Monday, January 26, 2009

Girl Scout Takeover

The long planned visit of the Daisy Girl Scout troop to the Free Farm Stand finally happened yesterday and it was a real blast. Eight giggly, enthusiastic 5-6 year olds girls made the Free Farm Stand a lot of fun and I think everyone enjoyed their help and presence. The day started out as a big question mark in terms of weather, they postponed an earlier visit because of rain, and the clouds had disappeared just before I got to the park and it seemed like it was going to warm up. But then when the girls started arriving it clouded up and got chilly. Later at some point soon after, the sun burst out and it warmed up the rest of the day. It was truly fabulous outside which brought out the crowds. Because the garden was a bit muddy we set up the stand in the park which turned out to give people more room to hang out.

The girls had a lot to do because we had gotten so much produce from the farmers market that needed sorting out. Someday I hope that we grow more food in our neighborhood (especially this time of the year), but now the free local organic produce from the bigger farmers outside the city overshadows everything. Before we started I talked to the kids about farmers and where our food comes from, and how we are trying to make good healthy locally grown food without sprays available to everyone, whether they have enough money to buy that kind of produce or not. I also talked about seasons and what grows this time of year. So our table was loaded with cool season vegetables, lots of greens, broccoli, broccoli raab or rapini, Brussel sprouts, celery, cabbage, and salad mix. I actually harvested some of the same things. The Secret Garden gave me 2 pounds of baby lettuce and arugula, and a pound of kale and broccoli side shoots. I also harvested a handful of snap peas and a handful of Cape Gooseberries that are so popular. I also had some grapes from the farmers market. Where are those grown this time of year?

Zoey came by with some beautiful salad mix she had grown in her garden. I met Zoey at a seed exchange event last year at the Pocket Seed Library ( that she helped start. I took a photo of her salad and she knows the names of all the colorful salad greens in her mix. It is so much fun to meet up with another avid gardener in a garden and talk plants. And her being a true artist with a great eye made it even more exciting to see what attracted her attention (like the tree collards with their beautiful purple and green leaves right now).
And Fred came by with a bag of miner's lettuce from his garden. I love introducing local wild foods to the neighbors who come to the stand and miners lettuce is really good in salads and you don't even have to plant it in most gardens that have been cultivated for a while.
This week we actually counted how many people came to the stand with a counter and we had over fifty people. Most of the food was given away and we had no bread left over either.
There are so many garden and local food things happening right now in the city. And the Mission is becoming more of a hipster place. Some of the projects have their feet in the smiling social justice capitalist waters. At the same time they seem to be pushing good causes. Mission Pie is an example and now there is Mission Street Food (donating all proceeds to charity like Newman's Own and with the goal "to employ charity as a viable marketing strategy"). A friend Leif sent me the menu he is cooking for it this week (they have guest chefs). It says it all:

chickweed, chicory, cress, chioggas, pecorino ginepro, blood orange, rosemary-filbert vinaigrette
Tartine walnut levain with chevre, apple, meyer lemon, wild arugala, pine nut, honey, olio nuovo, Murray River salt
deep fried yuba package with maitake, matsutake, mustard greens, leek, miso, yuzu, matcha salt
roasted cauliflower with tahini, Recchiuti chocolate 85%, piment d'Espelette
bucatini e cavolo nero: caramelized alliums, fried sage, dried cherries, toasted almonds, capers, olives, chiles and brown butter
Humphrey Slocombe maple walnut ice cream [the newest hip business in our neighborhood] with rosemary shortbread and olio nuovo .

A new friend Craig has a vegan taco wagon ( though the site right now just has a picture of his truck on it) and he wants to serve good healthy vegan food like Café Gratitude but with more reasonable prices and he wants to include a social justice component to it too. He was interested in me getting involved. I have actually always been attracted to serving free meals and before I started the Free Farm Stand I thought about opening a free vegan soup kitchen that served locally grown food. Another dream in my pocket.

