Alemany Farm (4 acres in Alemany/Bernal Heights), Hayes Valley Farm (2.2 acres near Civic Center) and The Free Farm (1/3 acre in Western Addition, near Tenderloin) are SF’s three largest farms on lands that sat vacant for many years until enterprising community members transformed them into all-volunteer urban farms that distribute their local produce to those in need, especially from the neighborhood.
(My GCETP class visited Little City Farms, which entered a temporary lease for $1 per year plus liability insurance policy, with a private landowner who has not been able to develop his “odd” lot. It’s challenging for farmers to invest in capital improvements when they don’t know how long they’ll be able to use the land.)
Money, time & freedom to get dirty in urban farming!
Antonio and Finn mentioned a few paid positions at their respective farms funded with grant money. Jay said he believed in diversification ("can't get everything met in one way") and urged us to look into Bay Area Community Exchange (http://timebank.sfbace.org/), where currency is our time instead of money (e.g., work-trade arrangements like farming time in exchange for produce).
In Possum Living: How to Live Well Without a Job and With (Almost) No Money (http://possumliving.net/), author Dolly Freed offers these words of wisdom in her Afterword (more than three decades after she originally published her classic homesteading book as a teenager): “Wanting to do a lot in life taught me how little amounts of time add up. Getting rid of extraneous things not only saves money, it also saves time, and time is one thing you can never make more of.” According to Dolly, one needs very few physical things in order to be happy—water, food, shelter, good health, security and liberty—everything else is mental; and being happy may not be the end goal of a worthwhile life, but “often being engaged and interested is just as satisfying.”
I was both engaged and interested in today’s afternoon panel discussion—just as I often am during our workdays at The Free Farm!
Finn concluded the discussion with an invitation to receive “free whole body care” at our SF Refresh event on Saturday (details at http://sfrefresh.blogspot.com/2010/12/saturday-april-16th-sites-and-events.html). Please join us!
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SCIENCE LITERACY with Barbara Ann Lewis (Ph.D., Soil Science)
Mondays 4-6 pm, April 11-May 9, 2011 Greenhouse Cafe, 1722 Taraval St.@ 27th Ave, SF This course offers the basic vocabulary and description of science required to understand current environmental concerns, toxicology and safety in relation to food and water quality, climate and climate change, agriculture and population, energy alternatives, or other topics of interest to the students. Topics discussed will be generated by student questions and participation. No previous math or science background required. Mathematical concepts will be taught as necessary to some understanding of the scientific concepts discussed.
Barbara Ann Lewis is a retired professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering who loves to teach and loves science, and hopes to pass on that love to others who have been brainwashed at an early age to fear math and science. Contact email: firstname.lastname@example.org