I thought my canning activity for the year was about over, but I forgot about apples. Our backyard tree was loaded with green Granny Smith apples and my neighbor had a tree I planted years ago, Hudson Golden Gem, that has been dropping apples from way up high. So I have been mixing the apples with leftover and picked over soft stone fruit from the Free Farm Stand and canning the most delicious apple sauce. I forgot how much I like apple sauce and the homemade kind without any sugar is the best. I think there is an apple gleaning adventure taking place in October  in the Sierra Foothills and we should have a lot of great  apples in a few weeks.

In the meantime our tables have been full with summer bounty. One week ago the big truck from Food Runners didn’t have a driver so the produce was picked up with a car. As a result we had very little left over produce to give out. Again, Alemany Farm saved our day by contributing  a lot of lettuce and other produce to supplement what we grew..  I just love this when we can show our city that we can feed people in need on farms in the city, if we only made space for more farm land. The urban grown produce we had that day, plus some padron peppers and strawberries from the farmers market served 100 people before we ran out.

Some of the many volunteers we get and some of the many “shoppers” (this week almost 200!)

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Some of our Free Farmers

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I just found out we got a short write up in the October issue of yoga journal (see the sidebar under writings about the Free Farm Stand). Again,  reporters never get it quite right. The emphasis on this article is that the Free Farm Stand is about sharing the abundance of farmers’ markets. Probably most everyone including reporters and first time visitors think that we are mainly about giving away high quality produce.   I can understand that because at times the display of produce is very impressive. I just hope that someday people will know that most of our produce comes from our neighborhoods.  We can start by planting more fruit and nut trees everywhere.  The last two weeks I have been harvesting chestnuts from trees down the street from the stand that I planted in 1982. It is personally exciting to bring to the Stand  some locally grown nuts, something we rarely get anywhere else.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAneighbors who bring something to share every week from their garden

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Laura and Norma with local grown trombone squash…have we started a fashion trend this year?

Please come out and celebrate and bless our Free Farm this coming Saturday. We have somehow managed to show what the power of the people can do…how a rag-tag group can come together and grow a lot of food, community, and good will.  I feel t pretty happy about it and look forward to our future. I have been thinking of a song by that sums up my feelings right now (here are some lyrics from it):

My Big Nurse – David Byrne And Brian Eno (Everything That Happens Will Happen Today)

…In the comfort of the world

In the arms of my big nurse

From the science of the heart

To each animal and plant

Compact, relaxed- intact, give thanks

I’m counting all the possibilities

For dancing on this lazy afternoon

We will also have a lot of work to do to find homes for all our farm stuff and plants and trees.  After the celebration we will begin potting up plants and contacting everyone we can think of to help us out.  We are hoping that as a first priority that plants  and things can go to groups that are service oriented .

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So many people are carrying around sorrow and pain and difficulty. They all have their joys and concerns.  Family members or friends  who are sick or cross over.  Injustice and unfairness that makes us emotional.  I have become aware that the best  thing we can  be doing these days is  to pray. Some people I have met have a negative reaction to the word prayer, like it is just about asking some God or maybe Goddess for help. I have asked a number of wise people what they see as prayer and they all pretty much said the same thing I have been thinking. It is listening. It is a dialog with the universe. It is being  deep with the mysterious.  It is connecting with the life force energy that is out there, that makes a seed sprout into a beautiful flower.  It is receptive silence. I personally talk  silently talk to myself and the divine spirit within.

Recently I could easily go into panic mode. We at the Free Farm would love to have a place to move to when we leave our space at the end of the year. So far we have had no luck, even finding a temporary space to move our large greenhouse.  I understand that since it is so big, but still it would be nice to continue growing seedlings to plant and give away. But instead of going into panic mode I have switched to prayer mode. I take a deep breath and trust in the mysterious to act appropriately.  We are also in plan mode and  making lists of groups who may want something from our farm that we are letting go of. Our priority of who to give things to would  be  to find people who share our philosophy of service to those in need. That is opposed to people who just want something for there private needs or desires or who are running a business (even if it is a good business). Plan B would be to give things away to anyone who wants what we have left.

While the Free Farm is is in the process of transformation, the Free Farm Stand has really blossomed. Because of the grant from the Bothin Foundation, we have a large refrigerator where we can store a lot of produce. So Alemany Farm has been harvesting their surplus produce  twice a week for the Free Farm Stand and we can now store it to give away on Sunday. The results this summer is that we have had a lot of really fresh local produce that is out of this world. It is so special and I wonder how may people that shop realize the quality of produce they are getting.  This week there was so much produce from both the two local farms (ours and Alemany) plus a ton of left over greens from the farmer’s market.20130908_ffs_0002 (Small)

the van was packed full with bags of fresh  greens of all kinds

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wearable produce…a large lettuce headdress from Alemany Farm.

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I think the variety is Skyphos that we grew in our greenhouse.

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more wearable produce…fresh date earrings

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERApears that a friend brought from a neighbor’s tree…over 100 pounds

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I truly love our hard working volunteers…how lucky can I be?

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and our guests who come by for food and community are fabulous too

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Mike made some blackberry jam from berries growing in  Golden Gate Park

teaching people you can forage some of your food supply locally

He just got back from Burning Man and took these wonderful photos

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the temple

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAthe temple burning
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back to reality at the Free Farm…last week Thomas brought his class

from City College to visit our free Farm