Farm Updates

Year End Report … New Year Support

spinach seedlings in trays in greenhouse
Spinach seedlings, Alemany Farm greenhouse, January 2019. Photo by Chase Johnson

Dear Farm Friends,

Most of the crops at Alemany Farm begin like these spinach seedlings: tiny and delicate, nurtured in the warmth and shelter of our greenhouse.  We know many of you have volunteered time in our garden beds popping young plants like these out of trays and into the garden soil to set them on their journey to maturity, ripeness, and productivity.

This is the time of year when we ask you to consider giving the farm a nurturing hand on our journey into the new year with a donation to Friends of Alemany Farm, if you are able.

Below are some quick stats, highlights, and images from 2019, to let you know what Friends of Alemany Farm has been up to in the past year with your help. We also hope they will inspire you to make a tax-deductible gift to keep us growing in 2020.

24,000 pounds of fresh produce harvested year-round and provided free to San Franciscans. In addition to our substantial weekly harvest for the Free Farm Stand, we also provide produce to supplement the weekly food pantry next door in the Alemany Public Housing community, as well as the student food pantry at SF State University, a relationship fostered by one of our former interns.

left: an intern writes a harvest list on a whiteboard; at right, two people rinse greans in a bucket
Left: An intern writes a harvest list. Right: Harvesting the weekly produce donation to the Free Farm Stand, which gives out free food in the Mission district every Sunday. Photos by Chase Johnson

17,000+ volunteer hours logged in 2019 (a record for us). This includes close to 15,000 hours of volunteer work on site at the farm, contributed by many hundreds of volunteers. These individuals not only contribute to the work of the farm, but they come together in community with folks of all ages, backgrounds, and levels of experience. We’re grateful for this outpouring of energy, and proud of our role in welcoming and guiding such a diversity of people in this work. Help us keep the farm gates open.

people working in the south garden at Alemany Farm on a sunny day
Volunteers at work in the south garden, April 2019

120 group visits to the farm hosted by Friends of Alemany Farm throughout 2019: corporate groups, service groups, school groups, college classes, church groups, and more. That’s a relatively short sentence that represents long hours of work on the part of our two paid staffers, our volunteer leaders, and interns. We aim to make sure these many hundreds of visitors have a safe and rewarding experience while pitching in to help with the work of the farm. (Dozens more groups were hosted at the farm thanks to our partnership with SF Rec & Parks Department and RPD’s Youth Stewardship Program.)

31 interns participated in our internship program throughout 2019. Managed by our farm manager with help from the assistant farm manager, the program continues to grow in popularity. Interns not only learn fundamentals of gardening and community agriculture, but make a significant contribution to farm operations, notably through their assistance with weekly volunteer workdays. They show up early to set up, stay late to clean up, and in between help orient and guide volunteers in collaboration with workday coordinators.

Your donation will help support Friends of Alemany Farm’s two paid staff positions, which are central to enabling us to realize all the activity detailed here and to maintaining the farm’s volunteer ethos.  Funds are also used to pay for seeds, basic materials and supplies, and workshop and special event expenses.

22 workshops in 9 months of the year served over 350 participants, many of them experiencing the farm for the first time. With topics ranging from worm composting to gardening basics, beekeeping, natural fabric dyeing, and cooking from the garden, Friends of Alemany Farm’s workshops are accessible in content and cost, with no one turned away for lack of funds. Our series has truly blossomed in the past year under the direction of our farm manager. In the fall, we piloted our first workshops specifically for young kids and their guardians, and plan to offer more in 2020.

Left: A man and young girl stand by their worm bin. Right: A colorful bowl of salad with edible flowers
Left: Readying a worm bin at the worm composting workshop, spring 2019. Right: An early summer farm salad at a “cooking from the garden” workshop.

