Monday, November 2, 2009

Kissing Cousins

My original idea for writing a blog was to keep in touch with people and let them know what is happening each week with the Free Farm Stand. I have been documenting my experiment with promoting local food growing and to give a report each week of what is growing in our gardens, how much we have been harvesting, and what is happening in general in our city with the local food growing movement. At this point it is starting to feel like I am repeating myself when I'm publishing photos of the same stacks of beautiful organic locally grown vegetables each week or describing what happened at the stand.

So I only took a handful of photos this week (if I do document this weekly event with photos I need someone with fresh eyes to do it), but here are two photos that are different. As I was hanging out at the end of the day in the garden, totally exhausted, an intense orange butterfly decided to hang out in the garden too (maybe she was tired too). I called some friends over to check it out and we all were amazed at how beautiful she was.

Then someone else pointed out another handsome (though destructive) visitor to the garden, chewing happily away on some parsley.

This caterpillar I know will turn into a monarch butterfly and that they like to live in parsley patches before their transformation.

We have all heard this said before, but when I was just chilling in the garden at that moment with all my animal and plant friends I felt a real connection with them all. If anyone got a chance to see the PBS documentary last week on TV called the Botany of Desire (a video version of the book) they might have been inspired like me, for it really made this point clear. That there is a relationship between man/woman and plant and non-human animal and that relationship goes both ways. We are kissing cousins.

So the point being that we need to learn to live in harmony with each other, we've got to work it out. The Free Farm Stand itself is an experiment in trying to build the networks that will sustain us as neighbors and community.

I must mention that some really cool things happened imho this week at the stand. One thing is a neighbor showed up with a big bag of meyer lemons that he just harvested from his tree and then later he came back with more of them. I also was tickled by a woman that brought some beautiful Granny Smith apples (and some red ones) from here tree just down the street. Another great thing that happened is that a woman sent me an email saying that she had spent $1500 to get a garden installed in her backyard by My Farm. Then that business folded and she had this big backyard that was overgrown and there was a lot of produce that could be harvested. She was feeling pretty lonely working in the garden by herself and she didn't know what she was doing. She wondered if we had people that could work with her and share the surplus at the stand. I really lucked out seeing that I knew two people that lived near her. I thought they might want a bigger space to garden in since they just had tiny plots in the community garden in that neighborhood. So I contacted one person and she contacted the other and now I think they are working together and rejuvenating her backyard garden. What surprised me the most is that she showed up with a few bags of greens to share right when we were getting a little low on super local produce. I think she told me there were 50-100 My Farm backyard gardens and that a lot of the people that paid for the service are in the same boat as she and that they may want help too. Plus there are all the people who signed up a year ago to get a free Victory Garden in their backyard that never got one. I am overwhelmed thinking how can we get all these places growing food and sharing the surplus?

I just realized that what was wrong with My Farm right from the beginning is the name My Farm. I think we need to move away from "my" this and that, because that is such a hoax and brings false security. On Sunday at the stand I also met an ex-myfarm gardener and he was also aware that there are a lot of gardeners that need volunteer help, that the gardens are all setup with drip and good soil, but the gardens need garden care and maintenance and guidance.

The work day in our backyard on Halloween was mostly a bust. I did wind up gardening mostly by myself, though Christina showed up to help me get all the palm fronds I pruned into green bins. Maybe I didn't get the word out or just because it was Halloween no one was available. Well this Saturday I will be extracting honey from our hive and maybe if enough people show up we can also get some gardening in too.

Here is a link that I got from the permaculture group called What's on My Food: . It is helpful in getting us to think about the choices we make when purchasing organic or non organic food. It also made me appreciate the organic produce we have at the Free Farm Stand. How lucky can we be that as bottom feeders we can eat a little more worry free.

1 comment:

Anna, The Lemon Lady said...

Love reading your blog. I haven't checked in in awhile. I admire what you are doing - such a wonderful job! I'm still doing what I do over here in Clayton, Concord, Walnut Creek area. It hasn't stopped being fun yet! :) Happy Harvesting. BTW, there was an article in the San Francisco Chronicle a few weeks ago. May have sparked some new interest in our area. Takes time.