actually more interested in at this time,
so let me go ahead and flip the camera around and show you guys, what the farm actually
looks like here and the community garden, ‘cuz I really wanna share that with you
guys and I mean that’s really why, I mean, this is all interconnected, you know, this
farm park, it’s a farm plus a park and I mean, this is an idea whose time has come,
and I believe every park in the nation should have a farm component, in where food comes
from, and through different partnerships, you know, The City Slickers Farm has been
able to do this and hopefully at the end of this episode, we’ll get to explain you guys,
maybe how this project was possible, here in West Oakland, and can be possible , hopefully,
wherever even you guys live. So guys you just saw behind me, the little
kids area, where kids could play in the playground set and if we pan this camera, over a little
bit, you could see some of the green space, behind me here, that I’m moving and there’s
this little nice green space area and then behind the green space you could see some
of the little structures, so that’s a structure with the bathrooms and some offices and what
not, and over on this side, they basically have a full on farm here, and then on the
other side of the buildings, there’s actually community garden, so maybe I’ll start this
tour for you guys, actually at the community garden side , since that’s actually quite
impressive , it’s probably one of the best designed and maintained in community gardens,
that I’ve seen, and I think there is a reason for that. So, the next part of this park I’d like
to share with you guys, is actually the community garden part and this is one of the nice community
gardens that I’ve ever went into. The park is actually only opened from like
10 to 7 everyday , maybe in the winter time they close it a bit early, at dusk. But the community garden actually has 24 access
through a coded gate, which is really nice, so even if you have a like neighbourhood,
you wanna harvest some of the stuff at midnight, you could feel free. So let’s head in here and show you guys
around. So now I wanna share with you guys actually
a few reason why I think this community garden is successful, where maybe other ones that
I’ve visited, may have not been, Number 1, they provide raised beds, so I think this
is critical in a community garden, you know, have pre-built raised beds. If you could rent out, the whole raised bed
or half of it, these raised beds here are quite long, like, 20 ft. long and they basically
partition out four, half of it, so maybe like ten foot by 4 ft. section, they have it built
out of nice lumber here, like some, I think, it’s like 2 by 12 stacked up, so it’s
like 24 inches tall with some 2 by 4 on the top ,so you could actually have a nice place
to sit down, work on your bed. This next thing is, they filled it up with
some good organic soil, some of the same soil, they’re actually using on their farm to
grow successfully. Next thing, why I think it’s successful
is, infrastructure is, they got, actually I don’t’ know if you guys can see that,
but there’s a little water timer there with the spigot, so there’s a spigot on each
bed, with the each water, each bed has its own water timer. So every person that rents a community garden
bed has its own water timer, that’s pre-programmed to go off and do the watering. So this takes a lot of the guess work to make
sure that even if you don’t show up, your plants are gonna get watered and you’re
gonna be able to come back and harvest some stuff. Now all these infrastructure features are
really good and probably strong reason why this community garden is successful. But the other important reason is, every Saturday
they have, you know, a person here that was volunteering, that actually educates the people
here about gardening and how to do it properly. So this is super critical in having proper
training and education for the people that have a community garden plots, to keep them
interested, keep them coming back and ensure that they’re growing successfully. I think another really big component that,
I don’t know if they have or not, but they should is, you know, teaching people how to
use their food. Walking in this community garden I see a lot
of stuff growing and a lot of it is growing really quite well, but I’m not seeing the
level of harvest that I would like. I would like to see some of these plants getting
harvested back, significantly more than they are, I mean, you don’t wanna harvest things
too much, but you don’t wanna harvest them too little, because then they’re more like
an ornament and they’re just looking pretty, instead of you actually harvesting the plants
and then getting them into use, so that you gain the nutrition, out of these amazing fruits
and vegetables that are being grown. This time of the year, they’re growing mostly
like you know, leafy green crops, which as you guys know, my YouTube channel is called
growing your greens and it’s called growing our greens for a reason, ‘cuz I want you
guys to grow, but not only grow your greens, but I want you guys to eat them too. Everyday my goal is to eat two pounds of leafy
greens, I don’t accomplish that goal every day , but usually I get a pound and under
my belt and , you know, it can be really easy to get a pound of greens under your belt whether
that means, you’re gonna be , juicing them up, you know, in a pound of greens juice turn
into only one cup of juice, which is hardly any juice at all, you could be blend those
up, into like a group smoothie or a blended salad, you could also just simply be eating
the greens in a nice salad and one of my favourite things to do now, is actually juice a lot
of vegetables make that as my vegetables soup, stock that I blend up with some nuts and spices
in the blender and then cut up a whole bunch of greens and add it to the soup, so pretty
much it’s like salad, but it’s a salad swimming in salad dressing, which I call my
soup, which is all vegetable juices mixed with blended nuts and spices and seeds and
what not. So yeah, definitely wanna encourage you guys
to use more of your greens and hopefully, you know, they’ll use more of their greens
here ‘cuz I mean some of the growth here is phenomenal but the harvesting could be
better. Anyways, this is the community garden, I think
the main tour that I want to give you guys today is of the farm itself, so let’s go
ahead and take you guys in the farm and share with you guys some of the things they’re
growing and more importantly, how they’re growing it and also how they’re creating
fertility on this land that was actually once a paint factory and once had to go through
a whole, kind of like, soil reclamation ‘cuz the soil was contaminated and all this kind
of stuff. So, before I even give you guys a farm tour,
I wanna share with you guys what they do with some of the produce that is grown here. Every Saturday they have a farmers market
I think it’s like, maybe between like 10 and 3 or something like that, and so it’s
Friday today, so they just actually harvested all the stuff that’s gonna be appearing
tomorrow at the farmers market, and the cool thing is about this farm is that actually,
you know, the main goal is not to like, make a ton of money from selling the produce they
grow on the farm but it’s to create basically a local and just food system, so that people
in the area that may not have the most money to be going to whole foods and paying those
whole food prices for some good collard greens or kale or other crops they grow in summer
time, they can have access to the food here. So the food here is actually on a sliding
scale, so If you’re here in the area and could come down to West Oakland on Saturdays,
you guys could benefit from the sliding scale. So, the sliding scale is like this, it’s
like 1,2,3 is their sliding scale right, if you’re like totally broke, don’t have
any money, could barely afford food, hey, you could pay a dollar, you know for a whole
bunch of collard greens here, and hey, if you got more money, but you’re not super
rich, then hey, well pay 2 bucks for the same, you know, collard green head and hey, if you’re,
if you got a lot of money, you know, then you could come here and pay 3 bucks for the
same, collard green bunch or you know, same bunch of red Russian kale or whatever else
they’re growing. Now you might be thinking, “John, why would
I come to this farm, in the middle of West Oakland to buy a three dollar bunch of collard
greens when I could go to whole foods and buy the same collard greens. Well let me correct you for a second, you
