Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Just wanted to take this opportunity to say a quick thank you to all of our amazing and dedicated volunteers. We are so grateful for your help and support, for sharing your time, your abilities, your knowledge, and your stories. Thank you to St. Paulus for so graciously supporting this project with your land and resources. And thank you to the land itself for the beautiful bounty we've been able to produce through the magical soil and all the creatures housed in it, the recently abundant rain, the sun that warms us and keeps everything in motion, and even the ridiculous wind that seems to mostly just knock things over.

We will be taking a little down time for holidays and rest over the next two months, please note the following closings:

The Free Farm will be closed on November 24th (Wed).

We will also be closed the last two weeks of December, on December 22 (Wed.), December 25th (Sat.), December 29th (Wed.) and January 1 (Sat.). We will re-open for our regular Wed and Sat volunteer days on January 5th.

We will also be having a special Sunday workday and greenhouse raising on January 16th, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. More to follow. Please come out and join the festivities!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Free Farm receives SFPT Innovator Award!

The Free Farm was one of the proud recipients of the 2010 San Francisco Parks Trust Innovator Award! We received $1500 in funds dedicated to building better tool storage and developing and installing a more extensive irrigation system. We're excited to move forward with this infrastructure so we can more efficiently operate the farm, and more easily host volunteers and lead groups and workshops.

Thanks SFPT, and congrats to the other Innovator Awards recipients!

Innovator Awards :: $20,000 for park projects

Innovator Awards honor Park Partners and other community-based organizations that are committed to improving their neighborhoods, parks or recreational programming in sustainable, forward-thinking ways. Awards are between $500 and $2000 for the purchase of equipment or site-improvements that will help increase park usership and strengthen programs. This year we awarded more than $20,000 to local groups.

Bay Area Ridge Trail, Lake Merced Measured Mile Project

Friends of Boeddeker Park, Tai Chi program

GreenTrust SF, 22nd Street bulb-out

Korean American Senior Services, Inc., Golden Gate Park Volunteer Program

Le Conte Mini Park, tree planting

MacCanDo Tenderloin Youth Track Club

Pennsylvania Gardens Project, 18th and Pennsylvania Garden

Produce to the People, Free Farm project

Progress Park

SF Lawn Bowling Club

SF Urban Riders, Upper Noe Youth Mountain Bike Program

Sutro Stewards, Rotary Meadow Habitat Restoration

Sunnyside Neighborhood Association, Circular Avenue greening

Visitacion Valley Greenway, Leland Avenue Improvement Project

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Congratulations to the Free Farm!!!

The Free Farm has been selected, along with 6 other fabulous organizations to participate in the first round of fund sharing from the RSF Philanthropic Services Food and Agriculture Focus Area Fund! Beginning in January, the selected organizations will meet to learn about each other's work and determine how best to collaboratively use $50,000!

We are truly honored to collaborate with these fabulous organizations:

Marin Organic is an association of organic food producers in Marin County who strive to continually improve farming practices in Marin; to promote the ethical, creative and patient enterprise of sustainable organic agriculture; and to encourage a preference for locally produced food. They requested funding to assess alternatives to current animal harvesting options; to create a sustainable apprenticeship and mentoring program for organic farmers; and to improve transportation from rural areas in Marin to the urban hubs of San Francisco and Oakland.

Movement Generation brings together key Bay Area leaders of grassroots, racial, economic and environmental justice organizations. As a collective group these leaders work to develop shared goals, strategies, and collaborative campaigns around environmental and food security initiatives to meet the needs of low-income communities of color. They have requested funding for support of their permaculture and food-systems course tailored towards grassroots organizers in communities of color. This course invokes traditional knowledge of land-based peoples and provides organizers with a methodology to resist systems of oppression through the creation of community resiliency.

Partners for Sustainable Pollination is working to help the health of honey bees and other pollinators by increasing bee forage plantings and promoting more sustainable agricultural practices. This organization requested funding to print educational materials and hire additional staff in order to expand their impact and outreach in the Bay Area.

People's Grocery works to improve the health and economy of West Oakland through a local food system. Their vision is for a just food system in West Oakland and for all people. They requested funding for one of their projects, the California Hotel, which has a working greenhouse, active volunteer program and weekly visits from community members who become connected with People’s Grocery from their visibility at this hotel. They are seeking funding to grow their program at the Cal Hotel, which they feel is a perfect microcosm for achieving new outcomes in movement building and improving resident health through food.

Pie Ranch is a unique food system education and advocacy non-profit and a thriving, sustainable farm with the goal of bringing together urban and rural citizens to promote sustainable farming, create a healthier food system, and protect our natural environment. They requested funding in order to support the salary of the Urban Youth Development Coordinator who has launched a new partnership with the John O’Connell High School. Through this partnership, approximately 115-130 students will experience hands on education through visiting and working on the farm. This experience is then linked with class lessons in community supported agriculture, food entrepreneurship, resource and energy conservation, land stewardship, and community and environmental ethics.

San Francisco Waldorf School (SFWS) has partnered with The Little Sisters of the Poor and Laguna Honda Hospital to combine biodynamic agricultural education for their students with service to these two residential communities. On each site, SFWS operates a small urban farm which students visit and work on weekly. They requested funds for gardening supplies and materials to help increase food production in the existing space, thereby increasing the size of the food donation that is made to each partner organization. In addition, they will seek training in horticultural therapy to deliver meaningful agricultural programming to improve the lives of their underserved host communities.