Free Not Fee

One could say the world is a garden full of challenges growing everywhere. I grew up a good Jewish boy wanting to make the world better. There always seemed a lot to do.  I lucked out and at an early age and I found a group of people who became my real family (since I never had a family after the age of 17 years old). I lived in an “intentional community” or commune for 24 years with my new family.

The best thing that happened is they helped me do what I was passionate about, to live a life of service.  Karma yoga (selfless service), tikkun olam (world repair), love in action. That is what it’s all about and I love what I do.
Now I am not living communally though I still believe that it is the ideal life style for people who want to do service together. Share income and live together like a family: Catholic Worker style and creating Houses of Hospitality or homes of Love and Prayer.

These days I am running projects run entirely by volunteers and we don’t live in a commune together. For me it is somewhat difficult, since I am used to working together with people in a communal context.

The Free Farm Stand, after 6 years, has become the next best thing to a communally run project. We do pretty well for an all-volunteer group and we have some core people who have helped us run the Stand smoothly. It feels like a family event when I go there, a lot of neighbors connect with each other and it feels great. I also love it when people bring something from their garden to share. This week it was oranges and collards, and Padrón peppers.

Neighbors sharing produce
Neighbors sharing collards and peppers
Oranges from a neighbor's tree
Oranges from a neighbor’s tree


The All in Common Garden is in its infancy period. Since May we have been trying to create a core of volunteers to help to improve the space and turn it into an urban ag resource center. So far we are pretty shorthanded and can really use help, although we have done a lot so far. We are getting closer to setting up a greenhouse and that has been our next priority, getting a place to grow seedlings and having a place to work when the rains come. Right now we need carpentry, electrical, and plumbing help, help moving big things that take more than one person to move, and there is always gardening help (any skill level ok). I am especially interested in building a team of regular volunteers that want to help keep the All in Common Garden open to the public with regular hours.

All in Common Garden sign
All in Common Garden

This work we do is about making the world better. I don’t  want to live in a world where what’s yours is mine (for a price or fee), which sums up what is the fad right now, something that is deceivingly called the “sharing economy” or collaborative consumption.  Although AirBnB is getting some bad attention these days as the government tries to regulate it, it seems these kinds of operations remain pretty popular. I like the idea of a shift away from everyone having to own everything, but having to basically rent things from everyone is not what makes the world a place for happy campers in my opinion. I read on some “sharing” website  that their goal was to see people live less wasteful and more connected lives.  We too!

Here are some photos of what sharing gardens and produce looks like:

Hecka Local produce
Hecka Local produce


Salad from St. Aidan's Episcopal Church
Salad from St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church


Garden photos from volunteers and neighbors
Home garden photos from volunteers and neighbors

Also thanks to La Baguette from the Stonestown Farmers Market for donating bread.

Thank you La Baguette
Thank you La Baguette

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