I know I was getting pretty discouraged last week thinking too much about friends and farms getting eviction notices and feeling that our beautiful San Francisco was changing too rapidly and becoming a city for the rich. Again grace intervened and just by accident I stumbled upon hope and inspiration. This time it was super local inspiration, the kind that is literally right across the street from me. I don’t want to go into too much detail, but I have been excited by neighbors who have just gone ahead and started improving a vacant lot by cleaning it up and then building planter boxes to create a container garden. I was sent a craigslist link for free potting soil and didn’t really want it all, and it was so perfect finding a good use for it. So I am working with our neighbors and the garden looks like it may take off more than sort of sub rosa (with out property owners permission) and we hopefully will be growing more food for the Free Farm Stand. All we need are some gardeners and people to help build more boxes, since I have a lot of gardening on my plate these days. It turns out though that a little “Digger Action” will lift one’s spirits…Diggers like Gerrad Winstanely and the Diggers of England who planted the Commons in 1649. Or a little like the Occupy movement more recently, but without the attention and publicity. Years ago I had a crazy friend named Digger Mark who came from the mid-west, I think Kansas, where they dry farm crops, and he used to climb fences and plant gardens and give away the produce. Since he didn’t have water, he dry farmed the lots. He was an inspiration too. Also, I recently heard from Alana who has been the main gardening spirit at Esperanza and she too got inspired by some Occupy folks and she has decided to keep gardening there on Wednesdays until the bulldozers arrive.
I am reading a book that I got from the library called Notes from a Revolution, ComCO, The Diggers & the Haight which is mainly a reprinting of Communication Company fliers from the Summer of Love in the Haight. There is a interview with Peter Coyote(Making Visions Real) which I found interesting because the philosophy of the San Francisco Diggers is what I am still trying to live out in my life and promote today with our projects. Here are just a few quotes though the whole interview is really great: “We began with food…We fed approximately 600 people a day–not because we wanted to ‘care for the poor’ but because we wanted to live in a world where the hungry were looked after.”The core of the Digger analysis was that the American system was based on profit and private property…To us it seemed to simple and uninteresting to care for only yourself…” “The Diggers understood that recostuming the drama of capitalism was not going to lead anyone to liberation…money was a way of creating scarcity, and this scarcity forced people to become employees so they could afford to become consumers, and thus receive full participartory membership in the American material existence.”
Last week I mentioned who our Garden Advice and Plant Give-away table is now being run by to new friends Mr. A and Windsong. The two of them met at an Occupy Action and were also involved in trying bring to the attention of San Franciscans what was happening at Kezar Gardens and the HANC Recycling Center before they got evicted. I think they bring a beautiful energy to the Free Farm Stand and have also help me lift my spirits. Mr A sent me a link to a action that is an amazing Occupy story going on in France over farm land that the authorities want to turn into an airport.
It was a great week for not only the Free Farm Stand but the Free Farm! My friend in Santa Rosa, Farmer John, passed through town and loaded his small car with about 600 lbs of various winter squash he couldn’t sell. I had fun unloading it in front of my house and admiring all the beautiful diversity and abundance.
I weighed two of them
I cut the two up to give away at the Free Farm Stand at the Free Farm
I hauled only half the amount of squash we got to the park and Mike and Matt and Cat cut it all up (326lbs) and put it plastic bags to give away (the bags just came in the day before, hundreds of poultry bags that were donated to us that fit the cut squash perfectly!).
We also got a lot of lemons from a couple of neighbors and a good deal of lettuce from the Free Farm.
I got a little time in to do some grafting (I put Pink Lady apples on a Newtown Pippin).
And the day before at the Free Farm we planted 8 fruit trees (see the Free Farm write up here). I believe planting a tree is planting hope and so I was so happy at the end of the day, though it was exhausting work organizing a big event. It is the same feeling I get at the end of the day at the Free Farm Stand, I am actually tired but energized at the same time.