know, a 3 dollar bunch of collard greens at whole foods is not the same 3 dollar bunch
of collard greens you’re gonna get here at City Slickers Farm, because, you don’t
realise that the collard greens at the whole foods might have been picked from the central
valley several days before you are even buying it, it’s been in cold storage for couple
days, finally got put out on the shelves and now you’re finally buying it, so well, it
may be the same price, right?, it’s not gonna be the same quality, you know, they,
this stuff is picked a day before, it is being offered available here, so it’s gonna be
much fresher, plus they grow all organically without any kind of chemicals and all this
kinds of stuff. So you’re gonna get a lot fresher tasting,
more nutritious, better quality food by coming to the farmers stand here, they have every
Saturday. Plus, you’re supporting an organization
that is doing good work in the community, because the other thing is if you absolutely
don’t have any money, and you could just basically come here and, you know, get a whole
bunch of the greens or other food for free here, because this is a totally a sliding
scale and definitely you know, making money from the community is not the main goal of
this farm, you know, the bigger goal is to provide just food and provide access to healthy
food for the people, because, it’s my opinion that you know, the healthier the community
could eat, you know, the less the healthcare cost and the better the community will be,
the better they’ll be able to act, function and think and the more, I’d like to say
enlightened people will have, by eating more healthy plant foods. So yeah, so what they have, or they’ll be
offering tomorrow, they got the red Russian kale, they got the dinosaur kale, got more
dinosaur kale here, some collard greens lots of swish chards and of course some of my favourite
stuff, they got a lot of the purple tree collards there. So what can you learn from what they’re
offering here at their farmers market or their stand tomorrow, is , if you live in this area,
you probably wanna grow the tree collards and the Swiss chard because they have a lot
of these greens available and you know, when I showed you guys their gardens, you’ll
see why ‘cuz the Swiss chard and the tree collards are thee two crops that are growing
the best here, by far, of course some of the other things grow really well but you know,
the easiest crops to grow, are the ones that wanna encourage you guys to grow, which are
these two guys and pretty much in this environment, they’re gonna thrive year round. So you guys could pretty much always feed
yourself and your family, the tree collards and the Swiss chards. So this is the main entry way to City Slickers
Farm here as you guys could see, they got a huge rain barrel, that’s catching lots
of water of the top of the roof and they use this to feed the crops. One of these days, they wanna get a solar
panel and have a filtration system to make that catch water, catching water, safe for
drinking, which is definitely really cool, ‘cuz then it’s not even the city water
that they’re pumping in, chloramine and potentially other contaminants, that just
flow right into, that’s really cool, and then behind it they have actually a little
garden box that‘s actually called, ‘Let’s build a backyard garden’. And this is how City Slickers, besides growing
food here, they actually go out into, you know, low income local housing areas, and
community centres and what not, and they’ll actually build you guys a garden, whether
you’re paying for full price or if you’re low income, the price is subsidised by the
local county which is really cool. So you could grow in our own backyard instead
of having to come and pick up your food here, which I think is the answer, and they’re
growing a bunch of different crops in that little sample bed, and then over on this other
side, I’ll flip the camera and you guys could see the little plant nursery, where
they’re starting all their little baby seedling plants, that will actually end up in the farm
here, or one of the garden beds that they have actually install or actually even just
a local people that wanna come, buy on Saturday and purchase some of their plant starts. So this is a little nursery area, here at
City Slickers Farm, basically they grow everything in big 10 by 20 flats in their little green
house, the seedlings can stay warm. Once the seedlings grow up, they basically
pluck them out and then they put them into little 4 inch pots and they have lots, like
hundreds of baby plant starts here, of different collard greens and kales and peas and nasturtiums
, onions , artichokes, all kinds of stuff here, and once again you know, aside from
buying the foods here, you guys saw a bit earlier, you could buy the plant starts and
what not, once again the plant starts, they’re on the sliding scale too, you know, for 1
dollars, 2 dollars or 3 dollars. If you don’t have any money, you could even
get it for free, right?, so you could start planting your own food right?, and so I think
it’s much more valuable to me, instead of buying a bunch of tree collard greens to just
get a tree collard plant, and they got, tree collard plants here, these nice little tree
collard plants, these ones were plants I don’t know, maybe just like, a month and half ago
from cuttings and they look nice and healthy, these are actually, well, there’s some,
they got stem cuttings and , top cuttings, I like the top cuttings are a bit better. But, as you guys earn a little bit, the most
valuable plant that they offer here is the tree collards , to me anyways, because the
little you plant this baby ones, and you’re gonna have collard greens, for years to come,
for sure, where I was, you know, a collard green up on the top here, flash collard, right?,
the same collard green right here you know, the value of this plant is not as much, this
plant one might live maybe a year or something, 6 months to a year, provided you lease for
that whole time, the tree collards is, gonna grow and grow and grow for years and provide
you with leaves, all during that same time, without going to flower seeds and ending its
own life cycle. So yeah, definitely really all that they got
the tree collards and they do all the propagation here. So the next thing I wanna do in this episode
is actually go ahead and take you guys over to their compost power, they’re using , multiple
sources of inputs, waste streams to create compost which adds fertility to their farm,
so they actually grow the produce they’re growing. So now I just wanted to share with you guys
a little bit about how they make their compost, here, you know, compost is the main source
of the fertility for all the crops you guys are gonna see in their field, growing crops
here. So, number 1, they basically get a mulch from
the city, local city here, drops of the mulch, looks like a lot of pine and leaves and wood
chips. Then actually back over there they got another
pile of just more straight up wood chips compost, and then actually over here, let me go ahead
and show you guys some of these, ‘cuz I know you guys have a lot of this kind of waste,
that you generate all the time. So, City Slickers Farms has partnered with
many different cafés and restaurants in area, to basically get their food scraps. So they got, all kinds of different food scrapes
including, you know clippings from their farms here, but also food scraps in here, potato
peelings, mango peelings, egg shells, all this kinds of stuff that they actually collect
instead of having this go to the land fill and divert it here to basically compost it
and turn it into compost and then shipped out and add to their garden. Let’s see, they got a , so they got like
a two different kinds of wood chips coming in, the food scraps and they got one more
major waste material that they’re taking in here, to turn into soil nutrition. So the last input to their compost pile is
basically what we’re seeing right here, its horse poop. So they have a local farm that has some horses
and they basically get the horse poop and they mix all these ingredients together and
let it compost down into bin style system to basically, broke it down in, and to create
fertility for their soil, and here’s a little shifter they made, they just basically take
this and they shake out all the little small material, to actually add to their garden. Now, you know, I think their soil fertility
program is great and this is old school farming or gardening is , hey add compost and you
