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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