The question I always ask is how do you not become a hipster project that only serves a small circle of cool people? The Free Farm Stand itself has this problem and I hope we continue to serve a lot of our neighbors that are poor and without a lot of money to buy organic food. But because what we are doing is so exciting I guess we pull in people that want to be part of the happening scene. I hope we can just get more people that can make some time to garden somewhere. I even appreciate people that just bring bags to give away produce in.

The 18th and Rhode Island work day was rained out last week. I hope this week we can get back in the garden and work on the place more. I can't wait for the rest of the trees to arrive.
Talking about trees I just got this email sent to me while typing:

Due to the San Francisco General Hospital rebuild seven mature Magnolia trees are to be removed from in front of San Francisco General to create temporary road ways for the rebuild. These trees will be replaced by 48" box trees (?). To protest the removal you could write a letter to DPW-Bureau of Forestry 2323 Cesar Chavez SF CA 94124 or fax to 695-2147. The dead line to protest is February 12, 2009.
During the construction of City College on Valencia St. the neighborhood was able to stop the city from removing the trees in front of the site. The construction was able to continue without any delays and the trees were saved a win- win situation for everyone.
Magnolia trees are slow growing and took years for them to reach maturity. They provide a uniformed look on Potrero Ave with beautiful large white flowers during the summer. Please help save these trees.

This is so pathetic and I plan on writing DPW for sure. I was recently reading the web site of Tree People in Los Angeles and was so inspired by the work they are doing in L.A. my hometown. They have a program where they give fruit trees to people to plant and also another program where they give fruit trees in containers to people who don't have dirt to plant them in. Why is our city so clueless about the importance of planting trees and instead of always thinking of reasons they need to be cut down, why don't they incorporate the planting of more trees (especially fruit trees) in any new construction they undertake?

On a happier note, we started rooting the tree branches I got last week (a couple of friends responded to my last post and showed up to help). We also grafted some white sapotes. This Wednesday I am going to try grafting some avocado seedlings. We will see in a number of months of how well we did. We don't have to wait around for the city or until some big group starts distributing and planting fruit trees everywhere. Once we learn the propagation skills for trees we can do it ourselves.

And to end on another positive wave length, there is a new gleaning project forming in the city (we had our first meeting). Anyone interested can go to and join the Google email discussion group there and get updated on the project. All the food that is harvested from local trees will go to food pantries and programs like the Free Farm Stand.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Winter Wonderland

Yesterday was a glorious crisp sunny winter day with global warming or something thrown in. So temperatures were up there in the mid sixties, perfect Farm Stand weather. I am feeling a bit guilty enjoying this warm dry winter, because I know the garden needs rain; we all need rain, and some of our fruit trees need a period of cold weather to make abundant fruit.

I harvested a handful of yellow cherry tomatoes from the small garden at 18th and Rhode Island St. With a big white reflective wall, that garden gets the heat and the tomato plant is still growing and has ripening tomatoes this late in the year. This is the garden neighbors had started before we started the big permaculture garden on the vacant lot. There is a fence around it and no one is working in it at the moment and I am just harvesting what I can through the wire fence. Kevin and Fred harvested various things from the Chronicle rooftop garden: lemons and various herbs. Rosemary, lemon grass, bay leaves, French sorrel, kaffir lime leaves, and Vietnamese cilantro. Christy brought more things from her garden on Corona Heights: Cape Gooseberries, and carrots and she also dropped off some extra CSA produce that she couldn't use (apples, pears, and kale). I brought some lettuce mix and arugula from my backyard and Caleb brought arugula from a friend's garden. I also grew more sunflower greens and I forgot to bring the clover sprout mix that I had in a big jar.

We also had a lot of produce from the Ferry Building Farmer's Market including, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, oregano, and many different kinds of greens: mustard, spinach, kale, chard, and collards. The leftover Acme bread supply continued to be unreliable and we had only two bags of bread, mostly rolls.

By the end of the day all the food was given away except for some herbs.

