Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Plants for our December 19th Planting

 Drawings for our first Planting:

In our Butterfly/Humming Bird Gardens
Helictotrichon sempervirens - Blue Oat Grass 

Ribes malvaceum - Pink Chaparral currant.

California Fuchsia, Zauschneria or Epilobium canum

 Salvia spathacea - Hummingbird Sage.

Diplacus aurantiacus - Sticky Monkey Flower and Orange Bush Monkey

Rhamnus californica - Coffeeberry.

Ribes sanguineum - Pursh.

Echinacea purpurea  

Mulenbergia species 


Buddleia davidii

In our Succulent Gardens

Sedum spathulifolium - Stonecrop.

Sedum oreganum - Green Stonecrop.

Dudleya lanceolata - Liveforever and Lance-leaf dudleya.

 Dudleya edulis - San Diego Dudleya, String bean plant, Fingertips and Lady Fingers.

Dudleya edulis - San Diego Dudleya, String bean plant, Fingertips

Join us for our garden work day: December 19th in the Sunset

Click on the picture above to enlarge it.

Monday, October 11, 2010

2,224 pounds of produce harvested!

The five bags of tomatoes above were harvested at the Bethlehem Lutheran garden in West Oakland. This last season they harvested more than 200 pounds of produce! Only about 500 square feet, this garden was able to provide a lot of free food on unused church land.

The Free Farm in San Francisco, which is about 1/3 of an acre and sits on the former site of St. Paulus Lutheran Church has harvested 2,124 pounds since February.

In these hard economic times, transforming unused church land into free food is a low cost way that congregations can respond to the real needs of its congregants and the community around it. Let us know if your church gets inspired to grow produce on your unused space or if we can help you start a farm where you live.

We believe that churches really can address hunger issues. The goal of our free farms was to prove that it doesn't have to cost a lot of money to feed people. We hope our project has inspired you!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Free Farm Harvests 1045 Pounds!

Amount of produce harvested and given a way at the free farm since February: 1045 pounds

Friday, July 9, 2010

In the News: Mission Local

Feeding the Mission, in the Western Addition
Your reporter squealed like a little girl when she realized she had actually found a potato.

By: Heather Smith | July 8, 2010

It starts with a Lutheran Church on fire. St. Paulus at Eddy and Gough burned to the ground in 1995 and has remained a vacant lot ever since. Then, this year, an improbable alliance came together. Case Garver, a 22-year-old Lutheran Volunteer Corps member from Ohio, and Megan Rohrer, a local pastor, were negotiating with local churches to open up unused property in the city for farming.

It was more than just a quaint idea — Rohrer is director of Welcome, an organization that deals directly with the poor, and food banks in San Francisco continue to be stretched to their limit. Rohrer secured permission for the St. Paulus lot. Then came the tricky part.

“Neither of us knew anything about gardening,” says Garver. “Then we found Tree.”

Tree knew how to garden. A Mission resident whose history stretched back decades, Tree had been growing and harvesting food from gardens mostly in the neighborhood, cultivating a group of local gardens and distributing the bounty to a variety of groups. In 2008 he began the Free Farm Stand at Parque Niños Unidos at 23rd and Treat. “People trust him,” says Lauren Anderson, an artist and gardener who runs the foraging nonprofit Produce to the People. “Which means a lot. It’s not easy to invite someone into your backyard, even if it’s just to pick fruit.”

Tree agreed to help run the farm with Anderson and some other nonprofit groups, with the idea that some of the produce would go to the Free Farm Stand in the Mission. The Lutheran synod that owns the church site agreed to cover the water and electrical bills. And so the farming began.

Your average burned-out foundation is not necessarily ideal farmland. The site was sunny, and as Garver puts it, the soil was equal parts sand, KFC buckets, Häagen-Dazs containers and used syringes. When asked if the crew had to use special safety gloves to clear out the soil, Garver deadpans, “It depends on how you define ‛special.’ Or ‛safe.’”

“We did have gloves,” he adds.

“There are so many different urban agriculture groups,” says Anderson. “They all believe in slightly different things: Teaching people how to garden. Getting people community garden plots. Greening the city. Working with youth. Our priority [was] getting food out of the ground and to the low-income people who needed it. The secret was manure. Lots and lots of manure.”

Planting in the basement of a burned-out building turned out to have its advantages — the plants were sheltered from San Francisco’s gale-force winds by the remaining walls. The terrible soil is producing more food than anyone expected.The first harvest at the plot they named The Free Farm — 5.5 pounds of produce — came out of the garden on April 11, just a little over three months after work began. A second mini-stand was established outside and began passing out food to residents of the immediate neighborhood. By the end of June, the free farmers had harvested 784 pounds of produce in six months, the most of any garden in the network supplying the Free Farm Stand.

On a Wednesday afternoon, a volunteer sits outside the farm behind two galvanized tubs of gargantuan, prehistoric-looking collard greens, offering them to slightly confused passersby. The quirks of the landscape are still being discovered — carrots have been challenging, collards and cabbage have done astonishingly well. There is fortune in this: Collards have been one of the most popular crops in both neighborhoods. Attempts to push kale have been met by resistance.

Inside, volunteers are elbow-deep in the dirt, feeling around for the first crop of potatoes. They range from a very enthusiastic visitor from southern Japan to Steve Pulliam, a recent transplant from Atlanta who found the place while walking his dog. When he began, he had no gardening experience. Five months later he is speaking confidently about duck droppings.

“I wanted to be outside. In the sunshine. Not around kids,” says Sarah Hale, a schoolteacher. “So much has happened this year: Haiti, the Gulf. I wanted to do something where I knew that I was doing good. Something small, and effective.”

Anderson, meanwhile, admits to aspirations beyond the small. “This is a terrible, terrible analogy,” she says, jokingly. “But we’re trying to decide if we want to turn this into a franchise.”

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Online Silent Auction

An online silent auction has been created for the upcoming fundraiser. New items will be added up until July 24th, so check back regularly.

View the auction here.

More than 783.57 pounds of food grown!

I haven't blogged about our gardens in a while because I've been so busy. But, I wanted to send an update that 783.57 pounds of free produce have been given away from the Free Farm. Bethlehem Lutheran has also been enjoying harvests lately.

Beyond the food, we've also worked with more than 566 volunteers in the garden this year.

I'm someone who is usually moved more by personal stories than numbers, but these numbers are very impressive.

Thanks to all the great volunteers and leaders at the Free Farm!