Ifirst wrote about Ghost Town Farm a couple of years ago. Novella Carpenter is a celebrity in urban farming, in no small part because of her book Farm City and her connection with food author and journalism professor Michael Pollan. Not everyone is a fan, some because she raises animals for food, others because she's self-promoting. (BTW, the book is more about the story of her learning, and not really a how-to.) But you can't deny that she's helped popularize the idea of urban farming and the local food movement, and has made people in and around Oakland more aware of where their food comes from.
So it was a little surprising when I saw a blog posting "Farmstand Canceled Due to... the City of Oakland". At first it seemed like she was over-reacting. Maybe she needed conditional use permits and licenses and things to sell produce, but surely she couldn't need those things just to grow it? Well, turns out she does, at least according to current city of Oakland rules. As a result, there's been an uproar in the blogosphere and the dead-tree press, and not just here in Oakland. People are mobilizing to help her get things changed. And even if you don't believe in her approach personally, urban farming is back, and the city shouldn't make it harder for people to raise food locally. Check out this post on Pluck and Feather about the general movement to get the city up to speed, and sign the petition.
East Bay Express
NBC Bay Area
Ella Baker Center