Monday, August 31, 2009

Eggplant, okra, and melons Oh My!

I really enjoyed the summer diversity of produce on the home grown table this week and the colors were impressive. There were two small eggplant that were grown at the Esperanza Garden (a first for growing that hot weather loving vegetable). Page brought some beautiful okra from a garden that he tends at Stanford where he works and a big basket of beautiful tomatoes of different shapes and sizes. It really gets me high to grow these hot weather vegetables and fruits or to see them show up at the stand to be shared. Maybe this is all because of global warming, but it sure is fun and makes one feel like a real farmer (no slight intended to cooler weather crops). There were potatoes from the Secret Garden, fingerlings and a pinkish variety called Desiree. The different squashes were attractive, I especially felt proud of the big kobacha squash from 18th and Rhode Island and the trombone squash from Treat Commons. We also had two spaghetti squash from the Arkansas Community Garden. Lynn has been growing some tasty and handsome sprouts and this week she had sprouted amaranth. It is almost like a birthday party or Christmas and I never know who is going to show up with some gift. I didn't see who brought the four pounds of lemons, Fred brought some produce from Langton St. Community Garden, and towards the very end of the day someone showed up with about 20lbs of the most beautiful and sweet orange cherry tomatoes (like Sungold variety) and 5 lbs. of green onions from a farm in Mendocino called Northstone Organics (a not-for-profit medical cannabis cooperative that grows herbs and food according to the web). I would love to put out a big thank you to the universe.

We had a large crowd again at the beginning, with lines out the gate and down the sidewalk, but at some point it slowed down and mellowed out a bit. We had a good garden table and we gave away a lot of seedlings, mostly collards. I also finally got my cartoon printed out and so gave away honey from our hive. This is the same cartoon I posted a while back and you can view or download it on the sidebar.

One of the main things that is happening at the stand besides a lot of really good organic produce being distributed is that people are sticking around and talking to each other. It is amazing all the connections out there, people who know each other or know someone you know. And I am excited that we got our first neighbor approaching us about putting in a garden in her backyard. Apparently she wants to have a garden in her backyard, but needs help because she is rather busy and doesn't have the time to put in a garden, at least by herself. She contacted My Farm but said she doesn't have a $1,000 to have them do it. My idea is to find people who want to garden, don't have their own space, but they can help people put in gardens that do have space but maybe no time, and then they can share the surplus at the Free Farm Stand.

What is needed in this dreamy plan are people with some free time to garden. I am so glad Clara is now managing the Secret Garden and working with people who want to help grow food to share with low income neighbors. I might have found someone to oversee food production at Esperanza Garden and now we have a garden to build from scratch.

Last week I had an exciting conversation with David and Kevin who teach urban permaculture design courses in the city. There is this idea out there that we can realistically only grow so much food in the city to feed everyone. The next thing we could do is to have farms right outside the city that one could easily get to without being dependent on a car. At one time Kevin was looking into looking for land and forming a community in Castro Valley, an unincorporated part of Alameda County which is a gentle 3 miles bike ride from Hayward Bart (that is 3 miles to the rim of a canyon where there is agricultural land that was once part of a very big ranch. Also, apparently the land was never used for chemical agriculture). He thinks that there is some land there that would be ideal for a permaculture community/farm. The idea is somewhat modeled on the idea of Rotterdam Garden clubs mentioned in the "Permaculture: A Designer's Manual which I haven't read. Another part of the idea would be to have a city and a country branch of the community and people would do something like a time share and spend some of the time in the country and some in the city.

I love these kinds of dreams. I often get exhausted living in the city and overwhelmed with the noise, the crowded feeling, and distractions. I blame a lot of the problems on car culture. Then there is the fucked up system we have where we can be some of the richest people living high off the hog, but still have hungry, homeless, neglected people everywhere that we are supposed to ignore (while we look out for ourselves and Eat Real). But we are lucky to have so much opportunity to create something better and there is so much fun and beautiful work we can do. Starting by growing more of food in cities and nearby and sharing the bounty with those in need, and then building our own healthy communities is a good start.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Prime Time for Fruit and Squash

Here are more pictures from last weeks stand:

The main thing that sticks out in my mind about the Free Farm Stand was the long line that formed now extending out the gate and down the sidewalk. I think we ran out of food early, certainly before 3pm. The super local table was full and we did extend its size because it we had a lot of produce. Zucchini and squash ruled the day. Page brought a large collection that he had grown and we had a lot of volunteer squash from 18th and Rhode Island (and zucchini too). I picked a neighbors apple and lemon tree and Produce to the People brought apples. . Nanda brought lemons and zucchini I think surplus from a community garden in San Jose. Someone brought some nice jam from the Secret Garden plums that we served on the bread table (more will be given out next week). Ray brought more ice tea. I continue to pick up a lot of donated food every week, including having a great connection with Green Gulch Farm, run by the Zen Center, where I have been getting flats of starts and some surplus produce. This weeks total super local produce was 174lbs.

