Farm Updates

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!

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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

 

Making Every Drop Count: Water-wise Irrigation Workshop, July 27

Dear Farm Friends,

Water is scarce this time of year during our seasonal drought. So it’s a perfect time to think and learn about watering our gardens efficiently and responsibly. In this workshop, you’ll learn about the type of drip irrigation system we use at Alemany Farm, including a chance to set up a simple drip system. Read about it below, and please register in advance!

Suggested Donation: $20 per person per workshop; no one turned away for lack of funds. Our workshops are donation-based and support the farm. Please give at the suggested level or higher if you are able. All donations will benefit Friends of Alemany Farm via our fiscal sponsor, the San Francisco Parks Alliance, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

Making Every Drop Count: Water Efficient Irrigation Systems
Saturday July 27, 10 am to 12 pm at Alemany Farm
Instructor: Tom Bressan

In this workshop you’ll get hands-on experience setting up a simple drip system, look at how irrigation systems go together, and discuss how to convert sprinkler systems to drip. Using the new California water conservation guidelines, you will learn how to water your garden using climate smart irrigation. It’s not as complicated – or as costly – as you might think, and applicable whether you’re growing food, flowers, or natives! We will also explore new advances in irrigation technology and determine which products are best to use.

All questions are welcome! Feel free to bring a picture or a sample of something you have a question about.

Tom Bressan is the Co-Founder and was the President of The Urban Farmer Store. He has written numerous articles and handbooks on irrigation and all aspects of sustaining the landscape and the environment. He has served as a consultant for Sunset magazine, Ortho books, and the This Old House book. He has presented Irrigation lectures to over 1,000 clubs, university classes, and organizations.

REGISTER for the irrigation workshop

 

Free Workshop – Mi Cuerpo, Mi Tierra, Mi Casa (My Body, My Land, My Home): Decolonizing Your Plate

Dear Farm Friends,

There will be a special, free workshop at Alemany Farm this Sunday, June 23, from 12 – 2:30 p.m., organized in collaboration with Consejos Descolonizados. This workshop will explore ancestral food knowledge and wellness.  Find more info in the flyer below! RSVP is not necessary. Email alopeztorr@haverford.edu with any questions.

Seeds, Bees, and Garden Cuisine: Three more sessions in our Spring Workshop Series

Dear Farm Friends,

First, thank you to everyone who came out to the farm on April 27 for our Earth Day Celebration. Not only did we have a great community gathering with good food, sweet music (from our friends KC & the MooNshine Band), and fun activities, but we also got potatoes and tomatoes planted for summertime harvests!

Special thanks to all the event volunteers who did shifts in the kitchen, at the front tables, in the garden, and with activities. (Extra kudos to Alexia, our face-painting farm fairy!)

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Speaking of events, we have three workshops remaining in our spring series, including a session on seed sowing added due to the enthusiastic response to our propagation workshop earlier this spring! And then we close out the series with popular sessions on urban beekeeping and cooking from (and at) the farm. Find details and registration links below.

If you’re new to Alemany Farm, our workshops are a great excuse to come out for an introduction to some of the work we do, while learning skills you can bring home to your own garden or kitchen. For regular volunteers, they are a chance to deepen your knowledge in a more structured setting.

SUGGESTED DONATION: $20 per person per workshop; no one turned away for lack of funds. Our workshops are donation-based and support the farm. Please give at the suggested level or higher if you are able. All donations will benefit Friends of Alemany Farm via our fiscal sponsor, the San Francisco Parks Alliance, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

Friends of Alemany Farm’s Spring 2019 Workshops are generously sponsored by Google and Rainbow Grocery.

Added by popular demand! ….

Intro to Seed Sowing Propagation
Saturday May 18, 10 am to 12 pm at Alemany Farm
Instructors:  Abby Bell and Rachel Lane

Come learn the basics of starting plants from seed. We will cover all you need to know about seed propagation and care, learning low cost ways to start your garden. Workshop participants will get hands-on experience sowing seeds and will have the opportunity to take some home.

Abby Bell is the current farm manager of Alemany Farm, the co-founder of Food, What?!, and a long-time gardener/farmer, food justice activist, and lover of food.

Rachel Lane is the assistant farm manager of Alemany farm and a co-manager of Berkeley Basket CSA. She began her agricultural career working in nursery production sales and community-based urban farming systems. Rachel has worked at several mixed vegetable and flower farms in California and is passionate about growing an equitable food system, cultivating culturally appropriate food through ecological methods, and building community through farm work.

