I am feeling really joyful right now, the sun is out and it is a gorgeous day as we move into March this coming Friday. I just took a short walk out side and all the red leaf plums and almond trees I helped plant 30 years ago are blooming and I can hear the soil singing.
Yesterday it was the same thing and same feeling at the Free Farm Stand. There was a lot of neighbors and other people who showed up in the park and the vibe was certainly celebratory and the colors dominated the scene. My favorite color combination of green and orange highlighted the table…we had a huge amount of kale and chard some from the Free Farm and some from 18th and Rhode Island. Also our neighbor Janet who has been supplying us for months with colorful rocoto hot peppers from her garden, also grew some extra kale and brought it to the Stand. Earlier at the end of the week I was helping our friends get some produce for their free dinner and supper club on Friday night. We went to the food bank and I decided to pick up free tangerines and pears for our Sunday event. I don’t usually shop at the Food Bank for our Stand, but recently we have had little produce and I thought people would appreciate some fruit which we rarely get in the first shift unless we have some gleaners helping us out.
My friend Ryan who is one of the main people leading the charge with Occupy actions around town and with the Space Transformers came by with a big colorful cloth with a picture of the earth on it and laid it on the grass, turned on some music from a boom box, and distributed free seeds. Andy continued his project of making papier-mâché Easter eggs with kids and the plant/garden table was loaded with free seedlings. The community garden was also hoping with energy and the place felt so festive. We also had to high school kids who showed up wanting to do volunteer service for their school requirements. They had a good experience and said they would come back.
Some other highlights. A very sweet man came by named Maximillian came by and brought us a handful of delicate bouquets of herbs and seed packets from his farm secondworldfarms (“a hybrid farm of third and first world sensibilities located in gorgeous tennessee valley ten minutes north of san francisco”). You can check out the farm and some of the passions he shares on Facebook.
Julie met two fabulous women Kristin and Candi Valentine’s Day protest at City Hall in support of Marriage Equality (they actually got arrested for sitting in at County Clerk’s office: Examiner article . Julie found out that they are farmers and they offered to donate some of their tangerines to the Free Farm Stand. They are new to farming and have started The Ubiquitous Farm where they grow organic plums and tangerines. I could immediately sense that these two women have a tremendous positive energy and spirit and I fell in love with them immediately. The stories they were telling me about the commercial agriculture scene in the Central Valley where they are located (near Fresno) really were heart wrenching and crazy. Trees constantly being ripped out to be replaced with new fruit trees that have varieties that are more popular…like now green plums are the current fad that are replacing other plums. Fruit being wasted all the time and yet large numbers of people living in poverty in that county and going hungry. One example of the story of waste is when they sold their fruit to a packing firm who picked their tangerines, they sorted them and pulled out all the very small fruit which they can’t sell and were going to let it rot. The two women bought the rejects back from the packer (at a good price) so they could give the fruit away. They also have written a book called From Privilege to PRIDE: Love is the Road and have another business that I checked out online here which also seems like a great thing they are doing.
one of the sweet potatoes from the Free Farm greenhouse grown in a big pot…they tasted great
There seems to be so many great positive energies bursting out all over, like a spring spurt of growth on a tree that has been pruned. Despite the wave of negativity that keeps hitting our shores, I can’t help but constantly meet such great people all the time. At the farm stand I feel like I am at a love fest and I enjoy feeling sweet to everyone, especially volunteers and the busy bees that drop by. And at home the positive news flies in through the internet portal, like the story of the our friends in Fruitvale and their Sunday Stand in front of their home: “An incredible FrutaGift day with fresh citrus and veggies donated by farmers, glorious weather, happy neighbors and visitors from Joanna Macy’s latest Work that Reconnects workshop.
I haven’t posted many music videos on this site, but this song by Medicine4the people captures what I am feeling right at the moment:
I like these verses: “…they sang don’t waste your hate, rather gather and create. Be of service, be a sensible person, use your words and don’t be nervous. You can do this, you got purpose, find your medicine and use it…”