Saturday, January 30, 2010

Call for Submissions: Urban Share Garden Zine


Urban Share is currently accepting submissions for the first issue of our garden zine; a small run quarterly publication including original artwork and contributions by local artists and gardeners, both amateurs and professionals welcome. Currently accepting original drawings, stories, seasonal recipes, urban gardening tips, garden manifestos, essays on food movements, permaculture, barter, community activism etc. All work will be reproduced in black and white.

If you are interested in submitting a proposal please send submissions by February 15, 2010 to:

Tamara Loewenstein
Curator + Community Arts Organizer
Urban Share Community Gardening Project
(415) 846-1402

View of the Free Farm - Progress 1/30/10

Double dig beds at the Free Farm

Video: We planted strawberry beds!

Short video about composting

Video about the Free Farm mural



If you are interested in submitting a proposal for a mural for the Free Farm or one of Urban Share garden sites please email:

Tamara Loewenstein
Curator + Community Arts Organizer
Urban Share Community Gardening Project
tamara.loewenstein@gmail.com
(415) 846-1402

Friday, January 29, 2010

Save the Date: Bethlehem Ground breaking March 20th

We're partnering with the good people at Urban Farming to create the community garden at Bethlehem Lutheran in West Oakland. On March 20th we are going to have a ground breaking event to start planting our produce. We'll provide more details as the date gets closer, but for now, we hope you'll put the date in your calendars. It's going to be an amazing event!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Join us on Satruday for our next work day!

Look how beautiful our lot looks now that we cleared all the brush! The site is starting to look less like an abandoned lot and more like a park. We hope our next work day on Saturday will transform the site so it starts to look like a garden. Want to help?

Join us on Saturday when we will be staking out our garden beds, working manure into the soil. Come to Eddy and Gough from 10am - 2pm. Make sure you wear closed toed shoes and we'll provide a yummy vegan lunch for our workers! See you then.

Current list of needed supplies

Here is our current list of needs:

- Glass windows for greenhouses (of all sizes)
- Lumber (pressure treated and natural, 2x4's, pallets and plywood)
- Succulent clippings
-Chicken Wire
-Cardboard
-Nails
-Staple Gun
-Miscellaneous carpentry tools
- Battery powered power tools
- Manure
- String stakes
-Wood chips
- Seeds and seedlings: plants including trees and berries
- Garden tools: hand trowels, pitch fork, u-bar (digging fork), shovels, rakes, hoes.
-Gloves
- Wheel barrow and accompanying wheels.
-Wooden wine boxes
-a truck (for hauling supplies)

Of course, we are always looking for volunteers as well. Get in touch with Pete at petefeltman@gmail.com.

Rainy Workday

This past Saturday the 23rd we had our weekly 10am - 2pm workday. I saw some familiar faces and met new friends too. As we establish our presence at the site by showing up regularly, weed-whacking, and organizing supplies people living nearby will stroll in to talk about the project and even come back to lend a hand.

The weather's been rainy on and off for the past two weeks. From the beginning of the day a steady mist fell on the farm. It wasn't heavy enough to warrant packing it in, so we loaded shovelful-after-shovelful of dirt into wheelbarrows, careful footing on the gravel decline, delivering our earthy cargo to the low-side of the lot to build a ramp for access into the larger farm. Scraping dirt to level a hill near the entrance of the lot will provide space for a demonstration garden to show folks what can be grown seasonally, and we can teach how to do it.

We broke for an early lunch generously provided by Tree, served up by Page. It's worth paying attention to how a gesture like thinking a head to make a meal for volunteers can communicate genuine appreciation and care. Believe me, on a cold, drizzly day of shoveling dirt, warm soup is no small thing. Thanks, Tree!

While the precipitation was only annoying at first it picked up and left me and the other volunteers drenched! The dirt we were moving to create an access ramp turned to lead in our wheelbarrows. Before finally giving in to the rain, Page and I staked out two long planting beds giving the area the look of a real garden, while Pastor Megan relentlessly tamped the loose soil into solid ramp-form. When the rain began to drive and hope that it might just pass left us, we all scrambled to put our supplies back in the shed, lock down the wheelbarrows, and tidy up before getting out. It was around the time that the last shovels and rakes were safely returned to their places that the clouds burned off and the sun finally broke out. Figures.

