Farm Updates

Coming up: Ask a Farmer Q&A + Fall Plant Sale

Dear Farm Friends,

As we move into fall, we are once again planning events to support and engage our community. See below for details and registration for our September 26 virtual Q&A on fall gardening basics, and a heads-up on our fall plant sale. Together, these events are meant to support you in your home or neighborhood gardening work at a time when we are not able to gather at Alemany Farm.

But first, we want to let you know that all summer long we have continued the essential work of growing and harvesting fresh produce at Alemany Farm for free distribution. Each week, Friends of Alemany Farm co-directors Abby and Jack have worked with RPD staff and a small group of interns to harvest hundreds of pounds of food destined for the Free Farm Stand, the Alemany Apartments Food Pantry and, in partnership with our friends at PODER, for distribution to residents in the Excelsior. We are still unable to welcome volunteers back to the farm, but we look forward to when we can all once again dig into this work together. In the meantime, we hope you’ll engage with us through our virtual events and our real live plant sale!

Ask a Farmer Q&A Series: Basics of Fall Gardening
Saturday, September 26, 10-11:30 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time
Online webinar – Suggested donation $10, no one turned away for lack of funds

The Ask a Farmer Series is our effort to reconnect and provide resources to our robust and beloved Alemany Farm community! Whether you’re a total beginner or an old farm hand, we hope you’ll join us for this hour-and-a-half long workshop on best practices for fall and winter gardening here in the Bay Area. First, our farmers will cover everything from what crops to plant and when, to autumn garden maintenance and care. This is a chance to anticipate challenges and game-plan solutions in advance. After we briefly cover the basics, the rest of the workshop will be open for an office-hours-style question and answer session.

Find details and register for the workshop

~*~

HEADS UP: Look for more details soon on our upcoming Fall Plant Sale! We will have seasonally-appropriate plants starts available for purchase. (Think broccoli, kale, chard, brussel sprouts, etc., and perhaps a few native and perennial plants.) We’ll be in touch when we have date/time/location and a full plant list set.

If you’re not already on our email list, sign up to receive notices on upcoming events!

Support these Bay Area Food Justice Organizations

Thank you to everyone who has tuned into our first three online webinars in recent weeks – we are grateful for your support. Next up on Saturday, June 13 is Kitchen Herbalism & the Body Electric: Nervous System Support.

In solidarity with Black Lives Matter and in support of racial equity, we hope you will also learn about and support these BIPOC-owned or -led food justice organizations in the Bay Area:

Black Earth Farms • Native Foodways/Cultural Conservancy • Urban Sprouts • Hummingbird Farm/PODER SF • Urban Tilth • Pollinate Farm & Garden • Literacy for Environmental Justice • City Slicker Farms • Acta Non Verba • Planting Justice • Cafe Ohlone

Let’s rededicate ourselves to strengthening and expanding our web of local relationships in order to grow justice.

 

Plant Sale Fundraiser – June 3, 5, 6

*** Also check out our online event Gardening Justice: A Conversation with Wendy Johnson, coming up on June 7. ***

The Friends of Alemany Farm have some great tomato, eggplant, cucumber, and a few hot pepper starts that we’d love to share with you!  We will have a socially distant plant start stand at 451 Kansas Street #503 in San Francisco on the following days (while supplies last):

Wednesday, June 3, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Friday, June 5, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m
S
aturday, June 6, 1 – 2 p.m.

We suggest a $5 donation per start – all funds go to supporting Alemany Farm. Cash only(Exact change appreciated.) Please follow social distancing guidelines (enforced at the stand and elsewhere).

Location
451 Kansas Street, #503
(Yellow townhouse at corner of Mariposa and Kansas Streets)
The pickup location will be clearly marked with signs saying “Alemany Farm Plant Start Sale”

Available starts:

Tomatoes
Nicks golden yellow super sweet cherry tomato
Sungold cherry tomato
Celebrity Tomato
Climstar Tomato
Cosmonaut Volkov Tomato
Moskavich Tomato
Defiant Tomato
Galahad Tomato

Peppers
Padron
Thai Chili
Jalapeno
Serrano

Eggplant
Orient Express
Kermit
Hansel
Calliope

Cucumber
Lemon cucumber
Pickling Cucumbers (also good eaten fresh)
Diva Cucumber
Salt and Pepper Cucumber

~*~

Alemany Farm and Other Gardens In the News

Dear Farm Friends,

Greetings and well wishes from your Friends here at Alemany Farm. The COVID-19 outbreak has highlighted the absolute necessity of local food production – whether in community gardens or backyards – and recently Alemany Farm was featured in the New York Times and Sierra (the national magazine of the Sierra Club). Both items shed light on the good work Alemany Farm and other community gardens nationwide are doing to boost local food sovereignty, feed hungry neighbors and friends, and foster a culture of garden-literacy, rain or shine (or global pandemic). We invite you to check them out:

‘If All the Stores Close, We Need Food’: Community Gardens Adapt to the Pandemic” – New York Times (April 10, 2020)

The Rebirth of the Food Sovereignty Movement” – Sierra (April 15, 2020)

(The article in Sierra, notably, is penned by our very own Friend and long-term volunteer co-manager, Jason Mark, who co-founded Alemany Farm back in 2005.)