don’t pretty much need to add anything else right?, and you know, basically from my background,
and I only got into growing food because my failing health and almost lost my life when
I was younger and the , one of the main reasons why I grow food is to have the highest quality
food, and as much as I agree with that local food , local organic food that’s not sprayed
is definitely higher quality than the stuff coming in, why not make it even better?, you
know, I’ve run into many people along my travels and along the way and I ran into a
gentleman one time at the Mother Earth News Fair, who really was strong into adding the
trace minerals into the food to change the health of the public, and specially in low
income areas, where there’s not all the resources and people are eating a lot of junk
food, it’s super critical that people have the trace minerals, because it is been shown
and there’s a correlation worth certain diseases such as, type 2 diabetes, with certain
mineral deficiencies, and if using, you know, input waste streams and food scraps as some
of your main inputs, you may not be getting the full spectrum of trace minerals out there,
right? I like to add rock dust, adds up to 70 different
trace minerals, into my garden, into my compost, so that I could grow healthier plants and
more importantly I could get those trace minerals from the foods that I eat, right, and that’s
how it should happen, and in processed foods and industrial agriculture they’re concerned
with maybe 3 minerals, right?, and so that’s why I think it’s very important to add something
like the rock dust. If they ordered to create rock dust, you know,
I would take one or two bags of rock dust for every bin of the compost they make, so
now you would take all the different inputs and the and the rock dust, couple bags mix
it all in and get it integrated, break it all down at once, and then basically take
the finish compost and then add that in to anything that you’re growing. This by far, in my opinion is gonna grow higher
quality food to change the health of the community much faster than just simply growing food. Which is still healthier than anything else
you could eat, but why not make the healthy food even healthier. Another really excellent way to add the trace
minerals in to the fertility program here, is by spraying on ocean minerals, so I would
recommend a product called, ‘Gropal’, G-R-O-P-A-L, and spraying that on, on a weekly
foil or feeding of all the plants as well as the ground area, to add up to 90 different
trace minerals, right, and the health of the nation is basically based on the food that
we’re eating, and if the food is the junk food, the processed foods right?, these are
very low quality foods without a lot of nutrition. But yeah, home grown organic or even farm
grown, like this organic is good, but hey, let’s make it better and add the trace minerals. Unfortunately, most of the commercial farms
are not adding the trace minerals. So, I hope that, you know, City Slickers here
will start to add trace minerals. It really isn’t that expensive and it’s
gonna provide a much more, much better benefit for the community, but also for the plants
right? It’ll make the plants more bug and disease
resistant. The higher quality food you grow by adding
the rock dust and trace minerals you can also do that. Another thing, as much as the compost has
a lot of bacterial action, you know, it’s really important, I would also encourage them
to compost their wood chips. They have lots of area here and they’re
starting to lay out mulch everywhere, which will basically slowly compost, over time and
make some fungal dominated compost, I would encourage them to get as much mulch as the
can in all the areas of their farm, just have it fully mulched and as that mulch breaks
down over the years, you’re gonna come back and scoop out the bottom layer and that’s
gonna be a fungal dominated rich mulch and that once again is different than a bacterial
dominated compost or a fungal dominated compost.=, that it’s gonna make, and add that to your
soil as well for fertility. Those are some of the most beneficial things
as well as things like compost teas, you know, that can be sprayed to increase the bountiful
harvest that they’re offering. You know, by adding and adding some of the
trace minerals and compost tea’s they could basically, you know, shorten the time for
production, they could actually grow things to the larger size, much faster and of course,
have more of the healthy food to feed the community. So they’re growing two main things, vegetables
is one of them, and of course the other ones are the chickens. So I want to give you guys a really short
segment on their chickens and how they’re doing it a little bit differently here, by
observing nature. Alright, so anyways, now that you guys could
see me they got a little chicken house here and actually this chicken house is like one
big square, and this one big square is divided up into smaller, 4 smaller squares. One of the squares is a little laying house/area,
one of the squares is like, in the back and it’s kind of just like, maybe dirt area. Then one of the squares is actually like a
dusting area, so like, they actually go in there and just kind of roll in the dust or
the dirt which I’ll explain in a minute, and in this area, this is basically, where
they, they basically put down a whole bunch like, weeds and scraps and compost and what
not and that’s where the chickens get to dig through a grate it all up and pick through
it and eat whatever they’re gonna eat. Find little bugs and worms and stuff to eat,
so that’s really cool and so, the farmer here actually earned a lot of stuff by actually
just observing the chickens right, he saw that in the morning, the chickens would all
line up in a row in this side of the pen and that’s because they want to get the morning
sun, my dog likes to do this too, he likes to go out and get the morning sun, so he created
a little roost here , with the pole so that they can actually just sit on the pole, so
more of them can sit in the sun in the morning. So I think that’s really cool to, you know
what, think about the care of your animals and how can you make their lives better, you
know, none of the chickens here are used for meat production, they’re all used for egg
production and so they feed them regularly the feed, actually they’re going in for
the night, I think it’s getting kind of late for them. They’re used for the egg production and
so the main usage for the chickens on the farm here, number 1 , egg production and number
2, they’re turning up this compost faster to turn it into the compost that’s gonna
go out in the farms, ‘cuz it helps to break down a bit quicker. Now another thing they’re doing, that’s
really cool by observation, is this other bed over here, which actually I wanna go ahead
and give you guys a close up on, ‘cuz this is something I believe everybody that has
chickens could be doing. Alright, so here’s another area that chicken
pan here and this is just one of the squares, I think most of the chickens have gone in
for the night, it’s getting a little bit cold now. But basically this is an area where they have
like a lot of different fine saw dust, maybe a small like a wood chips material, they also
mix some diatomaceous earth in there, and this is basically dry pan. So they keep this area dry and the chickens,
when I saw them earlier, they were just kind of like, rolling in here, rolling in the dust,
rolling in the dirt and it looks like they’re, cleaning themselves off, I don’t know what
they were doing but it looked like to me that they’re having a really nice fun time here,
rolling in the dirt here. They also have the water here, where they
could drink some water in there as well, and you know, I haven’t really seen this in
any of the farms, most of them just have an area where the chickens live, maybe a house
where they could lay the eggs, but they don’t have any places like this where chickens could
maybe, relax, right? So I really liked this, how thy have different
areas of the larger pan, that are all connected with the, you know, this little centre box,
there they could go in to either, any of the areas they want instead of being confined
into any particular one space in there, and in addition they’re gonna expand this out,
so they’re gonna l have like , a little free range area, that they could actually
you know, get on to the ground and you know, even explore adventure out further. So, I wanna encourage you guys, if you guys
do keep chickens, right, you wanna give them as much space as you possibly can, to roam
