Oakland Museum of California Embraces Urban Farming in its New Exhibition

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Chance the rabbit is a resident of City Slicker Farms, a space that is featured in the Oakland Museum of California's newest exhibit.  (Alyssa Perry/KQED)

The Oakland Museum of California unveiled its new exhibit "Take Root: Oakland Grows Food" over the weekend. It highlights the different food communities and how food is grown by residents within in the city.

"The Oakland Museum of California is really interested in social justice issues and how they effect the citizens living here," says Sarah Seiter, the curator. "There’s a lot of issues with food access in Oakland."

There are still many neighborhoods, like East and West Oakland, that are considered food deserts because there's no access to fresh healthy food. The only options are liquor stores.

Seiter and the museum wanted to examine urban farms like City Slicker Farms, a local non-profit farm in West Oakland, that have thrived in the areas that lack nutritious food options.

The City Slicker Farms offers produce and workshops to residents who do not have access to fresh foods.
The City Slicker Farms offers produce and workshops to residents who do not have access to fresh foods. (Alyssa Perry/KQED)

City Slicker hosts a Saturday farmstand where residents can purchase produce on a sliding donation scale. It has a abundance of raised garden beds, chicken coops and a greenhouse where people can come to garden. The farm also provides programs where residents can learn to make their own backyard garden.


Rodney Spencer is the Executive Director of the farm and is excited to bring a social justice twist along with the other farms highlighted in the Take Root exhibit.

"We all have the same belief about food. It's a basic human right," says Spencer. "It should be available for everyone. We have to change the mindset."

Museum visitors can see where the food insecure areas are, find out where the best locations are for food to grow within city limits, watch a  documentary on local farms and even learn how to make their own garden.