Hearty thanks to those of you who’ve reached out recently to offer financial contributions, kind words, and to ask how you can support the farm from your homes! It’s encouraging to see the farm community remain active and engaged even as we all grapple with the prolonged consequences of COVID-19. If you are able, please donate to keep the farm productive in a time of food scarcity.

We look forward to when we can welcome you back to the farm to work and learn together. In the meantime, we’re bringing some of our farm workshops online, starting on May 2 . And we’re sharing a few photos below – evidence that farm work of all kinds continues.

If you’re looking for other ways to help boost food production in your community, you may be interested in the #CoopGardens initiative, a public campaign launched by The Cooperative Gardens Commission, aimed at connecting those with food-growing resources – including seeds, soil, tools, equipment, land, labor, and knowledge – with those who lack such resources. Learn more at coopgardens.org.

Many thanks for your attentiveness to the natural world and your readiness to share seeds, starts, sweat, and other kinds of support, so that Alemany Farm can continue to nourish neighbors and friends in many ways.

With love and appreciation,

The Farm Team

DONATE to support our work.

Vertical stack of 3 images: two figures hunched over a garden bed (top); a bin of compost (middle); a strawberry plant with a ripe berry (bottom)
Farm work of all kinds goes on, even during a pandemic:
Michiyo and Abby thinning seedlings; compost composting;
a strawberry ripening. Photos by Jack Thomas.

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram

Farm Photos of the Week

Dear Farm Friends,

Our skeleton crew continues their work to keep Alemany Farm productive during the COVID-19 shelter-in-place. Last week they planted mustard, choi, chard, squash, and bush beans, and harvested the weekly donations for the Alemany Public Housing Food Pantry and the Free Farm Stand.  They found a few moments for some photography, too. Enjoy some spring color:

colorful rainbow chard arranged in a crate
Rainbow chard crated for Friday harvest, April 10. Photo by Jack Thomas.
left: Farm Manager Abby holds a bucket of greens; right: Michiyo pulls a wagon of supplies along a pathway
Abby and Michiyo at work on the farm. Photos by Jack Thomas.
A triptypch of photos featuring blue flowers in bloom.
A trio of spring blues at the farm. Photos by Erik Rotman and Jack Thomas.

 

April Update from the Farm

A person rinses produce in a bucket near crates full of various fresh produce
Farm Manager Abby Bell works on the Friday harvest. Last week, we harvested 150 lbs of produce for the Alemany Public Housing food pantry, and for the Free Farm Stand. Photo by Jack Thomas.
Triptych of photos showing purple lupine at right; butter lettuce at center; and yellow blossom of flannel bush with ceanothus at right.
Signs of spring at the farm. Left to right: Sky lupine in the front garden; lettuce in the main garden; flannel bush and ceanothus in native plant area. Photos by Jack Thomas and Abby Bell.

Dear Farm Friends,

The Chilean poet Pablo Neruda said, “You can cut all the flowers, but you cannot keep the spring from coming.” In the midst of our current public health crisis, so much seems changed, interrupted, and uncertain. And yet, at Alemany Farm and at farms and gardens all over, spring arrives, life asserts itself, and the crops continue to grow.

Activities at Alemany Farm are necessarily limited at the moment: no volunteering, no workshops, no events. But be assured that the farm is being cared for and that Friends of Alemany Farm remains committed to growing healthy food for residents of San Francisco and to stewarding this beloved green sanctuary for humans and wildlife alike. The City has designated our work at the farm as an essential service during the shelter-in-place order – an important recognition of the work we do to feed low-income families in San Francisco. Farm Manager Abby Bell and Assistant Manager Jack Thomas are on site doing essential cultivation and maintenance on Mondays and Fridays, in coordination with two staffers from the Recreation & Park Department. Last week they planted new beds of collards, beets, cilantro, onions, choi, and lettuce, ensuring that the Farm will continue to offer food in the months ahead.

There is a saying among farmers: “Food is medicine.” This moment is reminding us how essential it is to eat healthy, fresh foods that can support our immune systems, and how vital farms and gardens are. Like clean air and water, we need healthy food to survive. Abby and Jack’s work on the farm with our SFRPD partners includes not only keeping the crops growing, but continuing our weekly harvest donations each Friday for the food pantry in the neighboring Alemany Public Housing community, and for the Free Farm Stand, which gives away free produce each Sunday in the Mission District. Neighbors are also coming by to find a bit of fresh air and to harvest produce for themselves and their families. In this way, Friends of Alemany Farm is sustaining the work we’ve done for 15 years and supporting folks who may be especially vulnerable at this moment.

