Surviving Earth Day

It feels like summer in spring though San Francisco summers are cool. Maybe things are warming up.  The thing I love most about the Free Farm Stand and why it gives me a boost of energy, are all the different people that show up every week…from volunteers to neighbors. Andy is a relatively new helper at the stand and in the garden and he is the one who brought us the Easter Egg hunt recently. His energy is jubilant everywhere and besides that he is so great with kids. Plus he is so funny and it is contagious  This week he organized a water balloon activity and got all the kids in the park playing (the perfect day). Later he corralled some kids to work in the garden weeding planting  , tomatoes, and then at the very end I saw our 6 year old neighborhood Tatiana and another girl cleaning up…Andy leading the effort! He also handed out tickets and stood at the front of the line and took them from people, plus unloaded the van. Then there was yoga going on in another part of the park, I would have liked to join them but I was busy because we were a bit short handed. A number of neighbors brought by lemons from their tree (about 60 pounds I think) and Maria, another neighbor who lives nearby, brought me a bag of old chili peppers she rescued from a trash can or dumpster. I have known her for years and she is so good at collecting old produce…she is one of my main sources of chayotes. I wish I could share photos of all these radiant people, but I get too busy at times. There is the thought of setting up a photo booth at the Stand and taking of everyone with our without their produce. I think it would make a beautiful collection and history of the stand. I think we have the photographer we just need the booth. Wayne showed up and gave out some homemade spread from his blender on bread. Shh! Don’t tell anyone as we technically aren’t supposed to be doing that. Though with the new cottage food law passing  and the fact that we have a hand washing set up on site, the powers that be might chill out on our activity, but better not to let them know. 

The things that make life grand:IMG_2599

 water balloon fun on a hot day


yoga…but where are the old dudes like me?

IMG_2591 IMG_2590

lots of seedlings



lots of free flowers


lots of free lemons from the hood


free duds from the local really really free free store on the lawn

Right now we have little produce from the Free Farm, partly because we are in between harvests and partly because I have been a bit distracted in thinking about moving the farm at the end of the year and trying to keep the produce coming.  Our neighbors saved us again by bringing us 3  separate loads of local lemons (say that really fast) . We do have a lot planted  at the faarm and the summer squash will be coming in by a month.  To make up for the lack of the produce we have been giving out a lot of summer seedlings mostly of basil, tomatoes, and  hot peppers. Mr @ who is at the table says he talks to everyone about how their plants are doing and gets lots of feedback and lots of empty pots returned (so people are planting them).

If anyone is in Kalamazoo Michagan there is now a Free Farm Stand there. I got a message from a visitor a while back named Katie who wrote:

“…I also spent the day with you at thee Free Farm Stand in the Mission. I was the one with the new born baby. I just wanted to let you know that I too have started a Free Farm Stand here in South West Michigan. I wanted to let you know that your work has been very inspiring to me, and has had a ripple effect across the country. I hope you are well. Peace! Katie


 I just learned that Tabitha was a woman raised by the dead in the Bible by Peter. She was a woman loved by a lot of people because she was humble and did good work helping others. Great name for a farm that helps others in a simple way. I remember Katie because she told me how her town helps people get vacant land . Somehow there was an empty lot next to her house and she was able to get it for free to use for agricultural purposes. I looked this up (thank you internet for pollinating us all) and found this: At no cost to you, the Land Bank is offering a unique opportunity to adopt vacant properties to maintain as your own. The possibilities are endless; whether you adopt the property to grow a vegetable garden, plant trees, make a pocket park or play area for kids, you and your neighbors will benefit!” The link is here: Here is another quote and is probably what she did: “Homeowners in the City of Kalamazoo with vacant Land Bank property adjacent on either side of their home will be eligible to purchase property for $20 plus minimal administration fees to expand their lot. Applicants that show plans for gardening or other improvements for the property will be given first priority.” Angie is always saying we should move the Midwest.

This leads into thinking about Earthday which is officially today, but has been celebrated this past weekend.  I read in yesterday’s Chronicle online  that San Franciscans claim “we are the country’s greenest city” which is hard to believe. I know we have recycling down which is really good and curbside compost bins, but I think of green as trees and gardens. In this month’s Bayview Footprints  it says “Most concerning are NAP’s plans to cut down 18,500 trees, or 16% of urban forests in NAP, simply because they are not native. We are not talking about dangerous trees, which should be removed. At Bayview Hill, Rec and Parks will take out 511 healthy trees.” NAP is Natural Areas Program of Rec and Park.   I think we all need to get more serious about Earth Day, when I hear about things like this.  We need less hype and more happening. It is more than saving and washing our plastic bags  or even sharing on yerdle which is all good. Let’s save our trees that we have and then plant more!

One of the things I have been dreaming about is perhaps the Free Farm should be reborn into a Free Food Forest/Free Community Orchard and the fruit be given away to those in need. If anyone has an idea where we can grow one that is the first step to making it happen.

I think the Free Farm Stand will not be as much fun for me when we close the Free Farm. So I encourage everyone out there to say a little prayer and help us manifest another beautiful project that will bring some do it ourselves local produce to our stand on Sundays.




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