Kyla Whitmore (2021)
Advancing Food Security in West Oakland's Wood Street Encampment
Cob On Wood is a commons space located on the land underneath the I-880, in West Oakland. Cob On Wood challenges the current urban condition through a bottom-up approach to transforming urban space, based on the practices of mutual aid and collective action. The project seeks to provide new possibilities for unhoused and curbside community residents along Wood Street in West Oakland and serve as a model for a site-specific intervention that questions how common resources and community resilience can be generated and maintained. It is a collective made up of residents, artists, and organizers, including groups Essential Food and Medicine, Artists Building Communities, and Living Earth Structures, and Wood St People’s Collective.
Since January of 2021 Cob On Wood has constructed a community kitchen, showers, a free store, and a clinic, where a variety of plant medicines and treatments, such as tinctures, wound care, and massage has been offered. There is also a pizza oven, and a stage, where events and open mics are held on Sunday nights. These constructions are made entirely from repurposed and locally sourced materials, primarily “cob” an earthen clay process that is both affordable and fire-resistant. Kyla will work together with the community to construct six transportable garden wicking beds, build an additional earthen structure, and expand on the existing mobile kitchen through a landscaped outdoor eating and gathering area.
Kyla Whitmore is an academic, urban activist, and former journalist. Kyla has lived in California for the last six years, and is passionate about environmental justice and equality of access to parks and public land spaces. They received their B.A. from Berkeley in Interdisciplinary Studies, with a focus on Language and Power.