2 beloved annual seasonal events: Our Earth Day Celebration in April and Harvest Festival in October – both now in their teens – each drew a record number of attendees this year. With live music, farm chores, farm tours, kids activities, and a traditional potluck picnic and BBQ, these free community-building events draw many old friends and new friends to connect with the farm and our community.

left: musicians play near a tree while a man and young child look on; right: people help themselves to a potluck buffet
Left: Tony Saunders and friends played at Harvest Festival. Right: Earth Day crowd help themselves to the traditional potluck lunch.

1 Head Start partnership. This fall, we began a collaboration with the Alemany Head Start program to provide monthly activities to enhance early childhood classroom education through hands-on learning related to food, health, agriculture and nutrition. In October, our farm manager and several interns got 18 kids at Head Start started on planting their own garden, and they have begun to work with them monthly on caring for their plants and garden beds. Already they have harvested cabbages and onions and tried some new foods! With your help, this work will continue in 2020. Future goals include a potential “kid zone” on the farm.

Left: young children sow bean seeds. At right, a young child waters young plants.
Very beginning gardeners sowing seeds and watering young plants. Alemany Head Start, fall 2019.

A singular San Francisco treasure. That’s how we and many other people think of Alemany Farm.  Your year-end donation will help us keep all these good things growing and flowing at the farm in the coming year. As we look forward to celebrating Friends of Alemany Farm’s 15th anniversary working at Alemany Farm in 2020, we’re grateful for the year-round generosity of spirit, time, and energy that keeps the farm so alive on many levels. If you are able, please make a gift to support our hard work and our vibrant community.

Support Alemany Farm

blue sky with wispy clouds, and lupine leaves with water droplets
Spring sky and lupine at the Farm.

It’s Giving Tuesday

Strawberries cradled in cupped hands

Dear Farm Friends,

We’ve had Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but today is Giving Tuesday, when people across the nation and around the world will give to their favorite organizations. Started in 2012, Giving Tuesday is simply meant to celebrate the power of generosity.

If you’re moved to participate, we hope you’ll consider a gift to Friends of Alemany Farm.

In a way, we feel like it’s Giving Tuesday all year long at Alemany Farm, due to the incredible volunteer energy that nurtures and sustains us through all the seasons. (Perhaps you’ve contributed to the more than 17,000 volunteer hours we’ve logged in 2019!) We’re truly grateful for the community that has grown at the farm, and that keeps it growing.

But we do need substantial funds to make all this happen. Your monetary gift will help us continue to realize our mission at the Farm in the coming year through a range of activities and programs, and of course the many thousands of pounds of fresh produce that are provided free to San Francisco residents!

Learn how to donate to Friends of Alemany Farm.

We thank you for your consideration and for your support, whatever form it takes.

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Friends of Alemany Farm is fiscally sponsored by the San Francisco Parks Alliance, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

Thanksgiving Weekend Schedule

Dear Farm Friends,

Please be aware that due to the Thanksgiving break, we will NOT have a community workday or herb garden workday on Sunday, December 1. We’ll be back on the farm as usual for the Monday workday starting at 1 p.m.

We wish you a happy Thanksgiving, and extend our gratitude for your support throughout the year!

 

15th Annual Harvest Festival – October 19

Dear Farm Friends,

Alemany Farm 2019 Harvest Festival Flyer
View and download the Harvest Festival flyer

We hope you’ll join us for our annual fall gathering:

Alemany Farm’s
15th Annual Harvest Festival
October 19, 2019 • 11 am to 4 pm
700 Alemany Blvd, SF, CA
FREE

The day will include:
garlic planting (11 am – 1 pm)
farm tours (11:30-ish & 2:30-ish)
face painting, pumpkin decorating, wishing tree, and
other activities for kids

plant sale and
farm merchandise
(suggested donation)
LIVE MUSIC from
> Tony Saunders 
(12 pm; jazz/R&B bassist)
> KC & the MooNshine Band (1:30 pm; old time acoustic)

delicious BBQ and POTLUCK picnic lunch! (1 pm-ish)
*** Please bring a side dish or dessert to share. ***

Friends of Alemany Farm thanks our
co-sponsors and event partners:

SF Recreation & Parks Department
Alemany Resident Management Corp.
Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center
World Centric

We hope to see you on October 19!

