History of OUFP

Since establishing in 2021 we have continuously worked to be a beacon of light in our community

The Oakland Urban Farming Project (OUFP) was born in 2021, rooted in the collective efforts of a few friends in the Ivy Hill neighborhood of Oakland, California. It all started when Cameron Preston established Gravity Garden in 2019 on a triangle-shaped plot behind Dave's Market. His dedication quickly caught the eye of community members Rajiv Thairani, Jon Braswell, and Lance Hackney, who joined forces to set up a food pantry table during the peak of the pandemic in 2020. This initiative not only provided essential support to the community but also marked the space as a communal area, fostering a sense of camaraderie focused on community support and beautification.

With a new sense of teamwork, we set our sights on the hill across the street from the original garden space. Working with the landowner to garden on their property, in late 2020, while still in final negotiations, we gathered our list of interested community members and had a brainstorming day of what people would like to see on the space. This early engagement helped shape the vision for the expansion and ensured that the project would meet the needs and desires of the community.

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Filled with inspiration from the community we pressed through with the land owner to finally break ground on the hill. The team managed to more than triple the garden's size by 2021. A Permaculture Design course team, led by Cameron, devised a plan to develop the hill garden, introducing swales and berms for effective water management. The project continued to grow in 2022 and 2023, attracting new members like muralist Sasha Dusky, who contributed her artistic talents starting with a Pumpkin Fundraiser sign, and Plur, a neighebor whose dedication transformed the original garden space.

By late 2023, the two gardens merged into a cohesive unit, symbolized by a street mural designed by Sasha. In collaboration with the city of Oakland, OUFP realized this vision, culminating in the largest volunteer day to date. The community came together to paint the mural, significantly enhancing the neighborhood's landscape and solidifying the project's impact.

Street Mural Project Gravity Garden