The quality of our volunteers at both the Free Farm Stand and the Free Farm continues to inspire me and really it is what keeps me going week to week. Plus I love our neighbors and others who show up at our Sunday Free Farm Stand. Humans can be very beautiful at times.
Loren (leaning on the altar in memory of run over San Francisco bicyclists for Day of
the Dead) and Alex (whohas been bringing the Free Store to the Free Farm Stand)
some of our mighty crew, able to sort many boxes of produce in a single bound
Our fabulous Gustavo who hands out tickets is going back to Honduras soon.
We are going to need another person to hand out the numbers and be an ambassador of good will.
We received some good news last week. We got a generous grant of $1000 from the Pollination Project. See this announcement: http://thepollinationproject.org/2013/10/27/tree-free-farm-stand/. We have already started creating our Hecka Local corner by separating our Hecka Local produce and putting it on it’s own table. Also we just got a new canopy and table or our soon to be Info Booth.. The plan is to create a booth where we can give out information about growing your own garden, vegan cooking, apiculture, and health. We are open to all suggestions. The idea is to get more people excited about growing food and eating a good diet.
Sunchokes from Alemany Farm
beautiful lettuce next to sunchokes
the Hecka Local corner from last week
jam made with distressed fruit that is left-over
I must admit I feel a little funny about our Free Farm Stand right at the moment. It is so hip and beautiful, but at least it is FREE and we love it that anyone can come in and get some hip local organic free food if they need it. And I love it that our friends that are homeless (and often drunk), who seem to live on the sidewalk right outside the park, feel welcome. Is the Free Farm Stand contributing to the gentrification of the neighborhood? Nah!
I just visited the newest hipster store to open in our neighborhood right around the corner from the Free Farm Stand. It is called the Local Mission Market (http://insidescoopsf.sfgate.com/blog/2013/11/05/local-mission-market-opens-today/#17628-4) and was started by a friend named Yaron, who runs two hip local restaurants that feed the rich in the Mission. I went inside the store and it was totally beautiful and sweet. Not as cluttered and crowded as Bi-Rite that I visited recently because they generously donated us a gift card to shop there for our Free Farm going away event. The prices seemed about the same as Bi-Rite though. Before I went in there I tried to imagine what a store that carried only local stuff would look like. I learned that they must define local as we define local, they carried produce and dry goods from at least 100 miles away, though they make a lot of stuff in the store as it says in the article. Though I don’t think I saw any Hecka Local produce in their store , not yet. I checked out the non-local corner of their store where they had some chocolate and tea and I think I saw coffee too. I pointed out to Yaron some non-fair trade chocolate from Ghana, the place where you are not supposed to get chocolate from because it may be grown by child slave labor. He was surprised and thought it was a mistake. He says that they try to get their non-local stuff like chocolate from sources other than Africa.
I must admit that I have always been a bottom feeder and part of the reason I went to the store is to see if I might score some of their soft produce when it is too ugly or not perfect enough to sell. It turns out they have a big sign in the store that says they are trying to be zero waste and Yaron told me they try to use all the produce, even the tops of carrots and such that they make soup stock with and sell. So bad news for us scroungers who like to get free left over produce from hip supermarkets or their dumpsters. Yaron even told me they make broth with the parts of the meat they butcher themselves and sell the bones to dogs (or their masters). Jeeze not even a free bone for a pooch! If you don’t like to walk into a store with a refrigerator with dead animals in it, though they are probably sustainably “harvested”, avoid this place.
If this wasn’t an experience to make my day, there was the call I got from Oscar Grande with PODER, the group in the Mission that has it’s finger in a lot of things here in the Mission. They were partnering with Recreation and Park in helping bring about a new park to be built at 17th and Folsom. I went to all the meetings and tried to get them to build a farm at the site or an edible park or agricultural park. Now we are getting a park with a community garden. However, in the meantime the SFPUC (water department), who sold the land to Rec and Park, now wants to put a water storage system under the park because of the bad attention they are getting for the flooding going on there when it rains heavy. So the park/community garden is going to be put on hold for a year and PODER pressured the SFPUC into having some interim use happen there while they figure out how to build this water catchment system. We offered to set up our greenhouse and grow seedlings for the community there temporarily, but after a month or two our proposal was turned down and they didn’t know what would happen there. Oscar told me they have decided to spend $80.000 and hire Rebar, the group that brought us Parking Day (and John Bela who works there also help create the wonderful temporary Victory Garden in front of City Hall a number of years back.) They are just down the street and will build a parklet on the sidewalk. I am not sure I got this right. Then it would be used for Off The Grid food trucks. Of course Oscar was upset and wants to try to stop it.
I feel like saying enough is enough, this is too much of a bad dream! Anyone remember the Mission Yuppie Eradication Front in 1998?
On top of all this I got an email informing me of a “Hearing on the Status of Hunger and Food Security in San Francisco – November 21 at 10 am (City Hall, Room 250).”
“Did you know:1 in 4 San Franciscans lacks access to healthy, nutritious food? And food insecurity exists across all neighborhoods in San Francisco?
On November 21, please join nonprofit and public agencies who work on the front lines to fight hunger in our City as they share key findings from two new reports: “Assessment on Food Security in San Francisco” and “A Changing Landscape: Food Security and Services in San Francisco’s Tenderloin.”
The reports provide key data and information about food insecurity for individual City Districts, as well as vulnerable populations. Hear directly from neighbors in need, who will share stories about their struggles to access and afford fresh, nutritious food. The agencies will provide an action plan to address food insecurity. Together we can end hunger in our City.”
More food trucks or a farm that feeds the hungry, who is getting the support?
On the Free Farm Front, we are in the process of giving our farm away to other community groups that are doing great work out there. On Saturday November We could use as many volunteers as we can get. Please contact me if you can make it. 16th we are having a big deconstruction day and taking down our large greenhouses. The on the next Saturday we are hopefully going to move the greenhouse either to be stored for future use or to some community group that is doing good work with the public. Also, on Wednesday November 13th we are opening the farm to anyone to come and get what is left and after that we hope to give away everything by December 11.
It was Day of the Dead Saturday night before our Sunday Free Farm Stand. I love bones and skeletons andI miss the ones I know who have transitioned to other worlds.