I really thought that this week would almost be a first for the Free Farm Stand. No “Hecka Local” produce. We harvested very little produce from the Free Farm and it was mostly given away there on Saturday. Because of crazy circumstances, the little amount of lettuce in my backyard I didn’t get around to harvesting, and Esperanza garden, the Secret Garden, Treat Commons, and the 18th and Rhode Island garden didn’t have any produce for me. I must admit I felt a little discouraged, though I know a lot of work has been going into creating a working farm and greenhouse plus the learning curve of figuring out how to be a real urban farmer. I figured it was going to be a rainy day and it is winter and there might be less people coming for food.
As it turned out, the rain was really light and my friend Bilkis showed up and brought some true sunshine plus turned up with 20 pounds of surplus lemons from a friends tree in Marin, plus oranges. A friend David from Marin whom I volunteer with at Martin de Porres on the first Sunday of the month, brought some more kiwis from his back yard to share with us. Also, a lot of people showed up and I am always so grateful that people who come are so polite and gracious and happy for the little we give out (though the free Acme bread still keeps coming in great amounts). Arugula is becoming a popular green at the stand these days as well as the many odd things growing this time of year.
The experience only makes me more determined to grow more produce and seedlings. Again this week I was without a camera so we are all text this week.
I forgot to mention a couple of weeks ago I went to the Potrero library to check out seeds from the new SF Seed library housed there: https://sites.google.com/site/sfseedlibrary/home. It was a fabulous experience. I was allowed to “check out” five packets of seed with the understanding I can grow the plants and save seeds to return next year. I got four varieties of basil (actually not a huge amount of seed) and one packet of Early Girl tomato seeds. I know some of the seeds were donated from seed companies, like seed from last year that didn’t sell. It turns out that the Early Girl seed I won’t use because it is a F1 hybrid that someone had saved the seed from and I know they won’t come true.
There is an interesting article, Mr. Vegetable Goes to the Planning Commission, in the Mission Local http://missionlocal.org/2011/02/mr-vegetable-goes-to-the-planning-commission/ about the recent Planning Commission meeting concerning changing the zoning laws to allow gardeners to sell their produce. While I support the idea of people having the right to sell their city grown produce, I am much less enthusiastic about the issue as it seems most other gardeners and local food people are. Maybe I am the only one or am at least in a minority of people who are really tired of capitalism and that system of economics. I must admit that I have some reservations about the issue like Commissioner Ron Miguel who is quoted in the article. As I see it, hip capitalistic ventures always start out seeming cute and cuddly and friendly and cool. But somewhere down the line things change and the unexpected always turns up. I mean I know why this society bums me out a lot, not exactly because of capitalism. It is because we live in a society that promotes not only over consumption and consumerism, including the devious hip consumerism, but individualism and looking out for ourselves versus an emphasis on caring about our neighbors and those who might be in need.
I understand this tendency for good things like growing local food to eventually get corporatized (is this a word?) and I am going to stop kvetching about it for now and go out and do what I can do to shift the balance a bit and to help create a free world where we emphasize sharing and caring. If you agree with me please help me grow more food and seedlings to share. There are still gardens that need attention as well as revolutions to create.
I will end with some good news. Lat week I spoke at the Capital committee meeting of Park and Recreation and they approved the project of expanding our garden and orchard into the neglected land next to the garden in the park where we run the stand. They recommended a yes to the full Commission. So on March 17th the full Park and Recreation commission will rubber stamp the proposal and we will be able to begin erecting a fence and planting fruit trees in April. I hope we can make the tree planting event a neighborhood celebration.