Monday, February 8, 2010

Harvested with a Kiss

I feel good and all ready for the love holiday coming up this February 14th. I remember years ago in the early seventies a beautiful man, one of my mentors, a poet, gardener, and visionary named Geoff Brown started probably the first free garden in San Francisco on South Van Ness Street near where I now live. He talked about delivering each lettuce he grew to fellow communards with a kiss. The Free Farm Stand and now the Free Farm is all about sharing the love in the same way. This week the love was mostly green and orange as we gave out lots of greens and gleaned oranges and tangerines (and some lemons). Tofutown folks came by with a lot of vegan fake meat that we handed out that sort of made up for the second week of no Acme bread. Steve brought by surplus collards from his plot at Portreo del Sol from seedlings he got from the stand. Hurray and right on! A neighbor brought by some sour grapefruit from her tree which I think can be used for juice. The oranges and tangerines were from Stanford glean. They were going to bring forty lettuces but they got rip off (ripped out literally) the day before they were picked. We were all out of produce around 2 or 2:30pm.

The Free Farm rocked this week as we began Wednesday workdays. Since others in our group are documenting this so well I suggest just going to their link for photos, writings, and even some videos:
Here are some photos from the Wednesday workday:

I love working with this new group of people. I am not a Christian, but I relate to all good stories about feeding the poor and miracle making. I stumbled upon this beautiful writing last year by Megan who we are working with and her Urban Share project : She says "Jesus feeds 5000….But what if we could do it too?...using this model of Urban Share we are working on a community garden project to enable churches and other organizations to create gardens to grow food, learn about hunger and meet the need that is so much more than a need for daily bread. Working with local gardening activists we have learned that it is possible to create raised bed, sidewalk, rooftop and [vacant] lot gardens virtually for free by recycling materials that are common in urban environments."

On Saturday I missed some of the Free Farm workday and the lunch which by all reports was fabuloso so I could check out the designs for the new park being designed for the parking lot at Folsom and 17th Sts. In the Mission. One of the questions I asked is why does the city have to buy the land from PUC (thus the need to write a grant proposal). It seems it is state law and I couldn't quite figure it out, just a crazy system, where the PUC has to protect it's rate payers who also just happen to be the citizens who run the city government. Anyway if they get the grant they can go ahead with this project. I heard that they at least talked PUC down in price to two million dollars for the lot.

I ran into a number of friends at the presentation of the designs that was held under a canopy in the parking lot, so we could get a better sense of what we are talking about. Wow it is a pretty big space! And the abandoned chocolate factory next door isn't even on the plan. Many of my friends that were there also were on the same page as me in wanting a design with the maximum growing area and supporting the idea of using the land to grow food for the community.

There were three designs presented and everyone was asked to put a label on the design they liked the best and got three stars to put on what design element they liked most. I had sent the design team an email with my ideas that included links to functional play equipment (like a teeter-totter that pumped water) and they used some of the photos in the presentation. The three designs are Revolution Park Concept, Mission Creek Commons Concept, Eco-People Park Concept. You can download the three designs here (at the bottom of their page) and also send them feedback by email
I liked the Mission Creek design since it seemed to have the most space devoted to farm/garden/growing food.
You can also attend the second design review tomorrow Feb. 9th from 6-9pm at the planning department (1650 Mission St. near Duboce Ave 4th Floor room 431).

Check out my links page on the is growing with new friends that are doing cool work. I forgot to mention my visit to the Hayes Valley Farm last week. Wow what a project going on there!

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