The Oakland Seaport started up in 1927, and Oakland is now the fifth busiest container port in the U.S., but growth has taken a toll. Three freeways seal off the historic port community of West Oakland from the larger Bay Area. Tankers, tugs, passenger and cargo ships, and thousands of heavy trucks travel daily through the area, which has some of the highest rates of asthma in California. West Oakland’s 25,000 residents lack access to a major grocery store, and many must shop for fresh produce in liquor stores and fast food chains. 

Since 2010, In Good Company has partnered with City Slicker Farms (CSF), a leader in local food justice. We built much of the infrastructure for the 1.4-acre West Oakland Farm Park, a former brownfield site that CSF has worked hard to transform into a community park and urban farm. We cut, hammered, and sawed some essentials (three market stands, a woodshop, a classroom, and a toolshed). Volunteers also teamed up alongside local residents to grow the size and number of community and backyard gardens, raised beds, chicken coops, and composters. We’ve been lucky to work with cutting-edge nonprofits, too, planting a test-model bamboo forest (designed to filter diesel particulates in the air) with Urban Biofilter, and installing solar panels on neighborhood housing with GRID Alternatives. In 2019, we partnered with Planting Justice to build a 30-foot yurt and two pergolas, spaces where youth will learn about nutrition and food justice. 

We kicked back too, hosting annual soul-food dinners at Brown Sugar Kitchen (world famous for its fried chicken and cornmeal waffles). West Oakland’s history came to life inside its landmark 16th Street Station, where we celebrated our efforts with a triple-chocolate cake (baked by one of our very own IGCers). Local In Good Company alums have returned to visit old friends, build 14 ADA-accessible garden beds, install an irrigation system, and deliver six (hand-painted!) bee boxes to keep City Slicker’s bees abuzzin’. 

6 projects over 5 years with City Slicker Farms
4792 volunteer hours
1 chocolate-on-chocolate-on-chocolate chocolate cake

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