Heart to Heart Resuscitation

As we begin the new year our planet our home seems like it is limping along and is in need of a life support system or heart to heart resuscitation.  We need to give the world some love energy. Here are two local examples of love energy  being generated by my friends at Cas de Paz in Fruitvale   This past weekend I visited Casa de Paz while the Free Farm Stand has been closed (it opens this Sunday January 10th). On Friday I helped them cook for their  evening  open house, meditation, and dinner.( it starts at 7 pm and you can go here and rsvp so they know how  many people to cook for.) I was  delighted that they read a passage from Peace Pilgrim one of my favorite teachers. You can read the passage here which is Pancho’s blog.  I was surprised that many young people (there were a total of over forty people there) were familiar with her. I really think we need a similar free meditation and dinner night in San Francisco to foster and build a heart revolution. I also checked out their Fruta Gift program on Sundays where they set up three tables on the sidewalk in front  of their house and give away free organic produce they collected from their local farmer’s market. It was a beautiful scene and they really are in touch with so many of their neighbors and there was plenty of good vibes all around. I especially like that it was smaller than our project and it seemed more intimate and personal. The last photo in the series is a neighbor across the street who brought lemons and limes to share. After all, the neighborhood is called Fruitvale.

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Talking about fruit the California Rare Fruit growers (CRFG) is having their annual scion wood exchange  Saturday January 16 . Go here for more information.

Poster GGCRFG '16 Scion X v1

I will still open the All in Common Garden but may try to get away early to go to this . It is a great event to attend and meet others interested in gardening and fruit trees especially, and to pick up wood to graft fruit trees.  On the subject of growing fruit trees and greenhouses, I read two interesting articles that I get from the CRFG originally published in Low tech magazine: http://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2015/12/fruit-walls-urban-farming.html and  http://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2015/12/reinventing-the-greenhouse.html. I was reading these articles and remeber at the Free farm we had a large brick wall holding back the dirt under the sidewalk. We were in a pit basically growing our food and had a four year old avocado planted against a south facing brick wall and a greenhouse too. The heat from the wall and the protection from the wind made this spot the ideal place to grow a fruit tree or grow hot loving things in a greenhouse. Unfortunately we only got to see the large amounts of avocados before we had to leave and the tree did not survive the moving. Also the magazine article that these articles were published in seems interesting.

Thinking more about my visit to Casa de Paz they might enjoy reading the other articles in Low Tech magazine(though maybe reading an online magazine on low tech could be problematic if you try not to use computers). They are trying to to live more simply (for example trying to live off the grid and for example using candles vs electricity). I think they have gotten some of their inspiration from a communal group in Missouri called the possibility alliance and at least one member from that group is visiting them at the moment (Tyler) who also visited us at the All in Common Garden. This video is a good overview of their group. And this article from Mother EarthNews in 2011 is a good read. Ethan Hughes and his wife Sarah came up with five practices to help make real of their vision of “living so all life can survive…radical simplicity, service, social activism, inner work and gratitude.” This is truly the heat to heart work that needs to be done.

There is one thing I question about the Possibility Alliance though, is that I heard they are not all vegetarian and that they use draft horses for their work. I was also told that their candles which were burning at Casa de paz had pig fat in them to make them burn longer. A couple of months ago I was sitting on the beach on a small Indonesian island called Gili Meno, the least populated island of the Gili islands.  I wrote a poem called sitting on the Gili Meno beach contemplating the big picture. Here is a short part of it:

“This is the most laid back

chill place

I can remember ever being almost

No cars

No cars makes a difference

though the hippie chick vegan blogger says

don’t ride the the horse pulled carts

they are underfed and hot and overworked”

So I wonder if it is ok to use horses to pull us around or do grunt work for us? Are they ok with it…any horse whispers out there? (I do use horse manure in our garden though maybe I can now just use leaf mold for compost since we got a generous donation to buy a chipper shredder). Certainly the pigs would prefer not to be eaten nor their fat used for candle making. Can we live a sustainable life and simple life without killing animals? Do less violence?






