What is an Urban Garden?

You've probably heard of Community Gardens–a local garden where members of the community plant, grow, and harvest together. Although it's a wonderful concept, in-practice a lot of community gardens manifest as fenced off parcels with individual plots that community members rent. We, at Phat Beets Produce, take this idea back and really emphasize the community part with our Urban Gardens.
Urban Gardens are truly communal: everything is for everyone, no fences allowed. Also unlike community gardens, Urban Gardens are not in rural or suburban areas, but are where people need them most, densely populated urban centers. This page features our four main urban gardens: Dover St. Edible Park, Temescal Edible Library Garden, Castlemont High School Farm, and Driver's Plaza CommUNITY Memorial Orchard.

Dover St. Edible Park

Excited volunteers at dover st edible park

Since 2009 Phat Beets Produce and the Dover St. Neighbors have been transforming the 1/4 acre perimeter of Dover Park from weeds to a free food forest garden that produces over 3000 lbs of fresh produce (including 70+ fruit trees) each year to share with the community through free farm stands.  Anyone is welcome to come harvest 7 days a week from Sunrise to Sunset. More information about the edible park is available at www.doverstreetediblepark.org.  We accept volunteers on Weds Afternoons (3-6pm) and Sundays (11-2pm).  We fought the City of Oakland long and hard to make this Edible Park and we hope you enjoy it!

volunteers planting at dover

In addition the Dover St. Edible Park hosts a youth food justice program with teenage patients from the Healthy Hearts Clinic and teens from across the East Bay that are at risk of diet related illnesses such as HeartDisease and Type II Diabetes. Since 2009 we have trained over 80 youth leaders in the tactics of building a just food system by leading a healthy lifestyle.  In 2014 we launched a youth pickle business to create self-sustaining jobs. These jobs will go to graduates of our youth programs, as the say goes “nothing better stops a bullet than the a job.”

Located at:5715 Dover St. Oakland Ca 94609
For more info email: garden@phatbeetsproduce.org

Temescal Edible Library Garden

boxed planter

The Temescal Edible Library Garden was a joint project between the Oakland Tool Lending Library and the Phat Beets Fresh Fellows Youth Program.  We started the garden in 2015 and developed it through a series of workshops lead by our friends at Planting Justice. Our youth crew did an amazing job of creating this fresh, green, community space.

The Edible Library has over 9 free trees, perennial peppers, herbs, and lots of greens for community members to pick 7 days a week from sunrise to sunset.  The garden also has boxed vegetable beds and lots of edible landscaping.

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Get involved at our workPARTY, on the first of every month from 10:30 AM  to 2 PM.  We also have our Seed and Plant Swap at the Temescal Edible Library behind the tool lending library at 5205 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609. More info email garden@phatbeetsproduce.org

We would like to thank Oakland Tool Lending Library staff member Clara Cheeves and head librarian Steve Lavoie, the crew at Planting Justice, and our team of youth volunteers for helping us make this Urban Garden a reality.

Castlemont High School Farm

Castlemont students

The Castlemont High School Urban Garden started as a project at the Sustainable Urban Design Academy–part of Castlemont High School. The farm hosts numerous after school programs such as the Green Eatz Youth Entrepreneurship Program.  In addition the farm host visits and workshops from numerous classes at Castlemont High School and acts as a living outdoor classroom.

Produce from the farm is used in school-based program, given away to local community groups including Self Help Hunger Program, distributed through Children’s Hospital Oakland’s Food Farmacy Program, sold to Oakland Unified School Districts after school produce stands, and sold to the Beet Box CSA program.  Proceeds from the farm go to pay fair wage employment to students from Castlemont High School.

Adjacent to the farm is our new demonstration asphalt farm, to show how you can grow food on-top of asphalt using mostly organic matter.

farming plots at castlemont high school

We were thrilled to partner with this amazing group to create another urban garden and help communities get access to fresh produce.  We also want to thank our partners who work to keep the farm green: Growing Together, Butterfly Movement, and Oakland Leaf.

The garden is located at: Castlemont High School Farm 8601 MacArthur Blvd, Oakland, CA 94605

If you would like to get involved, volunteer days are Mondays from 2 PM until dark. There's also a monthly workPARTY. Contact garden@phatbeetsproduce.org for more info.

Driver Plaza CommUNITY Memorial Orchard

volunteers join hands at driver plaza urban garden

The Driver Plaza CommUNITY Memorial Orchard is a collaborative community greening project and is a prime example of community urban greening without gentrification. This urban garden was motivated by Aunti Fraces' call for “Public Land for Public Good” and we are proud to see it playing a positive role in the community. 

The Orchard is located at Driver Plaza on 61st and Adeline across from the historic Lois the Pie Queen cafe. This parcel used to be a dumping ground for haulers hired by contractors and developers.  It is now a thriving ¼ acre urban garden with 60+ fruit trees, including two living espalier fruit tree fences. The project was started by Self Help Hunger Program, as they operate out of the plaza feeding the needy.  The City of Oakland was not maintaining the overgrown parcel and the block was plagued by recent gun violence, the violence of gentrification, and constant police presence. With our partners we decided to bring new and old community members together and plant a fruit tree every time there was grief, loss, struggle, or tragedy.  Many of the trees are dedicated to community members and loved ones we have lost.

memorial fruit tree at driver plaza

More recently the City of Oakland has turned off the water at the Plaza and continuously attacked our UNITY work. Community volunteers bring in water 5 gallon jugs at a time to keep the spirit of the project alive. The join maintenance of the parcel creates a sense of community responsibility and builds bridges across many different groups. The Orchard is currently thriving, providing organic, free fruit to the community.

We would like to thank our partners Self Help Hunger Program, Santa FE CAN, and POOR News. The Orchard would not be possible without their help.

Check out Self Help Hunger Programs Facebook Page for updates on community events.  Additional info can be found by emailing nate@santafecan.org or garden@phatbeetsproduce.org.