Monday, March 29, 2010

Living Generously.

I believe that everyone has a meaningful contribution to make. This has become abundantly clear in the gardens where all kinds of people help in purposeful ways. Right now, our projects are seeking donations. Can you donate one of these items or pick an item to pledge money towards?

Right now we have need for

  • 100 foot lengths of garden hose
  • Lumber for an outhouse, raised beds, a green house, a tool shed, potting tables, and more!
  • Wheelbarrows
  • Volunteer to make lunch one Wednesday or Saturday at the Free Farm.
  • Time to work in the garden
  • Access to a truck or hauling vehicle
  • Leading a group in a wellness activity
  • Digging forks, pitchforks, and hand trowels

Free Farm Continues Growing!

This week at the workday our vegetables got some protection from the elements with Reemay row covers. Check out the photos to see the work done on the row covers and how spectacularly the food is shaping up.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Free Farm Digs On

I must say the Free Farm is pretty exciting for me and every week we make great leaps more at

Yesterday was a pretty fantastic gardening day. It started early in the morning when my friend Brother Max (who is currently visiting from New York where he lives in a Episcopalian Franciscan monastery) came by to help me load the van with large and heavy tree rounds and bags of soil. Megan showed up too and we got the truck loaded in no time. We headed to the Free Farm  and Case was there setting up the volunteer table. From then on it was non-stop activity. As a result of the publicity two friends showed up to check out the scene. One friend named Lotta I hadn't seen in a long while and she is a long time gardener in the Dearborn Garden in the Mission. I think she wants to come and help out! Page arrrived with a truck load of compost nd I whipped out my newly typed up to do list. We were expecting 13 Dartmouth students who were doing an Alternative Spring Break...taking a trip to San Francisco to do volunteer service work. Check out their blog

Other volunteers showed up including a lot of our core group of helpers. With such a great crew a lot was accomplished. The trellis got finished and planted with 8 kinds of runner beans from Great Britain, the two large perennial beds were sheet mulched with manure, cardboard and wood chips,  some donated starts from People's Grocery in West Oakland were potted up (and some planted including the squash and tomatoes), the storage area was neatened up, a new compost pile made, a new bed double dug, the labyrinth worked on more including planting some different mints, and some wheelbarrow tires repaired. I may have left something out.  Also, a neighbor who stopped by last week brought by a huge pickup truck loaded with mostly ornamental plants.

We also had a great lunch and blessing circle before hand which gave us a chance to meet each other and talk a little more.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

In the News

Free Farm San Francisco - Tonic

Volunteers turn an overgrown lot in San Francisco into a farm that will provide free food.

garden_produce.jpgSan Francisco is one of the most expensive cities in the country, which makes the idea for the Free Farm all the more remarkable. The 1/3-acre lot located at the corner of Gough and Eddy streets is planning to provide free food to whomever wants it, with much thanks to a man who goes by the name Tree.

As the San Francisco Chronicle reported, Tree, a resident of the city's Mission District, opened what he called the Free Farm Stand in his neighborhood back in 2008, thanks to donations for the supplies he needed and a lot of hard work from various volunteers. Even though Tree said, "I've always got more people in line than food," he's managed to grow and give away more than 6,000 pounds of food.

Tree oversees the volunteers at the plot of land located at Gough and Eddy, land that used to be "an overgrown space for the homeless, junkies and partying gang members." The Rev. Megan Rohrer, executive director of The Welcome Ministry, a San Francisco nonprofit aiming to end poverty, asked the land's owner, the Lutheran Church, if Welcome could grown food on the lot, and the church agreed, unofficially giving them three to five years. Following a three-month cleanup, seedlings are now being planted and while it could be months until workers start to give out food, it's going to happen.

Not only will it help those in need, but as Tree explained in the article, it also helps the community at large. "Doing things for free encourages people to share. It encourages people to be community, to be family. It provides people the chance to be generous with each other." Let's hope the generosity continues to spread.

See the original: Free Farm San Francisco

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Free Farm is in the headlines!

Check out this great article in the San Francisco Chronicle about the farm!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Upcoming Volunteer Groups at Free Farm

Hi Everyone!

Word about the Free Farm is spreading and groups from across the country are coming to help out! This Friday, the 19th a dozen students from the University of Wyoming are coming as part of their alternative spring break and we couldn't be happier to have them!

Next Wednesday, the 24th, another Alternative Spring Break group from Dartmouth College will work at the Free Farm. Good thing because there's plenty to do!

We'll have some younger volunteers from Children's Day School who plan to be regular monthly workers coming March 31st. They're starting on Cesar Chavez' birthday!

If you are part of an organization that would like to volunteer at the farm just send an email to let us know. We'd love to have you.

Look forward to some great pictures of these exciting upcoming workdays with new friends!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Gardening Volunteer Opportunities

Hi there! If you've got a desire to learn about gardening and food growing by getting your hands dirty, here are some places you can go!

Every Wednesday and Saturday from 10am until 2pm the Free Farm at Eddy and Gough Streets is open for folks to come work. There are all kinds of jobs to be done. This coming week we plan to do some shoveling to double dig our beds, planting more food, building our trellis for scarlet runner beans, raking and smoothing double dug beds, organizing tools in the shed, taking pictures, watering plants, running the wheelbarrow, or making a vegan lunch for yourself and the other volunteers! Sound like something you'd like to do? Either stop by in some clothes you don't mind getting a little dirty, or send me an email at

Tree, a major coordinator of the Free Farm also has opportunities at different gardens listed on his site.

Happy Growing!

Trees for Arbor Day, A Heap of Horse Manure and More Food Planted!

Major thanks to the folks at Redwood Ranch in Oakland for giving the Free Farm over 25,000 pounds of horse manure. Many thanks to our friend who drove the truck
to deliver to us as well! With enough manure to last us for awhile our Saturday workday crew dug right in to prepare and plant more beds. Right now the Free Farm has 9 farm-style beds totaling over 1,000 sq. ft. We have 4 planted and another ready to go.

In the above photo you'll notice the beds are covered with a thin fabric. This stuff protects against, birds, bugs, and wind, as well as helping the plants grow quicker.

This Saturday the Free Farm observed Arbor Day by planting more food growing trees. Below a Lamb Haas Avocado tree is being planted.

We also planted Pakistani Mulberry tree! The Free Farm now has the avocado and mulberry trees I mentioned , and a weeping santa rosa plum, and a desert dawn nectarine.

What a great way to celebrate Arbor Day!