Abundant Joy

I am thinking of the sweetness of the Free Farm Stand and all the wonderful people who show up every week to either help or get food.  I was sent this poem that I am reprinting that sums up my mood right now:

When I add a spoon of honey to my tea, I give thanks to a dozen bees for the work of their whole lives. When my finger sweeps the final drop of sweetness from the jar, I know we’ve enjoyed the nectar from over a million flowers. This is what honey is: the souls of flowers, a good to please the gods. Honeyeaters know that to have a joyful heart one must live life like the bees, sipping the sweet nectar from each moment as it blooms. And Life, like the world of honey, has its enchantments and its stings.
– Ingrid Goff-Maidoff, The Honey Sutras

This week a mom of five named Katie was in town from Kalamazoo, Michigan, bringing her sweetness and was helping out with her youngest child on her chest. Unlike San Francisco, home prices in Kalamazoo  apparently are very cheap and  Katie not only bought a home there, but was able to purchase a number of empty lots surrounding her home and she now farms on 2 1/2 acres. She said the mortgage on her home was cheaper than paying rent in section 8 housing that she used to live in.  There is some group, maybe a government agency, that will help you buy vacant property that is adjacent to your home, and she got one parcel for I think she said for $170. But you can’t grow avocados in Kalamazoo.

On the topic of housing, here is an event happening Wednesday that I can relate to:  ”


Wednesday October 10, 2012 on World Homeless Action Day, Homes Not Jails will hold an open building occupation to provide housing and to fight against the criminalization of homelessness. In solidarity with squatters across the world and allies for human rights, there will be a rally beginning at 5pm in Dolores Park, followed by a march to take the message to the streets, culminating in a public takeover of a vacant space.

Currently in the US, there are 18.5 million vacant homes and 3.5 million homeless people; in San Francisco the figures are 31,000 vacant housing units to an estimated 8,000 homeless folks.

“This is greed – not an issue of scarcity or supply and demand,” says a Homes Not Jails collective member. “These resources are being wasted.” Another collective member who has participated in similar actions in the past describes public housing takeovers as “incredible and exciting, something you’ve got to take part in to believe.”

So one thing that is happening is that people are moving out of San Francisco to Oakland where it is a little cheaper to live.  My dear friends from Casa de Paz are bringing the love to Fruitvale  and have been running a Free Farm Stand in front of their house on Sundays. I am so inspired by their work and that they are working in a low income neighborhood where I am sure good free produce is appreciated. The photos I got tonight remind me of the very earliest days of the Free Farm Stand. They collected some produce from the farmer’s market there at the end of the day and have been gleaning the abundant fruit trees over there. A friend of mine who lives in El Cerrito  had more oranges than she could possibly use. I told her about this project that I wrote about in the post No Moola about a month ago.  A guy name Doug collects surplus produce from local neighbors in El Cerrito and then gives them to local restaurants. So my friend called him and he came over and picked a handful of oranges and that was it…he never came back. I contacted Pancho and Casa de Paz and they and their neighbors picked the tree and drove away with a car full of oranges to give away at their stand.

the gleaners from Fruitvale


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