California Rare Fruit Growers (CRFG) scion wood exchange

This was one of the highlights of my week, going to the meeting of the CRFG on Saturday where people from all over come to exchange dormant branches of fruit trees used to graft or splice onto other trees or rootstocks. We graft trees for different reasons, to add a different variety of some fruit to a tree we are growing, like if we want to add a late bearing apple branch to a tree with early ripening apples. Or if we want to have more than one kind of plum on one tree you have to graft the tree to have that. There are other reasons to graft besides those too.

I believe we are living at a unique time in history when things are rapidly changing in every way. The political changes at the top are significant, but the changes we can make in our own lives are what are most important of all. So we need to learn certain skills and gain knowledge about things that are always on the verge of being lost. How to grow our own food is part of what we all need to learn and grafting trees and plant propagation is a part of that. We need to learn these things if for no other reason than to bring us closer in touch with the power of life and creation. I feel lucky to meet the true masters in this field and be able to learn from them directly, since I don't learn from books as easily. That is why these meetings are so fun and educational for me.

I came away with a big bag filled with propagating wood. I learned at the meeting that four Mediterranean trees propagate easily by sticking branches in some fast draining rooting medium like perilite, especially with bottom heat: figs, olives, grapes, and pomegranates. Mulberries should also be almost as easy to grow that way too. I have had good luck with pomegranates so I want to try more. So I collected mostly branches that I am going to try rooting and some wood that I am going to try grafting onto seedlings I have. If anyone wants to join me in the fun please contact me. I have some time onWednesday, Thursday, and Saturday to work on this. My goal is to learn how to propagate trees and give them away at the farm stand. A do it yourself way to reforest the city with fruit trees.

18th and Rhode Island workday

The Friday workdays on the hill continued and a few people showed up. We potted up seedlings and did some work on the "ivy rock" mound…widening the path between the fence and the mound. I think we will have work to do every Friday and I plan to continue going there every week. At the end of the month we should be getting more trees to plant.

The Secret Garden and the Jamestown kids

On Tuesday Nicole and her kids helped me shovel extra soil into bags from the sidewalk tree planting project. We took some of the soil to the Secret Garden where the kids got to see how things were growing. They really got into raking leaves and making a huge leaf pile. I haven't seen pure joy in a while where the kids loved falling and diving into the leaves. What a simple and beautiful fun thing to do, jump into a pile of fresh fallen leaves. Something so simple and wonderful, but how easy is it in the city for kids to get the chance to do that? I wish I had the camera with me that day, several girls looked so beautiful with the leaves all stuck in their long hair.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

A Stolen Quote: “Planting Peas and Love-age”

On Friday morning I loaded up the van to drive to the tree planting workshop. I had 13 fruit trees, two wheel barrels, a lot of shovels and picks, a pot of chili, and some other tools and things. I was feeling under the weather with a cold that had come back that week and was really feeling tired and drained of energy. As soon as I took off down the street things started picking up with my energy level. This is what I love about San Francisco and what keeps me inspired these days. A lot of neighbors I know were into the second week of putting in sidewalk gardens. I was told 4,000 sq feet of sidewalk were dug up in front of 23 residences in this neighborhood, I think the largest event of this kind in the city. I will write more about this later, but it was awesome seeing people everywhere starting to put some soil down and starting to plant. Then crossing over the freeway on 23rd St. I saw a group of people hanging a banner over the bridge there, and I am sure it was something to do with Palestine and speaking out against the horror going on there now. My friend Tom who I saw helping hang the banner is married to a Palestinian woman and my heart goes out to all the people suffering in her country right now. My heart really goes out to all people who have to live in the terror of a war zone. But it is really great that we have people taking the time to speak out against war and injustice, just like last week I was happy that people were protesting the policeman who shot a black man in the back while he was face down in a Bart station. There is so much going on now and it is so great that we can get involved in any way we can that works towards making a better world. It was also nice when on Saturday at the second day of the tree planting, someone told me they had to leave a little early so they could go help with the Glide rooftop garden. Right on! Also, I want to say that we've got to make time to make beautiful art, draw cartoons, and write inspiring songs (this is especially written for me). The world needs as much beauty that we can plant and grow right now.

