Almost Speechless

I have run out of things to say about our Free Farm Stand. Yesterday I was behind the table handing out the little produce we had grown at the Free Farm and I felt embarrassed that I had so little to give out (most of the produce we did grow was handed out at our stand at the farm the day before). Though it seemed that everyone was so polite and grateful and excited about the fresh food I was handing out. I had to keep reminding myself that we are mainly trying to promote a network of produce sharing among gardeners and that we are not just a food give away program. Further down the table we did have a good selection of organic produce left over from the Ferry Building market. It is hard for me though, something in my wiring, that I just want to help everyone that needs food get it.  Later in the day Kim brought a beautiful selection of produce she harvested from the Secret Garden that was gone in a second.

I tried an experiment of growing lettuce mix in 2 Styrofoam grape boxes in our greenhouse. I was very excited that one of the trays worked out perfectly and I had a nice lettuce lawn to “mow” and give out. Part of it was to demonstrate how we can grow a salad in a kitchen window or on a porch.  A beautiful young 12 year old girl cut part of the tray for us to hand out and it turned out to be such a small amount. Nice theater though.

lettuce lawn in the greenhouse

from the Secret Garden

Here are some photos of what we have in the greenhouse. We distributed a few seedlings at the stand yesterday and they were very popular. Hopefully soon we will have more, so we can encourage more people to grow their own:

sunflower greens


waiting to germinate

There are lots more great photos and text on the Free Farm Blog at

Here is an interesting article from the New York Times about heirloom vs. hybrid seeds: It is something I have thought about, especially this time of year when I have been buying seeds to plant. The article points out some of the hype around heirloom seed and the bad rap hybrid seed has gotten. It is pretty unhip these days and almost politically incorrect to talk about this subject and suggest that the heirloom seed  business is  being heavily marketed these days as like everything gardening  is booming. So I appreciate articles like this that question some of the claims being made by the promoters of heirlooms.  The significant point here is that if we grow heirloom seeds or open pollinated seed we should select the plants that do best in our gardens and save them and eventually change them by selecting the plants whose seeds make the best adaptations to our micro-climate and growing conditions.

Last night I went to the Roxie to see a film I had heard about called Queen of the Sun. Here is the website for the film: This is a film made by the director of The Real Dirt on Farmer John, another great film. This film is being independently distributed and is worth supporting. I really think everyone should see this film, there is so much to learn here.  It is not just a film about the current global bee crises, but it also is an inspiring look at nature and bees. There is a great cast of characters who are passionate about changing the ways things are. I also like the biodynamic approach to beekeeping that is represented in the movie and it is an approach I think more beekeepers should adopt. For example, it is pointed out that it wasn’t until about 200 years ago that honey was sold. That it was always a precious gift that was shared. How cool knowing that!

One last thing, I have been trying to learn more about the news that part of Hayes Valley Farm has been sold. I think for all of us that that care about HVF and couldn’t attend the first public meeting announcing this news, we would like to find out more, if anyone knows. How long do they have before they have to vacate, what about the part of the land that wasn’t sold, does HVF have any plans for the future or do they need any help?  I know that the site was never to be permanent and that it is good to respect the original deal. Personally, I think it is so short sighted of the city to not promote more open space and farms vs selling land for more condos. I guess business is business.

This ties into the need for our cities to shrink. Last Saturday at our work day at the Free Farm two woman who are making a movie that “aims to document the diversity of new economic cultures emerging” and they wanted to film what we were doing. Tonight at 9pm they are screening their short documentary Life After Growth at the Noisebridge Hacker Space, 2169 Mission St. This film is part of an ongoing project to document the rise of a new movement – calling not for more economic growth, but LESS. The degrowth movement, or “mouvement por le decroissance”, argues that through a voluntary reduction of the economy we can work less, consume less and live better, fuller lives.” I can dig that (I am not sure about the part of working less…seems like a lot of work to create a revolution).

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