Farming Dharma

I was feeling a bit of excitement when I came to the Free Farm Stand a little late today. I just arrived from Martin de Porres soup kitchen where I volunteer and had gotten the lucky chance to hear the Dalai Lama speak. Here is an article in the Chronicle about it: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2009/04/26/national/a200532D22.DTL&tsp=1. The thing that stood out in my mind is that he seemed to have a simple and clear message of compassion and respect for others (especially the poor) and other religions and faiths. And I was surprised how accessible he seemed, though I guess it took two years for this event to happen, it seemed amazing that such a celebrity would even visit a place like Martin’s, and once he was there he was also surprisingly real and human. I do feel that he gave off a human glow and energy that truly spread joy and peace around him. I guess that comes from his commitment to “the promotion of human values such as compassion, forgiveness, tolerance, contentment and self-discipline”.

I didn’t take many pictures of the stand today, partly because I was not all there. I could use someone who can take good pictures to document the scene. Though one could argue that I have taken enough pictures already to get the idea of what is happening. Beautiful people and beautiful vegetables and fruit.

I just love the people who have been coming out and helping run the stand, which has left me free to talk to people and to work a little with people that want to garden while the stand is open. I got busy for a while working with my young friend Zeus who loves to garden, so we planted some scarlet runner beans. I unfortunately didn’t get a chance to talk to everyone and I know some people came that I wanted to say hi to. Also, I keep meeting people that want to help. There is so much gardening to do and seedlings to propagate. I am hoping that I can help enlist some of the gardening energy that is out there so we can grow more of our own produce.

And that ties into this other thought. I would still like to get a good garden information booth set up that can help people with their garden questions and can encourage people to grow their own (in English and Spanish). We have been giving away a lot of plants, but it could be better if we gave out information on how to care for them and if we could set up a garden support network.

Well those are some random thoughts. We seem to be getting a lot of greens the last few weeks. Because I was so busy this weekend I didn’t get a chance to harvest all the greens (mostly chard and kale) in the different gardens that are ready to pick. But we got so much from the farmers market there was no shortage of chard or arugula or lettuce. And we hit the jackpot with fava beans. At 18th and Rhode Island we harvested 15 pounds of beans and then I got a box more of them from the farmers market. I wrote an update on the Potrero garden on the18th and Rhode Island website. The ones we picked were larger pods with bigger beans. The ones from the farmers market were young and much smaller. A woman came by the stand and told me that the young favas could be covered with a light sprinkling of olive oil and a shake of salt and roasted in the oven in a pan (she might have also suggested garlic) and then eaten pod and all. I got excited with that idea because I have been having pretty good luck roasting other vegetables that way like cauliflower and asparagus. So I went home and tried it, but was a little disappointed. They were edible, but I didn’t like the flavor all that much. I think others who have some immature fava beans should try this out and maybe add garlic.

People are still coming by the stand and making contributions. Two people brought lemons from their tree and another woman brought the most beautiful peppermint from her garden that I had to take a photo of it. A woman brought a nice bunch of chervil that she grew. It is an herb that is not as commonly grown that has a sweet licorice taste. Dave brought me some sad looking vegetable starts that came from Rainbow that they couldn’t sell, but were still alive and I am sure will grow.

Perfect Peppermint in the top of the basket

Chervil

I am leaving town for three days starting Wednesday and won’t be around gardening that much. When I get back I want to explore starting a garden in Bayview on the land I wrote about last week. The Esperanza Garden on Florida St. next to sell space had a potential setback. The land that was up for sale is now in escrow and the possible new owner has 45 days to come up with construction loans to build on the property and then we have 30 days to vacate. People are going ahead with planting and we think we can get in one crop before the time we have to leave (the potatoes may be ready to harvest by then). On May 9th there is going to be an event in the garden with live music and some various workshops. Look on the sidebar for information about it when I get it.

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