around in right?, like your dog would not be liking to live in just like one of those
little dog crates, their whole life and neither would we, like, live in a 10 by 10 small room
for our whole lives either right? So give them a lot of space and give them
different areas you know, something like this too, so you know, they could be happier chickens. So next part of the video I wanted to share
with you guys today is actually the farm area of this property and how they’re growing
here in West Oakland, and I think the one thing that strikes me, that’s most important
about any successful farm or garden or backyard garden, is setting up properly and having
the right infrastructure. So, first I want to go ahead and give you
guys a close up shots of the infrastructure and how they set this up and how you guys
may wanna set up your backyard or your farm to , you know, give you guys a higher probability
of success. Alright, so now I wanna share with you guys
, some of the things that they’re doing here at the farm to grow the food, number
1, they, on this bed anyway, they got some mulch down so that’s gonna protect the water
evaporation. Number 2, as you guys could see over here,
I don’t know if you guys could see that, but basically a three drip lines going down
each of the beds and they have like, one, two, three, four, maybe like five rows of
crops going all the way down, and in this bed they actually have the fava beans, and
they have the dinosaur kale and this bed looks like, they have some onions, planted with
some collard greens and so yeah, they have the automatic irrigation that they could tap
of their water you know, catchment that you guys saw. Built in, that’s number 1, number two, they
have the mulch, number 3, they actually have a, basically, wood chips here in the pathways
here, as you guys could see, I’m sitting on them, and then basically they have a basically
raised up beds, so they basically mounted up the soil, it’s probably about, I don’t
know 8 inches high of the ground level, and it’s probably about, like 18 to 20 inches
wide. So basically a raised beds without the sides
is what I’d like to call these guys, and you know, they’re growing in the, you know,
the good rich compost, that you guys saw a little bit earlier with all the drip lines,
and yeah , I mean, everything they plant, looks like it’s doing quite well, it’s
getting kind of dark, so I think I have time for maybe sharing with you guys, maybe a handful
of my favourite crops that are growing here and then maybe we’ll gonna have time to
interview, at the end of this episode, with the director. So, the first crop that I wanna share with
you guys today , and I wanna encourage you guys to grow, are these guys right here, as
you guys could see, they got the Swiss chard, Swiss chard by far out of this whole farm
that I’ve walked through today is you’re in the best that got many different out cropping’s
of the Swiss chard and it all looks like it’s doing really well, I mean, I’ve seen some
of the maybe, a braska family of plants maybe some of the kale’s and what not have some
aphids, but you know, no aphids on the Swiss chard here and I didn’t see any leaf minors
here either. But yeah, definitely if you wanna grow some
Swiss chard, one of the easiest to grow. Now in this community and this specific area
one of the challenges they’ve had with growing the Swiss chard is actually not growing it,
because it grows quite well is, but it’s getting the public that would consume it to
buy and use it, because they’re not quite used to the chard, they’re really used to
the collard greens and other kind of braska family plants, they like those plants but
the Swiss chard a little bit different for them So you know, for me I’d like to use
the Swiss chard and juice up the stems which actually makes nice tasty juice as well as
juice in the leaves themselves but yeah you could cut up Swiss chard and eat them fresh
and raw in salads, you could also ferment them and even turn them into green smoothies,
which is one of my favourite things to do with the baby leaves and when you guys harvest
and you guys are growing them yourselves, harvest the young little babies small leaves,
for your personal consumption, for salads and harvest the larger leaves, you know for
juices and smoothies and for other preparations in your kitchen. So besides the collard greens that they’re
growing, they’re growing a lot of different other kinds of greens, I mean, I don’t have
time to share those with you guys, all the different kinds, they got like, fava beans
here, lots of fava beans growing and you know, I forgot, you know, that you could eat few
fava bean leaves here and there, they have a really nice flavour, probably would eat
like a ton of these guys but , you know it’s fun to add a few to a salad or what not. But one you want to add in a salad in a large
way or these guys right here, this is known as the shinguku or the edible Chrysanthemum,
Kitazawa Seed Company, here in Oakland has the seeds for this, I would recommend you
guys to grow these guys, I mean look at this, this is one plant, it’s like 2 ft. tall,
there’s so many different , greens on here and this leafy green tastes like no other,
doesn’t tastes like collard, doesn’t tastes like kale, doesn’t tastes like Swiss chard,
doesn’t even tastes like lettuce. It tastes totally unique and different. To me it actually has like, aww kind of like
eating flower plus a little sweetness, I mean, you guys just got to grow it to eat it. It’s an Asian green that maybe available
at a local Asian market near you, but hey, why buy it at the market, when you guys could
grow it yourself, and it grows so well, I mean look at how well this plant does without
any kind of pest damage or anything. Yeah, one of my favourites, I think I have
time for sharing with you guys, one more crop that they’re growing here that I would encourage
you guys to grow. So the last crop I’m gonna share with you
guys on this little small tour or the farm here today is actually what’s behind me
and to the side of me, and as you guys could see they got a big large patch and this is
like, I don’t know, they got thing like a couple raised beds, three raised beds of
these guys which are the purple tree collards. Now especially in the winter time purple tree
collards get really quite good and quite tasty. The cold weather causes them to be more sweeter
and that’s a good thing, so the collard greens taste sweeter, plus the other thing
is that they grow year round and as you guys could see, you know, these guys have only,
this farm has only been in existence on this property here, for maybe like 8 months and
n 8 months some of these guys are pushing 3 ft. tall at this point and they’re just,
they’re literally leaf producers, these green and purple tree collards are leaf producers. They’ll keep producing leaves day in and
day out, year after year, month after month for you guys, so if by far you only investment
in like one plant, you wanna get a purple tree collard plant and they do have them here,
available, you know, even if you have apartment or balcony or condo, this is the one plant
you’re gonna wanna have, ‘cuz you could have a few plants in a few pots and it’s
gonna grow a lot of leaves for you guys to eat. The tree collards are in braska family plants
which have properties known as isothiocynate or fight chemicals and they can be anti-cancer,
as well as anti-diseases. Yeah, so I think that’s about all the time
I got today for the tour, but what I’d like to do next, sit down with the executive director,
Rodney, of the City Slickers Farm and interview him and ask him and learn more about the farm
here and maybe even how you guys could start your own farm, non-profit, like they’re
doing it here to serve and provide, you know, just food system and local food for community
members , plus grow a lot of good food too. John – So now I have the pleasure of introducing
to you guys, Rodney Spencer, the executive director of City Slicker Farms, and I just
spent literally like the last hour or so with Rodney, he’s a great guy, so I’m glad,
he’s on the show today, so you guys could learn more about the mission of City Slickers
Farms, and even maybe, how you could even duplicate something like this, in your area
‘cuz it is so important. So, Rodney, the first question I have for
you is, you know, what’s the mission of City Slickers Farms in the first place. I mean it surely isn’t to make a profit
on the farm here, as you guys saw earlier like the price they sell this produce for,
they ain’t getting rich people. Rodney – Yeah, our main goal is to help
