Last Friday I was driving to Alemany Farm to volunteer there, mostly to harvest produce for the Free Farm Stand on Sunday. I was feeling pretty good, the sun was out, the greenhouse at the All in Common Garden was almost done, and I had started looking at what seeds I saved since the Free Farm closed last year. It was like visiting old friends, opening up what was left of my seed collection, having given away almost all the seed from that wonderful project. I got excited thinking about what I might like to plant in the new digs. A song from the sixties came on the radio and I recognized it, me being an old hippie, but I couldn’t think of the name of the band.

“It’s the time of the season
When love runs high
In this time, give it to me easy…

It’s the time of the season for loving”

At that moment I started getting nostalgic for that summer of love and thought I should go home and vape and chill out, forget going to the farm and laboring outdoors. I chose to do the right thing and harvest vegetables. I am glad I did, we brought home 256 pounds of veggies, mostly greens…like chard, kale, Asian mustard greens, lettuce, and cabbage. It is the season of harvesting! We also scored a lot of seedlings to give away at the stand and to plant (we gave all the seedlings away on Sunday, they were very popular).  Spending a few hours harvesting vegetables and fruit is an excellent way to tap into an appreciation of where your food comes from and I highly recommend it like a yoga practice. It is a way of connecting to the divine.  Join me some Friday at noon until 3 or 4pm to help us harvest and see what it is like. Also, Alemany Farm is an interesting place to visit, a mixture of farm and wildlife next to a noisy freeway and the projects.

01dda2be0c2d2c1c1124a65879afc9eb46f9654ceaBlue heron visiting the farm


Flannel bush

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Johnny and Pax with lettuce

It turned out that the other day I was in the All in Common Garden and we had a visitor named Miles. We were talking about the 60’s and he used to work at the radio station KSAN FM which was a pretty famous rock station at that time.  He knew the name of the band for the song that was stuck in my head (the Zombies). That is why I love the work I do both at the Stand and in the Garden, I meet so many interesting and beautiful people. And then talking about getting high I read the most remarkable article in the New York Times the other day: Can Washington’s Gift Economy in Marijuana Work?

“…In Washington, D.C., it’s now legal to possess marijuana, to grow it, to smoke it and to give it away. But you’re not allowed to trade in it. You can give your neighbor up to an ounce, but if he gives you money or even bakes you a pie in exchange, that’s illegal.

The District of Columbia has legalized marijuana — but is trying not to create a market in marijuana. It’s aiming for a gift economy,”

Some of us dreamers have been advocating for a Free system for everything  forever. If the Rand Corporation is  coming up with this idea you know the times they are changing.

Here is another thought about the hand of the almighty touching us. I have been working hard with so many different volunteers finishing building the greenhouse. The last thing I have been working on is installing a sink. When I was home I decided to open a young coconut that had been sitting in our refrigerator for about a month. I cracked off the top and poured the most delicious water into a glass. I thought nature has us beat when it comes to supplying me with a cup of water that I don’t need plumbing for. How wonderful and precious is that miracle of the coconut and those miracles are around us everywhere. In these difficult and sad times we are in, these things cheer me up and are my source for hope. More than ever we must continue to focus on the divine and the mysterious and the glorious workings of the universe.

Below is a poster for a workshop we are having at the All in Common Garden about composting Saturday April 11th.  We will explore the magic of soil and compost and show you how to make some of your own of this good stuff.

compost class  smaller

 We continue to need volunteers both at the Free Farm Stand on Sundays starting at noon and at the All in Common Garden (mainly on Saturday 9am until 3pm and Tuesdays 1-3pm).  It is a fun way to meet people and learn about growing flowers and food and giving it away in a beautiful fashion.

Often times I catch myself feeling jealous of other people. Yesterday I watched someone getting baptized and she spoke about feeling free, safe, and like a child.  I was thinking, Jeez I wouldn’t mind feeling born anew. Though going to the Free Farm Stand or being in some gardens makes me feel drenched in grace.  That’s feeling the love, beauty, mystery, and kindness pulsating everywhere, like a cosmic wave.

The two week experiment of my stepping back at the Stand is going well. Lolita has taken over leading our circle and already things are much better. She has gotten everyone engaged by getting all our volunteers to answer some question she has been coming up with. I have gotten to know our helpers more than I have in the past years we have been working with each other. One of our volunteers Zoila even broke out with a song yesterday.

Though there hasn’t been a lot to harvest at Alemany Farm (this I picked beautiful lettuce and  fava bean leaves) and there is less produce from the farmers at the market, the sun was out in full force warming everyone up and the community vibe was going strong.  And the lemons are coming in from neighbors.

16180604398_d5e18b3371_cP1010001Meyer lemons

P1010002Eureka lemons? these came from another neighbor and they look

rounder than the Meyers in this  photo

One person told me I could come and pick her tree (any gleaners out there?). I also am so appreciative of my friend Margaret who has been growing a small garden at St. Aidan’s and she often brings me a small bag of some things she harvested…this week lovey arugula! It’s these  contributions from neighbors and friends that make our work feel so special…like the love that went into that is so powerful and is such a great gift.

We also had a great work day in the Treat Commons Community Garden right next to the Stand.  It is wonderful to garden while others are giving out the produce nearby. I hope to I plan to teach some gardening classes this coming spring and summer and once we get some more work done at the All in Common Garden down the street from the Stand.


