Monday, July 22, 2013

A New Home

An update from Tree:

Please note that soon we will be closing the Free Farm web site ( The Free Farm Stand site ( will be the place for all the news for projects that we are doing (currently the Free Farm Stand and the Free Farm). It is just too much to write two blogs on a regular basis and I think the projects are connected  anyway. Also, at the end of the year we don't know what the fate of the Free Farm will be.
In the meantime both the Free Farm Stand and the Free Farm are very active and we are always open to having more volunteers at both our projects. I think at this time we especially would like to have more help around, especially at the farm.  We want to create a big wave of excitement as we move forward into the future and I think the more we can pull together with our positive spirits the better.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Hoping, Planting, Growing, Harvesting

It has been over a month since our last update and it's funny how a lot can happen on a farm in a month. Seedlings grow and get planted and things in the ground get harvested and chopped down and the ground replanted. This last month should be called the month of the zucchini, though we have had other things growing, the humble summer squash is what has ruled the day. Last week at the Free Farm Stand we had hundreds of pounds of zucchini, much of it grown at our farm (the Free Farm blog is here for the latest news there (

Our small Free Farm Stand at the Free Farm looks good with more produce than usual

new potatoes on the right

My biggest excitement at the Free Farm these days is our compost. We have been making the most wonderful rich compost and adding to our beds when we plant. I have stopped picking up the vegetable scraps from Martin de Porres  Soup Kitchen on the day I volunteer there, because it is a lot of work and I wonder if we can really move our soil or find a home for it when we leave.

I have been happy that we can help out the Tenderloin Neighborhood  Development Corporation people who are planting gardens in the Tenderloin (including the People's Garden that I visited and really liked. They are sharing our greenhouse and have planted many seedlings that will go into their gardens

We have been researching places where we might move to or places where we can work until we find a new home. I recently visited the Permaculture Guild garden on 18th and Rhode Island St. to see how that place is doing. The tree we planted are growing well and I saw my first pomegranate growing in the city. This is such a beautiful tree and the flower and fruit are lovely.

The Free Farm got mentioned in the Bay Guardian last week in an article titled "Did the Hayes Valley Farm occupation help or hurt the cause of liberating urban space?" I am not sure if I should really recommend this article to people, but it did inspire me to write a long comment in reaction to reading it.

The next meeting of the San Francisco Urban Ag Alliance is meeting this Tuesday evening and I notice that one topic of  discussion will be garden displacements in San Francisco, and the former Gezi Gardens (former Hayes Valley Farm) and the Free Farm are going to be discussed. Most of our core group will be meeting that night to talk about our move, but I think it could be an interesting discussion. Right now I am not sure  what can be done about gardens/farms on temporary spots that have to leave.
Date: Tuesday, July 9, 2013
Time: 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Place: Global Exchange, 2017 Mission Street (@ 16th), 2nd Floor Conference Room
Please bring a favorite dish to share if you can! Treats from your garden are always especially appreciated.

Next Wednesday July 19th we are getting a visit from Assembly member Phil Ting, who is going around town visiting gardens and farms. He is the sponsor of AB 551, Urban agriculture that "Establishes an urban agriculture expansion program for counties to designate unused land parcels for small-scale food production, and make the farms financially feasible through lower property taxes." The bill is moving ahead in the legislature. I think this is a step in the right direction,giving landlords an tax incentive to temporarily lease  or rent their vacant property for ten years.  However, I think the problem is that we need more permanent spots to put gardens and farms.  I also want to tell him I am all for urban agriculture, but there also has to be more attention paid to preserving and creating housing for very low income people. In most ways I see housing as a higher priority that urban agriculture, but I don't think we need to develop vacant land to get housing for poor folks. There ire plenty of vacant buildings that can house those who need housing, but the problem is we need the people and politicians that  have the will to make things change.