members of our community have access to fresh produce, and you know, West Oakland, where
we’ve been located since 2001, it’s still a food desert, and you know, we’re here
for the food justice aspect of things. We wanna help people grow their own food,
we want to teach them the importance of eating healthy, nutritious food on a regular basis,
you know, zero grocery stores in the neighbourhood, we have 53 liquor stores and very few of them
sell any produce at all, and what produce they do have, is not very fresh, not very
healthy. So, our goal is to just give people access. So we have a farm stand every Saturday morning. It’s on a sliding scale for our neighbours
who don’t have much money, we don’t want them to leave empty handed. So, we’re open for business and like you
said, we’re not here to make money, we’re here to provide access. We make money in other ways and we really
try to keep our cost low. So, things, you know that, food shouldn’t
be as expensive as it is, especially organic food. If there’s no chemicals, no pesticides,
why does it cost more? So we’re really just trying to level the
playing field and teach the importance healthy nutritious, eating. John – Yeah, I mean, it is great here, aside
from just growing the food and offering to the community on a sliding scale, they’re
even going to the next step beyond that, and which what I would encourage you guys to do
is, they’re empowering the community, to grow their own food, you know, with their
backyard program, that you guys learned a little bit earlier about, we’ll have Rodney
share more about that, you know , they’re teaching people how to grow the food themselves,
so actually they don’t have to show up at the farm to buy their food. So we could learn how to grow food and I think
you know it’s so important in this age that we’re all taught how to grow our own food
and you know, the City Slickers are even working with local schools to get the kids involved
with all this kind of stuff. So, you wanna share real quick about the backyard
program you guys got going on and you guys build raised beds that’s even subsidised
by , you know, the City, or the County. Rodney – Yeah, so yeah we’re, one of the
programs that we’ve been known for in this neighbourhood, is the backyard garden program,
and essentially what we do, is we work with an individual family. We’ll go to your house, we’ll build two
raised bed gardens, we’ll put a trellis in a fruit tree and variety of different vegetables
and herbs in your garden, and with that you get two seasons of support, excuse me, two
years of support. We come out every season, every three months
to help you learn how to harvest, to pest control, without using pesticides. We teach you how to do soil amendments and,
we teach you how to cook the food too. So we really wanna do this wrap around support,
and over the past 15 years, we’ve been actually 16 years, we’ve been in this neighbourhood,
we’ve built over 300 backyard gardens for individuals and we’ve built, close to a
hundred, backyard gardens for community groups., like child care centres, low income housing
and senior housing. So, we’re really proud of that , I’m actually
just returning from a build today, we built two raised bed gardens, for senior community
and we gave them pak choi, lots of lettuce, we grew snap peas, nice variety things, we
always grow collards and kale and chards, just because here in Oakland, we can kind
of grow that stuff year round. I think the most exciting part of that for
me is when we arrive and we build that bed and we start planting, the neighbours are
so excited, the community members are so excited because it’s a new beginning for them. It means they give them a level of freedom,
it gives them a level of control over what they’re eating every day, you know, and
a lot of community members told us the same thing, they would eat better, if the food
was accessible and it was affordable. So we’re really making that happen for people,
and that’s relates to the education piece, we, I personally believe , if you can really
get children thinking about their food, helping them understand the importance of what they
eat, at an early age, they will grow up with that appreciation and live with it. I myself, as I was telling you earlier that,
I grew up in a poor neighbourhood but I had no idea that we were poor, ,because, you know,
my grandmothers backyard, looked like a farm and it had lots of fresh vegetables , we have
fruit trees, we had grapes, we had everything right threw at our disposal, so eating was
never an issue, and I grew up appreciating vegetable and I think because of that, I’m
almost 49 years old, and I feel like I’m 29 years old. I’m out here every day, I’m working hard,
and I can outwork most 29 year olds that I know, So, I really feel empowered, knowing
that although those years, you know, really when I was a kid, I really did hate working
in the garden, but it was a part of our family so I have this deep appreciation for it, now
I love it, now I’m installing it in our community especially with the young kids that
we work with. On Tuesday afternoons we have a high school
group, that comes by every Tuesday and they have a project that they’re working on. On Wednesday afternoon, we have elementary
school group, I work with them on a daily basis, but on Wednesday’s they come to the
park, so we can do a cooking activity. We have a cooking demo kitchen here and we’re
teaching them how to take this through right from the farm, clean it up prepare it and
have a good meal with them. On Thursday afternoons, we have a middle school
group that comes through on a regular basis, to do different projects, some of it’s in
working in the garden and some of it is doing some construction projects, we’re teaching
them how to use the tools and build their own beds, themselves so they can do some of
these things at their own home. So we really feel strongly about, passing
these skills to the next generation, just because somebody’s gonna have to grow the
food, when I’m no longer able to do it. So I wanna make sure, that we’re leaving
that legacy to our children and the community members. John – Yeah, I mean that’s super important,
running a farmers man, so I’m glad that you guys are actually taking the time to watch
this video and maybe, one of you guys is gonna be a future farmer , I mean , you could do
it, even if you don’t have a lot of acreage right? , you could grow a farm on somebody’s
other, somebody else’s land, OPL, other persons land, I have a video on that with
Curtis Stone, you know, so check that out, where you could actually just, you know, use
space from your neighbours that aren’t growing anything and there’s space or maybe even,
it looks terrible ‘cuz it has weeds coming out. But I think another thing that’s really
important that Rodney talked about is, you know, to have access to food, but not only
just have access to the food , but have access to good tasting food, I mean , who wants to
go down to the local grocery store and buy some kale that’s been shipped in from California,
I mean, we are here in California, but still you know, it might be a week from the time
it was picked from the fields and as kale gets older, let me tell you man, it starts
to taste naaasty and if it’s fresh picked man, it’s so much sweeter, so much vibrant
, so much healthier to eat, and it just tastes better and people are gonna like to eat it
better. So I think that’s a critical point of all
this and why you guys should grow your food. Now, I know, some of you guys maybe thinking,
“man, that guy Rodney, he sounds like he’s got a dream job, man, you know he doesn’t
gotta sell these produce for money, he does these cool installs, he gets to work on this
farm all day”, where’s the money come from, that made this farm possible and if
you guys wanted to start one of these, how would, how would you even get funded for it? So Rodney, what’s the answer to that more
complex question there. Rodney – Sure, sure, sure and in a way it’s
a dream job and in a way it’s a nightmare, because ultimately we make very little money
of the food. We are a non-profit organization, so we do
rely on community members, individual donors, foundations, grants all, you know half of
my work is going out there finding funding for the work that we do. I love it, I feel passionate about it, it
keeps me up in the morning, but like I was telling John earlier, now when I’m having
a conversation I’m always looking for an angle to talk about the work that I do and
how you can help. Whether it’s inclined donations, its cash
