Monday, January 14, 2013

Free Farm Frenzy

We are are all back from our vacations and the farm is now open on Saturdays and Wednesday as usual.  The greens are growing great, they sweeten up in the cold and we have lettuces under small hoops with special cloth over them, originally to keep the birds from eating them, but now keeping them warm.

We have trays of lettuce in the greenhouse that we plan to harvest soon as baby salad mix. The peppers in the hothouse from last year are still  growing (we just harvested more of them)and we also  harvested a lot of lettuce from there too.
I have pulled out the seed catalogs and soon we will be ordering seed for the coming new year.

Thanks to a generous $2,500 grant from the Bill Graham Supporting Foundation of the Jewish Community Endowment Fund, the Free Farm and the Free Farm Stand will have some money to buy seeds and supplies for our projects this year. We have also gotten a little money from private donors which we are so grateful for too. We continue to believe in the idea of "free" as in not engaging in the selling of produce and seedlings and we only buy when we can't get something for free. It is a challenge these days when the idea of gentle and kind capitalism keeps popping up everywhere and is very popular. Today I even saw the return of the phrase right livelihood mentioned in a plug for a presentation on "Permaculture Business Innovation" by a man  whom I respect a lot Kevin Bayuk.  If we want to adopt permaculture in our lives I would argue that the patterns I see in nature have nothing to do with a system of commerce and linear exchange, do monkeys barter  bananas with each other? Maybe they do and I don't know about it. The patterns in nature are ones of awe and mystery and miraculous and divine.We just have to live our lives with faith and not worry about getting something for everything we give, which to me is the basis of our current system of living our lives and doing business.

We do rely more on volunteers more than on money and for a few months we have seen our numbers drop. Is it because of the weather or we have become less popular over time (the thrill is gone phenomena with new projects)? I know people are scrambling just to get by and people often only volunteer if they are unemployed and need something to do.

I  hope this year we are able to bring back the volunteer labor force, because as our soil keeps growing the plants will keep growing. We especially are in the need for more people that can take on leadership tasks. We have a lot of areas that could use a person or a team to steward or anchor: the container garden, the herb labrynith, the vegetable beds, the permanent plantings (we are planing on planting more permanent crops in the future and creating more of a "food forest" on site, the greenhouse and plant propagation, and  flower production.

I have been thinking that what our farm lacks right now that might help us manifest more of what we need at the farm is a farm alter. This is a shout out request for people with any spare deities around that they can put on our altar, yet to be created, please we can use them. The Free Farm supports all forms of worship and we especially give thanks to our pollinators, birds, and micro-organisms in the soil. And the volunteers and guests who drop by.  They are all holy!

This coming Saturday I won't be at the farm but attending this fun event:

Golden Gate CRFG 25th Annual 2013 Fruit Wood
Scion Exchange:
DATE: Saturday, January 19, 2013
TIME: 12:00 Exchange opens to CRFG
members and the public
12:15 & 12:50 Grafting demonstrations
12:30 Custom rootstock grafting begins
2:00 Plant drawing
3:00 Exchange closes
3:00 - 4:00 Exchange cleanup
LOCATION: Ed Roberts Campus
3075 Adeline Street
Berkeley, CA
(at the Ashby BART station)
Donation Requested
(to help pay for the room): $4/person

If anyone wants to go with me I would love some company and plus I am bringing some plants to share and some materials to pass out about our projects (I could use some help carrying stuff on Bart since I would prefer not to drive).

On Saturday January 26 we will be having a special tree planting event in conjunction with Friends of the Urban Forest and Congregation Emanu-El. We will be celebrating the Jewish holiday, Tu B’Shvat or the New Year for the Trees. The main tree planting will begin at 1pm, but other farm activities begin at 10am. If you plan to come to our vegan lunch that day please RSVP at our email address and let us know so we can make enough.

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