This video looks at the decline of West Oakland, California and how the community has started to bounce back in part through community and backyard gardening initiatives. The video looks specifically at the work that non-profit City Slicker Farms has been doing in the community.
Hyperaccumulators are plants that are highly effective at accumulating nasty stuff like heavy metals in their “bodies.” So much so, that they can be planted expressly to improve contaminated soil.
Here’s the Wikipedia list of these plants.
You’ll notice some familiar plants on the list: sunflower, alfalfa, barley, kale, broccoli, cabbage, etc. The rapeseed plant, for example, seems very willing to accumulate several different heavy metals where some plants only have one heavy metal friend.
Raised beds of new soil are the usual solution for the home gardener who’s done a soil test and knows that they have contaminated soil but phytoremediation is being used by the US government as a cheap, effective, low-on-labor way to clean up the heavily contaminated Superfund sites.
Urban farmer and author (Farm City:The Education of an Urban Farmer and The Essential Urban Farmer), Novella Carpenter talks about urban agriculture and shows us around her reclaimed-from-vacant-lot farm in the “Ghost Town” neighborhood in Oakland, California. She grows vegetables and raised poultry, rabbits, goats, bees and at one time pigs in a relatively small space.
Stuff she touches on in the interview: Raised beds, apiculture, livestock farming, dumpster diving for animal feed, community gardens, food deserts, slaughtering, most productive vegetable, how growing your own food can save money, lead contaminated soil, soil testing, urban predators, seed starting, starting small, books she uses for reference, the power of online how-to videos…
Novella Carpenter blogs at http://ghosttownfarm.wordpress.com/
Warning: Some of the graphics around animal slaughter and Novella’s stories about her pig’s eating habits and her confrontation with an opposum may be too much for some.