Yesterday I was reminded of the importance of connections, starting with the mycelium in our soil. On Friday I harvested a 2 pound oyster mushroom in the FARM garden next to the California College of Arts. These oyster mushroom I think were planted a year or so ago when Robyn started the project and they have been producing mushrooms there for a while. Jeff who knows mushrooms has been keeping an eye on them and alerted me to the fact that the mushroom had come up again and I might want to pick it (even though it could probably double in size) since there was a snow warning. On Sunday he came by the stand for the first time and I got to meet him in person. He reminded me that mushrooms are responsible for making the soil we grow food in.
It was a slim pickings day for produce on Sunday. I felt so thankful that the Esperanza garden, though needing a lot of attention right now, still had a lot of unpicked kale (10 lbs), a lot of oregano, and I also found some trombone squash that had gone from summer squash to winter squash and was hanging happily on the vine, its hardened skin making it ideal to store outside on the vine. Unfortunately my camera died while I wasat the stand so I have no photos. I tasted one and it was sweet and orange inside. A new friend Melissa who has just moved here from Seattle helped me harvest the garden and she may help open the garden on a regular basis. I am still waiting to hear from others who have shown some interest in the garden and it is just a matter of making connections and finding people with some time to anchor the garden. We are just like the community of ‘shrooms that depend on each other and the networks we create. We can grow a lot more food and feed those in need if we just work together and grow food wherever we can and share it with each other.
The Free Farm is at a low point right now in terms of the produce it is producing, due to the distractions of building greenhouses and sheds. This week most the harvest went to the Free Farm Stand there on Saturday. The donations from the Farmer’s Markets were also on the low side. Again it was the connections that our stand has made with friends, neighbors, and other gardens that to me saved the day. Maybe because it was the end of the month and the day was sunny and beautiful, we seemed to have a long line and I knew we were going to run short of produce. Right at the beginning Kim dropped by with some produce harvested from the Secret Garden and that lifted my spirits. Also, Niru harvested a bit of kale and chard from Treat Commons. Then right when we were running out of what little we had, Pam showed up with more produce from her garden. I also appreciated the variety she brought and it was a perfect example of what is available this time of year in our shady backyards: A collection of edible flowers, miners lettuce, New Zealand spinach, corn salad or mache, some baby beets, and I think arugula. Here is a shout out to arugula, which like I mentioned last week, we seem to have a lot of this time of year. What a heroic plant to feed us our bitters in the cold season. The San Francisco Permaculture Guild had a Tree Collard Green Cook-off last month that I heard was a big success at their monthly 1st Wednesday meeting (how about a shout out to Tree Collards too!).This month they are doing an arugula cook-off. Everyone that came seemed so appreciative for what we had, even though we were giving out such small amounts.
Mike continues to make his delicious hummus to serve on bread and I have been brining jars of fruit jam that I made last summer with the left over squished fruit we had. Wayne also has started bringing his amazing homemade vegan spreads, so the Stand seems fun and cheery and more than just about getting produce, but also about people connecting with each other.
Please check out the Free Farm blog for lots of pictures from last Saturday’s work day. I think Wednesday we will be planting more seeds in our newly finished greenhouse and there might be some carpentry action on the second greenhouse (anyone skilled in framing or hanging doors please drop by). Also, Wednesday there is a meeting of the Capital Committee of Park and Recreation, and my pet project of planting trees in the park is on the agenda. I think the expansion of the garden will be approved, but anyone with the time can come and speak in favor of it at 2pm in room 416. I think we are 1st on the agenda.
The controversy over the Dervaes Institute copyrighting the term Urban Homestead continues as the Electronic Frontier Foundation has gotten involved and they wrote a very impressive letter to the Institute. You can read about it here and their letter: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2011/02/riding-fences-urban-homestead-trademark-complaints. Again this is not the way we build our soil, by entering the legal world of copyrights and warning letters, and take down requests.
My friend Megan from Welcome Ministry and the Free Farm is posting this job announcement. It seems like a really good opportunity to make some money while doing good non-profit work and having some free time to volunteer with us: http://sfcare.blogspot.com/.