Big Daddy's Complete Rejuvenating Community Garden – Emeryville, California - Atlas Obscura

Emeryville, California

Big Daddy's Complete Rejuvenating Community Garden

This small oasis of flora and art was created in remembrance of a local auto business owner. 

A distinctive community garden built and funded entirely by volunteers and run through the city’s Organic Garden program, Big Daddy’s Complete Rejuvenating Community Garden grows a variety of produce and flowers on the site where an old auto detail shop, car wash, and gas station once stood.

Big Daddy Green was a minister and auto business owner who is today remembered for the green space that bears his namesake. After his passing, the lot was left to his grandson, but a fire destroyed the structure and the property was left vacant until 2002.

Spearheaded by resident and local artist Vickie Jo Sowell, the plot was leased by the city from Big Daddy’s landlord for $250 per month and transformed into a small verdant oasis. Now, families pay $35 per month to use the raised planter boxes, growing anything from herbs to vegetables to hops. The garden’s name pays tribute to Big Daddy’s business, which was called Complete Mobile Rejuvenation.

Today, Big Daddy’s features 20 plots holding an array of crops and flowers. Pumpkins, tomatoes, chard, and grapes grow alongside sunflowers, irises, and lilies. The garden also includes sculptures and works of art by Sowell and student artists in the environmental art class at Laney College.

Know Before You Go

The public is welcome to peruse the garden when members of the garden are present. Street parking is limited.

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