During this time when we can’t work together with you in the garden, we hope we’ll all continue to cultivate community spirit, even at a distance. We hope these photos from the farm to help you feel connected.  Another way to connect is with a gift. Roughly 30% of our annual budget evaporated with the cancellation of many springtime events. If you are moved to support us with a donation, it will sustain the essential work of providing fresh, healthy, free food for the folks who need it most. We know many people are experiencing financial hardship and uncertainty right now. However, if you are able to donate, we will be most grateful for a gift of any size.

Like many of the City’s parks and green spaces, Alemany Farm remains open for folks to visit while observing social and physical distancing guidelines to help control the spread of COVID-19. Nearby friends and neighbors are welcome to come by to catch a break and a breath of fresh air, to pick some fresh produce, and to get a sweet taste of spring.

We will keep in touch with you in the coming weeks with more photos and updates from the farm. In the meantime, we wish you good health, a good night’s sleep, nourishing meals, a sense of connection, and an experience of spring wherever you can find it.

Please donate if you can.

Update on Farm Workdays

Dear Farm Friends,

Due to the shelter-in-place order now in effect in the City and County of San Francisco, there is no volunteering at Alemany Farm until further notice. This is part of the widespread effort to control the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Rest assured that the farm will be safely cared for by a skeleton crew of approved staff in the coming weeks, so that we can keep it thriving and productive until we can welcome volunteers to join us again.

Please note that many City parks and green spaces remain open for the public to visit while observing social and physical distancing guidelines.

We will miss working together with you in the physical Alemany Farm space in the coming weeks; we know that our workdays are a respite for many of us from the stressors of daily life and a chance to connect with Bay Area neighbors in a shared mission. Although we do not have this common space for the moment, we hope that we’ll all remain in community spirit even at a distance. We encourage you to take good care of yourselves and each other, and to find safe and responsible ways to enjoy a bit of fresh air and the natural world on your own.

Please visit the San Francisco Department of Public Health website for more information on the response to COVID-19. 

Please be well and look out for each other. We look forward to when we can gather together again at the farm.

 

Zuni Café Benefit Dinner for Alemany Farm!

UPDATE: The benefit dinner for Friends of Alemany Farm at Zuni Cafe has been postponed in light of current measures to control the spread of the novel coronavirus. We look forward to rescheduling this event at a later date.

Dear Farm Friends,

Friends of Alemany Farm is thrilled to be the beneficiary of a special dinner hosted by Zuni Café and East Bay Eats on Monday, March 16, with special guest chef Filbert Lim! Every other month East Bay Eats host a family-style, community dinner at some of the Bay’s most beloved restaurants.  And in March, dinner is for the farm!

Enjoy a seasonal, multi-course, prix-fixe mediterranean meal – wine included – at one of San Francisco’s landmark restaurants. Signature cocktails may also be ordered throughout the night at the cash bar. All in support of Friends of Alemany Farm!

Tickets are $100 per person for a multi-course meal (wine included). Two seatings: 5:30 and 8 p.m.  Please join us on March 16 for this special evening, and spread the word to friends in your network who love good food and community agriculture!

RESERVE YOUR TICKET

Note that there are other ways to support this event: To maximize the funds we raise from the dinner, we are recruiting volunteer servers, bussers, and bartenders for both seatings. Experience helpful, but not required. Get more details and fill out a brief form to let us know you’re interested. Then we’ll be in touch with more info and to confirm.

Thanks for your consideration. We hope you’ll join us on March 16!

flyer advertising zuni cafe benefit dinner for Alemany Farm, March 16

“Grow Your Medicine” with Bonnie Rose Weaver

Dear Farm Friends,

This spring, Alemany Farm will be home to an herbal intensive offered by Bonnie Rose Weaver and Scarlet Sage Herb Company.  First class session is on February 9.

Grow Your Medicine will consist of six half day (4 hr) intensives that will follow the steps of germination, cultivation and maintenance of medicinal plants in San Francisco (24 hr total). With affordable and easy to learn techniques, the class will dive into the basics of greenhouse management, home and community herb gardening, herbal small business operation and land stewardship. Hosted at Alemany Farm, this will be an immersive course that will shift the way you interact with the natural world. Enrollment is limited to 15 people.

Bonnie Rose Weaver is a clinical herbalist, medicinal landscaper, and lifelong San Franciscan. They are a medicinal plant cultivator, medicine maker and the author of Deeply Rooted: Medicinal Plant Cultivation in Techtropolis. She reads tarot cards, astrological charts and energy.

Please note this is not a Friends of Alemany Farm workshop, so different pricing and registration process apply.

LEARN MORE AND REGISTER at the Scarlet Sage website.
(Farm friends get a 10% discount on the course! Use discount code FARMFRIENDS.)