Bottom’s Up Farm

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“How’d you get interested in cooking?”

“I’ve was cooking for 10 years in LA before I moved to Oakland. I came up here to plug into this community and soon I recognized Prescott, having no food and being a food desert, as having a lot of opportunity for growth. That’s why I connected with Bottom’s Up Farms. I’ve lived in lots of neighborhoods like West Oakland’s bout to be. I’ve lived in Williamsburg in the early 2000’s, Silverlake in 2013, and West Oakland is gonna be just like that.”

937A6322“How does having a place like this affect a community that used to be a food desert?”

“Not used to, it still is. It’s so important for people to deepen their relationship with the food they eat. There are so many government policies in place that don’t have our best interest at heart at a fundamental level for our health and safety. What are we supposed to do as Americans? We’re supposed to revolt! That’s what we’re doing here by feeding people. We need food dammit. We’re tired of not having food. In addition to just the food, this is also a community space. The intersectionality that you’ll have here is amazing. Everybody from all walks of life comes here and talks to each other. Everybody’s got to eat. The food is a vehicle to get people to talk about whatever once they’re in the space.”

937A6301“We’re pushing boundaries here. We give away eggs and greens to people that ask. We raise livestock on the property. We may raise a pig, get em fat, kill it, and then share it with people in the hood. That way everybody can see this is something to protect. We also are open to anyone being involved. Any person who has come here to the farm and shown any initiative gets keys.”

937A6370“The corner where this farm is used to be an abandoned lot. Anything you see everyday, like the way your house looks, you don’t even see after awhile. When someone walks into your house for the first time they see everything. But to you that stuff only exists in your subconscious. If there’s an area in a community that’s blighted, and there’s trash, everyday when someone walks by their subconscious is clouded. It’s like ‘Eww, that’s whack’. The don’t really pay attention to it because it’s been that way for decades. Now after a couple years of this being a garden there’s this sense of pride. The vagrancy that existed here before started to move down the block because people respect what’s happening here. Having said that, anyone is welcome here. If you come here and ask for help, ask for food, we’re gonna give it to you.”

937A6362“How’d you get turned onto cooking?”

“We cook in my family. My mom’s a great cook. Her father is a chef. He worked at country clubs for many years, he also ran an after hours illegal bar type of restaurant. That’s a whole nother story.”

“What’s your favorite thing your mom cooks?”

“Oh man, she cooks so many good things. Maybe her lasagna.”

“What’s special about it?”

“The touch is right, the flavor is right, she has really good technique. She cooking food from my grandfather’s garden so the food she’s making is homegrown. When you grow something yourself it’s so much better than when you get it at the grocery store.”

“What’s one of your favorite dishes to make?”

“I like my BBQ sauce, I like making soups. It’s changed over the years. It used to be a lot recipes with a lot of components. Now it’s about the purity of the ingredients and highlighting those ingredients. One dish I really like to make in the fall is you take parsnips, and celery root and you boil those. You make a mash outta those. Then you top it with buttery roasted cauliflower, butter roasted plantains, and some chopped shredded almonds, some rehydrated golden raisins. It’s really earthy and simple. That’s a really good one. It’s actually a really famous dish from Hatfield’s in LA. You see what I do is I make friends. When I have a hobby I make friends who can teach me things. I learned technique is very important in cooking. It’s probably the most important thing after the ingredients.”

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“What’s next for Bottom’s Up Farms?”

“We’re working towards moving into a brick and mortar but for now Josephine is a great option. People get on their website and pre order food that they can come pick up. It makes it easy to engage with our customers and it’s a great way for the community to support each other. Then when people come by they can engage with their neighbors.”

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Dijon

April 6, 2016