The Free Farm Stand reopened yesterday on a sunny cool crisp day and it was great to see most of our regular volunteers return to help set up and run the Stand. Unfortunately we had very little produce to share and we wound up leaving early. I am going to clarify on our website that we hand out numbers at noon and distribute produce starting at 1pm and we give out produce until we run out which is about 3pm. The closing time is dependent on the 2nd delivery of produce we have been getting. This comes from the Stonestown Mall farmer’s market that closes at 1pm. This week they sold out of produce and so we didn’t pick up much from them and we closed early. I have just learned that one of our regular drivers that picks up the produce is quitting, so we are looking for one more person to help pick up that produce on a regular basis if we are to continue collecting that wonderful resource (especially during the summer).
I am always sad when someone comes by and could use some fruit and vegetables and I don’t have anything to share with them. At the same time, I really want our program to be more than just a place to get free food, but a place that inspires people to possibly start growing some food themselves if they can and be part of a neighborhood effort to share surplus with those in need. Our goal is to also show people how we can all be generous and compassionate, and move away from a world of buying and selling.
While I was away for a break from everything, I did peek at my email and saw that the wonderful Kezar Recycling Center, Native Plant Nursery, and community garden got evicted and bull dozed (and there were 3 arrests of people trying to protect the greenhouse that was torn down). It is wonderful that at least some people protested and a few actually got arrested and made a powerful statement against this action. There are now plans to put another community garden in there (I read somewhere that the cost would be $250,000).
Another community garden is being evicted in March or April which is on a small privately owned lot in the Mission, Esperanza Garden. I have been involved with that garden since it’s beginning, and it has grown a good amount of food for the Free Farm Stand. There has always been the understanding that Esperanza was there temporarily, but it is sad that it will have to be developed into more condos.
The housing situation continues to get crazier. I have two close friends who live in buildings in the Mission which have been bought by developers and if they get evicted they are going to face quite a challenge to find affordable low income housing for themselves. One of the buildings, bought by a Chinese investor (as well as another building down the street) has a wonderful lemon tree and pear tree in the backyard that I used to pick for the Stand.
In these times it is so important that we understand that things are shifting and that all we can do is hold fast to our ideals and be the change we dream about. We need more love and generosity and caring and less business as usual.
Thanks to a generous $2,500 grant from the Bill Graham Supporting Foundation of the Jewish Community Endowment Fund, the Free Farm and the Free Farm Stand will have some money to buy seeds and supplies for our projects this year. We have also gotten a little money from private donors which we are so grateful for too. No word from the Seeds of Change grant which was a real long shot, but we are still crossing our fingers.