This year I have been feeling especially thankful. The Free Farm Stand has provided me with more opportunities than ever to feel appreciative and grateful every week. I am especially thankful for everyone that has helped make the stand a success, all the hours people have put into setting up and taking down the stand and giving out the produce, helping us grow food or pick fruit, people that have brought produce to share, farmers who share their surplus at the end of the day, neighbors who come to “shop”, landlords who have let us use their vacant lots to grow food for the hungry, sunny skies, and neighbors who have been more than generous letting us share their water connection. I am also thankful for having the opportunity to help out in the world and for friends and family, for bees, for earth, for sunflowers, beets, and great harvests. Really this could be a non-stop tsunami of thankfulness.
Again greens ruled the day at the stand. Another field at Green Gulch got gleaned before it was plowed under and the farmer’s market had tons of different greens left over too (I had left over arugala and one box of greens that I took to the food bank this morning). Also we harvested eight pounds of kale and chard from seedlings that we planted that were donated from Green Gulch and are now happily growing at 18th and Rhode Island. The other gardens are pretty shady now and are not producing much. We also had a fair number of zucchini and basil that has been growing uninterrupted for over a month or so. Pretty crazy growing these things so late into the year. Pam brought by the last apples on her tree (I still have a couple on a tree in my backyard), some salad mix, and a few herbs. I especially like the Mexican tarragon she brought: you only only need a leaf or two cut up small in a salad to give it an interesting taste. I am looking forward to the new edition of her book Golden Gate Gardening that she said is coming out in February (with a lot of changes and updates). Molly brought some fresh picked cactus fruit that looked yummy and nopales that look dangerous.
the big Zapallo winter squash that I fell in love with last week
I also gave away small jars of honey from our backyard hive and that was very popular. I like sharing the honey with everyone, it is really a taste of the Mission neighborhood we live in and it seemed like an appropriate special thank you gift to give to everyone for the holiday. Not everyone read my comic that I had posted explaining why a vegan is dealing with bees and giving away honey, but I guess we do the best we can.
As we were closing up Jess came by with the bike cart and tools I loaned her for the garden work day at the new garden on Dolores St. She said it was a successful day, enough people came by and they mulched and made a bed and planted some different things.
I haven’t heard from any ex-myfarm folk this week. Here is a blog about one woman’s experience with myfarm that is interesting: http://brynnevans.com/blog/2009/10/28/the-failure-of-myfarm-good-intentions-poor-execution/.
In contrast to the myfarm model of promoting local food growing, last Saturday I attended a small meeting of friends who are all on the same page about growing food to feed hungry people. We actually met to talk about fund raising, but didn’t get far in that regard. The exciting part of the meeting for me was to just hang out with some beautiful and inspiring people that basically want to do the same thing together: distribute local grown organic produce to feed people in need, glean fruit trees that need picking, and helping people to start new gardens to grow food as a way of feeding ourselves and others (be they neighbors with backyards or vacant lots, shelters, soup kitchens or churches that want to have gardens). It is a breath of fresh air to focus with friends on the idea of tikkun olam or repairing the world. Believing that “the world is a common treasury for all to share” like the Diggers of England taught us.
Our first project that we want to work on together is to set up a free neighborhood garden center that I have written about before. Sort of like the Garden for the Environment with a greenhouse that will provide a place for us to propagate seedlings and trees to distribute to all the gardens in the neighborhood that need them, a demonstration garden, free garden supplies, a seed library, a place to drop off compost rather than putting it in green bin to be shipped out of the city, free worms, and a garden educational center.
Our first step is to find someplace (in the Mission is our first choice of location) to house such an operation that is visible from the street and would hopefully be easy to drive into to drop off garden materials. We are on the look out for land that we can use or rent temporarily until we find a place to eventually buy. If there is anyone that wants to help research or scout out places, or has some ideas please contact me.