Mysteries of Love

Sometimes a wind blows…
In a darkness
And the mysteries
Of love
Come clear
And dance
In light
In you
In me
And show
That we
Are love
Sometimes a wind blows
And the mysteries of love
Come clear.
(Songwriters: Angelo  Badalamenti/ David K. Lynch)
After a day at the Free Farm Stand or in the garden this is the way I feel.  These days we have  so many different guests and helpers showing up and I feel the love we all carry within us. I feel this love also in the flowers that just pop out and sing brightly with their colors or the birds or insects that dance around in the air.
 I love the diversity of our farm stand right now, especially our fabulous volunteer crew. I have been able to step back a bit and let others run the show. It is great to share the joy of service with others. In our cartel culture of violence, and money and profit margins seemingly to rule all things, it is so sweet to take a break from it and to create our own world based on compassion  and generosity. An example of this is that one of our volunteers Gloria has out of the blue started cooking and feeding all our helpers  lunch, sharing her talents at cooking traditional Mexican food, but all vegan.
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 I am totally in love with her and all who come.
 It is summer and our tables have been full especially with produce from Alemany Farm.
there have been tons of cucumbers from the farm
summer time is zucchini time
and green bean time
of course greens and purslane
I highly recommend that if you want to learn what it takes to bring food to your table to come harvest produce at the farm with me some Friday. It gives me such an appreciation and gratefulness to farmers and to the God and Goddesses  of the earth.
Michael brought over 20 lbs of rocoto peppers from his backyard from seeds that came from a pepper from the stand
potatoes from my backyard
I thought I would start a cartoon series below to give my observations of living in the city right now.
1 knockknock
3 where to go
Please join our great crew of volunteers by just coming to the Free Farm Stand or come by the All in Common Garden. We are also looking for baby food jars to bottle honey and plastic bags to give away soft fruit. Thanks

Nature Fights Back!

Last week a friend who grew a huge amount of flowers at the Growing Home Garden on Octavia before it was closed down for development, sent me some photos that really made my day.




The first photo is of a peach tree that was left behind in the garden, abandoned, waiting to get the ax literally,  and not watered since the developers closed the garden (that was originally built as part of Project Homeless Connect for the homeless). It was loaded with peaches. What an act of non-violent  defiance! I thought the tree was telling us fuck development I will keep producing fruit no matter what. What an act and gift of resilience and love, if only humans could always show that spirit of faith and courage.

The other picture was a bowl of peaches that were collected from the tree by  fruit activists climbing the fence and harvesting the ones that could be reached (word has it if they haven’t  fallen off the tree there are more peaches higher up). Like the line in the Woody Guthrie song “this Land is Your Land”, on one side the sign it said private property but on the other side it said nothing. I was told the peaches were sweet and delicious.

There are a lot of fruit trees in the city like this that we don’t know about and  then they  get discovered. Sometimes I hear about one in my neighborhood.  This happened recently with a loquat tree  that I had been told about that was visible from the street and loaded with fruit and not getting picked. Luckliy one of our volunteers saw it and knocked on the owners door to see if she could pick the tree and give the fruit away at the Free Farm Stand. The owner of the tree was more than happy to oblige her and even came out to help pick the tree. We gave away 36 pounds of fruit the next day from that tree and there is more on it. I really miss the organization  Produce to the People that used to glean fruit in the city and give us a ton of it to share at our stand. As we enter fruit season I keep thinking we need some volunteers to form a phone tree that can go out on short notice to collect fruit that needs picking. Also at the Free Farm Stand this week we had lots of left over soft stone fruit and in the future I need help processing it all.  Just like we need  a list of people to call when we have fruit that needs harvesting, we need a soft fruit hotline to connect soft fruit with people who can process it in some way.

I reported a while back that the former Free Farm land  was still undeveloped  and there was still kale and mustard and flowers growing there (and some was harvested),. Just yesterday I got an email confirming rumors I heard that development of that property is going ahead: http://www.socketsite.com/archives/2015/05/from-the-flames-of-saint-paulus-these-condos-could-rise.html.  Not to dwell on the negative too much, but not only will market rate condos be built versus affordable housing, it is the standard modern unimaginative  architecture being built. And I can’t see how they can claim that they are building a house of worship under these condos, the space and design wouldn’t inspire me to seek the solace of the divine there, though  I suppose the divine is everywhere.

