Five Acre Mother Orchard
Our 5-Acre food forest
Our 5 Acre Farm and Orchard in El Sobrante is home to an incredibly diverse collection of fruiting trees and shrubs; currently housing 900 varieties across hundreds of plant families. Apple, apricot, avocado, blueberry, currant, elderberry, fig, feijoa, peach, pear, plum, pomegranate, seaberry, quince and many, many more are now planted in the berm of roughly 1 mile of water harvesting swales crossing the contours of the open south facing hillside here.
The land we are cultivating was a ranch and plum orchard throughout the early 1900's. In the residential buildout of this area through the 50's - the surrounding landscape was divided, sold, paved and covered with homes. Our farm site was preserved then because of the steep slopes and land-slide prone soils along the creek here. Even so - developers continued to eye this land for dense suburban development; in fact 38 home were approved for construction here before locals organized to defend the creek that runs along the property. In 2010, the co-operative Wild and Radish purchased the land with a commitment to ecological stewardship, preserving wilds, tree planting, and plans to build a small residential ecovillage on 1 acre. In 2012, Planting Justice began leasing this space on a long-term basis.
Enabled by the sustained organizing of concerned citizens, this landscape has escaped many of most direct impacts of suburban development that have claimed so many special spaces in this area. Planting Justice is very fortunate to hold a long-term $1/year lease on these 5 acres. The south facing slope is ideal solar exposure for growing; the land is located in horticultural zone 15 - an ideal climate for growing diverse fruiting collections; and it is near highway 80 making access for our staff and visitors relatively easy and giving us easy access to local markets. Now managed with permaculture and agro-ecological principles - this land will remain a haven for birds and wildlife even as it produces thousands of pounds of produce for local communities and creates good green jobs within our organization.
This is not your average production orchard. Every time we take cuttings from our fruit trees - we will carefully bundle and label them by variety, take them to our nursery in East Oakland, and nurture them for 12-18 months before they are offered for sale online. Right now we have just a few trees already producing fruit, but in a few years there will be much more. We plan to sell our organically certified produce to local restaurants, and create a CSA fruit share that can be had for sliding scale cost. Additionally, Planting Justice is looking forward to incubating value-added cooperatives that will use the fruit to make pies, jams, and other products for sale in local marketplaces.
Growing food, growing jobs, growing community!