donations, you know, or just come in to volunteer, that’s how we make this all work. Every Thursday and Saturday, we have groups
that come out to help us out on Friday’s we have a group called Allies, they’re like
regular volunteers, they’re developing a skill and they’re learning from us, so they’re
giving back by being here every Friday, to harvest and wash the food and get it ready
for the farm stand, and then we work with corporate groups, we actually invite corporate
groups to come out, not only do we ask them to work with us, we also ask them to give
us money to work with us too, but and it often helps out, so all jokes aside, this is a passion
for us and we do what we have to do to make this dream happen, so you know , if you’re
in a position to come and help us out, if you’re in a position to send us a check,
if you know someone who really likes supporting this kind of work, let them know about us,
just because, we’ve been around for a long time and, my goal, my dream, is to put us
out of business, and what I mean by that is, when all the city, urban areas, have this
kind of opportunity to do this, in their own neighbourhood, we’re not needed anymore,
when our communities have grocery stores with fresh food, even I it’s small market with
fresh produce that people can afford, my job is done. When you are at home and you’re growing
things in your backyard and you’re looking at shows like john, you look come in the places
like us, and you’re learning how to grow, on your own, my job is done, you know, I really
want us to get to a point where, we’re not needed in the neighbourhood, we’re wanted
but this is a place of education, you can come here and learn, but you also have the
tools and the resources to get the food on your own, grow the food on your own, in a
really, in a normal way, like I said earlier, I grew up poor, but I knew, where my food
was coming from, it was coming from the backyard, and I’m hoping that overtime we’re starting
to see the importance of knowing where your food comes from, and as John was talking about
earlier, we pick our food on Friday afternoon, we wash it, we sell it on Saturday morning,
it’s on someone’s table by Saturday afternoon. It’s fresh and there’s nothing like fresh
food, and the more people we get involved in creating their food, I think the better
off we’re all gonna be. Our health is gonna be better, I actually
think our economies will be better, because people will be saving more, they won’t be
spending all their money on food and they’re gonna be saving money on health care cost,
because most of the health care problems that we are seeing today are the problems that
we’re causing ourselves, the foods that we’re eating are the foods that we’re
not eating are really causing those problems and we really look at food as medicine, you
know, if I had a headache, I’m gonna go drink some turmeric tea or something like
that, I’m not gonna go to the medicine cabinet for aspirin or something like that. I think all of us need to start thinking about
that, and really kind of going back old-school. My grandmother never gave me medicine of the
shelf, it was always something she cooked up herself and I think we could all benefit
as a society once we start doing that way of life again. John – Wow man, you’re just, that moved
me, hope it moved you guys as well man. A few comments I had, so number 1, if you
all are on food stamps or whatever they call, EBT these days, you know, not only you could
buy food with those food stamps or EBT, you could actually you could actually buy plant
starts and seeds. So, you know, grow your own food with the
food stamps or with the EBT instead of just buying the food, ‘cuz guess what, when you
plant the tree collards like you guys saw earlier, that could feed you for years, whereas
if you buy a bunch of collard greens, that’d feed you for like one meal, right? Number 2 thing that I wanna mention, is that
I wanna put myself out of business. I don’t wanna have to make these videos
anymore for you guys, you know I don’t want you, I want everybody being powered to know
how to grow their own food, so that I could just stop making videos for you guys. Let me tell you ,my girlfriend, she’d be
much happier that I’d spend more time with her and less time making videos for you guys,
that’s not the favourite thing that she want me to be doing in the world. So yeah, the other thing that I’d like to
say is that, I would encourage you to support the City Slickers, if you guys have some extra
money or even more importantly, live in the area, you wanna come, learn on the job, learning
on the job, you know , aside from watching my videos, is the best way to learn how to
do gardening, they got compost in here they got chicken, they got, you know, they’re
growing all kinds of different things, they’re propagating the tree collards, you can learn
so many different skills that actually with, on the job training, how to harvest things,
hey, you even need to know how to harvest weeds properly sometimes, ‘cuz they might
be getting fed to the chicken or are just put them in the compost bin, right? But yeah, so volunteer sometimes, if you live
here in the bay area, especially in the east bay, super convenient location to get to. I would encourage you guys to, you know check
them out. Rodney – Come get your hands dirty. John – Oh, so I wanted to you know corporate
sponsors, let’s talk about some of the organizations and companies that have sponsored you and
helped you guys out, to make this place what it is today, and as much as, you know, I want
people to become their own producers instead of consumers in our society, you know the
fact of the matter is, we live in a culture, that you know, is what it is right now and
we need to make it better, so hey, we could use some of these, you know, corporations
to our advantage, when they’re gonna help out the small guy and do the right thing with
their corporate profits, which I think is definitely really good. Rodney – Yeah, well you know, we have some
really awesome partners in this city, Clorox is a big partner with us, they come out and
, support the activities that they do and we get a grant from them on a regular basis,
Clif Bars is another really awesome partner, Clif Bars, they have two or three different
groups within Clif Bars, they come out on a regular basis to help out, to just do some
hard work with us to build things with us, we’re so appreciative of that and then we
have partners who do things like, Lowney Architecture , I’ll send you an image so you can put
it in this video, and it’ll show you, kind of the blueprint or the park, and under normal
circumstances a blueprint design like this will cost tens of thousands of dollars, But
Lowney Architecture did it for 1 dollar, and that’s just, things like that save us so
much time , they save us so many resources that we can put back to the farms so those
are three that stand out but all of the organizations in our neighbourhood, you know, we have John,
who works for Drakes Beer, I won’t mention his last name, but he’s gotten our name
up to the higher powers up at Drakes and they’re a big supporters of ours, they just did the
Espay Brufest, last, couple of weekends ago and we were the beneficiary of a really generous
donation from Drakes Brewery so we are appreciative to all of our corporate partners and it really
doesn’t matter what the size of your gift is,, you know, ,with many hands make light
work, so the more people that are giving small really adds up. So you know, you don’t have to be a big
corporation to help out, your 10 dollar helps out, your 2 hours of volunteer service helps
out, your knowledge helps out. I can tell you that I spent the last hour
and half or so with John, I picked his brain, just because, he’s a teacher and I’m still
a student and I’ve been doing this kind of work. John – I’m still a student too man, I’m
here learning from you, you’re learning from me, we’re all learning from each other. Rodney – Right, you never stop learning,
yeah , and I’m a teacher so again, I actually go to an after school program every day after
I leave the farm and I work with kids, and I learn so much from them. So when you come out to volunteer, you’re
amazed to how much you’re actually giving to us. You’re giving us new knowledge, you’re
giving us new ideas and you’re really giving us new inspiration for the work that we do. So , it’s not just about the money, money
helps us pay the bills, keep the plants growing but the support all around, is really what
makes us, this an inspiring job. It’s an inspirational day when I can work
