Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Still Thinkin' Bout Glean!

Hi Friends!

I just wanted to pop in and say a brief Hello to you all! I know that last week was our last Glean on campus :(, but gleaning has certainly left its impact on me. This past memorial day weekend I was in San Diego with my boyfriend, and I couldn't help but notice ALL of the gorgeous lemon trees EVERYWHERE! ALL I WANTED TO DO WAS GLEAN THEM! He was a bit shocked at my enthusiasm to say the least.

But really! San Deigo has FRUIT ONTOP OF FRUIT! Just thought I'd let you all know the impact that Glean has had on me :) I hope everyone is enjoying spring and studying hard for finals! Hopefully we can get in one last glean depending on the ripeness of the fruit on the trees!

Although the weather is a bit gloomy today, I hope everyone is finding some source of sunshine and bliss!

Love & Light


Monday, May 23, 2011

Reachin' for that produce! And a visit to Julian Pantry


Last Tuesday, the first sunny day after about a week of dreary clouds and rain, the Glean team and I headed out towards the faculty residences to pick some fruit that was hanging over their fences. Still waiting on responses from the flyers, we decided to make due with picking the fruit that hung over their fences! (a little skeptical looking from inside the fence I can imagine, some random unseen force shaking your tree can't look like the norm on a Tuesday morn). But the gleaners were successful! We ended up picking a whooooolllle bunch of gorgeous lemons and oranges! I can only imagine the harvest we will reap once we can get access to the whole tree! :)

Our efforts turned out to be much appreciated by one spectator, (I'm assuming a professor living in one of the houses near by) who stopped her car and gave us thanks for gleaning the trees! She was so thrilled that we were picking the fruit and told us that she would love for us to come back again and continue to glean the area! Woohoo!


That Tuesday morning ended up being quite special. I broke my first sweat of the day at 10:30 and couldn't have been happier about it :) (I'm an aggressive gleaner...)

Other exciting updates!

On Saturday, the students in Page's Foods and Community class, myself included, headed up to the city to check out the Julian Pantry. The pantry provides fresh fruit and vegetables to 200 individuals each Saturday morning from 10:00 to noon. All who come are welcome to receive food.

Two full cars of students headed out for the city at 9:00 am to arrive at the Pantry an hour later. Upon arrival we were assigned a station to work. I worked with a young girl named Patricia who lived down the street. Later I found out that she was 18 and had just graduated high school. She works at the pantry every weekend. I had a great time joking around with her as we put hand-fulls of beans into bags, one after another. There wasn't much time to interact with the people in line because it moved that quickly. Just a friendly "hello" and "your welcome," but it was still a beautifully simple exchange. Most of the people in line spoke very little English, but their eyes and smiles expressed all the gratitude in the world.

Time seemed to zoom by, and we all wrapped up in about an hour and a half with a decent amount of produce to spare. It was certainly a different experience than at the Free Food Stand, but still rewarding and very efficient. I have a great deal of respect for the people running Julian Pantry because of what they manage to accomplish each weekend :)

I continue to feel such gratitude when surrounded by people who are actively trying to make a difference, however small it may seem, in the lives of those less fortunate. Without seeking anything in return; these people are true heros.

"We can act from that place of inner equality with no attachment to the outcome and no agenda because we are free from judement. From the perspective of presence things simply are as they are and in that lies divinity, the expressions of which sometimes look beautiful and sometimes look horrifying. By flowing freely with what is we can co-create in harmony with it as agents of divine will."
Love & Light

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Flyer-ing the Faculty!

Hello, All!

Happy Spring! As Tree says, "Spring is the time of growth, renewal, and regeneration - manifesting our ideas into action." I hope everyone is seeking healthy transformation in this beautiful season!

This week, Glean did something a bit different than usual. Since the fruit was not quite ripe enough to pick, the gleaners headed out to the faculty residencies and put flyers in the mailboxes of the faculty, asking permission to pick fruit from the trees on their property!

The flyers said, "please contact us if you want us to come pick your fruit trees for free and donate the produce to our needy neighbors in san francisco!"

Hopefully we will be hearing back SOON from some of the faculty who are amped on the idea :) 

P.S. Last week's clementine pick ended up weighing in at 90 lbs! WooHooo, Glean Team! 

