The Six Questions

OAKLAND MAGAZINE: July/August 2010

Who: Daphne Mejia of Oakland

What: Founder of Funk Town Farm, a church-sponsored community garden and farm that provides neighbors and indigents the opportunity to grow their own produce.

When: Mejia got the idea in 2008 when she and her husband moved into an apartment above their East Oakland church and noticed the empty lot behind the gym. “It was full of cement and weeds,” she says, “and I cried from sheer joy when I saw it.”

Where: The farm is behind Regeneration Church at 238 E. 15th St., two blocks from Lake Merritt.

Why: “My parents were in the ‘back-to-the-land’ movement in the ’60s up in Mendocino, so it was inevitable that I would end up finding a way to bring a bit of that lifestyle here to Oakland.”

How: She and her husband got church volunteers to help them remove the concrete, build raised beds and a chicken coop. They also pray for their plants and animals. “I know from experience that plants that are prayed for make more flowers and fruit — it has been scientifically proven,” Mejia says. Funk Town Farm is not only feeding its volunteers, but the farm provides produce for a free Sunday morning breakfast for the homeless. Plans to add goats, bees and a pizza oven are in the works.
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