It is the time to shout our praise and to share our joy for rain and spring. Our gardens are singing their happiness too and everywhere it is green and some of us are getting out our hoes (the weeds are more than glad for the moisture). The parade of flowers is coming. Hoesanna!


from a recent three day trip I took with Angie up the coast

We had two wonderful visitors to our garden at the beginning of this month who have been traveling around making a “pay what you want” online film about natural farming inspired by the late the late Masanobu Fukuoka and his most famous  book One Straw Revolution. Their beautiful movie  “Final Straw food earth happiness” which you can download here even if you have zero money inspires one not to pull out the hoe and live instead with the weeds and to live and be in nature, not to fight it or try to improve it.

In any case, the greenhouse is filled with seedlings that we have been giving away in the garden and at the Free Farm Stand. And we sing our gratefulness to the harvests. Despite the rain, every week we have been bringing from Alemany Farm hundreds of pounds of freshly picked food, mostly greens, including rainbow chard, turnip greens, kale, mustard,  fava bean leaves, and collards to the Free Farm Stand. This week at the  we had a special joy. We had two neighbors bring some extra  produce from their gardens. One of the gardens, the Secret Garden on Harrison St. This is a garden that used to grow food for the Stand and thanks to new volunteers wanting to make the space productive again and one neighbor who works there named Aaron we had our first harvest for the year from there, a bag of  tasty greens to share.


in the bags

2016-03-20_12-28-58_IMG_1172on the table in baskets

alemany farm

washing the harvest on Friday at Alemany rain or shine


lettuce bonanza on the table

Another reason to be joyful is that history was made Thursday in San Francisco. I went to a ground breaking ceremony for a new park that is gong to be built at 17th St. and Folsom Sts., just blocks away from where we give away local food.The thing that is so amazing is that after two years or more this park is going into construction and what is probably a first at least for me is that open space is being preserved…a parking lot is going to be dug up on a two acre lot and half will be a park and garden and half will be supposedly affordable housing (they said in another couple of years perhaps).

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When I attended the meetings for neighbors to design the park  there was agreement to plant fruit trees throughout the park and to run the garden communally like Alemany Farm rather than the community garden being individual private beds. This is all in the final design including a greenhouse, but I think there now needs to be neighbors pushing for Recreation and Park to stick with the plan and to start clarifying how the garden will be run. But so far things are looking good.

I am especially eager to see more housing built next to this park for people who can’t afford current rates. While on our trip north along the coast by Mendocino Angie came across  a shack on the beach. We were thinking it was the only affordable place to live for miles…I wonder if someone will rent it out for an Air B&B.


In these days of homeless sweeps and paving over of beautiful farm soil like on the Gil Track  land across the bay we shouldn’t mourn but sing out for  joy for the gift of life and love. And keep the struggle going for peace and justice.

This just in from Loren one of our fabulous volunteers (among many):

The first issue of the Free Farm Stand newspaper, The Free Farm Stander, drops April 10th! Send me any reviews, interviews, musings, pictures, drawings, comix… you get the idea! All good things considered! [this will be handed out at the Free Farm Stand]

[email protected]
I just found an email newsletter in my inbox hidden under Promotions that got me excited. I met  Rev. Anna Woofenden I believe when we were running the Free Farm ,  “our farm church without walls”. The idea is spreading and it looks like their Garden Church is up and running…  Sign up for their newsletter (under what’s happening) which seems more interesting and has lots of photos…here is a snippet from their recent newsletter:

Feed and Be Fed Farm Stand 
Every Sunday, bring your backyard abundance, share and mix and match, take what you need–all you need here to eat is to be hungry.

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: and 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?