West Berkeley farmer seeks home for oil press

The West Berkeley urban farmer who asked the community to help him buy an olive oil press has raised enough money to install it.

Now he just needs to find the press a home.

Andy Dale, a computer security and privacy architect who also runs a small farming operation from his Seventh Street home, raised $2,670 through Kickstarter.com, a website that crowd-sources fundraising. That was $170 over his $2,500 goal.

In August and September, 38 people pledged from $10 to $300 dollars to help Dale acquire a modern olive oil press, which he intends to make a community concern. He will create a business where people can bring their olives and turn them into oil for a small fee or donation of the oil.

The olive harvest season is just about to start, though, and now Dale needs a place to put the press. He has found some potential spots in the rural areas of Moraga and Orinda, but would prefer to find a location in west Berkeley. He is hoping to make contact with some of the people who have vacant industrial space in the neighborhood, but so far has not been successful.

The olive oil press.

“It’s going to be fairly easy for me to find a space if I go a little more rural, but my dream is to be an urban resource,” said Dale, who is chronicling his journey on his new website, The Dale Family Farm. “I’m struggling to find an appropriate space despite the abundance of spaces in west Berkeley where I live. “

Although Dale could contact one of the commercial real estate brokers who have signs on vacant buildings, he is hoping to find an owner who may like his project and who can offer an affordable rent. Dale has also been working with Berkeley’s office of Economic Development to find a space.

Dale is also asking people to contact him through his website if they see any “public” olive trees. He plans to organize a small group to harvest some of the public trees and to use the olives to make oil.

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  • Josh

    What about asking the farm at Tilden Park if they could house it
    Josh

  • http://basiscraft.com Thomas Lord

    Tilden strikes me as a ridiculously inconvenient location since it means that stuff would have to be brought up rather than down hill.

    I’d suggest asking around Spiral Gardens, Oasis Fuel Depot, and the Berkeley Ecology Center.

  • http://basiscraft.com Thomas Lord

    Also go ask Alice [W., while] she’s ten feet tall.

    I bet she’d know someone who knows someone…

  • http://www.dalefamilyfarm.com Andy Dale

    Thanks for the ideas.

    Josh, you are right. If I go out of town I can find plenty of places. While Tilden is close it isn’t the urban setting I long for. There is a fair chance I will end up somewhere like this if I don’t find a cheap urban home soon. It is still better than nothing.

    Thomas, While I have covered most of the ground you suggest, I have not tried to contact Alice. Between not knowing how and being shy of her lofty status (she must get 10 requests for stuff every day) I have held off… Maybe this is the time for me to put on my even more pushy hat and track her down.

    Thanks!

  • http://kimanno.com kim anno

    hi dale, love your idea of the press, we do have a building, and we have empty space, and we could offer some cheap rent deal. we also are in a financial issue. But we can figure it out together maybe. We have a yard for planting olive trees too.
    I would absolutely love this in our building. we are an arts/design/food area.
    virginia at san pablo in west berkeley. please call 510847-4745 or email.
    kim anno

  • Lindsey

    Andy,

    If Kim’s place doesn’t work out, let me indeed nudge you to go ask Alice. Fake it till you make it, is what I say. I think you could charm your way in!

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