Novella Carpenter with thousands of dollars in fines if she continues to sell produce from her backyard

Oakland’s building department, which has been threatening author Novella  Carpenter with thousands of dollars in fines if she continues to sell produce  from her backyard without a permit (which also could run several thousand  dollars).

Carpenter figures she takes in about $2,500 a year from the sale of excess  produce from her 4,500-square-foot “urban farm” at 28th Street and Martin Luther  King Jr. Way.

Oakland City Hall seems to have a little trouble with rationality when it  comes to urban agriculture. This is the city that wanted to sanction a couple of  supersize marijuana growing operations until it became clear that these indoor  factories would be in open defiance of federal law – and would expose elected  officials to legal liability.

Perhaps Carpenter is growing the wrong crop for City Hall’s taste – or maybe  its real objection is that it’s not getting a cut of the action.

Oakland City Hall surely must have more pressing priorities than pursuing  Novella Carpenter for selling a little chard on the side.

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