I was reading on a website called Practical Permaculture http://www.practicalpermaculture.com/about.htm, that had this great quote about what permaculture is about:” The idea is to be able to look out your backdoor and see your friends gathering food.” I would expand this idea and say that this revolution is about looing out our back or front doors and seeing  friends growing, harvesting, and sharing surplus produce at a neighborhood Free Farm Stand.
Being summer we seem to be at a peak of produce. I brought supposedly 186lbs of vegetables (greens and squash) from the Free Farm this week (I actually wasn’t at the farm this Saturday and that is the amount of food I was told that  was harvested this week, and also I am not sure how much was given away at the farm stand there before it was shipped across town to me). A neighbor dropped off 12 pounds of lemons and my friend Antonio brought a sample of Portuguese cabbage that he grew (Brassica oleracea Tronchuda Portuguesa or couve tronchuda). Unfortunately I didn’t take a photo of these leaves, but they were really huge  and looked like collards and Antonio said they perennialize like tree collards (though they are started by seed).
Mike’s rhubarb something jam
Mike’s pickled green beans
long line all day
Cristina is back!!!
One of the common things I often write about on this blog is that there is a need for more people to be gardening. This reoccurring thought has bubbled up again in my mind as I just found out that the Esperanza garden needs help (all the gardeners I think are gone) and I am not sure what is happening with the Secret Garden. I even visited the Permaculture Garden at 18th and Rhode Island last week and that garden needs attention.  Not to mention Treat Commons  community garden where I am coordinator could use more gardening love.
All these gardens used to grow food for the Free Farm Stand (and still do in small amounts) and they all are such lovely gardens each with their own unique feeling. With all the talk and trendiness of eating local and the focus on urban agriculture, it is still hard to find people to help take care of a garden on a regular basis.  Even our Free Farm could use more help in terms of having experienced people that can lead others in tasks.  The thing is a lot of people come and volunteer, but we seem to lack are people who can help put those volunteers to work or people that can help manage a garden. I understand the challenge since most people are working and trying to pay their rent which is high in San Francisco.  If people lived together and shared income that would help free people up.
There are only so many models out there for us to choose from. My dear friends at Little City Gardens  whom I love a lot (their blog is wonderful to read and the photos so beautiful: http://www.littlecitygardens.com/). It is ironic that they are the most vocal voices right now in San Francisco exploring the issue of how to make healthy food accessible to poor people.  They have adopted a friendly capitalist model and have a sliding scale CSA and argue that until our government stops subsidizing the elite corporations that people will have to pay more for healthy produce because it can’t be cheap. I agree with them on that point, but I continue to suggest that we abandon the model of buy and sell and the inherent problems it brings into our culture. Instead we can stick our necks out and adopt the free “economy” based on gift giving, generosity, and trust.  Just like us vegans, us people into free will always be a small minority. But there is land to cultivate now and we only will live in our present form a short while, so we have a chance to float on faith and plant the seeds.
Here is an event coming up next Sunday at our Free Farm:
SF CARE Kick Off Picnic And Sock Drive Is Coming Soon!
SF CARE is off to a great start and we’d love to have you come celebrate with us on August 21st from noon to three at the Free Farm at Eddy and Gough. We are dreaming big. We have all our collective experience and passion, we have good programs currently in place, and we’ve got the vision and the enthusiasm to move forward.  All we need now is you.   Come join us for our kick off picnic and sock drive starting at noon on August 21st at the Free Farm on Eddy and Gough. Bring some white athletic socks, enjoy a delicious lunch, and learn more about this great new venture.The picnic is free, but it will help us to have enough food if you RSVP here or to sfcare@saintpaulus.org.
We’re looking forward to seeing you there!The Rev. Valerie McEntee The Rev. Daniel SolbergThe Rev. Megan RoherThe Rev. Lyle J. Beckman
By the way the write up of the Free Farm this week was awesome, mostly some fine photos, at  thefreefarm.org.
On Saturday I skipped the workday at the farm and I went to a beautiful ceremony at St Boniface Church for my friend Richard Purcell. One of the highlights of the event was meeting Joe a Native American healer who knew Richard. He is a member of the Tohono O’odham (Desert People) tribe in the Sonoran desert in southern  Arizona where Richard lived for 20 years.  He sang the most beautiful song about light that brought the event into the mystic. At the reception I met this beautiful man and in in his precense I felt a strong feeling of lightness/softness that I have rarely encountered in a person before.
There is also now an obituary about Peter Berg here in the Chronicle:  http://bit.ly/qTB9AM. Also there is this website http://planet-drum.net/2011/08/11/peter-berg/ Rembering Peter Berg. On this website I found this website where I stole my title: http://jaywbabcock.blogspot.com/2011/08/peter-berg-1937-2011.html. There is a great video posted there about the 1% Free poster the diggers put out.
One of the comments made by Ramon Sender is so right on and applies to both my friends: ” As the law of conservation of energy teaches us, nothing is ever lost, but just transformed. Still we yearn for the presence of the beloved as he/she manifested in our lives, although knowing all the time it was just a momentary shell enclosing the sun for an instant.”
  • Thank you, Tree, for that quote at the end. I used to travel around with handwritten books by Alicia Bay Laurel and Ramon Sender, and I think he was involved in the senior’s lunch at noe valley ministry that my mom used to go to. Loss is transforming to those of us who remain as well… –Wendy, the zucchini lady