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,


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