After today’s mellow farm stand I was standing around talking with friends. Someone was saying she didn’t understand how things like airplanes can fly and another friend was explaining Bernoulli’s equation and the force of uplift. I think the force is actually called lift. Anyway all the time they were talking I was in my crazy fashion thinking that what this world needs now is a big uplift from the weight of heaviness dragging us all down. How can one feel good about the wars going on everywhere, and the suffering of the innocent people caught in between is hard to ignore. Fortunately most of the time I find the Free Farm Stand uplifting and myself flying. I guess to fly we have to have a careful balance of forces. Good work to do, good challenges to face, good support from friends and strangers, and a connection with the all mighty, the power of creation.
Today I knew again I would have no surplus produce from the farmer’s market so it was going to be another really local affair. I quickly learned that there wouldn’t be any bread either. Fortunately the Secret Garden is still producing lettuce and arugula and some broccoli and greens. I harvested less than a pound of lettuce and arugula and less than a pound of greens and broccoli. I was also able to harvest some greens from my backyard (mostly arugula). There is actually a neglected garden on the site of the permaculture garden and I was able to reach over the short fence and pick almost a pound of mustard greens and found a handful of yellow cherry tomatoes peeking through the wire mesh. I also brought some more walnuts from our tree and a friend brought some beautiful walnuts from Nevada City (they tasted different). I also brought about ten more jars of honey. Later in the day Christy came by with some surplus produce from the Corona Heights community garden, 1 ½ lbs of carrots that were delicious and less than a pound of baby kale. She also brought more Cape Gooseberries or ground cherries. Then at the end of the day Sheryl came by with two small baskets of the most handsome cherry tomatoes that she grew in Berkeley. She harvested them yellow two weeks ago and set them out by a sunny window to ripen more. There were really perfect and tasted great. Tomatoes in January hooray and amazing! If we had our act together we could probably grow a lot more tomatoes all the way into December…next year.
Going into the New Year I am jazzed by all the attention growing local food is attracting. I met with some wonderful folks who are starting to plant gardens in local Episcopal churches to give away at food pantries and other food programs. They have already started by putting in a garden at Holy Innocents Church in the Mission. I just heard from a friend who works with a non-profit called anewamerica that is serving low income immigrants and refugees in the Bay Area. I guess they want to put gardens in day care centers among other things and are looking for volunteer permaculture designers to give them some design help. If they start serving healthy food in day care centers that would be great, though I might lose some of my source for free baby food jars. And in my neighborhood within a ten block radius of lower 24th Street area of the Mission a bunch of neighbors got together and got a big grant to tear up the sidewalks in front of 23 houses and put in gardens or permeable landscaping. They started last weekend and next weekend too they will be doing the actually planting I think and say they can use help. I wonder if anyone is looking into planting anything edible like the artichokes I saw on a Dolores Street sidewalk.
The workday at 18th and Rhode Island was canceled because of rain. It really didn’t rain hard, but it was cold and wet, and I personally whimped out. But on Saturday I made it over there and met up with Kevin and David G. We put stakes where the trees are going to be planted. I learned how at least one permaculture designer approached the situation of where to plant trees and I was impressed with the thought that went into it. We have plans to plant 22 fruit trees. Most of the bare root trees are at my house and we have two dates set to have tree planting/workshops Friday January 10th and Saturday January 11th (the dates will be bumped to the next weekend in case of rain). On Saturday we also dug a test hole and poured water in it and measured how long it took 2 gallons of water to drain (3 hours and 21 minutes). That seems to be barely ok and I guess we aren’t going to have to worry about drainage since we are going to plant trees sort of on a mound, especially the avocados.
The project of planting fruit trees in our park where we put up the stand is still alive and kicking. Unfortunately Park and Recreation changed the scheduled bike ride of Jared the interim supposedly cool director and I missed his visit (he came a week earlier). I am now on his list to get 15 minutes of his time to pitch my idea to him (my proposal calls for the creation of a Fruit and Recreation Park), though I don’t have a date set yet. I have a proposal and just got a generous donation of $205 to buy trees for the project. I know it is a crazy idea putting fruit trees where the public can pick them. Just today I noticed someone had picked the unripe passion fruit in our community garden and thrown it on the ground after figuring out it tasted sour. But Jim just came back from Southern California and told me about a cool edible park he accidentally ran into while on a walk or skateboard ride. Jenny told me too of an edible park she just visited during the holidays in Irvine. So we have to catch up with our southern conservatives down there in Orange Country that may have it wrong about gay marriage, but have it right about growing fruits and nuts in public places.
And thinking about trees I must say that I see a lot of leaves right now on sidewalks that are just getting pushed into the gutter to be swept up by our city streetsweepers. What a waste of useable “browns” for our compost piles. Think how much a tree works to make those leaves and what a miracle it really is. If I had the time I would collect as many as possible and add them to compost piles around town.