Why We’re Planting California Natives At The Farm Park

Food Justice Ally Bobbi planting California sagebrush at the Farm Park
Food Justice Ally Bobbi planting California sagebrush at the Farm Park. Photo: Julia Irwin

At the West Oakland Farm Park, the spindly young California sagebrush plants are easy to miss. They look like several thin twigs stuck into the ground now, but if all goes well, one day they will be sturdy, drought-tolerant bushes as tall as a grown person – and useful to boot.

“They attract native wildlife, particularly insects,” said Farm Manager Joseph Davis. “That’s good for pollination, for predation. For example, parasitic wasps will attack aphids and other pests. They will really help us with pest management.”

The California sagebrush plants, as well as several other East Bay-specific California native plants, were collected from wild sources in East Bay regional parks by local nonprofit Save The Bay, which focuses on community-based habitat restoration. The plants were then donated to City Slicker Farms by Jon Backus, Save The Bay’s Restoration Program Manager.

“Save The Bay and City Slicker overlap in our engagement and empowerment of the community,” Backus said.

Coast buckwheat, a California native that attracts a variety of beneficial insects. Photo: Julia Irwin

Backus is a West Oakland resident who lives next door to what was once the Center Street Farm, City Slicker Farms’ original site. When the Center Street Farm closed a few years back, he was sad to see it go.

“But I was very happy to hear about the Farm Park that was slated for construction,” Backus said. “I kept in touch with City Slicker Farms, hoping to volunteer when I had time. I was able to make it to the Farm Park to help build the greenhouse, which was fun, and I’m hoping to become more involved this summer!”

Find out how you can get involved with City Slicker Farms at the West Oakland Farm Park here.

Written by Julia Irwin. This blog was originally published in City Slicker Farms blog on 7/19/2016.