Last week I it really dawned on me that something is happening and I sort of know what it is. There is an evolutionary consciousness that is spreading, it is the idea of getting away from money, call it free, call it gift economy, call it no moola, call it no transactions, call it getting away from economics or capitalism, call it spreading love energy or the generous vibe, or call it sharing the abundance or sharing from abundance. The Free Farm Stand grew into existence not out of some lonely idea I had, but more like a beautiful light bulb that exploded and sent light everywhere. That light is in everything but has been covered up with dust and time. People have been over the many million of years been uncovering that light and letting it shine again and it becomes brighter and brighter every generation.
Here are some examples I have discovered recently of projects that are spreading these ideas:
From Edible East Bay: http://www.ediblecommunities.com/eastbay/fall-2012/uncommon-exchange.htm…”serving up a radical idea of food sharing”. This guy Doug Reil who is in El Cerrito has started a Garden to Table project which is an experiment in an alternative economy. He collects surplus produce from local neighbors and then gives them to local restaurants.It actually is hard for me to understand this effort. Here is what the article says: “Giving produce to local restaurants may seem like a surprising choice when so many people don’t have fresh food to eat. But Reil is not just donating food; he’s arguing for a profound shift in our society, from a competitive model to a cooperative one. This is the heart of sustainability, he says, adding that it’s also a response to real future challenges. Although his focus is on highlighting a new type of local economy, he also has plans for donating produce to food banks and for building partnerships with school and community gardens.”
Here is a produce donation program called GIFT (Give it Fresh) in Hawaii.http://www.kaimukihawaii.com/calendar/3597.html where shoppers can buy some extra produce at their Farmer’s Market and give it to their program to give to people in need. They have also started collecting donations of produce from farmers at the end of the day like us.
I love this site and I just wrote them and got a reply…http://www.nomoola.com. Under the section on gardens they talk about their inspiration from the Diggers and their experience planting fruit trees (specifically papaya) on public land without permission (this project was also in Hawaii). It is a pretty interesting and bold story (though rather long). What they write here is exactly what happened to our Free Farm Stand…it was deemed criminal to give away produce in the public space…also I had to get permission to plant the trees we did or ours would have been pulled up too:
“…For those without private homes, or reliable, secure access to food, or for those performing activities prohibited in public for other sets of reasons, the ‘public space’ becomes a zone of criminality. Like us, the planters of prohibited papaya seedlings, all such ‘trespassers’ can be charged with being a nuisance to ‘the public,’ thereby eradicating them from this supposedly all-encompassing category and making them legitimate targets for state coercive force.”
They also have a nifty seed sharing station that they build and I was thinking the Free Farm Stand could use one…they have plans for their version online though we need to have a more mobile version (they just sent me a design they built for the project above). Any carpenters out there or good scavengers that can help set up a small seed station in English and Spanish?
Also locally I have been in touch with Rob Joyce who is one of the co-founders of the Please Touch Gardens. It is a beautiful garden that I just visited on 165 Grove Street (at Van Ness) next to the Public Health Departmet building ( entrance located on Lech Waleesa). It is open on Wednesdays right now and is a joy to visit. We talked about our similar philosophy of not selling produce. One of the guidelines of the Please Touch Garden is “to share from abundance whenever reasonable.” He sent me this nice piece he wrote that is also published on his website, http://www.enjoyro.com/. It is called Beyond Transctions : “When perpetuating the paradigm of scarcity and consumption, the individual asks two questions: What do I want? What do I have to transact? The transaction is the constant intravenous drip of poison, continually asking: Am I getting the proper return for what I am relinquishing? Scarcity is at the core of this perverse economic management of resources, for it is scarcity, whether perceived or real, that creates value in this paradigm. Simply changing the currency, as many alternate economies propose, does nothing to eradicate the underlying perversity that the transaction perpetuates…imagine a paradigm driven by these two questions: What do I have to give? What is available? This paradigm shift does not require the absence of scarcity, or a fundamental abundance of anything. It simply requires the individual to ask different questions”.
We got mentioned in the recent Bay Guardian (http://www.sfbg.com/2012/08/28/jesus-free-food) in an article about secular places that share free food. Yael Chanoff the reporter got it pretty accurate this time about our program (I got a chance to edit the copy about us)….She is the same reporter who wrote the article about San Francisco losing it’s urban farms that I mentioned last week and was very gracious to correct the mistakes she made writing about the Free Farm. The only thing I would change about what she wrote is that I don’t consider the Free Farm a secular organization. I know what she meant is that she was focusing on groups that are not churches sharing food. The table that we put food on is as holy as the table at the Last Supper…it is a symbol and a prayer for abundance and the sharing of that wealth with our brothers and sisters/neighbors.
It was another abundant day at the Stand on Sunday and there was some nice sharing going on. A neighbor called me and had 6lbs of rocoto peppers for us…she found them too hot to eat! We have been growing them at the farm and though I don’t eat them either, I love growing this perennial pepper, plus all the other ones we grow. In general peppers are one of the most beautiful vegetables to grow and I was in glee with our selection this week. Also Antonio brought some beautiful pepino dulce fruit from his garden (4lbs) plus we had some from the farm. This is another perennial that I love to grow, it is also very handsome, and I love the way it tastes. I plan to start propagating this plant soon and according to Antonio it should be easy. We also had some more delicious kale from the School Farm. Did I mention more tomatoes?
with fruit from last week…alas I did’t eat any because it wasn’t vegan….
how many people know we are promoting a plant based diet?
Tillie took Mike place as picnic master…I was so busy I didn’t see what she served…
I know there was some jam from the fruit overload last week
Here is a sweet email I got from my friend Alex that I wanted to share (I think it fits in with the topic about the evolution of consciousness). This is an truly amazing example of our evolution story:
“below is an article about research that found out that the spicy flavors in wild mustards work to keep insects off.
funny how we assume that a plant’s “purpose” is how it tastes to US.
like they’re “God’s gift to man” not living things in their own right.
it seems their flavor is just one part of what they are and just a parsimonious & convenient route to survival.
“survival” after all is just a word that means “life beyond” or “life over”, life beyond the call of duty or beyond the
in religion you pay to get into heaven with your behavior.
in life you live and slowly you start to live on and on.
heaven is full of obedient humans not wild mustards.
there’s a good chance wild mustards are humans who escaped from heaven.”
among the flowers we gave away was a perennial sunflower from the Midwest
Helianthus laetiflorus “Showy Sunflower”