Urban self-reliance: homestead in Oakland's small rented lot
Sheila Cassani began farming her rental home while a college student. She started with a small vegetable patch, but it soon spread to keeping chickens and bees and planting produce on nearly every available patch of the small yard not dedicated to the poultry.
Cassani and her partner Matthew wake up at the crack of dawn to let the chickens go free-range, but she says the garden isn’t a lot of work once you’ve put in the initial investment. Since they're renting they've trying to keep their investments low. They focused on reusing found materials, such as old fence to make raised beds, bamboo that grows on the property for trellises and chicken fencing (even indoors, their furniture was mostly found, including a pallet wood sofa).
They’ve dubbed their East Oakland (California) homestead the “Kansas Street Farm” and they try to keep things as closed loop as possible by catching rainwater, composting, using the chickens to prepare the veggie beds and fermenting leftover produce.