For all our effort, we did successfully complete leveling the hill up front for a demonstration garden and our ramp is looking good! Our next step is to stake out the rest of the lot for planting beds and get truckloads of manure brought in to amend the soil. Turns out the soil in this part of town is sand. My hope is that by this upcoming Saturday we'll be working manure into the soil to make it suitable for growing food. I've never been this excited by horse poop. If you or any of your friends have access to material we can use for stakes I'd appreciate it greatly if you could send it along. Or, if you want a part in turning a vacant lot into a food-growing space come out and join us at Eddy and Gough from 10am - 2pm this Saturday!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

First Urban Share Garden Publication Underway

























Do It Yourself Vertical Garden
by Megan Rohrer

This week I began working on the first issue of Urban Share's garden publication; a quarterly series inspired by the zine [a self-published "magazine" usually made on a Xerox machine with original art for small distribution]. The first issue will be one in a series of an ongoing quarterly publication, always free in accordance with our mission. The publication will be a limited edition and distributed to the donors and friends of WELCOME. Each issue will focus on projects that are underway at the Urban Share garden sites with original art by local San Francisco artists inspired by gardens and contributions from the seasoned gardener to the amateur gardener. Contributions will include gardening tips, DIY (do it yourself) projects, seasonal food recommendations, recipes, nutritional information and musings on urban gardening and current food movements.


[click to enlarge]

This publication has been inspired in large part by the work of the Diggers (who took their name from the original English Diggers) and emerged in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury in the midst of the Sixties Counterculture movement. The Diggers resisted private property and an economy of currency, and chose instead a model that was based on distributing goods and services for free and an economy of barter using street theatre and art happenings to present their message. Out this movement the Sutter Street Commune began to publish an intercommunal newspaper, Kaliflower in 1969 out of the Free Print Shop. Kaliflower lasted just over three years and by the ends of its run was distributed every Thursday to nearly 300 communes in San Francisco. Below are some images of the covers of Kaliflower:


The first issue of Urban Share's publication will include a hand-made, recycled paper cover made by yours truly in my San Francisco home kitchen with original art on the cover by Megan. Inside you will find instructions on DIY (do it yourself) projects with illustrations by Megan (as seen above). They are all projects that Megan and our wonderful volunteers have worked on at the St. Paulus garden site, which you can see yourself when you come out for a visit! Original art by other local artists on sprouting, and other such fun things plus much more!

[ Stay tuned, the first issue will be released in the end of February 2010! ]

In the meantime, come on out and play with us at one of our workdays, every Saturday (except on rainy days) from 10am-2pm. Bring a sack lunch, water, closed toed shoes and clothes you don't mind getting dirty.
We hope to see you there!

~your friends at urban share

Our Saturday the 16th Workday!


Hello Friends of the Garden!

This last Saturday workday was quite a day. Not getting
rained out was a big plus! We started early with two volunteers coming in before the official 10 o'clock start time. That's a serious go-getter attitude.

A lot of our gathered materials had been left near the front of the site making our space look haphazard. We hauled the lumber, pallets, and odds n' ends down to be sorted, stacked, and organized. It wasn't long before our helter skelter piles of materials started looking like they were supposed to be there. This lot has been left unattended for years so getting it in shape can be a big job; trash has collected, weeds have sprung up all over, but we're starting to show the space the love it deserves. This is the part in the movie where the nerdy abandoned lot with box frame glasses, using a pencil to hold its hair in a bun gets a make over. "Oh my God, St. Paulus, you're simply breathtaking!" The lot really is beautiful. We've run a gas-powered weed eater through the area which not only makes the grounds look better kempt but those small clippings can also be layer with manure to mature it, leading to food for plants! Even manure's gotta grow up some time.

A lot of sweat and time was spent in creating a foot-path ramp to allow easier access into the large farm space. We loaded down wheelbarrows with dirt from the site and slowly built up our ramp. There's more work to be done there, but in one day we got so far! We have a two-fold plan for the ramp. First, we take dirt from a large hill and use that dirt to create the ramp. Second, while removing the dirt we level off the hill in order to make a clean area for a demonstration garden near the front. In the future we'll show folks in the demo garden what can be grown at certain times of the year and use it as an opportunity for gardening education. I think everyone in the project is excited to share our knowledge, experience, failures, and successes with others interested in growing their own food in the city.

Pastor Megan spent a lot of time finishing a beautiful tool shed to house our tools in! Hooray for not having to carry things from an overcrowded Pastor's office to garden and back! That was seriously cramping my style. After this Saturday workday the shed is sporting a sassy new coat of light blue paint. We're trying to teach this gray San Francisco sky what it should be doing. Doesn't seem to be listening.

