665 28th Street, Oakland, CA
In Farm City:
“And then there was the famous bean sower Henry David Thoreau. He didn’t own that land near Walden Pond or even rent it. ‘I enhanced the value of the land by squatting on it,’ he wrote in Walden. That was my plan too. I took a deep breath and plunged the little yellow seeds into the ground that was not mine.” Page 20
In Real Life:
Novella Carpenter conjures up Henry David Thoreau, who was also a squatter, of sorts, to get the nerve to plant seeds at what would become known as Ghost Town Farm. Only Thoreau was out in the forest on Walden Pond and Carpenter writes about pulling off the same thing in what looks to be a pretty mean section of Oakland. Of course, you have to go see where it all started for Novella Carpenter, the apartment and the empty lot which is now what she calls her “farmlette.” However, I have trouble recommending you go there because the neighborhood is not safe. Also, and probably more importantly, Carpenter is not interested in having you pop in, because that’s her home. So what you have to do is go there on what she calls an Open Farm Day. It’s a day of instruction and eating on her “farmlette.” Or, you can go to her farm when she is open for what she calls Pop-up farmstands. And there is also the possibility that if your group is large enough, you can email her and she will give you a tour.