Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Carnival meets the Free Farm Stand

It was Carnival last Sunday and more people were out and about and our street was blocked off.So I hauled out the bicycle cart and moved everything to the park in two loads. I love using the bicycle cart rather than driving the car a block to move all the produce and things that I need. The cart needs to be modified to carry more or a new cart built (flat bed) if there are any bike cart builders out there.
More people showed up than usual because of Carnival happening down the street. I met a woman named Lauren who is starting a new pantry in the North Mission area and she wants to get locally grown organic produce to give out. She was talking about offering money to buy produce from local gardeners in San Francisco. Wow! I offered to grow seedlings for her to give out to her clients.

Here are some photos of this really cute kid and her mother that came by. The mom said the child only likes to eat carrots. We were lucky to have some.

I said last week that I thought I was running out of food to give away. My garden and the secret garden and Treat Commons didn't seem to have much food ready to harvest. But Ruben who gardens in a common bed in Treat Commons said I could harvest all the baby lettuce and tatsoi in his bed and some snow peas so I had a huge amount of salad mix and peas to give away just from one bed! Here is a picture of all the produce I had ready to take to the farm stand Sunday morning:
Loquats from our backyard tree, garlic from Treat Commons, strawberries from Treat Commons, a small amount of carrots and mint from two gardens, lemons from our backyard and a neighbor, and salad mix and greens (kale and tatsoi) from Treat Commons, the Secret Garden, and a very little bit from our backyard.

Then the greatest surprise is that Caitlyn showed up with a huge amount of food from the garden she is working at on Guerrero St. Caitlyn started gardening at Treat Commons and we are friends that haven't seen each other in a while. Turns out she has been gardening at this fabulous garden that another friend Brooke started. The story is Brooke climbed up on her roof one day and looked around for a place to garden. She found this big sunny backyard behind a big apartment building and asked the landlord if she could garden there. And the landlord said yes. I think she started gardening there and put up a sign at Rainbow looking for others that wanted to garden with her.

So Caitlyn not only brought all this food, it was so beautiful the way it was presented (is that the word?). Brooke and Caitlyn just have the greatest style! I knew this when I first met Brooke and she was wearing farmers overalls plus I discovered she built the most artistic compost piles I have seen in a long while. She didn't use a funky wood bin or plastic type like I have, but she built a pile that looks like it is part of the garden, with straw and whatever in a round shape. Those are examples of style that just turns me on and I think free projects must be classy.

I wished I paid more attention to how she got everything on her bike. She did come with a friend who probably helped her carry it all. And not only check out the big pile of the freshest and tastiest snap peas in the world, but look at the cool handmade box that the food came in. And I didn't take a picture of the two bouquets of flowers she brought, but they were great. My special thanks to both Caitlyn and Brooke and whoever else helped to grow that food and flowers from their garden. It made my day!
Monday we extracted honey with Bryon our beekeeper mentor and friends. Being a vegan, I like working with Bryon who is really gentle with bees and goes the organic beekeeping way. I don't use a lot of honey myself, mainly I use it in tea when I am sick with a cold and I think it has medicinal value. And I don't cook with it because most vegans don't want to eat honey and I cook vegan. But it is a local source of sweetener and honey bees are wonderful to have around in a garden for pollination. I think if we eat honey we should just be conscious that like all food it is a precious thing, so we want to be moderate in it's consumption. Here is a picture of Bryon removing a capped frame of honey from the super:

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Report on last weeks farm stand

  • This week’s farm stand had the most food ever…Christy brought carrots and chamomile tea from Corona Heights Community Garden, Greg brought ten more lettuce heads from his backyard on Capp St. (he brought about 15 last week…all from seedlings gotten from the stand!), my backyard and produced a lot of lettuce too, and then there was kale, fava beans (from a farmer in Sebastapol), salad mix, stir fry mix, sunflower greens and lemons from my next door neighbor.
  • All the food was given away by the end of the day…it always starts off slow and then a lot of people come throughout the time it is opened
  • Many seedlings and plants were also given away 30? or more bicyclists from the bike tour of sustainable food projects in the Mission (organized by Antonio) dropped by and I talked to them about the garden and the farm stand
  • I talked to two women who not only needed food, but just needed someone friendly to talk to because they were having a hard time in their lives. They were both in need of a good place to live that is affordable, if anyone knows of a place.

Latest news and upcoming events:

I am running out of produce that is ready to harvest and give away. Any community gardens or gardens or farms with extra organic food we could use some!

I plan on opening the Secret Garden next Saturday which is also carnival time at 11am. Some of the work we will be doing include harvesting kale and replanting, weeding, and tying up tomatoes. I am also thinking of trying out some guerrilla gardening near the garden. Any one up for a bit of excitement? Also, if we finish up at the Secret Garden we can walk over to Treat Commons and do harvesting and other farm stand related gardening.

Next Monday I will be extracting honey from our backyard hive. I have a few people who said they want to help out and observe the operation. We have a small place, but if anyone else wants to learn about beekeeping from a vegan approach, let me know and if someone drops out you can join us.

I sent out a letter to the property owners of a vacant lot on Alabama near the Atlas Cafe seeing if I could lease or just use the land for the farm stand. The owner called me and said they were about to sell it. She was very friendly and said she liked what I was doing and that she would get me in touch with the new owners when that happens. I actually felt positive about the whole thing even though I was turned down. I wasn't even expecting a call back.