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Wednesday, Jun 24 2009
This, in a nutshell, is the difference between San Francisco and Oakland: When we take over a patch of land for guerrilla urban farming, we are restrained, planting kale and herbs, some cucumbers. When someone in Oakland does it, it leads to pigs. The reason lies in the vacant lots: Oakland has many more of them, and many more absent owners who aren’t around to tell you what you can’t do to them. For Novella Carpenter, it meant nobody to tell her she couldn’t make a garden, and nobody to tell her she couldn’t add chickens. Then geese. Couple of ducks. Turkeys. A beehive. (This is in a neighborhood where people shoot guns in the daytime, by the way.) She added rabbits. Goats. And two Red Duroc pigs that were 300 pounds each, fat on Dumpster-dived Chinese food, when she slaughtered and ate them. Yes, Carpenter kills and eats what she raises — she beheaded a duck in her bathtub. With the pigs, she made a nice prosciutto, and salami, and soppressata, with the help from Chris Lee, chef at Eccolo. The latest thing to come out of the lot is the book Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer, which is getting nice reviews nationwide. Oakland: Opportunity is knocking, people.
Wed., July 1, 7 p.m., 2009

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Michael Leaverton


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