Growing Appreciation

On Sunday the Hayes Valley Farm was having a Volunteer Appreciation Day and I heard it was a big success. I was celebrating “Everyday an Appreciation Day”. It seems I can’t help it.

appreciation for all the people that are volunteer,  and appreciation for all the people who come by to “shop” at the Free Farm Stand

appreciation for sunny days and sunny gardens to work in

appreciation for neighbors dropping off lemons to share with other neighbors,appreciation for friends from Stanford who keep bringing fruit from their campus, this week 35lbs of oranges, appreciation for Little City Farms for dropping off 8 1/2lbs of their beautiful Mission grown organic lettuce mix, appreciation for all the gardens contributing to the sharing going on at the stand, including Potrero del Sol and Shelly and Steve for 2 1/2lbs of mustard greens, the SPROUTs childrens garden bringing by 12.5 lbs of greens,  the Mission Library Garden with 1.5lbsd of cilantro, the Dearbon Garden bringing us 2 1/2 lbs of produce, appreciation for farmers sharing their surplus at the end of the day and Food Runners who pick it up and distribute it, appreciation for gifts that people bring to share with strangers, like the cloth bags gleaned from “healthy food trade shows” with crazy logos like “hippy chips” that Jaclyn her business Tofutown dropped off, appreciation for friends like Clara who sent over some homemade vegan argula pesto to share, it  that tasted so great on the free Acme bread that we had so much of that I also appreciate and a beautiful basket of the most wonderful greens from the Secret Garden  (the bearer of the garden gifts I also appreciate Bernadette in her lovely colorful dress)

yes I appreciate arugula even though we have way too much of it or just not enough arugula pesto…I have been throwing arugula in everything I cook, but just at the end, besides adding it to salads

appreciation for seeds and seed donations and people planting seeds…the seeds themselves though get a special pat on the back for germinating and performing the miracle of growing into food for us to eat

appreciation for all the new people and neighbors I meet in the work I do: like Wiley the mechanic who has dropped by the Free Farm and has been farming with us. He likes to fix things…he has been tackling our funky wheelbarrows with tools that a volunteer had in her car (and this week he said he would bring more tools for fixing tires).

appreciation for the good work there is to do, appreciation for the good challenges life presents us with, appreciation for those who put up with my difficultness at times

appreciation for all that is beautiful including the batch of new children growing up around us. I was watching them Sunday in the community garden appreciating their curiosity and wonder and enthusiasm for everything

Other news besides me feeling appreciative is that I got a call today from a friend that I was written up in the Chronicle. I was interviewed on Wednesday at the Free Farm and a photographer was out  Sunday. I have such mixed feelings about granting interviews especially with corporate media and this is the first time I have really plunged into that world of publicity. The main thing that came to mind when I thought about it is that we got the Permaculture Guild farm on Potrero Hill because of an inspiring article about Kevin in the Chronicle talking about all the vacant lots that could be used for growing food. Just now channel 2 T.V. called me and wants to talk to me because of the article. Wow this is crazy! A friend whom I hadn’t seen in a year dropped by and made me feel better by saying they would interview the farm if it could talk, so I am speaking for it. But the farm and the Free Farm and the Free Farm Stand do talk and I don’t really have to say much if people just show up and check things out.

I must say the Free Farm is pretty exciting for me and every week we make great leaps forward. We are finding some large chunks of rubble under the ground that are challenging to move out of our beds. Potatoes have been planted, our lettuce mix bed has sprouted, we have several more beds left to plant, seedlings are growing happily in our makeshift green house, a trellis has been made over the steps and we are almost ready to plant my collection of Scarlett Runner Beans, and the labyrinth is shaping up. We also have an amazing work crew and neighbors showing up to help, some bringing their kitchen scraps for our compost, some bringing seeds for us to plant.  I also love the variety of people that show up every week. On Saturday I met a woman who lives in the big white apartment building down the street that wants to put a bee hive at the space. She has taken care of silk worms before and wants to work with bees. She is also an amazing artist who gave me her card made on handmade paper and printed on a Vandercock letterpress that she knows how to use.

free bicycle rims to make hoops for reemay cloth
excatvating rubble & double digging

With all the hub bub around the new Free Farm, I need to mention that the farm at 18th and Rhode Island is still producing most of the produce for our hecka local table and is still looking great. The photos Cristina took this Friday workday are amazing in capturing the colors there. And now we have two hives and bees living on site. I am getting there earlier now at 9am unitl 11am and David is there at 11am if you want to join us. Then I hoof it over to Treat Commons another great garden that needs attention too.

Also, I have been talking to Jonathan my Victory Farmer friend who ran the fabulous Pe’ah Garden in the Colma Cemetery that closed down (I don’t have the story yet on why). He also has his own non-profit called Feel the Earth. He is planning an event that sounds pretty wild:

“All foot traffic people will have this civic engagement opportunity between 11am -3pm on Sunday April 11, 2010 in Noe Vally -San Francisco, CA at a chosen parking metered spot on 24th street between noe and castro. This free interactive educational urban agriculture zone is designed for foot traffic streetwalkers to participate in a FEEL THE EARTH victory farmer “Art of Seeding” workshop.” Our community goal is using public space to support local urban food production. For 4 hours we will gather 200 participants to work together to seed at least 50 flats of warm seasonal vegetables/herbs to then be distributed throughout the needs for various local community gardens that are established in San Francisco.”

He needs a greenhouse to grow the flats of seeds in so we have been talking about building a temporary green house at the farm. If anyone has ideas on how to do this cheaply and quickly or has materials that may help like rolls of plastic or pvc pipe please contact us asap. You can also contact him directly here and check out his other projects that you can get involved in.

I am also looking for help on Thursday afternoon taking apart a tree house and moving it to the Free Farm to be used for a secret purpose. Call me for more information.

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