As you see we have a new web page design thanks (a big thanks) to Daniel who showed up at the Free Farm Stand one day last year and offered to help me redo our blog page because I thought it was getting hard to navigate as we grew. I think the new calendar especially will make it easier for everyone to see what free events and volunteer opportunities there are that they can check out. I am always open to feedback and being open to suggestions that will improve our work. I don’t have the editing down yet so we will all have to be patient. (the photos seem too small unless you click on them). The web address is now http://freefarmstand.org and we won’t be using our blogspot site. (freefarmstand.blogspot.com).
Since we opened in April 2008 a lot has been accomplished in terms of promoting food growing and sharing. I would say there is a real network that has been formed of people growing food and sharing it in the city. There are a lot of successful gardens and urban farms and new ones opening. It also feels like people are getting to know each other and that we are moving towards sharing resources and helping each other out. Yesterday after the Free Farm Stand I walked over to the Secret Garden where Clara had organized a Garden Love day including some hands on workshops in biodynamic double digging bed preparation. I hadn’t been to the garden in a while since Clara stepped up to being the Garden Anchor there. I was really blown out how beautiful things looked and what a great job she has been doing, in not only maintaining the garden, but attracting others to come in and help out. It was also great that the gate was open for people in the neighborhood to wander in and check it out. There was still a lot of activity going on there even though they started at 11am and there were a handful of people still working and also people stopping in and visiting. Monica, who started a project of putting in a honeybee attractant garden in part of the Secret Garden has a blog with great pictures: http://thehoneybeegarden.blogspot.com/.
I was really surprised that we had what seemed like a smaller crowd yesterday and I am guessing it maybe because it was a holiday weekend. For a while I thought we were going to have a lot of left over produce, but by the time I actually got out of the park, I had given away the last two small bags of greens we had left to someone who showed up “late”. We were all done by 2:30pm (around 2pm we were closing up but still giving out produce to those who trickled in). Again we had a great selection of greens on the hecka local table, 33 pounds of oranges from Stanford Glean, 30 pounds of lemons from a neighbor right next to the park (Page went over to help Jade pick more of them), 10 more pounds from another neighbor, a lot of kale from two guys who have two gardens in the Mission, one on 22nd and Valencia (they were going to start a business growing stuff for restaurants but that didn’t continue). I was taken by surprise and very happy when Lisa showed up and brought over some beautiful lettuce and a broccoli to share from her backyard garden on Guerrero. That is such a success story of getting together a team of people helping a neighbor revive her dormant garden and some surplus produce being generated to share at the stand. I actually didn’t see the broccoli it disappeared as soon as it was put on the table, despite the fact that we had a lot of other broccoli to give away…it must of been beautiful.
We all have things that make our day. I think it is good to take note of those things maybe just before we go to bed. One actually made my day on Saturday…an Eatwell CSA box of produce arrived at my doorstep (this has been happening off and on for a while and I don’t know who drops it off) and it is such a beautiful gesture to share a surplus box of produce with those in need. On Sunday as I was loading the van to go to the park, Jess came by with a partial box of greens that she picked (or somehow she had gotten) from Green Gulch Farm. She was in a hurry and couldn’t talk; she just came by with the greens and a hug, but it did make my day and made me grateful for all the wonderful friends I have made through gardening and sharing food. Actually so many things make my day on Sundays it isn’t fair to state just one thing.
Saturday and Wednesday workdays at our new Free Farm are really exciting and each week you can see the farm grow. The labyrinth is getting laid out and a few plants were put in already. Two long beds were double dug, more compost brought in, a peach tree planted, a power outlet installed, some signs painted, some stairs were cut into the hillside where the strawberries are planted, and some work on the compost pile was done. I also got to meet some new people that showed up to help and neighbors that came to check out what is happening. I got to meet some women from Stanford glean that came by to help and also to drop off some of the oranges they picked near their campus. I also met a woman connected with Glide and they are looking for land to start a garden for adults in some of their programs.
On Friday I also had a great day harvesting produce at the 18th and Rhode Island Permaculture Garden and planting more fruit trees. We must have one of the largest collections of fruit trees planted in the city. There was talk about putting together a database of fruit tree collections in the city and I look forward to seeing that happen. I met a man named Joe who helped out who is with St Vicente de Paul Society. He is putting in a garden in the Richmond for the shelter they run on 5th Street downtown. There are so many gardening opportunities right now it makes me want to run out the door and get my hands in the soil.