For the past 8 years, Galileo’s environmental science teacher, Ms. Lisa Franzen, has been living in a RV at the O2 Artisan Aggregate (O2AA), an eco industrial park in West Oakland where businesses work together for economic and environmental gain. This plot of land spans an entire city block and contains such things as a working sawmill, a ceramics and soap making company, and a metal and woodworking shop, all of which are mostly eco friendly. Ms. Franzen decided to live at the eco industrial park with her partner, who lives on the property for free because he is an iron worker, and also the yard sheriff of the O2AA.
With the cost of living in the Bay Area getting more and more expensive each year, Ms. Franzen believes she has found the perfect solution. Not only does Ms. Franzen get to live rent free, but she is also able to grow most of her food in the greenhouses and gardens on the property, completely free of charge! She stated, “Plants wise we grow a wide variety, such as lettuce, tomatoes, basically everything you can imagine.”
Not only does Ms. Franzen help grow things at the O2AA, but she is also an integral part of the welfare of the O2AA. On the weekends, Ms. Franzen stated, “I’m responsible for the care and feeding of all the animals on the property, which include chickens, cats, a large mealworm breeding population, and fish like sturgeon, bluegill, and carp in a giant 7000 gallon tank.”
While teaching full time at Galileo, Ms. Franzen continues to be a huge help on the O2AA, and will continue to do so. She said, “I love living there because there’s always something going on. I don’t have a specific job there, but I can wander into anyone’s workshop and give a helping hand.”
O2AA was founded and is run by Paul Discoe, a builder and woodworker from Oakland. Discoe is also head of company Joinery Structures, a building company that specializes in Japanese style of construction. Discoe founded the aggregate to have a shared workspace among individuals with similar interests and goals of sustainability. O2AA hosts workshops regularly for companies to demonstrate and interact with the community.