For directions and other info on visiting the farm, see our Get Involved page.

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Alemany Farm Benefit Show at El Rio – September 24

poster for Friends of Alemany Farm benefit show, El Rio, Sept 24, 2019Come on down to El Rio this Tuesday to enjoy some local music while supporting Alemany Farm. A very grateful farm friend at SOON v NOW Productions has taken the initiative to organize an evening of local bands to benefit Friends of Alemany Farm – and we’re happy to help spread the word! It will take place on Tuesday, September 24 at El Rio, 3158 Mission St, SF (doors 7 pm; show 8 pm; $5-$10; 21+), and will feature local bands SUTROS, Sauces, and Torrey. Find more info on the Facebook event page. We hope to see you there!

Upcoming: Workshops and save-the-dates

Dear Farm Friends,

See below for information on the array of workshops we have coming up in the coming weeks and months. But first, we want you to note a couple of calendar items:

Harvest Festival: Save the date for our 15th Annual Harvest Festival on Saturday, October 19, 11 am to 4 pm. Potluck picnic, farm tours, kids activities, music, and more. Stay tuned for more details in the coming weeks!

Alemany Farm Benefit Concert at El Rio: A very grateful farm friend has taken the initiative to organize an evening of local bands to benefit Friends of Alemany Farm – and we’re happy to help spread the word! It will take place on Tuesday, September 24 at El Rio, 3158 Mission St, SF (doors 7 pm; show 8 pm; $5-$10; 21+), and will feature local bands SUTROS, Sauces, and Torrey. Find more info on the Facebook event page. We hope to see you there!

~*~

And now for Workshops:

Our late summer/fall workshop series got started with a very successful cooking workshop in August. Fast approaching on the first full weekend in September, we have sessions on California native plants and fruit tree pruning. Find details and registration links below. Suggested donation for workshops is $20 per person; no one turned away for lack of funds.

Landscaping with California Native Plants
Saturday September 7, 11 am to 1 pm at Alemany Farm
Instructor: Jim Cartan

Are you interested in learning more about California native plants and all of their benefits? Designed with the home gardener in mind, this workshop will focus on utilizing California native plant species for form and function in a landscaped setting. Whether you are looking to attract bees and hummingbirds, build up your borders, or add to the aesthetic composition of your yard, we hope attendees will be inspired by an informational session and tour of the Alemany Natives Garden. Please bring your questions or ideas to get the most out of our time together on the farm.

Jim Cartan was born in Santa Rosa and has lived in the greater Bay Area his entire life. His love of ecology, habitat restoration, and horticulture was sparked as an undergraduate at UC Santa Cruz. He has gone on to work for the National Park Service, non-profit land trust, Save Mount Diablo, and the Alameda Unified School District as an Environmental Educator. Jim has also been a regular volunteer at Alemany Farm for the past 7 years, contributing to the aesthetics and functionality of the Alemany natives garden with his co-steward, Craig Heckman.

REGISTER for the native plants workshop

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Summer Fruit Tree Pruning
Sunday September 8, 10 am to 12 pm at Alemany Farm
Instructors: Hannah Shulman and Vivian Santana Pacheco

While common wisdom holds that most fruit trees should be pruned in the winter, vigorous and large deciduous fruit trees can also benefit from summer pruning. Come learn about the basics of when, why, and how to summer prune apples and plums at Alemany Farm, and get hands-on practice as well. This class will focus on the essentials of summer tree care, including pruning methods, pruning timing, and orchard hygiene. A quick refresher will also cover tree biology basics needed to understand how pruning works in general, which will help us as we demonstrate and practice what we learn in the field.

Hannah Shulman holds a bachelor’s degree in Growth and Structure of Cities with an Environmental Studies concentration from Haverford College and studied at the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems at UC Santa Cruz. Previously, she was a garden educator with Urban Sprouts, GFE, and 18 Reasons / BiRite Market, and ran the first urban agriculture program for the city of San Francisco. She is now the Senior Director of Programs at Education Outside.