The Free Farm Stand

The weather the last few days has been amazingly beautiful and sunny. At the 18th and Rhode Island garden there are still a handful yellow cherry tomatoes growing on a huge overgrown plant, and I could only reach a few through the fence to pick for the farm stand. And I wanted to save those for seed. The Secret Garden right now needs a lot of work and it looks weedy, but like a true friend it keeps growing tasty baby salad greens and the perpetual chard is really perpetual, I keep picking leaves off of it and also I picked some tasty leaves off the Tuscan Kale. In my backyard garden that is very shady I was able to keep picking baby lettuce mix and arugula. I have white sapotes on the tree, but they don't seem to be ripening yet. I also grew almost two pounds of sunflower greens and a gallon jar full of red clover/broccoli sprouts. Now almost everyone that come to the stand wants them which is so fabulous, but I think I need to have a mini workshop sometime to show people how they can do it themselves. Also, maybe what is needed is a kit to help people get started. I also harvested baby salad mix from Treat Commons, some arugula and baby mustard greens (mostly mizuna), and some tine red chili peppers that came from a bush that like a Christmas tree with tiny chili ornaments. Josh tried the last one left, he just popped it in his mouth, and he said it was definitely hot as his face turned red (he was surprised).

My new friend Page showed up with some navel oranges and lemons that he gleaned from a garden where works in Stanford in Palo Alto. I haven't tasted the lemon I saved for myself (he said were really sour), but the orange was great. Navel oranges are really a gift of the gods and to have them this time of the year is super exciting. They went really fast and I had to limit everyone to two each. I must have had over ten people come within the first half hour I opened.

And Jo left some bay leaves and rosemary by my door that she saved from a pruning project she was involved with at I believe City College. The bay leaves were really popular and also the rosemary, though people can only use so much of those herbs and I had some left over.

I got produce once again from the Ferry Building Farmer's Market, mainly a lot of small cabbages and a lot of greens ( a lot of mustard greens, some kale, and bok choy leaves), and a few radishes. We also got a good supply of bread that is super popular.

Because of the nice day there was a big turn out and because we were a bit short staffed we kept busy serving everyone. I unfortunately didn't get to talk to people as much as I would have liked and I didn't really have seedlings to give out.

18th and Rhode Island work days

The Friday and Saturday tree planting day and workshop came off really well. A lot of people showed up and I was told by a number of people they had a good day and learned a lot. I talked about how to choose varieties of fruit trees to plant in your backyard or garden and David and Kevin talked about the design of the garden and high density fruit growing. Both David and Kevin are amazing teachers and I feel lucky to get to learn from them. The 18th and Rhode Island site should have more photos and the notes from the workshop soon. David Cody is doing a great job with that website and I really liked the last set of photos he posted of the creatures we have found at the site. It is amazing that even on vacant and seemingly barren lots how much life there is. The best thing is that we planted 13 of the trees we ordered (more will be shipped out at the end of the month). The trees I purchased with some of the money that was donated to the Free Farm Stand. Also, thanks to David Glober's efforts some neighbors are sponsoring trees and one came out on Saturday to help plant the tree he adopted and donated $30 towards. The idea was to get neighbors more involved in the garden by adopting a tree and if they wanted to they could put in some money to help defray the cost so that money could be spent on more great things.

It was truly a fun day (even though I Friday I was pretty beat) and I feel so lucky to be part of a fruit tree planting. It was pretty dramatic (as you look at the photos) when I cut the trees down to knee height, but that is the plan to keep the tree growing not more than 7 feet high and planted two or three to a hole. When the information gets posted to the 18th and Rhode Island site there are links there to YouTube videos and photos of high density fruit tree plantings that are very inspiring. I have a past record of growing trees that are monstrously tall that are so hard to pick and I am now changing my ways at least for growing fruit trees in our backyards and urban gardens. Get back to me in five years and we will see how things are working out. This is all a learning experience.

