I just got back from Nevada City (an old mining town), just taking a much needed break and visiting two very close friends. It was cool and cloudy most of my visit and not the usual hot weather they get up there this time of year. I did get a chance to walk in the woods and visit a creek and get into talks about the Tao Te Ching that I am currently reading (my latest meditation is that the three things we need in our lives are simplicity, patience, and compassion, including compassion towards ourselves). My friend David said that Americans talk about being out of our heads while the French talk about being out of our pelvis. Good things to think about while walking in the woods relaxing. I also got a chance to visit a small farm, a beautiful back yard garden, and visit some nurseries where I scored some plants for the Free Farm. I fell in love with Phlox and made friends with a giant old walnut tree. It was for a lack of a better word a groovy experience.
I wrote to Pancho and asked him how the Free Farm Stand went last Sunday. Here is what he wrote:
In all these Sundays, I haven’t seen so many people gathering at the park.
- A 65 year old swung by with 30 lbs of giant fragrant yellow lemons. People felt the love when they saw them and every time I could, I explained that this man woke up early this morning to pick these lemons with his own hands and brought them to the stand… how do you measure that love?
- One of the Chinese women brought green tomatoes from her garden (and some lettuce and dry rice from the food bank).
- The stand was packed non-stop from 1230 to 1530hrs [that is 12:30 to 3:30pm). There was little food from food runners so there was no food by 1340hrs [1:40pm]. At 1410 hrs [2:10pm] the first truck from the other Farmers Market arrived and we start gifting the food at 1425hrs. Then the second truck arrived. My guestimate is that we gave food to close to ~350 people.
- Many first timers could not believe that this kind of project existed. It is always so refreshing to explain what the gift-economy and unconditional love is all about.
- A Mexican woman came at the 1400hrs [2:00pm] and I gave her a peach. She didn’t want to eat it because it was bruised. I cut the ugly part and she tasted the incredible flavor of a summer juicy sweet peach. She stayed with her daughter and husband for the second round, all the time with shining eyes.
- I repeated the experiment of the peach with a young girl (5 year old with white skin) and her mom. The exquisiteness of peaches doesn’t know about the difference in the colors of skin.
- Wendy (Huen Son) gave recipes of bitter melon shoots and we stressed the point that it was very good for people with diabetes for it reduces the level of sugar in our blood. A lot of people were asking how to cook/eat bitter melon. What if we provide some sort of healthy dishes for people with diabetes?
- Jorge, the medicine man, came again and blessed us with sage and universal love.
- My friend Michelle (the partner of Adam who started The Local in Berkeley) came for the first time! She has been working in Farmers Markets for years and she was a great input to serve and organize the food during the second/third run.
Pancho also wrote about the Free Farm workday that I missed too:
At the Free Farm…It was a great day to connect with people in the neighborhood. Two women from the building came and both of them had incredible stories. The first one, Diana, had Italian origin and as such the love flowed naturally as we speak about different recipes and healthy food. Amy felt she was talking with one of her Italian relatives back in the East Coast, and we wanted to have a cup of tea with doña Diana. The second one, doña Rosa from the part of the Planet we call Chile (I believe), told us that she prays every day for us and for the crops to grow in the Free Farm. That was very sweet.
- Justine had her debut as Yoga teacher in the Free Farm and she said she can coordinate with Mike to have more Yoga. She said she will be able to commit for a couple of weekends a month.
- Page and Damon almost finished up the terraces and they are ready to receive a doses of compost.
- Some hot chilies were planted by the tomatoes.
Griff just created a Facebook page for the Free Farm (I created one for the Free Farm Stand before I left on my short trip), though I must admit I do not quite understand how you use Facebook. He also wrote a great update to the Free Farm that is at our website http://thefreefarm.org/
The movie Fresh, which I haven’t seen yet, has decided to give 1% of its income for 2010 to a”non-profit who is doing incredible things in the food world”. I applied for this money and there are 42 other applications, including the Hayes Valley Farm and Produce to the People. I guess if we make it to the top 10 (though I am not holding my breath) you will be able to vote on the winner. I think a lot of the applicants sound wonderful and some are doing similar work to us. It is fun to read about them: http://www.freshthemovie.com/blog/.
It is apple and pear picking time and I wonder if there are any wanna be apple/pear pickers out there that may want to pick some apples for the Free Farm Stand? Please contact me if you are available and when. Last night I discovered a pack of about 8 raccoons in our walnut tree possibly gleaning (eating?) our walnuts. So if the raccoons can organize a harvest so can we humans