White Sapotes from my backyard


Pax at our Vegan Info Booth…hopefully more people will get it

that we are promoting not killing animals  for food or sport


Fava beans an alternative to meat


 Some of our free seedlings looked kind of sad. The sad spinach

 came from the leftovers after the planting of the new edible garden at our baseball stadium

farm to (center) field


some of our fabulous volunteers


our guest parrot



we like it hot

I have been wanting to write about the Free Farm Stand and our new garden project the All in Common Garden for a long time, but I just didn’t know what to write about. I have been feeling pretty gloomy about the state of the world in general these days. I have tried from the beginning of my blogging career to remain upbeat and positive and to focus my writing about issues related to our work at the Stand and in the All in Common Garden. The sadness in the daily news is overwhelming to me these days and I struggle not to get caught up in that stuff.  I am so glad the Free Farm Stand has reopened after being closed for three weeks. It takes my mind away from the daily news and  gives me fresh air to breathe.

The truth is that yes there is suffering and injustice everywhere, yet there is incredible beauty and mystery, especially if we get closer to nature,  if we dig in the soil and gaze at the galaxies and stars. If we devote some of our time to serving and helping others then we can connect with people on the heart level. That  will fill us with hope and a belief that we can do something to repair what is broken.  We can be peacemakers and that is what is so needed these days.


my holiday card this year

Here is an example of how the work I do picks me up and makes me feel inspired and hopeful. Yesterday at the Stand I met some people visiting from Texas.  They were visiting friends in the neighborhood and stumbled upon our scene in the park. I met Tony Diaz and his Librotraficante  people that were with him.  Tony told me the incredible story about how Arizona enacted a law banning the teaching of ethnic studies in schools.  I had no idea this went down.  It prohibits courses that “promote the overthrow of the United States government,. are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group, and advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.” Tony help start the Librotraficante  Caravan  in 2012, collecting and “smuggling” banned books back into Arizona. So they were in town to support a 17 year old student who is suing the state of Arizona to overturn the Arizona law in the  Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals here in San Francisco  today (Monday). You can read more here. It was great meeting Tony and his friends and we all were excited that they were on the front lines fighting for justice in this almost surreal case. Peacemakers can be troublemakers.

It was also wonderful that we started off the new year at the Free Farm Stand with not only a fantastic volunteer crew, but also with our fantastic neighbors, some who brought surplus from their gardens to share.  We actually didn’t have much produce, probably because it is the winter season, but it is great that for San Franciscans, this is the start of the lemon  and orange season.

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Byron and Erin bring us some lemons

We have also been busy at the All in Common Garden working hard to finish building the greenhouse just in time for the beginning of the planting of spring crops which starts in February. We have the plastic almost all on and we need help hanging a door and trimming it out. This project has really been a community barn raising type event. There have been so many different people that have come by to help out and have helped us in our goal of creating a free garden neighborhood resource center a reality


Gary helped the other day install the window above the door. It was a gray but happy day.

Here are some photos from a number of weeks ago that Dianne took at the Stonestown Farmer’s market where we get our second shift of produce from.  This is why we are so grateful and thankful to our farmer friends:

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Persimmon tree at All in Common Garden

Persimmon tree at All in Common Garden

Hi, this is Pax, and this week’s post is sponsored by the letter P. I’m very excited to announce that we are harvesting persimmons at the All in Common Garden! These beautiful orange globes, popping with color amongst the green leaves of their tree, have been tantalizing volunteers and visitors since they finally began ripening a few weeks ago. Guests have repeatedly asked when we are going to pick them, and even if we’re going to sell them. We’ve been explaining that once harvested, they will be given away with the other locally-grown produce at the Free Farm Stand.

Tree and friend with persimmon

Tree and friend with persimmon in All in Common Garden

You can see how big these beautiful fruits are, it takes two people to show one off! Tree’s friend is here to help us build our new greenhouse at All in Common. More help is still needed!

Fruits from All in Common Garden

Basket of fruits from All in Common Garden: Persimmon, pineapple guavas, avocado

My persimmon is keeping company with other fruits from the garden I’ve mentioned in previous posts: Pineapple guavas (feijoas) and avocados. When it’s fully ripe, I plan to make pudding out of it. I am working on perfecting a vegan-friendly persimmon pudding, using silken tofu as the base. I still haven’t figured out just the right spices though. Any suggestions?

Basket of purslane at Free Farm Stand

Basket of purslane at Free Farm Stand

While everyone is excited to see persimmons, far fewer know or appreciate another food I’ve been harvesting: Purslane, also known as verdolaga. This beneficial, edible weed pops up everywhere. It was the first weed I learned to recognize when I began volunteering at Alemany Farm. I was trained to wait until the patches of purslane grow fairly large before picking them, as long as they’re not growing directly next to another plant and thus competing with it for nutrients. I still always harvest large amounts.

Purslane starts and information

Purslane starts and information at Free Farm Stand

I printed out some information on purslane that Tree forwarded to me, so that volunteers and guests at the garden know how and why to eat this plant. The leaves, stems, and buds are all edible, and can be enjoyed raw or cooked. They are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, and also high in Vitamin C. Their juice be used as a remedy for minor bites, stings, and swellings.

Pop over to the Free Farm Stand or the All in Common Garden, and see what other edible treasures we have to share!