Vivian Santana Pacheco loves sustainable farming and loves helping others get excited about growing their own food. She recently helped manage Alemany Farm. She is a graduate of the UC Santa Cruz’s Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems apprenticeship and advanced apprenticeship in ecological horticulture program. She is also a graduate of GFE’s Get Up program and is currently farming at Urban Tilth in Richmond.

This workshop is generously sponsored by Renaissance Specialty Foods.

REGISTER for the fruit tree pruning workshop

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Visit our Workshops page to learn about and register for these other upcoming workshops at the farm:

Bring Local Color into Your World: Using Natural Dyes – Sun, Sept 15
Planning Your Winter Garden – Sat, Sept 21
Introduction to Urban Beekeeping – Sun, Sept 29
Citrus Tree Pruning 101 – Sat, Oct 5

We hope to see you at a workshop or volunteer workday!

Cooking from the Summer Garden on August 24!

Dear Farm Friends,

Our fall workshop series is getting off to a head start with our popular “cooking from the garden” workshop. This time, we feature the foods of summer, and participants will have a chance to harvest, prepare, and feast on them together right in our outdoor kitchen. Details and registration link are below.

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Cooking from the Summer Gardena colorful bowl of fresh tossed salad

Saturday August 24th, 10 am to 12 pm at Alemany Farm
Instructor: Evanthia Skalkos and Alemany Farm Friends

Farm to Table dining is rooted in the Bay Area. Well, it turns out that we have both a farm and a table. Come experience the summertime bounty cropping up on the farm with this hands-on harvest and cooking workshop, culminating in sharing a meal together. In this workshop we will learn about the foods of summer, do a farm harvest, discuss the benefits of eating seasonally, and cook and share a meal together in our outdoor kitchen. Nutritional aspects will be discussed, along with the benefits of incorporating plant-based foods into our diets.  Please bring your own cutting board and knife.

Evan Skalkos has been an active volunteer and Friend of Alemany Farm for the past 3 years. She enjoys getting her hands in the dirt on a regular basis and appreciates the ability to see the food cycle in its entirety. One of her true passions is growing healthy, organic food and transforming it into tasty, nutritious plant-based meals. Join her as she shares this passion for fun and tasty treats on the farm this summer!

SPACE IS LIMITED so please sign up in advance.

Suggested Donation: $20 per person. No one turned away for lack of funds.

REGISTER for the cooking workshop

This workshop is generously sponsored by Renaissance Specialty Foods.

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Stay tuned for announcements of other workshops throughout September and October.

 

Bird Walk at the Farm, August 11!

Dear Farm Friends,

If you’ve spent any time at all on the farm, you know we have many highly visible and audible bird friends. Here’s a chance to join other bird enthusiasts to pay special attention to the farm birds. See details and registration link below.

 

Bird Walk at Alemany FarmFeminist Bird Club logo
Sunday August 11, 8:30 am to 10:30 am
Leader:  Whitney Grover

The Feminist Bird Club San Francisco Bay Chapter invites you to join us for a bird watching walk at Alemany Farm. Food production has impacts small and large on the natural environment, from local plant and animal populations to the global scale of our climate crisis. Organic urban farms demonstrate how human food, habitat, and environmental justice are all integrated. When we observe and report birds we become community scientists. Come support the Farm by watching the birds it supports!

Bring binoculars if you have them, but we’ll have some to share if you don’t. Everyone is welcome!

The Feminist Bird Club is a bird watching club dedicated to promoting diversity in birding and providing a safe opportunity to connect with the natural world while fundraising to protect the rights of LGBTQIA+ folks, women and people of color.

Whitney Grover is a San Francisco birder and gardener and an all around lover of nature. She leads birding field trips on Mount Sutro for Golden Gate Audubon and is a current student of the Master Birding Program.

Suggested Donation: $10, to benefit Friends of Alemany Farm.  No one turned away for lack of funds.

REGISTER for the bird walk