“If you follow every dream You might get lost”. I have been thinking of that line by Neil Young in the song The Painter. I get so many dreams that I have been trying to follow and now yes, I am feeling a bit lost. The dreams become reality and take on a life of their own. They grow and grow. They make their demands and clamour for my attention, overwhelming me at times. I start remembering that most of us are all crazy and don’t know what we are doing or where we are going.
The Free Farm Stand has been that way for me. It is sort of on auto pilot these days, volunteers come and go and it has become a very popular event in the Mission. Now there is a Free Farm Stand and a Free Farm and a number of gardens needing attention (more on that later). The Free Farm, a relative of the Stand, is taking off too in just a year, and during our heat spell last week I was struck with the realization that the idea of growing a million seedlings and growing a zillion bouquets of flowers plus growing a ton of fresh produce is not only a lot of work, but perhaps unachievable with the small numbers of people we have these days running the show. Is my green bubble bursting?
Yesterday it felt like it was the first day at the Free Farm Stand where things have taken off and we have moved into summer though it is still spring. It was the perfect sunny day and we had what seemed like a lot of produce. The Free Farm did a big harvest of the last of the fall planted vegetables and there was quite a lot. We brought pounds of kale, chard, fava beans, and lettuce. I also brought seedlings from our greenhouse. There was the longest line ever and it was a constant stream of people for a while. There was so much energy in the air. I was busy talking to a lot of friends that dropped by for the first time. Neighbors brought lemons and Kim from the Secret Garden dropped by with her sister with some harvested goodies.
Pam brought a beautiful selection of produce and gave me some seedlings of Cascade Glaze collards to try growing ( a variety of collards that has smooth green leaves and was developed by m favorite plant breeders Alan Kapuler). Students from USF came by to help give out food and seedlings. They are from Back to da Roots “a student organization that focuses on environmental and social justice issues in agriculture locally and worldwide”. They had volunteered at the Free Farm the day before and brought some lemons and other produce they harvested when they came to help out at the Stand.
We all know how trendy the local garden/farm movement has become. Someone recently commented on a Free Farm blog post “offering a leftist critique of of the ideology of “Green” environmentalism, permaculturalism, deep ecology, eco-feminism, and lifestyle politics in general (veganism, “dumpster diving,” “buying organic,” “locavorism,” etc.).” His blog post is here: http://rosswolfe.wordpress.com/2011/03/25/man-and-nature-part-iv-a-radical-critique-of-the-%E2%80%9Cgreen%E2%80%9D-environmental-movement/. I thought it was a well written article though much too long, but I agree with a lot of what he is saying, especially how our capitalist society assimilates and repackages all beautiful fresh ideas and turns them into commodities. I don’t agree with his conclusion, I think he was saying we need a revolution in the old sense of the word, actually maybe I don’t understand what he thinks we should do about the mess we are in, but I don’t think Marx & Engles had all the answers. We however can create a real revolution/evolution, by creating a world that promotes community and sharing.
Yesterday Roberto Perez Rivero who was interviewed in the film The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil (http://www.vimeo.com/8653921) spoke at the Secret Garden. And I actually met him for a brief visit at the Free Farm. He will be speaking again at the Permaculture Guild meeting (Wednesday April 6th.Time: 6:30-9:00pmWhere: Gazebo, CPMC Davies (see http://www.permaculture-sf.org/the-guild/guild-meetings.html for directions).
I think the message he is bringing, or at least what I inspiration I get from what happened in Cuba is that we can create similar neighborshoods of people growing food and feeding themselves. We have crises now on many levels (which include hunger and food insecurity) and we have the opportunity to do something about the situation if we want to. I know two or three gardens that need attention now and I have seedlings that can be planted if there were devoted gardeners willing to grow food and flowers and share their surplus with those in need. People are still writing me saying they have a garden or land that needs a gardener. The latest is someone wrote me from Bernal Heights with a garden needing help.
Today they are putting up the fence around the expanded orchard in the park at 23rd St. and Treat Ave. I willing be planning a day of tree planting probably in the beginning of May. I hope everyone can sense why it is important to be planting trees, especially fruit and nut trees. Our parks are a logical place where more Community Fruit Orchards should be planted and I think this could be the beginning of a new movement in the city.