The Free Food Farm is busy as can be lately! Last Wednesday volunteers went to work in the greenhouse planting seeds. In addition, the new "office" space is now completely finished with the intention of housing the entire seed collection. Yippee! The farm is also getting to work and putting more plants in the ground such as pollinators, culinary herbs, flowers, hops, and kiwi plants, and the plants in the greenhouse seem to be absolutely thriving in the warm environment! 

Another exciting addition to the Free Food Farm is the beautiful Earth Flag flying overhead! Pancho and Mike climbed the pole to hang the banner, its words depicting the inspiring message, "The Earth is but One country & all living beings its citizens." 

The Free Food Stand proved to be yet again a heart-warming experience this past Sunday. Tree recounts on his blog at freefarmstand.org that even more newcomers were making their way to the stand asking questions and leaving with gratitude and inspiration. New friends brought with them an abundance of picked lemons and oranges to give away. There was a great deal of fresh produce this week that had been collected as leftovers from the San Fran market. What a blessing it is that we can take that perfectly delicious fruit that may have been thrown out if not sold, and give it away to those in need! :) There is great hope that the produce will continue to be plentiful at the stand!

I hope everyone is continuing to seek growth and positive influences in their lives! Root down into the earth and reach up to the sky! 

Love & Light


Monday, May 9, 2011

Gleanin' Like We Mean It! And A Bliss-Filled Mother's Day

Last Thursday the glean team took care of business! It was a gloriously sunny morning and the gang and I ventured out to Hammerskjold to find a beautifully lush tree full of  clementines! The number of little orange orbs must have reached easily into the hundreds. What made our job a teensy bit difficult, however, was the fact that the tree was so incredibly dense with leaves! We had to work together, one person holding branches back with the picker, while the other went to town on the beautiful little bundles of clementines. These clementines were perfect! I kid you not, they were just the right blend of sour and sweet (we had to indulge in a couple of course). And after a solid 45 minutes of pickin' away, we had almost 4 huge canvas totes full to the brim with gorgeous little clementines. What a fantastic way to start a Thursday! I was beyond pleased that I could go outside and hang out with great people while picking fruit as my pre-midterm activity. Just being outside, at one with the nature around me, proved to be the utmost therapeutic and beneficial thing before sitting in a stuffy classroom for an hour. How blessed I am!

Today, I was inspired to rise early and seize the day, honoring Mothers around the world, including Mama Earth, and hang out at the Free Farm Stand with a couple kids in my Foods and Community class. I had heard that we would be planting trees for Mother's Day, and I could not think of anything else I would want to do then honor the most important and life-giving mother of all, our earth! So, since I could not be with my own Mama, I decided that being outside in the open-air and vibrant city would be a treat! Also, I had heard that the Free Farm Stand was set up every Sunday in the grounds of a playground, so I would be able to watch the little babies with their families! (That sounds especially creepy, mind you it is not intended to!).

I ended up driving up to the city with Susannah, Brittany, and Tim, all members of Page's class. We got into a little blue van and hit the road with our totes full of clementines. Upon arriving at around noon, I saw two long tables set up, one piled high with fresh produce of all kinds, mostly greens, and the other covered with gorgeous loaves of bread. Oh man it was a sight to be seen! So much bread, all different types, and lucky individuals would be getting it for free! Next to the bountiful bread lay delicious spreads of homemade humus, tangy salsas (also homemade), chips, carrots, celery, diced and seasonded cucumbers, vegan chocolate chip banana bread (my personal favorite), and a huge bowl of rice and veggies made on the spot from a fantastic guy Michael (who also made the humus). Y.U.M! It was amazing! I spent the next couple hours handing out breads to smiling faces. I was able to use my Spanish a couple of times, yippeee! and I felt a surge of overflowing happiness just giving with no expectation of receiving anything tangible back.

 Most everyone was extremely grateful and visibly content with their food, some even returning to the table for seconds. The amount of respectful everyone showed to one another throughout the whole process was remarkable and uplifting to witness. There were no issues or discrepancies in the line, no rudeness or abrasiveness when asking for food, instead there was a gentle and appreciative vibe filling the place. As I felt the sun on my cheeks and heard the strumming of a guitar by one of the older volunteers at the stand, I knew that this was the definition of bliss, at least to me. I am so very happy to have spent Mother's Day with kind friends and complete strangers, all getting along with each other in such a simple yet beautifully rich way.