The Garden table is going pretty well and every week people are taking home seedlings. We tried something else, which was Page's idea, is that we gave away our first "instant salad garden". A large pot with two lettuces and an arugula plant in it. So all one has to do it take it home, put it somewhere with at least a little sun, and let it grow until harvest time. Also, I am excited that I am finding people to help manage the different gardens growing food for the stand. If anyone wants to garden there is plenty to do. The slide shows have more pictures of the gardens which I hope inspires people who want to get their hands in dirt and grow food to share with neighbors in need.

I continue to hope that the Free Farm Stand can play a significant role in encouraging local food growing and sharing the surplus and wealth of our urban gardens and farms. That we are not just known as a place to get free produce, though I think that is always nice, but a place to share the surplus bounty. I heard the other day that Mayor Newsom contacted three groups to come up with a plan for farming the vacant land at Laguna between Oak and Fell Streets where the freeway was torn down. The groups he contacted were the Permaculture Guild, John Bela with Rebar Group (he/they helped organize the Victory Garden in front of City Hall and is now working on the setting up a Homeless Connect Garden), and My Farm. I am not on the radar of the city hall folks, and I have a lot of ideas about this project, but I think this is the most exciting news I have heard recently. I think a plan has been submitted already and we will see what develops. This is a big piece of land and could grow a lot of food to feed hungry people in the city. I hope it goes in that direction, like the victory Garden at Civic Center last year that grew food for poor people. I put in a vote for a large fruit orchard and food given away to food pantries and free farm stands in different neighborhoods.

I am still trying to move forward with the project of basically expanding our community garden in the park and planting more fruit trees. I am slowing exploring raising funds to put a chain link fence around the area and possibly adding a greenhouse too. As you might know, I am totally excited right now of planting more fruit trees wherever we can in the city.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Return From the Land of Fruit and Nuts

I came back from the Festival of Fruit in the Santa Rosa area to help open the Free Farm Stand Sunday, and I now have some renewed inspiration and energy that I am so grateful for.

I am so lucky to have spent four days out of the city mainly driving around looking at gardens with other fruit tree enthusiasts, getting away from the daily dose of negative corporate media news, and thinking and talking just about trees and plants most of the time.

The tours started on Wednesday when I went up with a friend to check out the Luther Burbank Farm in Sebastopol (called Gold Ridge Farm). It was a good place to start, since Burbank thought the area up there was the ideal place to grow food with its beautiful weather and rich soil and I have been in love with the area for a long time. Burbank was one of American's true plant nuts whom I feel a great kinship with. Starting my trip thinking about him and seeing some of the work he did was a great way for me to change gears from over busy San Francisco life to daydreaming about fruit growing, the miracle of fruit trees, the miracle of gardens, and meeting the aliens like me who are in love with their gardens and trees and want to share their excitement with anyone who comes along.

I am torn between wanting to try to write about my trip or report on yesterday's Free Farm Stand which was another fabulous event. I easily slip into overwhelmed mode when I think about both things. Not only did I see some amazing and inspiring gardens, but the people I met on the four day trip and the people I met yesterday at the stand both made me feel like the world is great and wonderful.