Throughout the day there were lots of folks walking past stopping in to talk. You wouldn't believe how many gardeners there are in one block of the city. There are plenty of helping hands to be found. Four volunteers on Saturday (including yours truly) were Lutheran Volunteer Corps members (Thanks Margaret, Troy and Katie!), two volunteers were from just down the street, two more volunteers heard about the workday through Tree, and two more volunteers heard about the workday through Pastor Megan. Word gets around!

That's the news from the farm this week. I hope to see you out there Saturday from 10am -
2pm! Don't forget to bring a friend!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


The students at the San Francisco Friends (Quaker) School sent us these beautiful thank you cards for our presentation about homelessness, poverty and our community gardening project.

Mural Work Continues at the St. Paulus Lot

For the last few months, Leanne C. Miller has been working on a mural at the St. Paulus lot (Gough and Eddy). The mural is almost finished. Final additions that will be added to the mural are wooden pieces that will extend above the walls with growing plants and vegetables.

Once the mural is completed we will be celebrating the mural with a gathering at the St. Paulus lot and have public reception. We'll let you know when we have a date scheduled for this event. Since it is currently the rainy season in San Francisco, completion of the mural depends upon how often the weather is nice enough to be outside painting.

Below you can see the original designs and the current look of each panel. You can click on any of the images to see them in a larger size.




Volunteers Needed: Saturday January 23, 2010

Our next garden workday at the St. Paulus Lot (corner of Gough and Eddy) will be on Saturday January 23, from 10am-2pm. In fact, we work at the garden every Saturday during this time. Garden workdays are canceled when it is raining. Please wear close toed shoes and pants and be prepared to sign a waiver to work in the site. Bring a sack lunch (we will be bringing food on future workdays. Note: This is a vegan and non-smoking site.

Soon we will be adding a second work day at St. Paulus during the week, to enable more community members to get involved with our work at the site.

This week we will be continuing to clean and clear the space. We will be moving our planting materials and be beginning to plant the beginning of February. At our Saturday workdays, we have activities available for all ages and ranging from heavy amounts of physical labor to lite.

Over the next couple of weeks we will begin building a mound garden labyrinth at the St. Paulus lot. If you are interested in working on the labyrinth, please contact Pastor Megan: megan@welcomeministry.org




Donations Needed


Our garden projects are beginning to take bloom (not literally) - but we are in need of a number of items before we can begin planting. Here is our current list of needs:

- Lumber (pressure treated and natural, 2x4's, pallets and plywood)
- Succulent clippings
-Chicken Wire
-Cardboard
-Nails
-Staple Gun
-Miscellaneous carpentry tools
- Battery powered power tools
- Manure
- String stakes
-Wood chips
- Seeds and seedlings: plants including trees and berries
- Garden tools: hand trowels, pitch fork, u-bar (digging fork), shovels, rakes, hoes.
-Gloves
- Wheel barrow and accompanying wheels.
-Wooden wine boxes

Of course, we are always looking for volunteers as well. Get in touch with Pete at petefeltman@gmail.com.


Saturday, January 16, 2010

DIY: Build a Shed from Pallets (for free)

Pallets are a great way to build a shed because they are very strong. If you don't believe me, try to take pallet apart some time. Also the way they are built, means that you don't have to worry about studs. Below is a picture of the pallets as we nailed them together. We also used some wood from crates. We could only make a portion of the frame this way before it was too heavy to lift in the hole where we were placing it.

The shape where were put our shed is unusual because there is a fence on one side and a concrete wall on the other. This location is great, because it will be really hard for someone to break into our shed. However, it also made the building a little tricky because most of the shed had to built inside this shaft.

Framing the sides took one afternoon. We decided not to build any of the roof until we would have enough time to finish the shed. We didn't want to encourage any homeless folk to sleep in the space during the rainy season. Our concern was so much that homeless would be in the space, rather that it might encourage people to use the space as a bathroom - which would make it unsafe and too smelly to make a good storage space.

It took another three hours to build the roof and to attach the door. This part of the project required the use of a battery powered table saw - so we could cut the pallets to match the angle of the roof.
On the side of the shed that is next to a fence, we purposefully left some spaces that were not covered with plywood. We covered these areas with plastic so they would act like windows and let light into the shed during the day - enabling us to see what is inside. The fence keeps that side of the shed protected so that it is not possible for a person to enter the shed through the plastic windows.One benefit of using pallets to build a shed is that there is some creative storage space inside the shed. This makes the shed more functional.

The pallets provide a great way to store tools like shovels and rakes. (see photo below) Putting the tools inside the pallets, means that you don't have to worry about tripping on them.Next, we painted the shed. This helps to protect the exposed wood from water and rain. It also makes the space look prettier. We got donated paint from local painters who would rather donate the paint then spend the money on recycling it at the dump.