It is easy to be swept away into the frivolity that surrounds us each day, to only think about the me rather than the we. But once we realize that life is so much more fulfilling once hedonistic ways are relinquished and compassion takes root deep within our souls, then your sleepy and vapid existence is awakened to a beautiful and full one. Dare to broaden your horizons. Make a friend, a family member, a stranger's road a little easier to travel on. I encourage you to find peace in simplicity and the generous act of giving!

Love & Light,


Monday, May 2, 2011

Plant your Love and let it Grow!

Hi there friends! Annie here! 

This past Saturday, some students from Page's class went to the Free Food Farm and got their hands nice n' dirty! Unfortunately I was unable to be there, but I heard that they had a blast working and enjoyed a delicious vegan lunch that was freshly prepared on the Farm.

The students tended to the potato plants (which are grown in... wait for it... upside down trashcans!) by adding hay and compost, and they also prepared a bed for planting beets by adding compost and forking it into the beds. 

It proved to be an amazing day, and the volunteers relished in the beautiful sunshine that seemed to radiate all over the state of California. I am eagerly looking forward to MY next visit to the Farm. 

Several Stanford students also showed up at the Free Farm Stand on Sunday ready to doll out food to the smiling faces of the community. A range of volunteers showed that day with ages all along the spectrum. There is no doubt in my mind that the act of giving is a contagious one. 

Next Sunday the Free Farm Stand is planning on planting fruit trees for Mother's Day :) The tree planting will begin around 11am, so try and make it out to San Fran for a bliss-filled day of planting in the name of our lovely mamas who gave us the greatest gift of all: LIFE! 

In the meantime let's all remember to take the time to do the little things and make a difference in our world. Whether it's planting seeds, picking some fruit with the gleaners, or sharing a smile with our fellow brothers and sisters, take the time to open your heart to the world around you! 

Love & Light

Sunday, May 1, 2011

My visit to the Free Food Farm 4/20/11

Hola,  Amigos!

Lots of exciting things to report! To start... I made my first EVER trip to the Free Food Farm on April 20th! It was an amazing experience. Because it was a Wednesday and not the typical volunteer-filled Saturday, I was one of only a few volunteers. I am actually quite grateful that things panned out the way they did because I was able to meet some of the consistent hands at the farm as well as engage in a two hour long spanish conversation with a fellow volunteer named Jessica while we planted rows of beans together! Cool, right?

Seeing the farm for the first time was very exciting for me because up to that point I had only heard about it and seen a few pictures in class (I take Page's Earth System class, which I highly recommend), and to finally be able to see it proved to be a very moving experience. The Farm is truly a hidden gem. It resides tucked away amongst the dilapidated streets of the Tenderloin; however, it was clear to me that this farm had truly made an impact on the area surrounding it. Right away I noticed a peaceful vibration that filled the place. Painted signs with greetings and lovely sayings were displayed everywhere. "All you need is love," "Compassion," and "Respect our earth," were only a few beautiful messages gracing the sheds and murals in brightly colored paint.

My attention then focused on the colorful variety of plants growing in lush rows next to one another. I later was informed just how many different vegetables and fruits are being harvested and was astounded by the number. From strawberries to avocados to potatoes, the farm integrates an enormous variety of fruits and veggies, and I couldn't believe that they all grew in the same location with such great success!

After meeting Tree, the guy essentially running the entire operation, and getting a tour of the beautiful growing projects on the farm, I was put to work. As I mentioned earlier, I ended up planting several rows of beans with a woman named Jessica who was visiting San Francisco for the first time from Mexico. She was essentially related to Pancho, an extremely friendly, consistent presence at the farm, and had decided to check it out. I ended up having a great time getting to know her and practice my spanish for a couple hours :) I had not planted anything for as long as I can recall, perhaps I did some type of gardening in preschool or kindergarden, and it felt so good to do it! Just knowing that those little seeds would eventually be enjoyed, in another more edible form, by individuals who truly needed them gave me an amazing feeling.

Sometimes it's about doing the little things. Planting rows of seeds is no grueling labor nor is it rocket-science, but it is a task of love. To give something to this earth and have it eventually given to provide us food is magnificent. And too often, we forget where our food actually comes from because it is packaged and sealed at the store. But to get back to the basics and remember firsthand how we obtain our food is a humbling experience. I believe it is so important that we revisit the basics and achieve a greater connection with the earth that sustains us life each day, and why not get our hands a little dirty in the process?

Love & Light,