I haven’t written anything for this blog for a long while, because I was praying for a positive message that would bubble to the surface of my heart. Recently I watched an inspiring  video of Valarie Kaur speaking. She asked the question about the seemingly  dark times we are in, “What if this darkness is not the darkness of the tomb, but the darkness of the womb?” Later she said  like a midwife”s  advice to giving birth “breathe and then push”. That was good but I needed something off of the screen to move me.

Today the inspiration hit when I visited the 18th and Rhode Island garden on Potrero Hill.  I worked with David Cody and Kevin Bayuk and others in 2008 transforming the vacant land into a permaculture garden. The owner of the lot allowed us to develop his empty lot into a garden to grow food in and at the same time I was just starting the Free Farm Stand and needing places to grow food for the Stand. I didn’t know much about permaculture and this was a great chance to learn about it and at the same time also get a chance to plant fruit trees.

The first workday nine years ago


Bringing in large amounts of mostly wood chips from Bayview Greenwaste Management and 1000 lb. bales of cardboard from Whole Foods Market down the sreet


A lot of work and great volunteers…the number one resource…social capital not dollar sign capital

Berms of wood chips

Planting trees

Today 2017

White Sapote…see the fruit?

I just got some scion wood from this Lamb Haas avocado

The story is I find hope in hard work and trees. We need to keep on working hard to create the beautiful world we want and to continue planting trees, especially fruit trees, to feed our soul and belly. I felt that rush of hope when I visited the garden today and spent some quiet time with the trees and the soil. Coming home I looked across the street and felt that hope again… they are even planting trees in the parking lot across the street from me in the new grocery store and leaving some space for dirt versus car space. Though they may not be planting anything edible and the store is mostly canned food, the landscaping is a move in the right direction.

Hats off to the blessings of nature! Hats off to hard work to make a better world!

I am in the All in Common Garden right now on Sundays instead of at the Free Farm Stand. Please drop by  and see what is going on or to get down and dirty. Our awesome volunteers are keeping the food and magic going at the Stand. The rains have been good. Alemany Farm, where we harvest a lot of our produce is very wet and things are growing, though this is the slow season for vegetables and fruit.  We still need helpers of all kinds so please get in touch.

And a special blessing and prayer for one of our sweetest and hardest working of our volunteers Donaji Lona and her family. Her beautiful and special son Chuy has cancer again and they are all going through this difficulty and challenge once more (see here).

Join the Free Farm Stand family and help us share the wealth of urban farms and gardens.  We need folks to:
1. Set up, serve, and clean up at the Stand.
2. Drive our van to pick up produce.
3. Harvest gorgeous vegetables.
4. Garden.
5. Pack the van and unload the van.

Interested in regularly volunteering?
Contact Laura: [email protected]

In 2017, we’re moving to a new system. Let’s say that you want to volunteer twice a month at the Stand. You’ll get to choose which Sundays you’ll regularly volunteer, for example, every 1st and 2nd Sunday each month. And you’ll be part of the teams that volunteer on those specific Sundays.

Make getting to know your neighbors your New Year’s resolution and join us.

We look forward to serving with you!

Barbara May one of our long time volunteer cartoonists

 need-volunteer-help ffs-group-photo

Note from Tree:

Next year  I am going to experiment  being in the All in Common Garden on Sundays instead of at the Stand and to see if I can back away a little. The problem is I just love our project and all our fabulous hard working volunteers and guests who come to “shop” and it is habit forming going to the Stand every week.

After the sad news from our recent national election, I hope more people wake up and realize that the political and economic system we have doesn’t work. We all need to start dropping out of the current culture of buying and selling everything, and create communities based on sharing and generosity. That is what the Free Farm Stand is really about.  I hope you join our family and movement.

Here are two recent photos:

We are still harvesting large amounts of produce on Fridays from Alemany Farm. It has been mostly greens and some sunchokes. Also not pictured are the boxes of fresh gleaned greens from Green Gulch Farm that are so great, brought into the city by a volunteer whom I met at Alemany Farm on Friday when we harvest there.


The hecka local produce from our neighborhood, mostly from our garden, has been beautiful and goes fast:  avocados, persimmons, passion fruit, chayotes, hot peppers,and pineapple guavas.fall-produce-from-ffs