with children, I can learn from adults, I can get my hands dirty and then I’ll go
to bed, knowing that I have helped some family, some person have better access to really healthy
food, and I think of better life in the long run. John – Wow, yeah I mean being the change
in the world that you want to see. Super important and I wanna encourage all
you guys to do that. I think, another thing that’s important
for me to mention in this video Rodney is, not only are their corporate sponsors but
let’s talk about the City, the County and the State Governments that actually has made
this possible, this park possible. Rodney – Yeah so, we live in California
and you know California is a really progressive place, we have a proposition that was approved
many years ago, we applied for this in 2010, it’s called the proposition 84 grant, and
what it does is provide for urban green spaces, you know, in a place like West Oakland , for
the last 30 or 40 years, it has become very industrialized, very few parks, poor soil,
poor air, poor water. So what the state decide to do was to create
this pool of money so we can recreate the beauty that once was California. So we h can rehab this land, you know, so
the land on which we’re sitting on was once a paint factory and then it became an auto
parts dealer, and then it became just an abandoned piece of land for 20 years, and the soil was
so poor, we had to do, I think, 2 year rehabilitation, a remediation of the soil., just to get it
back healthy again. So we proposed to the state of California
that, we will purchase this land, we will turn it into a farm and a park. So it’ one of the few, it’s one of the
first examples of what’s called the, publically operated privately owned property, so we call
it POPOP for sure but, we operate like a State park, 7 days a week, the farm is only open
5 of those days, but you can come, you can bring your family, we have beautiful playground,
which is donated by KaBOOM!, another big corporate sponsorship, so that was one of the biggest
volunteer days, I know this is a side story, great volunteer day, KaBOOM! gave us probably
about 100 thousand dollars’ worth of play equipment and we partnered with PGnE who provides
us with power and gas, electricity. They came out in about 200 people and we put
that playground together in one day, so I know John, it’s on the video tape that you
see, but that’s another great partnership. But back to the question, so that state partnership
allowed us to purchase this land and this land is forever farm land. We can’t sell it, lease it, make anything
else, so it’s always gonna be a farm, a playground and open green space. Another big partnership that we have is with
the Alameda County health department. We partnered with them to make sure senior
centres, low income housing and child care facilities that are in food deserts have access
to this food. So , I just cam back today from senior centre
over in East Oakland , we build about 48 sq. ft. of garden space for them with a trellis,
we took over about, I think 36 different plants to grow some pollinators, some herbs put a
lot of leafy greens , just because that’s what the community wanted to grow and we get
paid through it’s called triple A, I forget the acronym, but it’s really to support
senior centres, you know, these places that are full of people who, you know I think generationally
used to be farmers, you know, when you’re looking at people who are in their 70s and
80s, most of them growing up, they were, you know, growing their own food, I know my grandparents
grew their own food, and you know this is a recent thing that everybody is depending
on, grocery stores and markets for their stuff man, so this community is so happy to have
this again. They’re closing this facility but we’re
bringing that to them, so this year alone, we’re scheduled to build about 20 different
sites, in a variety of places, mostly senior centres, but here in West Oakland, we’re
building in all of the elementary and middle schools here, I think that’s one of the
really critical parts of, getting people thinking about this food and creating healthy habits
early is with the , in the elementary and middle school. So the County of Alameda is a really strong
partner in that effort to make sure those gardens gets build in senior and child care
centres and things like that. John – Wow, yeah, so I mean it sounds like,
without the partners, like this project wouldn’t have been possible and wouldn’t have been
able to be done. So you know, if you guys are starting some
kinds of project, hey, California is probably good place to do it, ‘cuz they still have
money in that, same proposition to do this exact model inn other areas and now they got
this model going, they know it works and you could duplicate things in other poor areas
and other areas that are food deserts, to provide not only good food but more importantly
education and turn the health of the community around. So well, Rodney, you know, somebody maybe
want to start something like this, but do you guys serve as an organization, that somebody
could come to and say, ”hey Rodney, how did you do that, what should we go to, ‘cuz
we wanna start these, because we believe in you know, local food and healthy food and
access to healthy food and of course nice green spaces for all. Rodney – Yeah, I wouldn’t say we’re
the experts on that subject just because, it was a lengthy process for us. So we started this project back in 2010 and
we opened the doors in 2016, so my first piece of advice is like, be really patient, not
because it’s not important, it’s just the wheel of bureaucracy are really really
slow, but they do turn, so you know, you know, the community, is you r best, you know, resource,
so as we were doing this, you know, City Slicker Farms is a really small organization, there’s
five of us, I’m the executive director, and I have two people that are working in
the field and two people are kin of doing some administrative work, so it’s very small
team of people on our own. So when I talk about partnerships, I really
mean partnerships. So when this idea came about, we partnered
with a group, we created a council, it’s called the farm park council, and it comprises,
it was comprised of neighbours, who were interested in seeing what was going on here, and that’s
the power of community folks, it’s like nothing that we do, are we doing it by ourselves,
alone. We’re really trying to get as many people
involved as possible, because you never know, where that next really good idea are the supporters
gonna come from or the breakthrough, you know, as we were working through this process, some
members of our part council, they have connections, they know people in different places, they
know which offices to call, so that group of helped us navigate all of those channels,
so I would say If you’re starting a project like this, really surround yourself with knowledgeable
people who are passionate about this project that you’re working on, and I guarantee
you that you’re gonna go faster and you’re gonna go further with that additional support. The other thing that I think really helps
out is trying to partner with an agency of the City or of the State, you know, with us
within the City of Oakland we have a group called the Oakland food policy council,, it’s
led by a young woman name Sheniz Alexander, she’s incredible and her job is really looking
at how policies affect, what’s happening in communities. So when you’re, trying to fight in justice
in the food system, you really need a partner at the city level, who can really elevate
your message and your mission up to the levels that need to hear about it. So working with the food policy council, it
gets up to recognition of the city, it gets them thinking about policies that need to
shift to help this to work, you know, one of the policies that we were really able to
shape was, there was a restriction, that landlords could prohibit people from growing food in
their yards, you know, yeah , it used to be, yeah, so we were able to really get that policy
changed and get them more relaxed kind of culture around urban agriculture, so more
people could share in there, so it’s like, it doesn’t have a personal impact on the
market itself but It helps the entire community understand why the situation is the way it
is. So having a partner like that was really valuable
and then also really working with the health department, the, you know, we have an incredible
health department here, their needs are really on the ground and they’re looking at projects
