Oakland Guerrilla Gardener Beautifies the Streets

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Magnolia flowers. (AP Photo)

Magnolia flowers. (AP Photo)

RebeccaCorral20100909_KCBS_0583r Rebecca Corral
Like most journalists in Northern California, Rebecca Corral has been...
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OAKLAND (KCBS) — The median strips on some of the streets of Oakland may have some people wondering how the city can afford such talented landscape architects—but the truth is it’s not coming from a city employee. Instead it’s the work of a guerrilla gardener.

Frank Snap does this in quite a few areas of Oakland.

KCBS’ Rebecca Corral Reports:

“I garden street medians. I’ve been doing it for about nine years. What I’m trying to do is create areas that take people out of their human centric way of looking at the world,” he said.

Snap said he loves his work and that it’s very therapeutic.

“I’m very stimulated by scene change and I love my community and I love my neighborhood,” Snap added.

That’s probably a good thing, because Snap is not paid for his work and is considered more of an ad-hoc volunteer. He and other guerrilla gardeners are modeled after the diggers—people who resisted when the authorities in England began taking land away, giving ownership to the wealthy and other power brokers in the late 1600s.

“They would just take over public space and they, unlike me, had a lot of resistance from their governments and had to do everything secretly,” Snap informed.

He also mentioned that these types of guerrilla gardening projects are still going on in the UK, but that rules remain in place that get in the way, preventing them from freely improving neglected space.

Snap and his comrades get plenty of their materials by way of donation since the City of Oakland isn’t in a position to support them, but at the same time they don’t really prohibit the gardeners.

You can see some of Snap’s handiwork on 40th Street in North Oakland, between Webster and Howe.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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