Saturday, July 25, 2009

Farming Fun!

Today I had the most amazing adventure, on an organic farm! I really should clarify what I mean by "farm" because coming from the midwest, it certainly wasn't the type of farm I'm used to. It was more like a very large, community garden. It is the Alemany Farm in Bernal Heights, and it is the largest farm in the city of San Francisco (almost 5 acres of land)
If you'd like to learn more about it,go here

I found out about it through my friend, Bettina. I would have never known about it otherwise, so I'm very grateful. We met there today just after noon, where we got a tour from one of the main guys who work there, then we got set to work.

I did a variety of jobs today, starting out with turning compost, which is a very important job. If you don't turn the compost, it has a harder time breaking down and is more likely to smell. It was tiring work, so after about 45 minutes or so I traded jobs with another volunteer. (and I wanted to explore and experience another part of the garden)

I spent time weeding the various crops (which include string beans, potatoes, strawberries, sweet corn, cucumber, brussel sprouts, broccoli, squash, etc.) I also helped them with their delivery program. The farm is located right next to a lower-income housing complex, and they deliver (right to their door) fresh, organic produce to those who want it.

I have mixed feelings about that program. I think it is wonderful that they make the produce available to people who might not otherwise be able to acquire it, either because of location or in this case, financial reasons. However, the farm is literally right next to this complex. I think it would be better to "teach a man to fish" if you will, and have them come pick out their own produce. Why do I have to ride the bus for an hour, work for 4.5 hours, so that people who live next door (and didn't contribute anything) can have this produce for free? That I don't agree with. It's just perpetuating the problem, keeping uneducated people uneducated, and lazy people lazy. And that holds true for the rest of the city as a whole, which is why there is such a terrible homelessness rate here. Bah.

Anyway, enough with the rant. I had a wonderful time, which is what this post is supposed to be about. We got to harvest some of the vegetables (that were ripe and ready) and got to take some home. I got a bag full of lettuce, string beans, basil, oregano, potatoes, plums, carrots, and a few strawberries. Yum! Talk about reaping the rewards.. fruits of my labor.. and all that jazz.

I am just so glad that something like Alemany farm exists in the city, and I hope to make it back again soon. I hope that someday, when I have a backyard - or roof access, that I can make my own little garden farm. =)

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