Getting There! The Road to Food Policy Change in Oakland…

I am proud to announce that the policy changes that support our right to grow food in Oakland are finally making their way through City Council. It has been a four-year journey made worthwhile by friends and supporters who’ve shown up for the long hours. We all have many to thank for the hundreds of people that have shown up, spoken up, and stood up over those four years; from local celebrity, siren and “Artivist,” Jennifer Johns, Ariel Dekovic at City Slicker Farms, to local urban farmers such as Kitty Sharkey, and many, many more.
The Oakland Food Policy Council would like to specifically thank Councilmember Lynette McElhaney, Councilmember Kalb, Councilmember Kaplan, and their staff for being critical champions for policy change. The urban agriculture proposal, approved by the Oakland Planning Commission on September 17th, was presented to the City’s Community and Economic Development Committee of yesterday. Committee members voted to move the proposal forward on the Consent Calendar for full City Council on the November 5th agenda. Councilmembers Schaaf, Kernighan, and McElhaney voted in approval, Councilmember Reid abstained.
We now have one more leg of this particular journey to get through on November 5, 2014. Then, we can truly celebrate a victory hard won!
If you are interested in viewing last night’s meeting, video provided below:

Demystifying City Council Committees

OFPC is deep in the process of supporting our Right to Grow recommendations to first the Planning Commission and now to the Community and Economic Development (CED) Committee of City Council. We most definitely need your support in expressing the need for these changes. We also recognize that not everyone knows what the heck the CED Committee is, or who is on it…or for that matter any of the City Council committees. We therefore want to share a handy write up produced originally on Living in the O by Rebecca Saltzman, click here to view. Check it out. Its helpful to understand for other initiatives that are moving forward in Oakland as well, such as the Tenant Protection Ordinance with Causa Justa.

Who sits on the Committee and what do they do?

Community & Economic Development (CED) – Every 2nd and 4th Tuesdays, 2:00pm to 4:00pm
Committee Members:
• Larry Reid, Chair: District 7
• Lynette McElhaney; District 3
• Libby Schaaf: District 4
• Patricia Kernighan; District 2
Another powerful committee – CED oversees all sorts of development – commercial buildings, housing, parking lots, and economic development projects.

What City Council District are you located in? Check it here.


Help us represent Oakland at Terra Madre!

Let’s send Esperanza to Italy!


Dear friends, neighbors, and allies:

We are calling on you to help us meet a crucial goal. It’s a modest one, with global impact. We are fundraising to send our beloved Council Director, Esperanza Pallana, to represent Oakland at the Slow Food International Conference next month. All she needs is a plane ticket to help bring Oakland to the table. At nearly half of our goal, we have raised enough money to get her to Italy and we need you to help us get her return ticket!

Esperanza is the beating heart of the Oakland Food Policy Council, and her leadership has resulted in some huge wins for food justice in Oakland. Two weeks ago marked a significant milestone for us; after four years of campaigning we finally got the Oakland Planning Commission to propose zoning changes to allow Oaklanders to grow food ‘by right’ and remove several costly barriers to urban agriculture. In addition to strategic organizing, Esperanza has helped form the culture and ethos of the Council, always keeping us true to our roots.

The Slow Food Conference is about the deep roots of food heritage, as well as the far-reaching growth of food movements. As a member of the Oakland Delegation, Esperanza will share our experiences in working for food justice, and learn about how producers around the world have overcome barriers to self-determine their food futures.

Final countdown: Help us meet our goal!

Please support Esperanza by contributing to our Indiegogo campaign. Esperanza is offering some inspired food rewards, and all contributions are tax deductible. Click here to send Esperanza to Italy!