First about the Free Farm Stand yesterday, though there are connections to my trip: When I came back on Saturday night the van was loaded with produce I had brought back from Santa Rosa. While I was up there for the festival I hooked up with my friend Tom who is a fellow gardener and gleaner. He told me that he also loves to give food away, that it is too much work to try to sell it. Before I came up he had picked a lot of apples, green beans, winter and summer squash from his garden in Forestville to give me to bring back to the stand. He also has started a garden in the backyard of an empty house in Santa Rosa where we both picked zucchini and cucumbers. I got excited about Armenian cucumbers that are beautiful and delicious, though I wonder how they would grow here in San Francisco. There was also a peach tree loaded with peaches that we wanted to pick, but they were just about a week away from being ripe. Then we went somewhere in Santa Rosa that had a few pear trees that needed picking. There were pears all over the ground and the pears were ready to pick. I learned on one of the tours how to pick pears…you lift the pear slightly and if it breaks off the stem it is ready. Ideally with earlier pears like Bartlett you want to either leave them out to ripen more or put them in a refrigerator for a few days first and then leave them out until ready to eat. Late pears like Anjou you pick them and then need to refrigerate them for 2-3 weeks. Tom is a serious gleaner and has an orchard ladder and a bag and we wound up bringing back 160 lbs of pears. We actually picked more and left some for the people whose property the trees were on and some with Tom who likes to dry them. That whole area is totally fruit crazy, every older house seems to have a remnant of an orchard on the property and there are fruit trees everywhere and a lot are not getting picked. On Wednesday I tried to check out a house in Sebastopol that Mohr told me about that has fruit trees needing picking, but I couldn't connect with the owner and where I parked the van on the street there was an apple tree loaded with apples. I started wondering if there was a gleaning group that tried to rescue some of the abundance there. Tom thought not. Anyway, I came back with 323 lbs. of banana squash, cucumbers, apples, pears, kabocha squash, and zucchini. Not bad as a side adventure from the festival of fruit.

The local table also had 20 lbs of squash from the Rhode Island garden and a pound of green beans that was picked on Friday. Lauren and her Produce to the People crew came by with 84 lbs of fruit, including 48 lbs of apples, 10 lbs of plums, and 26 lbs of cherry plums from the Secret Garden (she said she could use help picking this week if there are any fruit pickers out there). Our counter on the sidebar shows we now are over 1 ton of super local produce we have distributed this year!

Lyn brought more of her homegrown delicious sprouts and throughout the day people brought small garden contributions. Someone brought oranges and Pam told me she brought five pounds of produce (like a lot of produce that showed up on the table I either didn't see it nor did I weigh it…only heard about it). I also heard about a cake with strawberries on it that got eaten really fast. Autumn rescued some olives from the farmers market (they throw out their open containers of samples at the end of the day) and they were a big hit, the oil being good too for dipping cut up bread in. Towards the end of the farm stand Shivie and Cemaaj from Team Raw ( came by with the most delicious leftovers from a catering gig, chocolate dipped strawberries and stuffed mushrooms to share with everyone. You can check out a video at to see how she made them. At the very end of the day I got interviewed by the people who made that video, Kevin and Annmarie of Renegade Health TV. They are traveling around making videos to educate people about health and wellness, to empower people to take actions in improving their own lives and communities. Sounds great to me and it is part of what we are about too. The interview about the stand will be up soon I suppose.

The super local table actual had more food than the Farmer's Market left over table. Also, again people started sitting on the lawn and hanging out together which was beautiful.

I am mainly reporting all this to inspire others that yes we can grow food in the cities and areas within 100 miles of our cities and do a good job of becoming a little more self reliant. And that this kind of fresh local organic produce can be made available to everyone regardless of how much one can really afford.

It starts with us learning to grow some of our own. The garden/plant table was good this week too as we had a lot of help potting up seedlings and giving them away (and seeds too). That is also why I love to go to the Festival of Fruit is because I need to learn as much as I can about how to grow food, especially fruit trees that feed us all so generously and abundantly (with some work of course). The people that open there gardens for us to explore and the ones that talk at the workshops are national treasures. Personally I learn best by observation and visiting others who are doing what I want to do, so I feel like I need to learn as much from them now as I can. Also, the more we connect the more we can share plant material with each other. One of the common facts about these people, besides knowing a lot about gardening and growing thing, many of them have learned how to propagate plants. They have especially learned how to graft onto fruit trees so they can grow many varieties of fruit and have different kinds of fresh fruit on their table every day.

I have nine 8 ½ x 11 pages of notes from the tours I went on. Two a day was all I could do. And I took 281 photos. With all that I find it hard to capture in words or pictures the remarkable diversity I saw nor the excitement I felt at this event.

