By Bob Butler

OAKLAND (KCBS)— West Oakland will soon be home to one of the largest urban gardens in the city with the help of a trend that uses vacant lots to grow badly needed fresh produce.

The 1.4-acre lot at Peralta and Helen is filled with weeds now, but next month City Slicker Farms, an Oakland-based non-profit, will break ground on a farm and park with a playground for kids.

“Flowing into the playground will be this food forest that flows into our urban farm where food will be produced and then distributed out into the community on a sliding scale farm stand,” said the program’s interim executive director, Ariel Dekovic.

She says the organization has been providing fresh produce for 14 years.

“In between our farms and in between the backyard gardens we’ve built, we’ve built over 250 gardens for individuals in West Oakland. That’s about 30,000 pounds of fresh food a year,” she said.

The first harvest of tomatoes, greens and other produce is expected next spring.

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