It's quite literally been a long row to hoe but we did it folks!

Posted by Kitty Sharkey , Wednesday, November 5, 2014 11:21 PM

"The Oakland City Council just unanimously affirmed our right to grow and share food throughout the city. No more costly permits or onerous processes to start community gardens. Just passion, commitment, and a willingness to reconnect with the earth and each other."   
     - Aaron Lehmer-Chang, Oakland Food Policy Council
Below is the text to my public comment at the City Council meeting this evening.  I may have stumbled on a word here or there, but my goal was to highlight the long road we've traveled and give thanks to everyone involved in getting us to this victory.  After the meeting there were lots of high fives, hugs, and handshakes.  I think we should all celebrate by raising a toast to our right to grow our own food.  Personally I think Bloody Mary's are appropriate - Tomato juice, vodka (potatoes), a nice crisp stick of celery.... Mmmmm!

Good Evening - 
My name is Kitty Sharkey and I am an Urban Homesteader living in East Oakland.  As I look around the chamber tonight, I don't just see a lot of citizens.  What I DO see are a lot of hard working people.  Many of us here have spent the better part of the past four years working to get to this point. 
I'd like to acknowledge all of those involved, from our Elected Officials and their Staff to the Planning Department, the Oakland Food Policy Council, those involved in Community Gardens, Urban Homesteaders, and Activists alike.  Although we haven't always seen eye to eye, we've stuck with it.  We've voiced our opinions and fought for our convictions.  And we've ALL made compromises in order to present this proposal to you tonight. 
If this proposal FINALLY makes it through this process and is adopted, it will be a monumental leap for the City of Oakland.  By removing the legal and financial barrier of a Conditional Use Permit for Community Gardens, not only will it beautify our city by revitalizing neighborhoods and turning vacant, blighted, and abandoned properties into green spaces, but it will also open opportunities for employment and empowerment.  It can help provide residents with a sustainable source of additional income.  And it will help to insure the availability of healthy and nutritous food to all residents of Oakland, regardless of socioeconomic status. 
I strongly urge you to pass this proposal as presented. 
Thank you.