Sidewalk Gardens in My Neighborhood

I just want to say I am totally excited to see sidewalks being torn up all over my neighborhood and gardens being planted.I have dreamed about this for years. It is so good just for the fact that it diverts rain water back into the ground rather than into the old sewer. I think it is a beginning to see gardens everywhere and making this a real green city to soften our souls.I have some ideas for the next sidewalk garden planting if it happens. I would like to see people use something other than river rocks which I presume are mined from rivers at some ecological cost and heavy use of gas. I still would like to see fine wood chips (the kind that we used on our berms) being tried out since it is a waste material and would decompose into the soil. I am not convinced that they would fill the sewers and gutters with wood chips or cause a problem that way. I would also like to see more diversity of plants being put in the ground, and people experimenting with more wildlife attractant species and maybe even try out some edible plants. Wouldn't it be nice to know that on 22nd street is a bird habitat garden, on Florida is a wildflower garden or a cut flower garden, and down on Harrison is a cardoon and artichoke planting. Or how about a mushroom garden? These may be crazy ideas I admit.

Fun people I met this week

During the week the networking or building of connections continued as I met a number of wonderful people. I met Siobhan through Eli the fabulous beekeeper and jam maker (Eli where are you by the way?). She was here for a short visit from Chicago where she is getting some kind of degree I think in design and is studying Urban Agriculture (I am not the best note taker because of my weak memory). I enjoyed talking to her not only about the projects related to gardening, but the field of shoes (working for Keds). I think there was a character in the wonderful book by Vikram Seth called A Suitable Boy who designed shoes. Apparently Siobhan got out of that line of work because she didn't like the industry and that nothing in a shoe is recyclable and that the shoes all come from China (including the terrible labor conditions there). She tried to design a shoe with old cloth, but there wasn't enough of a regular supply of material for the shoe company to manufacturer them. Anyway she turned me onto a lot of great things happening in Chicago with gardens and such (telling me about the most green man in that city named Ken Dunn who sounds pretty far out in what he is doing) and told me about the places she visited out here including Pie Ranch and the People's Grocery farm in Sunol. She also showed up at both work days and helped us plant trees ,and then she also got to talk to David about the Homeless Connect Garden he is working on. I thought they should talk since they are both designers (she is designing a window box made out of cloth with a plastic liner for people that are renters in apartment buildings).

Trevor who started MyFarm came by to help with one of his gardeners and Saturday another MyFarm gardener came by to help and learn about planting fruit trees. I was amazed to learn that he has seventy gardens now and business sounds like it is booming. Even though I am not a big fan of growing local food as a business (I think people have to make some time in their life to be in their garden), I respect what he is doing and that he has seventy people eating more locally. They even are limiting their business to using only bicycles and shying away from gas autos. I learned from Max who came by on Saturday that they are mostly only growing cover crops this winter and that they are not giving out boxes of produce at this time. It made me feel better that I am still trying to grow food in all my gardens (though in my backyard I have turned to growing mostly fava beans) and that it may be crazy but worth trying. And a lot is growing especially in the sunny spots.

I met a number of other great people at the tree plantings and who I will probably stay in touch with and it seems that there is no shortage of people these days wanting to get their hands dirty and grow food.

New Years Wish

It is a good time of year to make wishes (I don't know about resolutions) and there are four things that I hope to see take hold this coming year. Maybe this is wishing for too much.One is that I really want to see our Free Farm Stand be bi-lingual every week. I get people who speak Spanish that help for a while, but I need someone who will make a longer term commitment.. This week at the Farm Stand was an example of when I would have really liked to have been able to speak Spanish. When people ask for miel, I would like to explain to people that I only have one bee hive and that the bees only make honey at certain times of the year, and did you bring your jar back to me, etc. Our when I was handing out oranges and I only could give two to each person I wanted to explain to people that we are sharing the surplus that people bring to share and sometimes there isn't much, so we have to all share what there is with everyone as much as possible. I am seriously thinking about taking off for six months and going somewhere to learn more Spanish if someone doesn't come along.

