The Revolution will be Harvested

My friend Bilkis who was an intern with us for a year dropped by my house with some beautiful cloth bags she had sewn this summer, all made with scrap cloth she had sewn together. She made them for the Free Farm Stand and since there were not enough for all the people who come to the stand we decided to give them to volunteers. One of the bags with an American flag piece of cloth she glued on  the words The Revolution will be Harvested. I thought that was such a beautiful slogan I asked her if I could borrow it for my next blog post.Yes the revolution will be harvested
we are growing love and vegetables
our hands will get dirty
as we plunge them into the fresh soil
we have created
with the help of sweat, manure, and mycorrhiza
in America there is over abundance
and to level the playing field
we share the wealth
nothing new under the sun
and Free lives on
and Gandhi’s spinning wheel today
is the grow your own movement
distribute it freely
to those in need
yes the revolution will be harvested

First about harvesting the love: Our volunteers are always so wonderful and helpful. Last week at our “Eating” of our core group (more of a meeting while eating and sharing dinner), we had a beautiful goodbye to our 3 interns and one Mentee (an intern from the Metta Center in Berkeley). Susannah and Hannah will be back in school in September, but I think they may be dropping in once in a while because it is hard to pull away from the work we do. Also, Jacob will also be returning to school in Berkeley, where he will be studying peace and conflict resolution (like studying war no more). Our dear Case who has been with us since we started the farm, and actually was picking up trash there before we came as a Lutheran Service Corps volunteer, will be heading back to Ohio.  I can’t say enough about how grateful I am for not only their help, but for their friendship.

Susannah and I also attended the graduation ceremony at the Metta Center (http://www.mettacenter.org/) for the 2010 Mentees. The Metta Center is a “resource center for building a nonviolent culture” and they have a program where for ten weeks students from around the globe are immersed in learning about non-violence which includes partnering with local organizations that are doing social justice work and being interns or “Mentee’s” for the group. I was very moved by the event and the emotions of all the Mentee’s that were graduating.  They seemed to have all gotten a lot out of the program and I felt really special to be included in the family of mentors that worked with these young people. Now we are ready for the next crop of interns wherever they may come from.

It is really squash season at the farm and besides having quite a harvest from the Free Farm and 18th and Rhode Island, Pam brought some extra zucchini from the garden at City College. She suggested we tell our shoppers to make zucchini fritters which is an excellent idea on how to use that vegetable that comes on hot and heavy this time of year. We also had a nice amount of Royalty purple beans, a small amount of lettuce, tomatoes, radishes, carrots, broccoli, and kale.

Danny from Sour flour, who also brought a load of zucchini from his plot at Potrero del Sol, thought that most people who come to pick up food don’t know that they can bring something to share and suggested that I put up a sign. I thought it was a good idea and will see if I can find a sign maker. At least for the summer we now have what has become two “shifts” when we distribute produce. We start distributing at 1pm and we get a long line for that and by 2pm most produce seems to run low or out. At around 2:30PM we now have a regular delivery of an incredible amount of produce from the farmer’s market at Stonetown mall. There is so much beautiful produce that we have been getting another long line for that. And this week and I don’t know if it will be a regular thing, we also got a new delivery of produce from Ft Mason farmer’s market. Unfortunately, we got a number of aggressive people who formed a new line as soon as the finished shopping the first time. I had to tell them and actually physically move them aside so that people that newly arrived could get first priority for produce. I also starting hearing people complaining about these people and two people said they had seen them sell produce on the street. I think this was bound to happen eventually and I will work harder at trying to get the message across that what we are doing is trying to promote peace and harmony and mutual respect.

An issue came up from two people that asked if the produce we give away is organic.  One person with a kid was particularly interested in the strawberries and whether they were organic or not.  I think that is a valid concern. Another person didn’t take the tomatoes because the volunteer giving them away didn’t know. If you look at our link page one can check out this site to see what is on conventional grown produce. There is also this link http://www.thedailygreen.com/healthy-eating/eat-safe/Dirty-Dozen-Foods. First of all I try to give away mainly organic produce that is grown locally. The best source is getting safe produce is to grow it yourself and that is what wwe are all aboout, is more than giving away produce is to encourage those who have space or time to garden. Also, setting up or participating in a garden produce sharing network or club like the Free Farm Stand  and getting produce from neighbors is another poissibility. Also, I only give away produce that I would eat myself and I do make compromises. It is hard to pass up some of the beautiful produce we get that seems so fresh.  If your budget can afford it I would recommend to first grow as much food as you can and then shop at at a farmer’s market and buy certified organic (I wouldn’t trust cerftied organic from Whole Foods via China).

Here is some information for those who want to know more about where the food comes from at our stand. The left over produce from the Ferry Building Farmer’s market which we put out at 1pm is marketed as sustainable which I assume is organic. It is run by CUESA which is the Center for Urban Education anbout Sustainable Agriculture. If you go to this page http://www.cuesa.org/markets/farmers/ you can see who the farmers are anad their biographies. The produce that comes around 2:30pm is from the Stonestown market. The market is run by the Agricultural Institute of Marin. They have certified organic growers, non-certified who grow organically, and conventional farmers. You can read the farmers biographies here: http://www.agriculturalinstitute.org/index/biographies. Of course, since this food gets all mixed up when it is picked up, there is no way really to tell what farmers the produce came from. We get a small amount of produce from the Noe Valley Farmer’s market which has both certified organic and non-organic produce (and organic non-certified) farmers. We put that out at 1pm. Here are the farmers who sell there: http://www.noevalleyfarmersmarket.com/2006/10/vendors.html#profiles. Last week we got produce from Ft. Mason Farmers market. They have certified organic vendors and non-organic vendors, but  I couldn’t find a list of who’s there and their biographies.

It is interesting that the experiments we tried out in the sixties are remerging and the two philosophies are making the press. Last week or so our friends at Little City Gardens made the New York Times about their attempts at making friendly capitalism work and getting zoning laws to change so urban farmers can sell their produce: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/13/us/13bcfarm.html. Here is a line from the article that I found to be at the core of this philosophy: “Sophie Hahn, a Berkeley community activist and stay-at-home mother, is growing enough vegetables for six families in her backyard. Wanting to recoup some of her investment from neighbors to whom she has been giving the vegetables, Ms. Hahn looked into getting the right paperwork from the city.” Then in New York, also in the Times, I read this article: “http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/16/nyregion/16free.html?emc=eta1”, about a Free Store in Brooklyn. “There is something about the communal aspect of this place that appeals to me,” Mr. Ballard said”. That communal feeling is what we want to foster too.

In that spirit here is an ad on Craigslist that hs been floating around:

Need a garden? Use ours free. (mission district)


Date: 2010-08-14, 2:25PM PDT
Reply to: [email protected] [Errors when replying to ads?]


A trusted person will get daily access to our garden. It’s in the Mission, by 16th and South Van Ness. It’s in an unused back yard, accessible only to building residents.

The garden is 10 x 15, raised bed, fenced in and previously used, but now it’s overgrown. You can use it for whatever you want to plant. Grow yourself some veggies. In return, we will have a nicer looking space. Any bonus veggies you want to give would be appreciated, but not necessary. We would just like a win win situation with no exchange needed.

Contact by email, and please give us a few references or reasons you are trustworthy to invite in.

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