The rain didn’t stop us this week, though less people showed up to get produce. We had a great selection of produce and it must be broccoli season, because we had a huge amount, including five pounds that we harvested from 18th and Rhode Island. That is the only garden I am getting produce from right now and I haven’t been putting in replacement seedlings because I haven’t had them (we are way behind in planting more seedlings).). Two women from Stanford glean came by the Free Farm on Saturday with 30 pounds of oranges and lemons they pick on campus. Lynn brought by some sprouts she grew, two neighbors came by with extra lemons from their tree, and Bernadette came by late with some Indian lettuce (otherwise known as miner’s lettuce) she picked in the Presidio Garden.
Right now I have to admit I am focusing a lot on our new Free Farm. We have a new website (http://thefreefarm.blogspot.com/ ). We continue to have these incredible work days that leave me feeling really happy. This week the other bed got planted, more work continued on a trellis over stairs that we will eventually plant with different varieties of scarlet runner beans from England, a new bed got double dug, more compost was brought in, some plans for drip were discussed, seedlings got potted up, and more pathways got sheet mulched. The best part of the workdays are all the stellar people that drop by and usually stay around to help. It is especially wonderful that neighbors are dropping by and there is such a diversity of people helping out. All ages all types of people. A week ago a neighbor who lived across the street for 35 years got evicted and was moving out (see below my rant against landlordism). He gardened in a vacant lot nearby on Franklin and Turk? He showed us photos of that garden. It was very moving to meet this guy and all the other neighbors who live nearby and who appreciate that we are turning a vacant lot into something beautiful.
I must mention that I also had a sweet time inthe Permaculture Garden on Friday. Our Friday workdays there are always a surprise, I can usuallyy count on one person that I know to show up and help; but often a new volunteer arrives and this week it was Ildiko. She had been on my mailing list and I recognized her name, but we never met. She helped harvest a lot of the greens and broccoli and then we planted more trees together. Bilkis inventoried all our trees that we have planted and I plan to type it up. I think we have planted 70 trees of all kinds so far.
I just last week watched two movies that were very powerful and reaffirmed to me that what we are doing is the right thing. One video was The Garden and the other was Food Inc. I knew that the video The Garden was going to be intense and depressing so I was hesitant to watch it for a while. I mean who wants to see a fifteen acre piece of land in L.A. that people have been gardening in for 11 years get torn down? Actually there is a lot of beauty in the movie even though it is sad to watch. I left reminded that a lot of us are all in the same boat. Growing food on land that is we do not own. We put a lot of work and resources into the land we work on knowing that we are in a temporary position, kind of hoping that the landlord will like what we are doing and let us garden forever. Or that the economy will stay depressed and that people won’t have money to develop. I always go back in my mind to the original Diggers of England in 1649 who dug up the commons and planted corn and other crops for all to share. The lands were finally “bulldozed” or trampled and tore up by the government army to protect the landowners and their right to private property. So in this movie the land owner turned down $16 million dollars that was raised to buy the land for the people (3 times what he paid for it) just because he had the right to do what he wanted. That is not to mention the corruption of the politicians and other groups involved and how he got the land in the first place. The Diggers stood up and planted and what they did is really inspire us folks down the line in history. That is why the Free Farm Stand and the Free Farm are free. To inspire us all to move away from the concept of private property and to encourage a more brotherly/sisterly way of living our lives. Yes there are nice landlords like the one who is letting us use the land at the permaculture garden at 18th and Rhode Island or the pastor at St. Paulus Church. Yet at the same time we must remember the reality that we can learn from movies like The Garden, that private property and the right of landowners rules, at least here. That no matter how evil a landlord wants to act, and bulldoze trees and crops, and destroy things that are very sacred to a people, that is ok as far as the rules go. So we must stand up in our lives and make a very strong statement and rejection of those twisted values, at least that is my humble opinion. I know we all have to pay our bills and they say money doesn’t grow on trees. But just now I was thinking generosity does grow on trees…at least that is what it seems. Every week as I keep repeating myself here, I feel so grateful for the generosity of so many people who are making this revolution happen and that is so precious.
Food Inc. is sort of a repeat of things I have read like Michael Pollan’s fabulous book Omnivore’s Dilemma. What was new to me was seeing all the graphic images of the meat industry. I know we all have our habits and we choose what we eat, but maybe those people who like to eat bologna sandwiches should at least understand better where there food comes from. I also guess if people only ate grass fed beef or chicken meat from “humanely” treated chickens before they were slaughter it would be better for us all. Though I can’t see myself wringing chicken necks like in the video or hunting a wild boar in Sonoma and eating or serving pork sandwiches.
Please check out our new calendar as I am trying to put on there some of the fabulous events related to food growing happening in the area. Also, we are trying to manifest a lot of things now related to the Free Farm. Like bamboo poles to grow beans on, drip irrigation parts, a shed, and large containers to grow food in on the cement perimeter surrounding the farm.