Hecka Local Bites the Dust

I have been trying to take off two days a month from being at the Free Farm Stand on Sundays (the first and third Sundays of the month) and from what I have heard everything worked out well last week while I was gone. Sorry if there is no one blogging yet for those times I am not there.  I heard that there was a large harvest from the Free Farm; because of the rainy weather on the day of the Saturday Farm Stand, not many people showed up, so there was more produce for the Sunday Stand.

This week the harvest at the farm was pretty minimal and it was all given away at the farm.  I felt sort of bad that there was so little our Hecka Local  brand produce this week on our table. I felt it not worth putting out the signs labeling the two kinds of produce we had.  There was a lot of produce from the farmers market, a huge amount, and it’s now a fact that we are now getting  tons of summer produce left over from local farmers. I am still overwhelmed what an abundant society we live and there is so much waste everywhere. Just the other day a local market was throwing a lot of non-organic slightly damaged or ripe produce into a green bin. At least San Francisco has green bins and composts some of the waste. It seems that if one wants to live sustainably in the city, besides growing one’s own food and harvesting fruit trees that need picking, we need to live off the waste. Fortunately the Free Farm Stand for now has a great free resource for locally grown, mostly organic and all fresh produce. It is hard at times to think that this produce is really a waste product, but it is.

I did have some lemons that my friend Erik brought on his way back here from Southern California and as lemons go these were particularly beautiful and big. I also brought the first of the loquats from my huge backyard tree. Fruit is coming into season. The Secret Garden has lots of cherry plums starting to redden up and we are looking for someone with no fear of heights to climb a large ladder and pick them some morning. I was super happy that Pam showed up with a lot of bounty from the City College garden  including a large amount of beautiful lettuce and a handful of boquets from flowers she picked (sorry no one photographed her treasures). Mike amazed us again with homemade pickles from cucumbers from last weeks table. This was his first try making pickles, using a recipe from youtube. They were simple and delicious.
Mikes pickles
As you can see in the photographs, I did manage to bring seedlings to give away and they were pretty popular. I met a woman named Lilian who took some seedlings and told me she made a Foosball Planter and planted the seedlings she gathered before from the stand. She sent me an email today with photos of her planter and wrote this informative and sweet email: “With the Free Farm Stand’s donation, we were able to get things going in our container garden and eventually transfer them over to the foosball table: Chard, Kale, Cherry tree, Tomato plant, red lettuce, garlic, and potato… thank you for contributing to this wonderful community-based agriculture educational experience. This is what makes San Francisco truly a wonderful place to call home” I agree and this to me is some of what the core philosophy of the Free Farm Stand is about: A neighborhood of people helping each other grow food and sharing their surplus if they have it with those in need.  Here are some photos:
I am always saying this but I think one of the best things about the stand is that I meet so many wonderful people every week.

The other excitement going on these days is at the Free Farm. Thanks to Carmen, we have a lively blog these days at http://thefreefarm.org/ and she documents the amazing work going on there every week. At the farm there often seems to be new challenges coming up from rats eating all our seedlings to night visitors taking things that are not locked up. What really amazes me is that despite our setbacks and at times what seems like lack of organization, we get so much done at the farm. I love it. Right now we are in need of a driver with or without a big truck to drive to Oakland probably to pick up a load of manure. That’s what make our farm grow and brings food to our table.

There is an article in today’s Chronicle about Urban Homesteading http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/06/12/HOO91JL14L.DTL.  A friend Ruby is organizing a tour of urban farms in the eastbay this Sunday June 19th and no one turned away for lack of funds. I personally love garden tours and that is where I often learn a lot. I must admit though as much as I love animals and gardens together, I don’t like the idea of popularizing the butchering of animals  as a cool thing to do.  Most of these gardens/farms have animals it looks like and I wonder how many kill the male offspring or off the old chickens. Some raise rabbits for meat. In the article there is some mention of the controversy around changing the zoning code in cities to let people raise animals. Ruby makes the argument that “Look at the number of people who take really poor care of their cats and dogs, and yet it’s completely legal to have six cats,”.  If we were to change the law to let people raise dogs and cats to butcher and eat, I wonder if urban homesteaders would be ok with that? Would they complain if their neighbor was barbequing a home grown cat?  I know these are all personal choices whether to eat meat or not and it is probably better that people who eat meat grow and kill it themselves, but I am one of those NIMBY people I guess. You can learn more about the tour and register here: www.iuhoakland.com/farmtour.html.

One Reply to “Hecka Local Bites the Dust”

  1. Tree, thank you and your volunteers for being everyday heroes. Every time I go to the free farm stand I keep a sharp lookout for some new seedlings and plant starters that need new homes. Getting those plant starters and seedlings also gave us the inspiration to look inside our kitchen cabinets for other things to grow. Some of the plants that have flourished in a very short amount of time are quinoa, amaranth, sesame, flax, lentils, pinto beans, red beans, peppers, and an avocado pit. It certainly makes you look at food in a completely different light (it’s also a little lesson on patience and faith) I’m going to bring in some quinoa seedlings to the free farm stand when they’re ready to go. Thank you again!!

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