The Beet Goes On

Long lines and a lot of food. The beet does go on and the squash, tomatoes, zucchini, pumpkins, sunchokes, and all the summer fruits and vegetables parade on our table. Five and a half tons of hecka local produce distributed that I have weighed starting in 2009,  and the Free Farm, the little farm that could, produced 2 tons of produce since the start of this year.

It was nice that I got a call from Alana from Esperanza Garden telling me they had surplus produce to harvest so we got some squash, tomatoes, and kale from that garden. Also, I found a few ears of corn. We also harvest quite a bit of produce from Treat Commons Community Garden. The runner beans produced a whole new crop of delicious flat green beans. A neighbor brought some apples and lemons. That garden and the Secret Garden really need people to work there. Alana is leaving town for at lest six months and  the Secret Garden needs gardeners. People thinking about the 10-10-10 day of action (see below) should consider going all the way and take over a garden not for just one day, but for six months or a year. More food grown means more food to share at the Free Farm Stand.

Next week is 10-10-10 which is a global action day for climate change.  Hayes Valley Farm and Kitchen Garden SF are hosting a 350 Garden Action Day and organizing a number of events ( The Free Farm Stand will be open as usual. As always, we encourage people to bring surplus produce to share with other others at the stand to share with those in need. We will also have some seed planting going on and perhaps some seedlings to give away. I think as much as we are focusing on climate change we also have to pay attention to the food justice issue and make sure we are supporting those in need. Recently I have been thinking  about how difficult these times are for people who don’t have much money or a place to live because they can’t afford the rents in the bay area. This issue has hit home personally because I have two friends that I have known for a while that are both couch surfing (one is staying with Angie and I for a couple of weeks). One friend is undergoing chemo for breast cancer and also has to deal with being somewhat homeless. I imagine that having to come up with money to eat healthy is a challenge for a lot of people (especially people on fixed incomes) and families, so it is hard for me to ignore this reality and concentrate on just the issue of climate change. I am thinking now of a song by Bertolt Brecht from the Three Penny Opera:

whatever you may do whatever you aspire
first feed the face and then talk right and wrong
for even saintly folk may act like sinners
unless they’ve had their customary dinners

I was visiting another friend last week who just got diagnosed with lung cancer and is undergoing chemo. Fortunately he has a beautiful home to live in. On his wall he had one of the original sixties diggers poster with the words 1% Free. The idea behind the poster was that Haight Street merchants and Rock Bands should contribute 1% of their profits to fund various free projects. I was thinking with inflation it should now be 5% Free (even some credit cards give a 5% rebate for purchases).  Then yesterday in the park I ran into a man named Yaron who once came into our community garden to possibly join it. He is the guy who opened the hip new restaurant on 24th Street called Mission Eatery, part of the rapidly expanding hipster gentrification scene going on here. His eatery is like us in that it is all about local and feeding people…though with him it is for people who can afford to eat there. He is actually a really nice man and I love his young son  Cruv who helped me pick up and sort a box of spilled okra and cucumbers. I was thinking I should have told him about my 5% Free idea, but I was not so bold. Anyway, I am sure like small farmers, small businesses are struggling to survive too (until they become really popular and successful). But we could come out with a 5% Free poster.

This coming Thursday evening at 6:30pm is the community meeting about planting a community orchard in the park where we set up the stand. Pancho helped collect a lot of signatures in support of the idea and I am hoping we can get a good showing at the meeting that supports the plan.  DATE: October 7, 2010 (Thursday)
TIME:  6:30 P.M. to 8:00 P.M.
PLACE: Meeting Room at Parque Ninos Unidos – Clubhouse
At 23rd Street and Treat Ave
For more information or to request translation services for the
meeting, please call:
Eric Andersen at (415) 831-6818, Recreation and Park Department

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