Monday, December 7, 2009

Free Standers

Last night winter was knocking on our windows and doors with a short burst of hail and later we had a small amount of cold rain. I thought about all the seedlings and potted young plants I have started and how I wish I could put more of them under cover, like in a green house. We did pull off another Free Farm Stand with cool and cloudy weather but it was dry, though we didn’t have as many people as usual. We are definitely in our winter season mode with less vegetables being harvested and less gleaning of left-overs from the farmer’s market.

We did have an impressive amount of greens that we harvested on Friday from the 18th and Rhode Island garden. We also harvested a handful of small zucchini. I am really impressed with this variety called Soleil (though it is a hybrid) that produces non-stop, is easy to find and pick, and gets less mildew than other varieties. I hear tonight there will be a frost so that might do in the rest on the plants.

Mentioning 18th and Rhode Island, we had a great work day on Friday. Mike a park director down the hill brought all these neighborhood 2 and 3 year old rug rats to help in the garden. I had seven varieties of potatoes that I thought it would be daring to try planting at this time of year. So the kids and parents had fun planting making tater towers until their attention span went elsewhere.

Jeanie who I volunteer with at Martin de Porres gave me a basket full of pineapple guavas that we gave out (it is always fun to turn someone on to a delicious fruit they haven’t tried before…especially kids). Lyn dropped off three bags of delicious sprouts that she grew. My sprouts are behind schedule because of my distracted mind. Being that we had relatively so little produce for the number of people showing up we ran out early like last week, like around 2pm we started getting pretty low on most things except bread. Then as we were closing up Clara and Bianca showed up with some greens from the Secret Garden and out of nowhere two people came by to take them.

Being the end of the year I am shifting to a more contemplative mode and have been thinking about all the garden/local food growing opportunities that popped up this year. People are calling who want help turning their backyards into gardens, schools are ripe with potential projects (there is a fruit tree planting coming up this Saturday at Mission High), new lots ready to turn into urban farms, existing gardens needing help, a fruit tree orchard itching to move into a park, etc. The bottom line is there a lot that we can do and a lot of dreams to be sowed and harvested. A lot of food can be grown to feed hungry people.

On Saturday I just happened to pick up the Bay Guardian, partly because the cover illustration and feature article caught my eye:” Out of reach: Organic, sustainable slow food is wonderful -- unless you're poor or a farmworker ( The illustration reminded me of my friend Lauren’s drawing on her web site Produce to the People. On hers there are arms and hands outstretched reaching for fruit in trees and some hands are holding the fruit they just picked. In the Guardian the arms and hands are reaching out for carrots that can’t get to. This article, especially the first paragraphs reflects some of my thinking and was one of the main reasons I started the Free Farm Stand: “Though organic grocery stores and farmers markets have sprung up on San Francisco’s street corners, it remains to be seen whether our current mania for sustainable, local food will positively affect the lower classes, be they farm workers or poor families.” I think we all do what we can to improve the current mess we have going now and I have always thought like Gerrard Winstanley and the diggers of 1649 that the “earth is a common treasury for all to share”. They dug up the commons or vacant lands and grew food on it to share with everyone.

Plans are starting to get firmed up for the rest of this month. I am leaving town on Saturday December 19
th and will return on Monday January 4th next year. So we will be open rain or shine December 12th and December 20th (I have at least two people committed to opening that Sunday I will be gone).We will be closed December 27 and January 3 I also am trying to focus right now before I leave on things other than gardening so don’t know how available I will be to work with people. The cold weather is not for gardeners, but gives much needed chill to our fruit trees.


Anonymous said...

Hi Tree,

I think you mean 12/13, not 12/12, right?
"So we will be open rain or shine December 12th and December 20th (I have at least two people committed to opening that Sunday I will be gone). We will be closed December 27 and January 3I"

StitchinBitch said...

Hi Tree,
This is Karleen with Urban Farming. Just wanted to say hello and commend you again for all of your work. I too read the article in the SFBG and am dedicated to helping the mess. Let's be in touch, I will certainly visit the farm stand now that I'm here!