Some highlights of what I learned (not complete by any means):

  • A guy in Davis name Joe Real inspired me the most of all the speakers. He spoke and showed slides of his garden in Davis. The title of his talk was "Back Yard Citrus and Persimmon Growing. How to Grow the Most in the Least Space". His garden is in Davis and he has 43 trees on a small 735' part of his yard (around the perimeter of his property). He had a citrus with 101 varieties, a persimmon with fifty or more kinds on it, a 48-n-1 plum, an apple tree with I think fifty kinds of apples, and 450 cultivars of different fruits in total approximately, all cataloged on his computer. He passed out one of the most informative information sheets I have ever read on the topic of maximizing the space you have for growing food. Here is the pdf file:
    Backyard Citrus and Persimmon Culture
  • I learned that if you live in the country or can find 2 ½ acres of land somewhere you can grow enough for a small farm. I visited Gold Nectar Farm in Windsor which is the perfect example of what great growing you can do with that much land.
  • There were a lot of questions about drip irrigation, how many emitters people used, how long they water for, etc, and I was reminded about how valuable water is and the fact that it is becoming scarcer in some places, so strategies need to be developed how to deal with that issue. The talk I went to by Robert Kourik, author of the new book Roots Demystified esplained how tree roots look and how to best water them.
  • I learned (again) how we must grow fruit trees small and planted close together to make them easier to pick and to increase the amount and varieties of fruit we can grow. Though Jo grows some of his tree pretty high to get more fruit.
  • I learned the names of varieties of fruit that some of these people who grow a lot like and that do well for them in their climate. For example, the Seckel Pear seems to be hands down a very popular fruit. Not only did I learn names of good varieties like Orcas pear, Splendor apple, Howard Miracle plum, Splash and Flavor Supreme pluot (that one I tasted and it was great!), Niabell grape, or Isu Persimmon, I also learned the names of fruit that I hadn't really heard of like choke berry (Aronia), Gumi Berry, Leucaena, a nitrogen fixing tree in pea family that make pods with seeds that you can eat, (but I just read that it used for livestock feed.)
  • I learned that White Winter Permain apple is a favorite of Florence Strange in Petaluma, who has 6 acres of land (after walking around her garden, where she made big cardboard signs identifying a lot of trees she is growing, including some notes about the tree or fruit. I asked her how many trees she thinks she has planted. She said smiling that maybe she has planted 500 trees and has lost 200). So I learned that you just have to not be afraid of trying things and seeing how they work out. I also learned from a number of these gardeners that sometimes plants will die to the ground and then come back and become fruitful again. Florence had a lemon tree that bit the dust due to a winter frost, but grew back and now makes a delicious sour lemon that the skin is sweet and delicious that I tasted.
  • I learned from Michael Phillips who is an apple grower in New Hampshire that "our chief job is to steward all sorts of healthy happenings". And the importance of a fungal dominated (vs bacteria dominated) soil.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Photos from Sunday August 9

Thanks to Cristina we have some of the best photos of the most recent stand:

Nosrat brought some volunteer squash that looked liked gourds. They were beautiful. Did anyone try eating them?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Open Source Bounty

I am feeling pretty crazy right at the moment which means I should probably get out into the garden more. I think the crowds at the stand are overwhelming me a bit! There were people lined up on the sidewalk. Yikes! I started worrying that the stand is becoming too successful and therefore big, and therefore a drag for people having to wait in line. I want to stay small and personal and have time to chat with everyone. To spread good vibes, not institutional rushed hurried vibes. At the same time manna is coming down from heaven. I feel spiritually nourished from all the great helpers we have and the harvests we are bringing in from our neighborhood gardens and fruit trees. I hope more people are growing some of their own food as that is the only sustainable way this will work, growing our neighborhood vegetables and fruit and sharing the surplus. I know we are planting many seeds of all kinds...seeds of change and hope, seeds of inspiration, seeds to grow our own, be it gardens or evolutions.

I am not going into too many details of the stand yesterday. I just realized I didn't take a single photo yesterday at the stand. There was a lot of produce and a lot of people. Before we opened, Lauren organized a picnic for the high school students who having been picking fruit for a summer job with her Produce to the People program. Yesterday was their last day, but there might be a new crew in the fall. She did a lot of cooking and also made a pie with some of the damaged fruit from last week. I love it that she has been rescuing the left over fruit at the end of our day at the stand and processing it into something yummy. She is a true bottom feeder. I have really appreciated all the fruit Produce to the People (and her kids) have been bringing every week (this week 88 pounds of cherry plums, apples, and plums). It is nice to see fruit that would fall to the ground and get wasted, being taken home by people and families struggling to pay rents and put good food on the table. It also seems like the last few weeks someone has brought some homemade jam to share at the bread table. This week there was some jam made with the soft cherry plums from last week