Two is that I would love to expand the cultural and educational component of the Free Farm Stand and put on events related to what we are doing. Music, dance, puppet shows, film showings, celebrations would be fun to host at our weekly event. I would like an event where kids and adults sing to our apple tree and pour cider over it and ask it to produce abundantly this year.

Three is about the gleaning component to the Free Farm Stand. Fresh, organic tasty fruit is so expensive and the most desirable food at the Free Farm Stand. Enough interest has been generated (in the short time we have been around) in searching out the fruit trees in our neighborhoods and finding trees that need picking and maintenance. I call it gleaning. So I really hope that with all this interest that has been building, maybe this year we can see the formation of a fruit gleaning project that collects fruit and distributes it to people in need like low income people and those on tight budgets that come to the stand or go to food pantries.

A fourth wish I have is to see the Free Farm Stand help in the formation of a group of volunteers that helps puts gardens in people's backyards for free and offers a mentor with the gardens they install. Sort of what City Slickers Farm does in West Oakland. My idea is that if someone who gets help putting in a garden winds up with any surplus that they will share it at the stand. Of course, I have a special interest in installing fruiting trees (especially avocados) and other perennial food plants in gardens around here.

I must add another wish is that I hope to see us plant fruit trees in Parque Niños Unidos. This may be the craziest wish of all, just the idea of planting fruit trees in public spaces, but it is all right to be crazy and I love fruit trees!

Here is a wish list from Kevin that he reaad at the Permaculture meeting on the first Wednesday inour new meeting space in the Gazebo. (It is a wonderful space). I thought his wish list was so beautiful I asked him if I could post it here:

SF Permaculture Guild Visioning:

  1. SF Food/Foot Path - pathway from Bay to Ocean Beach of permeable sidewalk landscaping projects all planted with edibles
  2. Garden Wheel backyard program like the permaculture guild in the East Bay does. Once a month a group of people (~30) meets at one home to infuse a lot of energy (or start) the garden.
  3. Gleaning database and calendar with at least 200 entries and at least 40 volunteers
  4. Permaculture park designs – emphasizing water catchment, mixed use and edible landscaping for every park in SF.
  5. Open Center for Alternative Technology at Hunter’s Point Shipyard
  6. Bioregional data assessment – per Geoff Lawton model
  7. Comprehensive plant lists of N-fixers (and other support species), fruit trees, medicinals, per region of SF
  8. Seed library - contribute to Pocket Seed Library or GFE or other or all the above combined with vegetable breeding program for long-term permi-cultivars appropriate to each region and soil type in SF.
  9. Local Exchange Trading Systems – community currency
  10. Database of permaculture sites open to tours in SF
  11. Community Land Trust partnership
  12. First backyard defencing initiative (urban micro farm) in the Sunset
  13. Successful urban aquaculture experiments
  14. Harvest exchange/party
  15. A couple of well-placed guerilla garden efforts
  16. Seasonal recipe book emphasizing perennials with ALL ingredients (including spices and sauces, etc.) being local
  17. 2nd permitted greywater system (1st appropriate tech.) in SF
  18. 1st permitted composting toilet in SF
Commercial cardboard shredder located in SF for shared use

What a nice way to end a blog is with some dreams thrown in at the end.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The 1st Free Farm Stand of the New Year

After today's mellow farm stand I was standing around talking with friends. Someone was saying she didn't understand how things like airplanes can fly and another friend was explaining Bernoulli's equation and the force of uplift. I think the force is actually called lift. Anyway all the time they were talking I was in my crazy fashion thinking that what this world needs now is a big uplift from the weight of heaviness dragging us all down. How can one feel good about the wars going on everywhere, and the suffering of the innocent people caught in between is hard to ignore. Fortunately most of the time I find the Free Farm Stand uplifting and myself flying. I guess to fly we have to have a careful balance of forces. Good work to do, good challenges to face, good support from friends and strangers, and a connection with the all mighty, the power of creation.

