Everyone Loves a Farmer

I was out on the sidewalk picking a big chestnut tree that I helped plant in 1982. It is more like hitting the chestnut tree with a long bamboo pole and knocking the nuts off and they fly everywhere.  People drive or walk by and many smile. When I saw a guy driving by in a worn out pickup truck look out at me and smiling all friendly like, I thought everyone loves a farmer.  I think it is true. Because of our need to eat to live (unless you are a breatharian)  I think somewhere deep inside us we appreciate those who grow our food. I actually think that people who are anti-immigrant these days ignore the fact that a lot of our food is harvested by people who cross our borders for work, a lot of it farm work. These days as people start waking up and figuring out where their food comes from, maybe they are thinking of our farmers more than they used to. I know I have been appreciating farmers more since I have started trying to grow a lot of food myself.

This weekend I felt like I got real exhausted with the work I was doing (maybe it was heat exhaustion).  Just like we want our food system to be sustainable,  our lives need to be sustainable too.  I am aware that the Free Farm Stand is not really sustainable in its current form and I am thinking hard about how to make things work better for myself. Although it isn’t a one person show and we have an incredible number of great volunteers, I still feel like I am doing way too much to keep things going the way they are now.

This week we were a little short handed, especially towards the end. We actually didn’t have a lot of hecka local produce, but there was a lot of left over farmers market food and the amount that came at 2:30pm was almost unreal. In fact I have to cut this blog short and process some leftover soft fruit we had. I may be getting some new interns soon to help run the stand. We could also use a photographer so this blog can have some photos (we miss Cristina not only for her beautiful energy, but her photographic eye).

It looks like Produce to the People reached their kickstarter  goal of raising 10 grand and I am really happy about that. Lauren just wrote to me and said she is looking for people that have access to a vehicle and may want to drive up to Lakeport (near Clear Lake…maybe a few hours from here) to help pick a large pear orchard (this is the orchard that people picked last year). Two possible dates are Sunday  the  3rd or Saturday the 9th. If she finds drivers then we will look for people who want a ride.

I signed up for the Free Farm Stand to be part of the 10-10-10 day which is part of the of 350.org’s 10.10.10 call to action for solutions to climate change. I mainly signed up because we are doing the 10-10-10 day every Sunday so why not join. I would like to issue a challenge that day to get more local produce that day from San Francisco gardens or fruit trees. People should bring some surplus produce to share…if you don’t have a garden maybe check out a community garden and talk to them about sharing any surplus produce that people are not picking.

There are over 1,000 work parties happening simultaneously in 110 countries and throughout the Bay Area on 10-10-10.  There is a new project that is launching on that day called Kitchen Garden SF that helps people plant food gardens in San Francisco using recycled materials and volunteers.  Something that I have been doing when I can.  Here is what they say they are doing on that day:

“On October 10th we are hosting a global day of action with Hayes Valley Farm and 350.org to plant local food as a solution to climate change. We have been challenged to grow 350 food gardens in San Francisco and need your help! Please go to http://kitchengardensf.org/register to register a garden action. For those of us who don’t have a back yard, patio or balcony to grow food, there are many volunteer opportunities to help your neighbors or friends around town.”

Here is another event on 10-10-10:

“Join us for the Lots of Abundance bicycle tour on Sunday morning, hosted by the San Francisco Parks Trust, the San Francisco Permaculture Guild and the Wigg Party.  Bring your bike, a lunch, and ride around our beautiful city while learning more about opportunities for urban farming around town.  The bike tour will commence at 10:45 AM at the only apple tree in Golden Gate Park, near Oak & Stanyan (map) ,and end at the Hayes Valley Farm at 1:30 PM. The bicyclists will then be deployed throughout the city to deliver materials, volunteer in a garden and document garden actions. To celebrate all our hard work, we will be having an after-party at Hayes Valley Farm that will feature live music, a twilight potluck, a seed swap, and much more.  Pack up a picnic dinner and head over to the farm as the sun sets, because at twilight, the Pocket Seed Library Press will release its first publication: The Alphabet Garden Booklist.  Stick around for some rousing performances from some of San Francisco’s finest local musicians and reward yourselves for all of your contributions to the urban farming community.”

While talking about backyard or kitchen gardens, how about more shared gardens?: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/09/22/DD051F71EV.DTL&type=homeandgarden

Finally here is a beautiful picture from our dear friend Case in Ohio. He met some people at the Paw Paw Festival in southern Ohio that plant fruit trees to feed people. They have been mostly planting fruit trees in a state park  called Lake Snowden Park (that is where the festival is held)

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