18th and Rhode Island

I think the exciting news for me this week came out of the permaculture garden on 18th and Rhode Island Sts. on Potrero Hill. First of all, there are a lot of trailing winter squashes growing all over the place. They are growing well, but no one seemed to know what they were. We picked a few of them before we realized that they were a yellow pumpkin (later Cristina found a label). We also have kabocha squash growing and then by the sidewalk under the apple tree fence there are honeydew melons growing! They looked like melons, but again I didn't plant them and wasn't sure what they were. In all my years gardening here in San Francisco, in the Mission Neighborhood, I have never tried growing melons because I didn't think they would grow or produce sweet fruit. Actually, I think I have tried growing melons and watermelons too and I had no luck. I took the melon home and cut it open to see what was inside and sure enough it was green and though a bit under ripe, was sweet and delicious. That really made my day and I brought half of the melon to the farm stand to share with everyone. There is also what looks like two or three watermelons growing there, but they are very small right now. We harvested a total of 54lbs of produce that Friday. One squash (it may be a volunteer) that was hidden weighed in at 6 lbs.! We have been having the greatest work days on Friday with a lot of nice volunteers showing up.

This garden is turning out to be quite a success and the fact that we are growing most things there with little soil and mostly wood chips is amazing! And it is a perfect example of what good work can be done turning a vacant lot into garden.

Clara has jumped into her role of overseeing the Secret Garden and is putting her beautiful energy into the place. Green Gulch Farm, who gave us another beautiful box of chard this week, also gave us some happy seedlings of kale, chard, broccoli, and bunching onions. They need to go into the ground soon and I hope they can get planted in all the gardens that are growing for the Free Farm Stand. Look for Clara' contact information in the sidebar under My Schedule and Events. The Esperanza garden needs the attention of a gardening angel too.

Festival of Fruit

All this week I will be attending the Festival of Fruit 2009 ( in the Santa Rosa/Petaluma/Sebastopol area. I love this event which is really tours of many gardens by fruit and garden enthusiasts like me. I will be back at the stand on Sunday and I might return with some gleaned produce while in the area.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Peak Produce

We have heard about the idea of Peak Oil, but what about Peak Produce, have we reached that at the Free Farm Stand yet? Or what about Peak People, the beautiful people of all sorts that I am constantly meeting, the New Diggers, the dreamers and doers, the disguised saints, the sweet crazies (aren't we all)?

Sunday the sun came out in the afternoon to shine on all the hundreds of pounds of organic fresh produce that was collected to share. Check out the sidebar for see the total amounts of food people have grown or collected this year that doesn't come from the farmer's market. The shoppers lined up a little early and I don't think there was ever a break in the sharing dance. For me it started Saturday. Friday night I got a call from my friend Joanne that now lives at Green Gulch Farm and sits zazen and farms. You can't beat that. She found out that there was a field of food that was going to be plowed under the next day and she asked me if I could use some for the stand, that she could pick some and put it on the truck driving to the Ferry Building Farmer's market the next day. I of course said yes, I have always felt that the produce from them is very special, infused with a spiritual vibe that makes one high just to be near it. We got seven boxes of produce from them and I think in the future we may also get some starts from them too. And as I knew it would be the kale, lettuce, and rainbow chard was totally beautiful and fresh and such a beautiful gift and I was excited to be able to share it with our neighborhood.

Actually just before I left I looked across the street at the big supermarket and the area where the trucks drive in and block the open door to the back of the store. This is when one can sneak over there and look in their dumpster or go through the pallet of produce they are getting rid of (I don't know where it goes, it gets put in a truck and driven away). The store employers don't see you (they are not into sharing) and it is easy to score some stuff, mostly worthy of a compost pile, but every once in a while a box of rotting organic bananas for banana bread. These days industrial organic produce winds up in our supermarkets and then some of it goes out the back door probably to be composted somewhere. I like to grab some of it to make more compost for our gardens and I have a friend that is a Hare Krishna devotee who prefers to eat the food that is being wasted and no one else wants. We both hit this dumpster at different times, and I always offer him what I find before it goes in my compost. So that Saturday I hit a jackpot of produce but was too busy to get more than a box, I chose the one that looked like it had the most organic stuff in it. I spent the rest of the day thinking about what an abundant and yet so wasteful society we live in. I feel good that I can help recycle some of the abundant organic food we grow either to feed people directly with left over's from the farmer's markets or to help us grow more gardens.

