I am not sure what it was about yesterday’s Farm Stand, but I came home completely in another mental world. It was like my head was in some haze and I couldn’t remember things or concentrate on much at all. Every once in a while a fragment of reality would pop up, like remembering a part of a conversation or an important piece of paper or a card someone had given me, but not knowing where I put it. I am sure I got in that state because there were so many people I was happily chatting with the whole day and it was an overload of stimulation. It was also an intense day at the end, me having to don the role of police person because of one person in line who didn’t speak English, and did not understand the kind of scene we are trying to create at the Free Farm Stand.
I love rescuing and distributing free produce from local organic farmer’s markets, it to me is a form of urban gleaning. I also like doing what I can do to address the issue of hunger and food insecurity in our neighborhood, issues I think we can’t ignore. I also like staying small and personal. A friend whom I work with at the Free Farm on a regular basis came to the Free farm Stand for the first time and I really appreciated her perspective. She told me she likes the farm stand we run on Saturdays at the Free Farm a lot better. It is small in terms of the number of people who come and we mostly just give out produce that we grow there, not the tons of produce saved from the fancy farmer’s markets. So we don’t get the long line and the intense craziness that some people bring, causing an unpleasant scene to say the least. Also, the people who come automatically see the connection between the farm and the produce they take home. We need a farm in the Mission I have known that for a while. It is such a challenge to distribute large amounts of produce in a respectful and dignified way and I know that the language barrier is one big part of that challenge.
Earlier in the morning I learned about a Hebrew word Kavanah and was thinking about it it during the day. As I get it the meaning is “concentration” or”intention” or as a friend wrote me in an email “direction of the heart”. At the service I was attending it was pointed out that one needs a cetain amount of Kavanah while saying prayers. I guess we at the least have to be aware of and keep in mind whom we are praying or speaking to. I have been thinking how this applies to the work I am most familiar with, that of service or karma yoga. Another form of prayer or meditation as I see it. Yesterday perhaps I needed more Kavanah.
There are so many beautiful people I meet every day when I am at the stand or the farm and I always feel so happy to meet and talk with them all. Yesterday I met a couple of sisters, one who was visiting the other from New York. Nicolette, the sister who lives in the bay area, dropped by the stand with a 7lbs of lettuce and 2lbs of kale from a non-profit farm she is starting in Petaluma. The vegetables were so neatly bunched and tied together like boquets. She comes to the city often and wants to bring more vegetables to share with us.
On Friday I picked lemons from a neighbors tree and brought 34lbs to the stand. I also had another 31lbs of lemons my friend Erik picked and someone else brought 5lbs to the stand. I also had a lot of tomato seedlings and some rocoto hot pepper plants I had gotten from Pam from City College. The plants go very fast and hopefully I will get some feedback from people how they grew (I am curious because most of the plants were growing too big for the pots and were stressed out).
Whenever I hear of a friend driving to parts south of San Francisco, like Southern California in particular, I see if they can pick me up a hard to get plant or tree for me to bring back because the nurseries are so much better there. So I am excited that to hear that Erik not only got me a Reed avocado to plant here, he also picked more lemons on the way back. Bless it up!
Check out the most recent workday at the Free Farm blog at thefreefarm.org. This week there is a great selection of photos and a little text going with each one.