Today I knew again I would have no surplus produce from the farmer's market so it was going to be another really local affair. I quickly learned that there wouldn't be any bread either. Fortunately the Secret Garden is still producing lettuce and arugula and some broccoli and greens. I harvested less than a pound of lettuce and arugula and less than a pound of greens and broccoli. I was also able to harvest some greens from my backyard (mostly arugula). There is actually a neglected garden on the site of the permaculture garden and I was able to reach over the short fence and pick almost a pound of mustard greens and found a handful of yellow cherry tomatoes peeking through the wire mesh. I also brought some more walnuts from our tree and a friend brought some beautiful walnuts from Nevada City (they tasted different). I also brought about ten more jars of honey. Later in the day Christy came by with some surplus produce from the Corona Heights community garden, 1 ½ lbs of carrots that were delicious and less than a pound of baby kale. She also brought more Cape Gooseberries or ground cherries. Then at the end of the day Sheryl came by with two small baskets of the most handsome cherry tomatoes that she grew in Berkeley. She harvested them yellow two weeks ago and set them out by a sunny window to ripen more. There were really perfect and tasted great. Tomatoes in January hooray and amazing! If we had our act together we could probably grow a lot more tomatoes all the way into December…next year.

Going into the New Year I am jazzed by all the attention growing local food is attracting. I met with some wonderful folks who are starting to plant gardens in local Episcopal churches to give away at food pantries and other food programs. They have already started by putting in a garden at Holy Innocents Church in the Mission. I just heard from a friend who works with a non-profit called anewamerica that is serving low income immigrants and refugees in the Bay Area. I guess they want to put gardens in day care centers among other things and are looking for volunteer permaculture designers to give them some design help. If they start serving healthy food in day care centers that would be great, though I might lose some of my source for free baby food jars. And in my neighborhood within a ten block radius of lower 24th Street area of the Mission a bunch of neighbors got together and got a big grant to tear up the sidewalks in front of 23 houses and put in gardens or permeable landscaping. They started last weekend and next weekend too they will be doing the actually planting I think and say they can use help. I wonder if anyone is looking into planting anything edible like the artichokes I saw on a Dolores Street sidewalk.

The workday at 18th and Rhode Island was canceled because of rain. It really didn't rain hard, but it was cold and wet, and I personally whimped out. But on Saturday I made it over there and met up with Kevin and David G. We put stakes where the trees are going to be planted. I learned how at least one permaculture designer approached the situation of where to plant trees and I was impressed with the thought that went into it. We have plans to plant 22 fruit trees. Most of the bare root trees are at my house and we have two dates set to have tree planting/workshops Friday January 10th and Saturday January 11th (the dates will be bumped to the next weekend in case of rain). On Saturday we also dug a test hole and poured water in it and measured how long it took 2 gallons of water to drain (3 hours and 21 minutes). That seems to be barely ok and I guess we aren't going to have to worry about drainage since we are going to plant trees sort of on a mound, especially the avocados.

The project of planting fruit trees in our park where we put up the stand is still alive and kicking. Unfortunately Park and Recreation changed the scheduled bike ride of Jared the interim supposedly cool director and I missed his visit (he came a week earlier). I am now on his list to get 15 minutes of his time to pitch my idea to him (my proposal calls for the creation of a Fruit and Recreation Park), though I don't have a date set yet. I have a proposal and just got a generous donation of $205 to buy trees for the project. I know it is a crazy idea putting fruit trees where the public can pick them. Just today I noticed someone had picked the unripe passion fruit in our community garden and thrown it on the ground after figuring out it tasted sour. But Jim just came back from Southern California and told me about a cool edible park he accidentally ran into while on a walk or skateboard ride. Jenny told me too of an edible park she just visited during the holidays in Irvine. So we have to catch up with our southern conservatives down there in Orange Country that may have it wrong about gay marriage, but have it right about growing fruits and nuts in public places.

And thinking about trees I must say that I see a lot of leaves right now on sidewalks that are just getting pushed into the gutter to be swept up by our city streetsweepers. What a waste of useable "browns" for our compost piles. Think how much a tree works to make those leaves and what a miracle it really is. If I had the time I would collect as many as possible and add them to compost piles around town.