OAKLEY -- Gardening enthusiasts applauded Tuesday as the City Council unanimously agreed to lease part of a city-owned parcel for use as a community garden and farm.

"I can't wait to see this happen," Councilwoman Diane Burgis said.

Under terms of the three-year lease, Slow Food Delta Diablo will pay the city $12 annually to cultivate two plots on the 6.2-acre vacant swath of land at 1250 O'Hara Ave. known as the Moura property.

The nonprofit, which works to preserve local agriculture, is serving as a sponsor for Oakley Community Gardens/Farm, a group of residents who want to provide a place where they and others can grow organic produce.

Slow Food Delta Diablo will help them obtain insurance and write grants while they work toward obtaining their own nonprofit status.

The plan is to turn a 1,000-square-foot area into smaller plots that would be rented to individuals, including those whom have never gardened before or simply don't have access to a patch of soil at home.

The other space would be used to grow crops on a larger scale, some of which would be given away to seniors and others whom cannot afford supermarkets' organic food prices.

The lease represents a concrete step toward realizing those goals, but there are still plenty of details to work out, not the least of which is how Oakley Community Gardens/Farm will irrigate the land.


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The Oakley Union Elementary School District has agreed informally to let it draw from a well on the O'Hara Park Middle School campus north of the city property, said group spokesman Paul Seger, but how much water it can use remains to be seen.

Burgis advised him and his supporters to line up a backup water supply as well.

Reach Rowena Coetsee at 925-779-7141. Follow her at Twitter.com/rowenacoetsee.