I decided to write something short this week about the Free Farm Stand so I can get it out tonight.  I am also going to do a double header by writing a short blog over at http://thefreefarm.org/. If there is anything that most stands out in my mind about the Stand this week is that I continually meet people who tell me this is their first visit and that they really appreciate our efforts. Like the universe it seems our little Free Farm stand is continually expanding. I know my gratitude and isnspiration is also continually expanding for all the people that come and all the people that volunteer or bring something to share. This week a new friend came to the Free Farm with two bags of lemons to share at the Stand and Bilkis brought lemons and oranges she picked from trees in Marin.

We got a lot of fava beans from 18th and Rhode Island garden, the first amount of produce harvested from there in a long while. When I went over there the other day to pick up the harvested beans, I was inspired to see all the trees growing there so happily. The thing is that we planted those fruit and almond trees in 2009 and now they are looking so good and starting to bear fruit and nuts. This high density fruit tree planting is what I copied in the park fruit tree planting last week, growing fruit trees more like bush/tree hybrids. Next week we may have at the stand some avocados from the trees from the garden I helped plant more than 25 years ago and it was also exciting to see that the newly planted avocado trees there were doing well and one tree (the Lamb Haas) has two avocados. The other tree (Sir Prize) doesn’t have fruit yet, but some bud wood I might cut next Friday and then on Saturday I might start budding the trees in our greenhouse that I grew from seed.

I also brought some surplus favas from my shady garden. It is amazing that those plants will grow in almost total shade and eventually produce fava beans. I planted those in November or December and harvested them the other day, so that is about 5 months or more to get beans. What a miracle! There was so much produce this week, the van was totally filled mostly with fresh left-over produce from the farmer’s market! Is summer here already? We also gave away the rest of our summer seedlings, but hopefully we will have more to give away in the weeks to come

I am looking forward to checking out my friend Antonio’s new movie In Search of Good Food. …a tour of “California’s Emerging Sustainable Food System. It is a double feature with the film the Greenhorns. Thursday and Friday May 19th and May 20th 6-10pm at Recology 900 7th St. cross Street Berry.

The Free Farm Stand could really use a person with a good eye for art that has a camera to take photos for weekly writings here. Alas, this week I misplaced our camera and didn’t take any photos. Blogs without art can get pretty boring! Talking about photographers and art and a person with a great eye, I have been enjoying the 2,000 photos of trees (and bushes) my friend Bob downloaded onto  my computer. You can see them or download them on his artSharing site here: http://plantpersonalities.com/share.html. Can you tell by  now that I just love trees and the miracle they are?  Bob told me these are all trees and bushes that  connected with him in some way and that is why he photographed them. And while talking about trees, here is another link a friend sent me who know this man Jack Gescheidt who started the TreeSpirit Project (http://www.treespiritproject.com/Mission.html ). Jack captures fantabulous photos of amazing trees with naked people in them. He sells his prints and donates some of the profits to non-profit environmental groups. Finally  talking about naked people, unfortunately  (or fortunately) I just missed getting an email on Saturday, our workday at the Free Farm, telling methat it was World Naked Gardening Day http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/43018053/ns/today-today_people/.


Our special Mother’s Day Farm Stand and Fruit Tree planting was what I would call a big success. Honestly I didn’t really have any ideas in mind as to how the day might go, I just put some effort into making sure the basics were covered and I showed up at around 10:30am to start setting things up.  I knew we had a great selection of produce to start the day.  The van was totally packed with it. We had 60 pounds of produce from the Free Farm and a lot of it went to the Sunday Free Farm Stand.

The tree planting got off to a good start when a person I just met named John came by to help plant fruit trees (he turned out to be the partner of  Sarah and they recently just joined our community  garden) . He brought his own shovel and a file to keep it sharp and I thought this is the kind of man that wins my heart. The he started digging holes which was no easy task, the soil being pretty compacted. Later others, mostly women and kids, started digging holes and then planting fruit trees: one avocado tree (Lamb Haas which is a cross between Haas and Gwen), one Osborn Prolific Fig (that I rooted from a twig a year or so ago), three kinds of mulberries, one plum, and two apple trees.

Our student friends from Stanford brought 90 pounds of citrus they gleaned from campus (clementines, lemons, and oranges) and helped give out seedlings and food that a few of us made for the celebration. It was a beautiful day and it really felt like a family affair.  We also got a lot of mothers visiting, including two friends that just had babies.  I kept thinking that it will be wonderful that these newborns might have a chance to come to this park when they get older and get an opportunity to eat fresh fruit from their neighborhood. I see this tree planting as an inspirational and motivational message for all those in our city that want to see us going more green and sustainable and addressing the real issue of hunger and food insecurity in San Francisco. I would like to see others planting and maintaining a small number of fruit trees in every park in the city as a baby step towards this goal.  What I have learned is that we can’t count on the city politicians to make this happen, neighbors have to organize on a grass roots level to get anything done that is outside the box, like the idea of Community Orchards.

Below are some photos and a great video made by Lila, a new friend and mom that came by. There is one shot in the video where I am showing off a fantastic photo of a bee that my friend and fellow gardener Ruben took and mounted for me and signed by friends at the stand.  How blessed can a person feel!  I came home feeling pretty good about much finishing this project, though I  can see adding some flowers in between the trees at some point and maybe some bushes with edible fruit.

I also felt a little like a politician who distributed food, kissed babies, and then asked people to vote. In this case I was really asking people to go online to http://www.baycitizen.org/citizenoftomorrow/ and vote for the Free Farm Stand and Free Farm.  I discovered a lot of people had not heard about this contest, though others have said they were voting everyday. I am really grateful  and continuously thankful for all the positive support we have gotten, not just from everyone that has been voting, but from all the people helping us run the stand and the farm. Though I will be glad when the voting process is over (May 16th) and I will be truly OK with whomever wins.

The other day I got a sad update from Sharing Gardens in Oregon  (http://www.alpinegarden.blogspot.com/) that they lost the use of the land they just built their new greenhouse on and also they got turned down for a grant they applied for. It sounds like they are doing some deep reflection on what they are doing . They face the challenge we all share as people who are dedicated to doing things for free and on the model of sharing, how to support the effort, not only monetarily, but sustainably.  How do we get a crew of people for this kind of work over the long haul?  For those that believe in the idea that we should love our neighbors and do good onto others, that the world’s resources were created for all of us to share and be for the benefit of all, it is a question on how to do that in the shell of a society that is based on private property and everyone looking out for themselves. I don’t have many answers, but I get inspired by the people like Sharing Gardens and others who are trying to figure this out and experimenting in beautiful projects. I think they all deserve our support and encouragement.