Urban Farming News

Growing Home Community Garden

Posted in community development, distribution, food security, hunger, local food by Urban Farming News on January 20, 2010

Part of my role as an outreach coordinator is to get knee deep in the thriving San Francisco urban gardening society. A project that I am particularly in awe of is the Growing Home Community Garden. This garden is part of Project Homeless Connect (PHC).

History of PHC: Since October 2004 over 21,936 volunteers have provided services to over 31,000 homeless and poor San Franciscans. I was honestly floored when I showed up to volunteer at the most recent PHC in December.

Growing Home Community Garden: Rallies city departments, the Hayes Valley Neighborhood association, and community members from far and wide. The mission: ‘to provide a community garden where homeless and housed San Franciscans work side-by-side to grow nutritious food, access green space and build community.” When I first spoke with Celina, the garden coordinator I could feel the good vibes (not to mention, any group that can get a bob cat and hydraulic arm to break up asphalt has got it’s sh*t together).

I have now volunteered twice at this amazing community project. Day One: Removing asphalt – what a great way to meet the garden directors, planners and core volunteers. Day Two: building the wooden garden boxes. It was truly a puzzle of team-work, where skilled carpenters and novice nail gun users united.

“This town [San Francisco] has a lot of heart,” gushed Judith, PHC executive director. That was a sunny December afternoon, in the past month I have begun to learn to true meaning of those words.  I am thrilled to help these truly dedicated individuals. In conclusion: take a page out of this book, get up, get out and grow.

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An Education in Native California Species

Posted in climate stabilization, community development, Uncategorized by Urban Farming News on January 20, 2010

When I was asked to become the San Francisco coordinator, I was thrilled. The Bay area provides a multitude of community challenges, diverse micro-climates, well developed native permaculture and a plethora of educational experiences.

I have been gardening my entire life. I grew up in southern Wisconsin and started to work with Urban Farming in L.A…needless to say, these climates are quite different then Northern California. Fortunately, the San Francisco Botanical Garden is right at my back door and a fantastic place to learn, grow and get dirty!

Last week was my first round of volunteer work in the Native Plant Garden. I had a grand time weeding and removing grass from a sunny hill. Recently a tree was removed and this bed is becoming a native restoration area. Terry, the manager of the Native Garden was eager to share his wealth of knowledge.

Here are some fun facts:

Rhamnaceae : A California Native, Blue Flowers are characteristic, there are tons of varieties and common names. This one is “Ray Hartman”

Asteraceae: A San Francisco area native : it was thought that all of the Bary area wild plants were gone. However a couple months ago during a highway construction project a large specimen was discovered. Several cuttings have taken root at the botanical gardens and plans to move the wild plant are in the works. Cool!

Red Admiral Butterfly: ok, this is not a plant – it’s not even a Cali native.  However, this species can not survive cold weather to much of North America must be recolonized each spring. The web like cocoon is visible only to the observant eye. Terry pointed this nifty insect out to me – good thing too…few weeds escape my wrath!

I’ll keep you all updated as I learn more about native plants, restoration and preservation.

Salutations and Seedlings

Posted in Uncategorized by Urban Farming News on January 7, 2010

Welcome! I’m delighted to present Urban Farming’s official blog. Here we join together, sow seeds, share our triumphs and harvest food as a community.

Urban Farming’s mission is to end hunger in our generation. We plant food gardens on unused green space, cement lots, rooftops and walls. In addition, we are committed to stabilizing climate change. We are aware of our environmental impact. The non-profit was founded in Detroit in 2005. Those 3 original gardens have branched out into 18 cities across the nation and abroad. We’ve got limbs spreading in every direction, building communities and expanding.

Why should you read this blog?
· This is an open forum. Let’s discuss current food security and environmental impact issues.

· What’s happening in your neck of the woods? We’ve all encountered successes and challenges. We need to communicate with each other.

· Who inspires you? It’s time to acknowledge pioneers of the Urban Agriculture movement. We can all learn from thoughtful interviews and informative posts.

With our eyes on the same page our hands can work in unison. We can indeed achieve our goal to end hunger. Let’s share our passion, present our challenges, revel in our success and speak our minds. Stop over each week and see what’s happening in the gardens. I hope to hear from all the Urban Farmer’s out there soon!
Cheers,

Karleen
San Francisco