Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Lauren is on vacation!

yes, that's me. dead man's float. in the river.

I'm on vacation until Sept. 9th and will be sporadically responding to email, but the lovely Erin Kohl from SF Glean will be harvesting in my absence, so drop me a line if you've got fruit and I'll pass your info along to her. Peace out!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

PttP Summer Youth Program 2009 comes to a close :(

Our amazing summer youth employment and education program 2009 is coming to a close, and while I'm going to miss the awesome students something terrible, I feel really grateful for getting to know them, and so proud of the work we were able to accomplish this summer in just a handful of weeks. We harvested and distributed 1,497 lbs of local (predominantly from San Francisco) produce, fostered relationships with four distribution sites, took part in the building and/or maintenance of six community gardens, canned 65 jars of homemade jam, met lots of new folks in our community, and each made five new friends.

Thanks so much to Brenaja, Burton, Kevin, Kristine and Yuwen for putting up with a nutty boss, an ever fluctuating schedule, and a new challenge at every turn. You guys will do great things, I just know it.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Apple a Day

photo by Kristine Tubig

Plum season is on it's way out, which means its time for apples!

Kevin picking apples in Bernal Heights.

photo by Cristina Ibarra

Some PttP apples on the local produce table at the Free Farm Stand.

photo by Cristina Ibarra

Little one at the Free Farm Stand enjoying apple season!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Mission Pie Garden

Earlier today the PttP youth crew helped plant a new sidewalk garden outside of Mission Pie on the corner of 25th and Mission St.s. There have been more and more sidewalks popping up around the Mission, which is super exciting, some made by community projects like Mission Greenbelt Gardens, some by neighbors, some by residents and some by businesses. Some of these gardens are under the radar despite happening right out in the open, meaning that they haven't gone through any permitting or requirements to legally install a sidewalk garden, and some, like the Mission Pie garden, have gone through rigorous designing and adjusting and re-adjusting of plans to get to a place where the garden could legally happen.

Most of these gardens feature native plants, great for our local ecosystem, supporting our local wildlife and beneficial insects, and thrive with little maintenance and little extra watering once established. Most legal sidewalk gardens do not feature food plants because it is quite complicated to pass fruit trees especially through this permitting process (despite Newsom's desire for us all to grow food and especially fruit trees on unused public land). Mission Pie worked long and hard to get some food plants through this process and managed to succeed with full size almond and linden trees, dwarf meyer lemon trees, raspberry canes, strawberry and lavender plants.

Karen Heisler (who co-owns and operates Mission Pie with Krystin Rubin) giving everyone the run through of the days activities. Karen is also a co-director of Pie Ranch and we have been working together to help build the food garden at Mission High School. Also, off to the right is Catherine Butler of Urban Edibles!

The steadfast PttP gardening crew (from L): Kristine, Yuwen, Lauren, Burton, Brenaja, and Kevin (who mostly got cut off in this picture)

Kevin helped dig a really deep hole and plant a full size linden tree.

Burton planted a couple meyer lemon trees and some raspberry canes.

Kevin and Brenaja top dressing newly planted lavendar with compost.

One of the most important parts of a hard day of gardening work is hanging out on the pick up truck when the work is done.

Thanks Mission Pie for the delicious picnic lunch out on the sidewalk for all the volunteers! And thanks PttP youth for all the hard work!

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Secret Garden

There is an intimate and wonderful garden tucked away in secret space between the back gardens of four houses in the Mission, quite appropriately called The Secret Garden or El Jardin Secreto. Clara, who I had initially met through the Free Farmstand (have you noticed how many people connect over the Free Farmstand? Come by if you want to meet gardeners, or food makers, or canners, or just really nice people looking for good food or to share good food, Sundays, 1-3, Parque Ninos Unidos/Treat Commons, Treat and 23rd) has recently taken up the task of getting this garden back into shape.

We have been doing our best to keep up with the incredibly tall loquat tree, and the handful of cherry plum trees that are making and ripening fruit so much faster than we can manage to pick. Really, these cherry plums are out of control! We have been to the garden several times already and stand to go several more times (I'm pretty sure the PttP youth have had their fill of cherry plums and now understand way too well about local, seasonal food, and why it's important to share!)
The garden is beautiful though, and quite an oasis in the city, and hey, there's even a swing for break time!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

18th and Rhode Island Permaculture Garden

We had a small group for the youth workday the other day, so Burton, Brenaja, and I left the Mission to check out the 18th and Rhode Island Permaculture garden. We met up with our good friend, Tree, of the Free Farmstand, and set to work, starting seeds, especially leafy greens, and harvesting potato towers.

This was a great task for us because we had just started potato towers at the Mission High School garden and I think doing the harvest was helpful to understand the process of the planting (although I admittedly have had much more success growing potatoes in the ground than in towers. But in tight city quarters, towers are a really good alternative to the ground space potatoes take up).

We also got to partake in the shared lunch that Tree had made for all the garden volunteers, which I think is a really lovely experience in and of itself, and one that we have been thinking about and experiencing in different capacities in the different gardening, gleaning and food dispersal that the youth program has been doing so far this summer. Sometimes it's sharing groceries, or produce, and sometimes it's sharing warm and delicious mung dal and rice with the people you've spent all morning working together with, sweating and getting your hands dirty. All are a little different but all are quite beautiful ways to share and be united over the simple, fundamental need for food.

All of these great photos are courtesy of our good friend and lovely lady of the Free Farmstand, Cristina Ibarra.

Plum Season part II

Plum season has been holding strong, so much so that when we talk about our harvest schedule for the day, I get a resounding, ugh! plums again!? from the PttP youth. It's been an amazing crash course in local seasonal food, one that has left our teenagers dreaming of fall apples. Even my excitement for plums is waning, but I still think they're beautiful, and that part of their beauty is the combination of variety, abundance, and versatility.

Kevin (top), Burton and Brenaja (bottom), picking cherry plums at the Secret Garden. These trees are crazy prolific!

Our spread at the Free Farm Stand (photos by Bill McLeod)

I made a vegan plum blackberry (with berries from Bernal Hill) pie for our youth program picnic. We make it a point to properly honor and celebrate the food we harvest and share!