The land upon which we created our Free Farm has been sold for development.  We knew it was coming but the shock and sadness takes a lot of readjustment.  At the new year, the neighborhood friends lining up at 1 p.m. every Saturday to receive freshly harvested organic vegetables will be a memory.  In 3 years over 10,000 pounds of healthy nutrition has been distributed and it has been given with a sense of joy by a group of people who believe that to nurture the earth and to invite neighborhood participation is a positive way to live and to preserve the earth’s assets.

The people who volunteer on Saturday and Wednesday to plant, harvest, water and distribute come from all walks of life and from all over the wide, wide earth.  Yet we all converge with amity and joy.  We have a very good time.  People do not quarrel and do not feel negative.  We actually like and approve of each other.  It’s hard to be unpleasant amidst all the growth.  Our garden gives off a fresh lovely smell right here in the middle of the city.  At noon we form a circle and share our names.  Volunteers who prepare lunch serve it and we eat and enjoy each other’s company.

The short time I’ve spent as greeter at the farm has enriched my life enormously.  Good will and the company of people who really wish to make a difference is contagious.  In the new year as we find our individual ways to new projects we will take with us lessons in contributing and fellowship.

Joyce Liberman

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Here are some photos from our last work day at the Free Farm. Here is a shot of some of the volunteers who came by, including 10 high school youth from Bayview Live, a summer school program.20130727_ff_3958 (Large)

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Joyce with one of the  potatoes we grew
Here are more photos, these taken at the Free Farm Stand on Sunday. We also get volunteers and guests and visitors from all over the planet.
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a neighbor dropped off that large zucchini
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visiting from  Boston to share their new baby Max with his grandparents
Lolita and John, both volunteers
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Poppy with the vegan pie she made with leftover soft fruit and Julie
Poppy also made some awesome
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Lolita with basil
Thanks to the San Francisco Bar  Association we have good new. We have a pro bono lawyer who is going to help us possibly get a piece of property for our next incarnation of the Free Farm.  There are many hoops to jump through so nothing is in the bag yet, we have no idea where this is going.
A friend asked me about starting a petition on Change.org and Causes.org and campaign “(which later allows the admin to call people to action or send a message to whoever has signed in support) for the Free Farm in some way.” “what it is that you want to see? What is your fantastical image of what could happen?  What is your more practical desire?  What is a possible action plan you want to take going forward if you had more people to do the work?  “
I haven’t contact him yet, but this is a good question that I feel needs to address a larger audience.   I do not in any way support the destruction of happy and healthy, thriving farms, especially those that are serving the poor like ours. I think we should stop all new development in the city right now, fix up the buildings that are vacant and start housing those who are  living on the street or some version of that as a top priority (220 homeless families in San Francisco is a sin). We also need to start developing more services for people with mental and spiritual issues, including drugs and addictions.  And the more open space and gardens and farms when people can go, the better for our mental health.
However, I think that energy is better spent creating the world we want now rather than creating petitions and campaigns. There is so much good work to do now that I would rather see my friend and others who want to protest, put their focus on helping me and others do the grunt work you might say. I know Alemany Farm can use regular help harvesting their surplus produce every week (a lot of  the local harvest we have been bringing to the Free Farm Stand every week has been from them, and mostly thanks to one individual who is doing all the harvesting by himself). And we are the seniors who should be getting help from the youthful revolutionaries! 18th and Rhode Island garden needs lots of help and also the Free Farm. There are trees with thousands of plums falling as I speak,  we need gleaners! I am really happy that it seems for now we are getting enough people like Poppy and others who are taking our surplus soft and mushy fruit and doing something good with most of it before it all becomes compost.
In short, I would rather see those who want to protest the loss of a beautiful farm, first become a farmer  or gleaner or food processor or regular volunteer, then it shows how  serious you are about changing the world for the better.

 


The Free Farm Stand keeps rolling along and when it is summer and the sun is out everything seems most beautiful. When I am living in a city undergoing big transformation and I feel upset with the constant attack on low income people and trees,  like a friend just wrote, “it is like a bad dream over and over again”, the Free Farm Stand saves me from getting depressed. I love the fresh produce we collect and I love the volunteers and all the people who come by to be part of the weekly production.  You know in advertising and marketing they use the word sexy a lot. Our stand though is what is really sexy, just looking at the photos this week. I mean what is more exciting and stimulating than a purple potato or a tromboncino (trombone squash)? Vegetable porn.

I have also included some  pictures from the Free Farm…I have been taking pictures of the trees to record them for our inventory lists which we are currently making.  People ask me what is happening with the Free Farm and finding a place to move. The only place we are investigating at the moment is a vacant piece of land owned by Union Pacific Railroad and after 7 weeks we are still trying to get a free real estate lawyer to help us. The pro bono attorney that we thought we had lined up, thanks to the SF Bar Association had to drop out because of conflict of interest. So they are trying again. We also got a visit to the Free Farm by Assemblyman Phil Ting last week and he offered to help us, so we have word out to his office to see if they can help. In the meantime, we are making an inventory of everything at the Free Farm and will soon be thinking of how to find good homes for everything, especially getting things to people doing similar work in helping out those in need.

 

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Trombone squash fashion model (also our wonderful ticket taker)

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You can grow these too!

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IMG_2939 IMG_2946 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOur hero Alex harvested around 60 pounds of these plums from the Secret Garden.

There are hundreds of pounds of these still on the trees and they are perfect for picking!

Summer is here and we need gleaners…apples and pears coming up next, but now there are plums

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we like to teach people how to use the excess soft fruit we get

…smoothies made  by kid pedal power

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 beautiful volunteers and guests who drop by

20130713_trees_3944 (Small)our first avocados at the Free Farm…

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peaches at the Free Farm