Living in V-Town

This isn’t going to be our usual farm and garden post. I just feel like writing about where I live today.

I live in Vallejo. Generally everyone calls it V-town. It’s a city of about 120,000, which is about midsize for the San Francisco Bay Area. It has a beautiful downtown area with stately Victorians lining the streets.

Every Saturday morning we journey to downtown for the year round farmers’ market and for my stepson’s Jujitsu class. It’s becoming a tradition that I truly enjoy. We are getting to know the farmers and we have our favorite stands to buy at. There’s the “Apple Guy.”  He’s not certified organic, but we love the apples. There’s the “Mushroom Guy” who is organic and who we buy a good portion of our veggies from. BTW, those are how we refer to them, not their farm names. There’s Lujan farms where we get a lot of our non-apple fruit. There’s a new organic farm there that we are starting to buy from more since they carry a lot of produce that the other organic farm doesn’t carry. Unfortunately there are only two certified organic farms at our farmers’ market. We are completely lacking in a food culture here which is dominated by chain restaurants and grocery stores, so this farmers’ market is a breath of fresh air.

Living in Vallejo definitely has it’s challenges. The City is bankrupt. The City Council is corrupt and the unions own this town. It’s a constant war between the City Council and the public service unions. The unions won’t give up their death grip on the City budget so the Council retaliates by cutting services and personnel. In the end, the citizens of this City suffer. The crime rate is going up and we don’t have enough police to respond to the majority of calls. Getting robbed? Good luck because they aren’t coming – at least in a timely fashion.

I live in what I would consider a decent part of town. We know most of our neighbors and have great relationships with them. We all watch out for each other. But we all have had our houses broken into. Our break-in occured while we were in escrow, which was fortunate since the house was empty. There was only damage done to a door and a window. Since moving in we haven’t had any problems due in part to the fact that not only do we have a security system but also that we leave our dogs in the house pretty much all the time. They love to let people know they are in there too – barking at everyone that walks down the street.

As for having an urban farm here? Most likely it’s not legal. I’ve searched the Municipal Code and haven’t found anything specific other than “animal raising” and using “agricultural methods” is limited to Rural Residential Zones (we’re in a Low Density Residential Zone) and hogs and turkeys are not allowed. Could they be more ambiguous? “Agricultural Methods?” Wouldn’t a vegetable garden fall under that category? “Animal Raising?” So you can’t raise any animals? What constitutes “raising?” And why turkeys? I can understand hogs – they can be stinky, but turkeys? I guess it’s a good thing we don’t have either of those…yet.

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