The two weeks of self-promoting our work for the Bay Citizen of Tomorrow online voting contest is finally over! I am so grateful and thankful on many levels. We came in 2nd place with most votes (over 5,000 total voted is all the Bay Citizen web site said)) and we got a $2,500 check for the Free Farm Stand and Free Farm at a fancy award dinner last week. I am most grateful and thankful for all the support that we got from people literally all over the world voting (and more than once). All the other groups in the contest were worthy of the awards. The East Bay Children’s Book Project was the winner and got $5,000 and Loved Twice who gives out free baby clothes came in third and got $1,000. I was a little sad that SF Refresh and Megan got less votes. I hope we work with them in future SF events this year.
The ceremony I attended with Angie was fun as it turned out (I was somewhat dreading it). It was a very formal affair, with a lot of people and reporters connected to the online newspaper the Bay Citizen. Plus there was a room full of philanthropist types and folks with money I assumed (judging from the cost of tickets). I paced myself with the free cocktails (I am such a newbie at bars I needed help deciding what kind of drink I should go with: I wound up with a screwdriver…It just came back to me now that I remember having that drink at a Bar Mitizvah of a cousin years and years ago). Two of those got me through most of the night. I was well lubricated and could talk and be Mister Sociable. I also lucked out that they were able to accompany my vegan diet with two small but delicious dishes. Fortunately I didn’t have to give a speech and I met a foundation person that wants to visit us. How good can it get!
On Saturday I had a real blast at the Free Farm. Another one of my dreams is finally becoming a reality. If any of you have been reading these blogs, you might know of my vision of propagating avocado trees and giving them away at the Free Farm Stand. On Friday I went to the garden at 18th and Rhode Island to collect bud wood from two avocados that I helped plant there three years ago. Actually I was so happy going there and seeing all the trees we planted, I think there are now up to 100 fruit and nut trees there in that future food forest. They were all mostly doing really well and some had fruit and nuts on the trees. Anyway I scored some budwood from the Sir Prize and Lamb Haas trees and took it to the Free Farm on Saturday. We held a informal workshop where I demonstrated my method of budding the avocado trees I have been propagating there from seed in the greenhouse. I am really just learning to do this and have had some small successes so far (at the 18th and Rhode Island I also saw some grafts that had taken that we had done on the sapote tree there ). Anyway I am crossing my fingers that these buds take.
It was such a thrill today at the Free Farm Stand to give away some avocados from trees I helped plant years ago that were growing just down the street from the Free Farm Stand. Unfortunately, the people who picked the fruit didn’t know that it takes some experience knowing when to pick an avocado. Haas avocados for example, the kind we gave out, need to remain on a tree for one year before they are ready to pick. I could tell that the ones we gave out were probably too young to pick, judging by the color and size of the fruit. I am not sure if they will ripen or will have much flavor or be creamy or watery. Cross our fingers again.
I was a little jealous of the Farm Stand at the Free Farm on Saturday. I never thought of having two farm stands and my original idea was to have the Free Farm Stand located on an urban farm so people could really see the link between farm and table. It turned out the land that was available for a farm was not located in the Mission where I have been living and working since 1974. This is something I have been thinking about a lot, whether there should just be one farm stand located at the Free Farm t or try to manifest a farm in the Mission.
So when we harvested our raspberries they were so beautiful and delicious, but we really had to give them away there at the Free Farm. We couldn’t ship them to the Mission! I can’t tell you how much I love raspberries and the few plants that we put in at the community garden where the Free Farm Stand is go mainly to the kids adventurous enough to find them. We did get some of the strawberries though, enough to give people in line a little taste.
Talking about fruit, a woman with two kids came by with a peach tree seedling she somehow got and gave it to us. I thought it would be fun if we got her kids to pot up the seedling and it turned out to be such a beautiful experience. Pancho translated as I showed them what to do and then we took a tour of the trees we planted last week. We left the potted tree under the shade of a sister plum tree we planted last week and I think the family had a good experience.