like this , they are helping people, it’s called direct service, you know, when we think
about government and how funds are allocated and how people are really getting the resources,
our County government has really figured out, that non-profits, I mean we are on the ground
day to day working with people in direct service, so we really are , I think the best eyes and
years for the County to understand what’s going on in the community. So having them as a partner and doing this
work that we’re doing, helps the entire community improve health situation, improve
overtime. John – Yeah I mean, I definitely agree , the
healthier you guys eat, the healthier you’re gonna be, I mean, Rodney talked about it a
little bit earlier you know, some of the top diseases of today, I think it’s like the
majority the top 20 diseases today are directly influenced because of the foods you’re eating
or the foods you’re not eating, right, so you know, what I like to encourage everybody
to do is eat more fruits and vegetables you know, the majority of my diet is fruits and
vegetables and even if you don’t want to make the majority of your diet food specials,
you need to eat significantly more than the average person, there’s a study that just
came out over in Europe, I think they said, if you eat, 10 servings of fruits and vegetables
a day, you’re gonna get the maximum benefit from the fruits and vegetables ant they recommend
maybe 5 serving a day, 5 or 9 maybe, but they said 10 is the best, but I say why stop at
10 right?, eat even more, I mean that’s why eat as many fruits and vegetables. So, Rodney my time here is coming to an end
but, I want to ask you maybe one or two more questions, so like the next question is, you
know, from working on this farm and being here day in, day out like, what’s one tip
that you would share with my viewers that you think could, could help them out or just
one of your words of wisdom that you’d like to share with everyone watching here today. Rodney – About the work that we do or just
in general? John – In general. Rodney – Oh man that’s a tough one, you
know this has really nothing to do with food necessarily but it also has to do with everything
with food is, what pushes me is, I have a passion for the community, and if you’re
not in a community that you’re passionate about, move, right now, pack up your bag quit
your job and find a place that you could be passionate about. I’m not a native of Oakland I came to Oakland
back in 2007 for a vacation and I found myself moving back in 2008 and I haven’t looked
back and I’m passionate about the community. I started here volunteering in the school
I was fortunate enough to take my time off and in my time off volunteering in the community,
just because it felt like a community that I could contribute to, not that they needed
my help, but it was a place that I felt passionate about and that passion just continued to grow. Shortly thereafter I was part of a team of,
that founded the elementary school here in the neighbourhood and through that school,
I started volunteering with the City Slickers Farm, because my students just didn’t know
where food came from and I felt like, hey, let’s go down the street, I can show you
exactly where the food comes from it does not comes from a liquor store, it comes out
of the ground, and that just kind of kept fuelling the passion and ultimately I became
the executive director of City Slicker Farms, however I did not severe my attachment with
the school so after full day here I go over to the elementary school and I run the garden
and nutrition program and after that I just go home and pass out. But I’m able to do that because I’m so
passionate about the community that I live in, it’s a very diverse community, they
are rich, there are poor, there are black, white, Latino, Asian and I love them all,
they love me, we fill the love, and that’s the other thing that I wanna say is that everybody
is welcome here, you know we are a country of immigrants we are refugees at one point
and this is perfectly I propose at this moment for me to say, you are welcome at City Slicker
Farm, we don’t care where you came from, and we don’t care where you’re going,
if you share the passion about supporting people in your community who wanna contribute
to the community, regardless of where they’re from, regardless of what they look like, regardless
of how much money they make this is the community for you right here, and I’m passionate about
that because, that’s what drew me to the city, like I saw people from all walks of
life, from all nationalities getting along, sharing, supporting one another and that’s
what’s gonna make our entire world better, but it starts in your community. You can’t go out there and make, change
somebody else’s mind across the country, change your community right where you are,
starting today and if you don’t like that community that you’re in, go find the community
and the passion that’s driving you and change it for the better and that’s kind of what
pushes me day to day. John – Wow, I mean I totally agree, love
and, live with love and passion, super important super critical in this day and age, and you
know, that’s what fuels me, I get up and I’m like, today I made two videos, you know
and I’m here today hanging out with Rodney, whose super cool when I showed up, he didn’t
know who I was until we maybe talked a bit later. Rodney – This guys is famous. John – He was super nice, super cool and
I like to play dumb a lot of times and just ask a lot of questions and people don’t
know who I am. So anyways, I had a great time, he is a super
good guy, so, Rodney – Come by and see me. John – Rodney, last question so if somebody
wants to like support you guys and like volunteer or learn on a job, you know send you guys
some money, you have a website where they could facilitate that and learn about you
and figure all that stuff out. Rodney – Absolutely, yeah the best way,
I don’t do business cards, so you, if you wanna talk to me, come by the farm, I’m
here almost every day, even on Sundays, I come by and feed the chicken, so I’m here
on Sunday mornings. But our website is www.cityslickerfarms.org,
and the information about volunteering, how you can support us, our programming, it’s
all there, you can even go to our contact form, fill out that form , press submit, and
I’m gonna get that email, be patient with me, I may not answer today or tomorrow or
the next day, but I’m working on it. John – Yeah I mean, he’s actually super
busier than I am and I’m super busy alright, he’s so , like, we’re just brothers from
another mother, like in the garden farming and teaching the people, the world to make
it a better place, that’s simply what we do. Alright Rodney. Rodney – And we’re just doing it through
food. John – Yeah, just through food, I mean we’re
all connected ‘cuz we all gotta eat unless you’re a breatheterian, alright. Rodney – I don’t know any of those. John – I‘ve met a supposable one but,
I don’t know, anyways. Rodney – Check their documents. John – Yeah right, so anyways, with that,
I’ll leave all the links down below so you could check out the City Slickers and volunteer,
definitely I would encourage you guys to come out, if you guys are in the area. They do do tours, though contact him, contact
them if you wanna come, you wanna tour of the coz place once again this public park
here for you guys and they got a restroom too. Rodney – Two of them. John – Two of them. But yeah If you enjoyed this episode at the
City Slickers, please be sure to give me a thumbs up, also please be sure to share this
video with somebody else, you know, that should know about this place, this amazing place
in Oakland so they could have access to food, they could learn how to garden on the job,
literally by volunteering or how they could get a garden pudding, you know, to their backyard,
also be sure to click that subscribe button right down below, so you don’t miss out
on any of the upcoming episodes of, episodes coming out every 3 to 4 days, you never know
where I’ll show up or what you’ll be learning or what might inspire you in one of my episodes,
and finally be sure to check out my past episodes. My past episodes over 1200 episodes now on
this YouTube channel, dedicated to teaching you guys, all the aspects of growing your
own food, at home and as well as you know supporting good farms in places that I’ve
visited with experts along the way. So with that, my name is John Kohler, with
growingyourgreens.com we’ll see you next time, until then, remember, Keep On Growing.

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