Summer is here and we are starting to see more fruit at the Free Farm Stand. The most exciting thing to happen yesterday at the Free Farm Stand was when at the beginning we were just about set up and ready to open when the kids from Produce to the People came walking through the gate with boxes of plums and a big bag of loquats. It was like the reinforcement troops arrived to feed the neighborhood masses with fresh locally picked fruit.

Before they came, the super local table was already loaded with fresh produce and so we had to improvise a table to put all the plums and loquats on. I brought a scale and throughout the day I weighed all the food that kept coming in so we can keep track of the amount of food we are growing and sharing at the Farm Stand. To start the day we had 13lbs. of produce from Rhode Island (11lbs of potatoes, 1lbs of greens, 1lb basil), 4lbs of produce from Eperanza (1.5lbs zucchini, 2lbs kale, 1/2lb of beans), 20lbs of produce gleaned from my friend in Oakland (11.5lbs. of lemons and 9lbs. of concord grapes), and 7.7lbs of produce I just picked from Treat Commons, including over one pound of strawberries and two huge trombone squashes. Throughout the day other people brought 118.6lbs of produce, including 73lbs. of plums, 20lbs of loquats, 5.9lbs of grapefruit, and 7lbs of zucchini. What excites me the most are not the numbers of pounds of produce on the table, but the spirit of sharing that is happening. We are up to 1,423.6 pounds of super local food sharing going on for this year.

Another highlight is that a number of people brought some jam to share that we put on the table with bread, one person brought some yummy tomato sauce, and Lyn brought sprouts that she grew in jars (she really wanted to grow some food to share and she doesn’t have a garden). These things made my day. Oh and I didn’t mention the great people who came by and helped out. A new friend Bill has been documenting the stand for Mission Local online news and he took these most wonderful photos that accurately capture not only the glorious looking produce, but some of the beautiful faces of our helpers. I am happy that we are getting some of the locals involved, like Raphael who gave out bread and helped set up and Abdullah a young boy who also enthusiastically helped set up and gave out produce.

This does not include the excess produce from the farmers further away from the city (nor the rescued industrial organic produce we are getting now). This week we had a summer bounty including watermelons, peaches and nectarines, cauliflower, zucchini, and red peppers.

18th and Rhode Island

On Friday a small number of us turned out to continue harvest and weeding and we also planted more kale. We harvested three potato towers that never grew that well but we managed to get 11lbs of spuds, mostly small ones. Here is a slideshow of the harvest:

Kevin turned in a proposal for funding to a local foundation focused on improving the eastern neighborhood of San Francisco and the chances are high that we will get some money. The funds will go towards funding the water at the garden, seeds and plant materials, infrastructure, and a possible startup budget for planting another site nearby. There has been talk about seeing if we can plant fruit trees on some vacant Caltrans land overlooking the freeway at 18th and San Bruno.

Growing the local garden network

I am trying to find time to spend more of my time in the garden and keeping my hands in the dirt, but also am continuing to promote the local garden/food sharing movement in the Mission. Now that we have non-profit status I am working on trying to find funding for some great projects we have dreamed up. One is that we have a tentative ok to more plant fruit trees in the park where we do the Free Farm Stand. I say tentative because after I get the money needed the project has to go in front of the Park and Recreation Commission to get their approval to change the land use from park to community garden for the area we want to expand into. It sounds like it is pretty likely they will ok the project, so I am going ahead trying to get money to have a chain link fence constructed around the area where the “food forest” will go. It may take as much as $5000 to get the fence built.

I am also working with Lauren of Produce to the People to try to get a greenhouse and free garden center built at Mission High.

If anyone knows of any people out there that have a lot of money or some foundation I should look into please let me know.

Here is a recent article from the Chronicle about Alemany Farm and the mayor’s new healthy food policy: Yes we need more farms in the city!