After 15 years the Free Farm Stand is still going strong, although it has changed since the big bad COVID outbreak 3 years ago. I am now working in the background and the program is run by a very loyal crew. I was there shortly last Sunday. Seeing the food spread out on all the tables, I kept thinking how the old farmer’s market style was better, but I am not into micro managing. and it still has a magic and is pretty wonderful.
On Sundays I am one block away in the All in Common Garden working with volunteers and talking to the many visitors who come by.
We are approaching the summer season and the garden is full of spring flowers. The sweet peas, planted in the fall last year and the poppies that pop out of the ground miraculously every spring are the glamor queens of the garden. Visitors are able to get a small bouquet of fragrant flowers to take home.
I am also surprised how many seedlings we were able to grow without a greenhouse, using a homemade grow-light set up on a shelf where we store food for the Farm Stand. We were able to grow a lot of seedlings to be given away on Earth Day and also to plant in the new Greenway garden (missiongreenway.org), Treat Commons Community Garden, and the All in Common Garden. Also, many visitors from the Farm Stand and neighbors come by and have picked up plants on Sundays and Tuesdays.
Yesterday I picked the first zucchini of the year, but the other summer vegetables are at least a month away from being ready to harvest and the summer annual flowers were just put in the ground. We have been getting a lot of lettuce, kale, parsley, and a ton of fava beans, all planted in the winter here.
I recently went on a visit to Olympia in Washington State to visit a friend and ont he way back we stopped to visit friends Llyn and Chris I’ve only met online that are running a similar project as we are called the Sharing Gardens (there is a good write up about the Sharing Gardens here https://www.ic.org/the-sharing-gardens/). Their website is https://thesharinggardens.blogspot.com/.
Here they say something that I love: “A Sharing Garden differs from the usual community garden in that it is one large plot, shared by all, instead of many separate ones rented by individuals. All materials and labor are donated. The food we grow is shared amongst those who have need, whether or not they have contributed time, materials, or labor. All surplus is donated to our local food bank and other charities. No one is ever charged money for the food that is grown.”
They started in 2009 a year after we launched our program and we have been in touch since. Actually visiting them in person in Monroe Oregon (between Corvallis and Eugene) was such a thrill. Llyn and Chris are the most beautiful and generous people and doing amazing gardening work (I would say more like farming work) on 3 acres of land. I think besides growing a lot of food and giving it away, they eat about 40-50% of their food out of the garden. They grow veganically and use no fertilizers or animal products. They make compost in between their rows of vegetables and they save all their own seeds. Their whole scene is so inspiring and we both felt a heart connection sharing a philosophy of how to grow food and how to share it once it is harvested.