Need Helping Hands, Hips, and Hearts


Wow this is the 10th year of the Free Farm Stand and we are still giving out beautiful, local, organic produce every Sunday! I am now in the garden one block away on Sundays and the regular crew has been running it with love without my being there which is so fantastic. I am so grateful to have others step up and keep our wonderful program going strong.  Here are two photos , one is of Ms. Yu a wonderful long time helper and the other is Winter, a young long time helper. Also there is a poster by Barbara May another fabulous volunteer who sadly passed away early this year.

Laura our terrific coordinator of the Stand these days asked me to post this request for help:


Love and volunteers power the Free Farm Stand. We need your support to continue to build community through the sharing and growing of beautiful, organic produce. Volunteer with us!

Possible tasks:

  1. Setting up veggies, serving veggies, and cleaning up at the Stand on Sundays.
  2. Harvesting produce from Alemany Farm on Fridays.
  3. Gardening on Tuesdays and Sundays at the All in Common Garden
  4. Driving our van on Saturdays to pick up produce. (2 hour task, starts around 3:45pm)
  5. Driving our van on Sundays to pick up produce. (2 hour task, starts around 11:45am)
  6. Opening on Sundays, bringing produce to the park. (45 minute task, starts around 10am)
  7. Closer on Sundays, storing empty boxes and baskets.  (30-45 minute task, starts around 3pm)
  8. A tech type person to keep our facebook page and blog page up to date

(#4-7 above require a driver’s license and ability to drive an automatic van))

Interested in volunteering?

Contact Laura:

I would add that many volunteers help just once a month with one of these tasks and it is so great when all the slots are filled and the coordination becomes easier.

Just yesterday a woman named Natasha walked over from the Free Farm Stand looking for me in the garden, because she wanted to start a gleaning project in the city. She heard that I knew about gleaning in San Francisco.  I am the perennial hippie gardener it seems, and I have been in the neighborhood forever.  I do know about gleaning and the “old days” going back to when the food revolution took off here in 2008. The Free Farm Stand was just a part of that revolution.  There was a lot more going on in the way of gleaning in the Bay Area at that time and I am out of touch with what is going on now. I think all the gleaning projects have gone by the wayside around here. Just look at back issues of our blog to read about gleaning in the city in past years (“Glorious Gleaning Galore” published October 12, 2009 is just one example).

I write about this because when I was talking to her, I was reminded how in some ways that local food revolution was a very popular excitement at that time and now a number of urban farms and gleaning projects have ended (though I think there is still a lot of produce that could be gleaned . I am just looking out my window at our loquat tree). There are still a lot of community gardens and even new ones have opened.  Projects like Alemany Farm and the Free Farm Stand are special and stand out from the pack in my opinion.  We are still going after all these years and all the produce at Alemany Farm is grown for free for those in need and can be picked fresh from the field or picked up at the Stand on Sundays. And the Free Farm Stand remains a people powered all volunteer effort.  It seems that as some of us age we continue to need not only new body parts and to keep stretching those parts we do have. That is so we can keep lifting and hauling, and doing the fun grunt work mentioned in the last blog. We could also use a transfusion of fresh love energy to flow through our work and that is what we are putting out there to the universe.


Grunt Work

Grunt work

Most of my life I have been a  happy grunt. I have done my share of grunt work, schleping boxes of produce, sacks of potatoes or onions, or bread, shoveling shit or woodchips, and digging like a human hori-hori. It is like I have two extra appendages, a wheelbarrow or a hand truck. I have been doing this work like cooking at soup kitchens or gardening, or running a free farm stand, because I have needed something to do in life, to keep busy. Otherwise I would go more insane than I am.

Grunt work is good work like any yoga. Academic researchers come around or reporters, or just friendly passerbys, wanting to know more about the Free Farm Stand or the garden and ask why (like why do I this work) or want to know more what is going on, or think what we are doing is so far out or that I am so great. I do think that the Free Farm Stand and the gardens I work in are special and beautiful, but behind it all is just plain ole grunt work and I keep to my self made schedule and am happiest when I keep busy. I notice that there others who enjoy grunt work too, and as I get older I am really grateful for all the help I get. Grunt work can be hard at times but it is best when done with a group. Group grunt work is what bees do best. Besides appreciating the help, I am especially in love with all our volunteers who lend a hand and a back and think they are all beautiful each in their different ways.

If we want a better world in the future, I am convinced there will be a need for more  grunt work. I also think there will need to be more art that brings out our hope, our dreams, our inspiration. Art work is also a different kind of grunt work. I would like to do more but often lack the discipline. It is easier for me to fill our van with hot horse manure than to sit still and convince the muse to help me draw or write. It is a distracting world we live in, especially in these big cities. Grunt work helps keep me from getting distracted. I don’t pay attention to the news while I am admiring the flowers or on my knees weeding.

It has been great that others are running the Free Farm Stand on Sundays. I can channel my grunt work from moving around boxes of fruits and vegetable to moving around wood chips and making compost in the garden where I am on Sundays, a block from the Stand.

On Fridays I do some farm work which has to be like a category five of grunt work. Harvesting produce at Alemany Farm for me is very back bending kind of tiring and I am glad for the invention of the large hat with brim on our hotter days here.

This kind of grunt work can be so rewarding and exciting and always brings me great joy knowing that we are giving away the fresh produce we harvest to people in need.

Love work can be a kind of grunt work too. Recently I have been going through some challenges on that level. What I am learning is that if you love someone deeply and you care for them that is all you can do. You can’t rescue them or change them. You can be there to love them and always depend on prayer for help. Prayer is focusing your love, which is the life-force connecting us all and flowing through everything, on the person you love so that person is bathed in light and love.

This writing isn’t my typical blog post writing where I mostly write about the Stand or the garden, singing the praises of vegetables and wonderful neighbors and volunteers whom we meet every week. So I feel I am going out on a limb here getting a little more personal than usual. Since I have taken the risk, I want to share a website that I found myself reading lately and enjoying the message: I learned  about Brian George and his writing from this article online:

Turns out he has almost the same birthday as me and started his garden about the same time we started ours, the All in Common Garden. I liked what he wrote about  quartz the rock and what he says here reminds me to get away from the screen and do some grunt work: “Explain to me why so many folks on a free will planet spend much of their time and potentially creative consciousness glued to news which is entirely fabricated, orchestrated and choreographed to confuse and distract us?  We were designed to create our own reality and NOT be imitators of beings with no doubt excellent minds but NO HEART..”