Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sacred Heart Visits Free Farm!

25 incoming freshmen and 2 of their teachers from our neighbors at Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep visited the Free Farm today. They did a tremendous service, cleaning up trash, weeding, potting up kale and mustard seedlings, and turning the compost pile. The students were from a summer Health and Nutrition Class. We closed the day (and their course) by silently walking the labyrinth, reflecting on a healthy intention for the rest of the summer. This summer 3 more groups from Sacred Heart will visit us, we can't wait!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Works of Mercy on the Free Farm

One highlight of yesterday's Wednesday workday is that 15 summer students from Sacred Heart High School came to visit the farm and give us a hand. They were taking a class called something like the Works of Mercy and so their teacher Jim wanted his students to learn about  growing food for the hungry. Jacob our new intern from the Metta Center and Shandra were their hosts and there was plenty of work to do, including planting more herbs in the labyrinth, creating new beds for the warm season crops, and some other tasks.

It was great having their help and getting to meet them all, especially since we want to work more with our neighbors and schools. I think more Sacred Heart students are coming next Wednesday and Friday.

Also, Steve and Griff finished framing out the outhouse (maybe we need a better name for this structure which will serve to house our composting toilet...the Poo Palace?). There is a lot going on next Saturday June 19, but if you are interested in the subject of composting toilets consider attending our free workshop mentioned in a previous post below from 1-4pm.

I think we are still looking for bright primary colors of paint to paint the bulletin board Page built. And we have a bunch of other needs as well, like a big shed to store our tools and more gloves for volunteer hands.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Free Farm on the HomoHomestead tour this weekend

June 13th, HomoHomestead Tour 3:30 - 6pm FREE!
Meet up at the Free Farm at the corner of Eddy and Gough in SF
end at Dirt Star - 6pm: African American Cultural Complex: 762 Fulton, SF - tix $12-20

RSVP to gurlshare@gmail.com for bike tour- space will be limited

Western Addition, The Fillmore, Hayes Valley...
The names and borders of this area are ever changing and ever impacted by the whims of the wealthy and powerful in San Francisco. But it's rich history and robust resistance to marginalization and complete gentrification is alive and thriving. We will check out how some local queers are continuing those roots of resistance through their community DIRT PROJECTS! From Free Farms to Community Gardens - we will catch a glimpse of queers in dirty revolutionary action.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Upcoming Composting Toilet Workshop 6/19

As many of you know, the Free Farm has no toilet or sewer connection. Laura Allen, of Greywater Action, will help us solve this problem by plumbing a composting toilet to be used by volunteers. Come help and learn about ecological toilets, that use no water and return nutrients to the earth. We'll finish construction on a urine-diverting composting toilet, discuss health and safety, codes and regulations, the benefits of composting toilets, and how to maintain a well-functioning toilet.

Date: June 19th
Time: 1pm - 4pm.
Cost: Free.

RSVP: Please send a brief email with the number of people coming to help Laura plan: info@greywateraction.org

For more info on composting toilets check out this video:

Monday, June 7, 2010

Free Produce Distributed at Free Farm

Recently, my best friend Julie sent me a New York Times article describing the labors and challenges surrounding a group of freegans in Buffalo, NY and their evolving relationship to a squat started years ago.  Check out the article here.  Note that the author has researched freeganism's philosophical genealogy, tracing it back to Gerrard Winstanley and the English Diggers.  The author also mentions the Digger's 20th century San Franciscan reincarnation which, I think, The Free Farm's spirit is deeply connected to.  Please do check into the history of the Diggers, it is infinitely fascinating.  I promise.

And so my mind is set to work. How can I help but make connections to the Buffalo freegans and the work at the Free Farm?  I can not, and don't really want to, speak for the whole Free Farm community.  I only know that I view the United States' brand of capitalism as remiss in meeting human needs at best, and at worst a violent, dehumanizing structure that maintains and legitimizes unjustifiable inequalities and wanton luxury all in the same breath.  One of the long-term residents from the article is quoted as saying, “Many of us in the house see the whole system of private property as being something that oppresses people...”.  

And we're in good company.  Lately I keep coming back to Martin Luther King Jr.'s refrain from his 1967 speech "Beyond Vietnam" calling the United States to "undergo a radical revolution of values."  King explains, "We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered."

This radical revolution of values is my deepest hope for our society, and myself.  It is why I work at the Free Farm.  It is a place where the paradigm shift away from things, and towards people is tangible.  Combatting the interconnected "giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism" is happening all over right now.  Its manifestations are limited only by our creative visions.  In Buffalo they are challenging property rights with a long-term squat.  In San Francisco we give away fresh produce, and labor toward an inclusive, welcoming, community.  It's cheesy, but I'll stop saying it when it's no longer true, there is nothing more revolutionary in this society than love in action.  I hope to continue expanding my understanding of how "Free" challenges, with love, the hierarchies embedded in all three of King's triplets by growing food and building community.

Here are some pictures of our love in action this past week.  We've started giving out produce regularly each Saturday to anyone who walks by and has need.  


P.S.  Stay tuned for information for our composting toilet workshop, June 19th, with Laura Allen from Greywater Action!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Farming News

The handsome blue/purple cabbages that we grew on the Free Farm were really the Carnival stars of the Free Farm Stand. Besides being a total miracle, everyone that saw them immediately sensed that something special was going on, and that somehow this impressed on folks that we were really farmers after all....read more at http://freefarmstand.org/2010/05/31/cabbage-without-baggage/

On Wednesday we had a smaller work force it seemed but we were mighty and a lot got done. Potatoes hilled up, compost turned, pumpkins potted up, Steve and Case framed out the outhouse for the composting toilet, and more work on the labyrinth was done (planting more beans and zucchini). We also added a bench donated from the Secret Garden that overlooks the farm and gives a close up view of the bees checking out the poppies.

This Saturday we will have a shorter work day, we are closing after lunch so some of us can hike over to Grace Cathedral to see our own Griff take another step towards becoming a priest. He will be ordained a transition deacon.

On Wednesday we can use all hands on deck as we get a 20 yard load of compost. We will also have 12 Metta Center volunteers helping out. It looks like the farm is shaping up for the summer!