And here is an article about the buildings on Turk St. that have been vacant for years behind the former Free Farm site and were occupied a number of times by protesters want the buildings to serve the community. Seems like they are being remodeled into a  school: http://www.socketsite.com/archives/2014/07/auspicious-plans-occupiers-something.html. With all this development little is being done to make some space for wild  habitat (though it looks like a roof top garden is planed to go on top of the condos).  I remember the wonderful hummers and  hawks that visited our farm.

In fact in the Eastbay hills there are plans to clearcut the land:  http://www.saveeastbayhills.org/take-action.html. “Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, U.C. Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks and East Bay Regional Parks District General Manager Robert Doyle have received federal funding for an environmentally catastrophic plan to destroy Eucalyptus, Monterey Pine, Monterey Cypress, and Acacia forests on the public lands and parks of the East Bay . Starting in August, over 100,000 trees and as many as 400,000 in the East Bay hills will be clear cut and thousands of gallons of toxic chemicals made by Monsanto and Dow will be dumped on their stumps. Costing nearly $6 million, this plan will radically transform the character and appearance of the hills while causing great animal suffering, including the decimation of habitat vital to several endangered species.”

And lets not forget the Gill track land being developed and the efforts to stop it http://occupythefarm.org/. The previous efforts to protect some of the land were successful and now there is a Gill tract Community Farm https://gilltractfarm.wordpress.com/

Here are some other musings:

I ran into a person I know on the street who is  what I called damaged goods. Very friendly to me and always offering to help me do anything, yet is an alcoholic and has a past history of stealing from his friends  and in general messing up all the time. He introduced me to a friend of his who also seems to have a hard life and probably lives on the street. He said this friend  often sweeps the sidewalk (this is across the street where I live with a million plus home  is and a recent homeless encampment  has grown including a funky sidewalk lean-to attached to the chain link fence  surrounding of the abandoned super market).  At that moment I realized that yes the divine is in everyone and that I need to try harder to see it in my friend.

I am excited to meet and make some new friends on June 9th at the All in Common Garden at 10am until noon (we will be doing some garden work and sharing lunch and conversation…all welcome but please RSVP first). There are 14 people from Japan visiting the bay area on a “Life Transforming California permaculture tour” to check out projects based based in gift ecology (aka gift economy). “Gift Ecology – the ecosystem based on trust and mutual support, the world of abundance with gift and love. A difference of paradigm from out exchange and scarcity based economic system.” Here is a blog about their project: http://livingpermaculture.blogspot.com/2015/03/hello-im-currently-touring-around-japan.html. With all the negativity I have been sharing above, I think this tour and the conversations it will brew will inspire hope and excitement.

Here are some photos from previous weeks of Free Farm Stand /All in Common Garden excitement and glory

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My  favorite new vegetable Spigarello broccoli. “It is an heirloom variety considered to be the parent of broccoli rabe. The name Spigarello is actually a purposed American corruption of the plant’s given name, Spigariello. Its real name is Cima di Rapa, which translates to “turnip top” but is also loosely translated to broccoli rabe. – See more at: http://www.specialtyproduce.com/produce/Broccoli_Spigarello_4117.php#sthash.YVIUhdao.dpuf

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Seedlings in new greenhouse…most of these have now been planted or given away

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The seedling table has been really full these past weeks thanks to Alemany Farm and Hannah and the Urban Ag Program and some from our greenhouse

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Windsong and friend harvested some local loquats. I love the colorful handmade picker attached to a rake

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Zack sharing some of his garden surplus at the Stand. He recently sent out an email message hoping to get some help in his garden

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I love the beauty of artichokes and think more should be planted everywhere especially on sidewalk gardens


We get the best volunteers, you should join our crew


Daikon radishes have been a plenty!