Then later in the day I picked up food that Food Runners delivers to the soup kitchen where I volunteer and since they are on vacation for two weeks, I could get a lot more. It so happened that Food Runners picked up a lot of extra produce from the Ferry Building Farmers Market, somehow Eatwell farms had a lot of surplus zucchini and eggplant and the van was loaded to the max.

We also harvested a lot of locally grown food and throughout the day people kept showing up with more. People brought 131lbs of produce, including lemons, grapefruits, tomatoes, plums (about three kinds), loquats, apricots, herbs, sprouts, and zucchini. Also, Maggie brought two quarts of homemade tomato salsa and someone brought plum jam. One of the most beautiful "sharings" was that my friend Ray showed up with a big bottle of green tea with ginseng and honey and ice and cups. I have known Ray for about 22 years and he has been somewhat homeless forever, but now he lives in a Tenderloin hotel. I met him through a vegan soup kitchen I was helping to run and he just became a vegetarian so appreciated a place he could get healthy no meat food. He started coming around the Free Farm Stand and picking up bread and some fruit (I don't know how much he cooks). He finally got out of a wheelchair after two years because of a knee injury. And he uses a cane when he gets out. It was so sweet that he felt like he wanted to be part of the scene and bring something he could share with others (I spoke to him the week before and he offered to bring soda but we agreed on tea). Pancho also told me a sweet story he had with an older Spanish speaking woman who was getting some fruit and vegetables, but passed on the bread, because she didn't need it and wanted to save some for others. The real miracle of the day is that 99% of the food was given away. I still wind up having way to many herbs, mostly rosemary, that I have left over. Anyone have any ideas what to do with lots and lots of rosemary every week?

Again I need to say how great a volunteer crew we have. The stand seems to have a life of its own and I have been able to step away a bit and let others run things. One fantastic development is that Kevin who has been picking fruit with Produce to the People has really gotten on board with giving out the bread. He has shown up early to make sure he can do that job and it is great to see him feeling empowered with the work he is doing. The summer program ends next week but there will be funds in the fall to hire youth for these kinds of projects. And word is out that he wants to keep coming to give out bread. He does a wonderful job the way he organizes the bread on the table and serves the bread with jam.

Other projects:

One of my ongoing projects is to plant more fruit trees in Parque Niños Unidos where we have the stand. Unfortunately the park officials want me to put a fence around the area and basically expand the garden into the park so I have to raise maybe $3000 or more to do this. I have also been dreaming of putting a greenhouse there too which would require more funds. I was hoping to apply for a grant from San Francisco Beautiful, but temporarily they have run out of funds. I may be taking a workshop this week to help identify funders.

I get a lot of people saying they want to help in some way. Many people want to help us grow food for the stand. Right now there are four gardens that I am growing food in and they could all use help. I had the idea of training people to help manage each garden to supply food to share at the stand. Already a friend Clara has started working at the Secret Garden and we hope to know more in the future about her schedule and how others can join her.

The permaculture garden at 18th and Rhode Island with our non profit The No Penny Opera, just got a grant and once we get the check we will know for sure the amount. The money will pay for our water bill, give us money to buy seeds and plants, install a couple of types of a watering systems, etc. I will keep people up to date as we get more information. We have been having real nice workdays and thanks to Cristina we have been documenting each day with her great photos. Lauren brought the kids from her project over and they helped harvest four pounds of potatoes and plant seeds. Cristina has also been taking photos of our lunches which actually look pretty good.

Here are some pretty inspiring photographs of urban gardens around the world that Nanda sent me the link to:,29307,1913033,00.html. Included in the photo slide show is a shot of the rooftop garden on top of Glide and a couple of shots of City Slicker Farm in Oakland. I have been realizing recently that the Mission is so dense with very little open space that I see. Downtown has more open space in the form of big parking lots and if we reduced the number of cars in the city those park lots the concrete could be torn up and made into farms. But if you want to grow food in the Mission another far away dream would be to tear down fences in backyards and neighbors grow food together. There is also a lot of interest in rooftop gardens (a lot of the photos in the Time magazine link are of rooftop gardens). I have never been to excited by gardening on a roof, it seems like it could be a lonely experience. I will stick with the dream of searching for vacant land in the Mission that I can plant my feet in.

In case you haven't heard Greywater was just made legal in California: Hooray!

And I just read that the school district has lots of property going to waste, like a place on Mission and 16th. Can we talk someone into tearing up some asphalt there and planting a garden?