Food, Home & Lifestyle, Wellness

Field Trip: City Slicker Farms

Michael Pollan

Lesson time 12:23 min

Join Michael for a visit to a regenerative farm and listen in as he talks with farmers about their permaculture practices. Learn how their approach affects animals and plants on the farm, as well as the surrounding neighborhood.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Addressing Food Apartheid • A Regenerative Tool: Healthy Animals • A Regenerative Tool: Soil Fertility • Food Justice Is the Goal


[MUSIC PLAYING] MICHAEL POLLAN: I find it inspiring to be on a farm. I have utmost respect for farmers. They are the heroes of our culture in many ways. They work so hard to feed us. And we're blind to their role and to their contributions. So today, I've come to talk to the farmers at City Slicker Farms. - So I'm curious how both of you got into farming? - So I guess I did like a service trip in college that revolved around food justice. We went to Vegas, which is the largest food desert in the country. And to-- MICHAEL POLLAN: Las Vegas? Wow. ANDREA HERNANDEZ: Las Vegas is the largest food desert in the country. At least it was when I was there in like 2017. And I'm sure it still is because it's the desert and it's hard to grow things in the desert. I always wanted to work on a farm. And I had done a couple of apprenticeship like applications. And this worked out. So I'm happy to be here. - Region, how did you end up here? - Oh, my family actually bought some land. Once we had this land, I was inspired, started going to school, started getting with other community organizations. I was actually able to build a community. And it was just something that made me come alive. - I love the fact that it's very much about community and not just horticulture, culture. - Yeah. MICHAEL POLLAN: So this, we're not in the most pastoral place, right? We've got planes overhead. There's a recycling plant down the street. There's traffic. What was here before City Slicker Farm? ANDREA HERNANDEZ: So it's mostly market rate condos, like the condo behind us and to the side of us. And then before that, it was a paint factory. So the soil was actually really bad. So we had to do a lot of soil remediation. And then before that, this was actually Ohlone and Chochenyo people of the land. This is Indigenous land for thousands of years. So first and foremost, it's their land. And we just get to work it. MICHAEL POLLAN: I'd love to hear a little bit about this neighborhood, what kind of challenges around food it faces, and how this farm, City Slicker Farm, fits in. ANDREA HERNANDEZ: Well, City Slickers has beeen around for 20 years. We started because there wasn't access to healthy food in West Oakland-- no supermarkets, no grocery stores, not a lot of healthy food or healthy options. And it's not by accident. It's by design. - What do you mean? - Apartheid-- - What is food apartheid? - So food apartheid is basically like placing the blame on systems versus the people, on folks that have been redlined. Grocery redlining, school district redlining, all those things create inaccess to healthier foods. And so this farm was birthed out of trying to mitigate that harm. So everything that we produce on the farm is for free. MICHAEL POLLAN: Animals are a vital part of a regenerative farm. So today, I'm going to learn about the important role that chickens play at City...

About the Instructor

For more than 30 years, award-winning journalist Michael Pollan has explored the intersection of humans and nature—including groundbreaking probes of the food we eat. Now the NYT bestselling author of “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” teaches you how to ditch fad diets and eat with intention. From following the food chain to fixing dinner, learn to make choices that reflect what’s important to you.

Featured MasterClass Instructor

Michael Pollan

Acclaimed author Michael Pollan teaches you what he’s spent decades researching: how to eat more ethically, healthfully, and sustainably.

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