Yesterday a friend and volunteer at the Free Farm sent me an article from the Chronicle from July 29, 1997 that blew me away. The article describes how Fresh Start Farms, run by Ruth Brinker, was located for a time on the same land that the Free Farm is now located and how they were also asked to leave because St. Paulus Church had plans to develop the site! Ruth Brinker was a woman who started Project Open Hand that continues today cooking meals for people with AIDS. According to the article she started a farm on land on Divisadero and Ellis loaned to them by the city (I had always thought it was given to them, but after 18 months they had to leave to make room for housing development.) That is when St. Paulus loaned them the land like they loaned it to us. But it is interesting that no one at St. Paulus remembers them being on their land (I was told when I thought that there might have been some attempt at agriculture on the land before we came, someone from the church said yes it was some kind of business that couldn’t make a go of it.) So the history of the Free Farm at least started in 1996 when Fresh Start Farms took root at Gough and Eddy. Although our models were somewhat different, both our farms shared the same spirit of serving the vulnerable populations in our city.
The reason I think this is so remarkable is that it confirms my belief that projects (even people) never die. I am convinced from history like this, that when the Free Farm moves off this land at the end of the year, that the love/work energy that the Free Farm and Fresh Start Farms has put into the soil, will re-sprout somewhere else given some time.
Here are some recent photos from the Free Farm Stand and the Free Farm. To say the least we had about two van fulls of produce this week, including a lot of produce grom at both Alemany Farm and the Free Farm. Now that we have a new commercial refrigerator (thanks to a generous grant from the Bothin Foundation), we are able to store produce harvested during the week. So we can really use harvesters and gleaners. On Wednesday afternoon would be an ideal time to harvest extra produce at Alemany Farm. Cristina, Tom, and Loren harvested about 38lbs of plums from the Secret Garden this week and again they were they were very tasty and popular, despite all the other fruit we had.
you can be either tall or short to glean a tree
plums and apples gleaned locally
Mike set up the bicycle smoothie operation to show how you can use the mushy soft fruit
we love all the new babies and kids who visit and eat fresh
Eating fresh starts with the local farm…Vanessa and her Happy Belly
Summer Camp visits the Free Farm
Here is another article that someone sent me http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_27982.cfm. This is about how one Food Bank is trying to increase the amount of fresh produce they give out. It is what we realized years ago. If rents get too high in San Francisco, maybe Sacramento is the place to move and get some Capay Organic Family Farm produce from the Food Bank there. Or better yet move up there and grow it yourself and take advantage of the hot climate.