REGISTER for the seed sowing workshop

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Introduction to Urban Beekeeping
Saturday May 25, 10 am to 12 pm at Alemany Farm
Instructor:  Fernando Aguilar

Please join us in exploring bee biology and habits, responsible beekeeping basics, and to learn about essential hive equipment. We will also look at an observation hive (subject to availability), take a safe peek at the Alemany Farm apiary, and get to taste some honey. This workshop is a great introduction to bees and beekeeping in urban spaces.

Fernando is a former SF Beekeepers Association Board Member continues to be active with this organization. He’s lived in The City his entire life, currently residing in Bernal Heights, and has been keeping bees for 7 years.

REGISTER for the beekeeping workshop

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Cooking from the Spring Garden
Sunday June 2, 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 springtime 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 spring, 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 as active volunteer and Friend of Alemany Farm for the past 2 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 Spring!

SPACE IS LIMITED so please register in advance.

REGISTER for the cooking workshop

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We hope you’ll join us for a workshop or an upcoming community volunteer day!

 

Join us for our Earth Day Celebration on April 27!

flyer advertising Alemany Farm's Earth Day Celebration, April 27, 2019, 11am - 4pm, at 700 Alemany Blvd, SF, CA
View and download the event flyer

Dear Farm Friends,

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

Alemany Farm’s
13th Annual Earth Day Celebration
April 27, 2019 • 11 am to 4 pm
700 Alemany Blvd, SF, CA
FREE

The day will include:
potato planting (11 am – 1 pm)
farm tours (11:30-ish & 2:30-ish)
face painting and other activities for kids
seed bomb crafting

plant sale and alemany farm merchandise
(suggested donation)
live music from KC & the MooNshine Band (lunchtime)

delicious pig roast, 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 Professional Gardeners Association
SF Recreation & Parks Department
Alemany Resident Management Corp.
Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center
Urban Services YMCA

We hope to see you on April 27!

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

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Water Gardening & Farm Pond Workday, Feb 17

Dear Farm Friends,

It’s time for our annual late winter pond maintenance, and that means interested folks have a rare chance for an up-close experience of the pond under the guidance of local landscaper Brett Stephens. Brett will share knowledge of aquatic plants and pond ecology while the group does some pond cleanup before the arrival of our annual red wing blackbird visitors! Details and RSVP link below.

ALSO: Save the Date for Alemany Farm’s 13th Annual Earth Day Celebration on Saturday, April 27, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. More details in the coming months, but mark your calendars now!

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Water Gardening Workshop & Farm Pond Workday
Sunday, February 17, 11:00 am – 3:00 pm at Alemany Farm
Instructor: Brett Stephens

Come learn about aquatic plants and water management and help with Alemany Farm’s late winter pond maintenance. The day will include a discussion on pond ecology, the importance of water sources on organic farms, strategies for management and creating plant and animal diversity. Bring your hip waders or rain boots, if you have them (a few will be provided), gloves, snacks to share, and join us in getting your hands wet!

After our work in the pond, we will enjoy a light meal/potluck together. Please bring a potluck item to share.

Brett Stephens is co-owner/project manager of San Francisco Landscapes. He is certified in permaculture design, a Bay-Friendly professional, ARCSA accredited professional, and a long-time volunteer at Alemany Farm.

Please REGISTER in advance so we know you’re joining us!

Suggested donation: $5 – $20. No one turned away for lack of funds. Pay by cash or check at the workshop.

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We hope you’ll also join us for one of these upcoming community workdays. Dig in, get your hands dirty, and bring some veggies home:

Saturday, February 9, Noon – 5 p.m.
Monday, February 11, 1 – 5 p.m.
Sunday, February 17, Noon – 5 p.m. (including work in our native plant areas)
Monday, February 18, 1 – 5 p.m.
Saturday, February 23, Noon – 5 p.m.

For more information about visiting the farm and joining our community workdays, see our Get Involved page. You can also always check our calendar for up-to-date status on workdays.

Thank you for your support. We hope to see you soon!

Growing From Here: Support Alemany Farm!

Dear Farm Friends,

In last year’s Friends of Alemany Farm Indiegogo fundraising appeal, we asked “Where Do We Grow From Here?”  We were excited to tell you about our recently-hired farm manager, Abby Bell, and our expectations for how our first paid staff position would help us advance our mission in the future.

At the end of 2018, we feel we can confidently say simply: We Grow From Here.  We’re happy to report that Abby, our farm manager, has been with us for well over a year now, and is helping us build our resilience and strengthen our volunteer ethos to meet the goals we set last year, and to imagine new ones.

Consider making a donation to Friends of Alemany Farm to keep our work going in 2019. Covering payroll costs will continue to be our most significant expense. In addition, we still need to budget for basics like seeds, fruit trees, tools and supplies, and other raw materials.

Thank you for the many ways in which you have supported Alemany Farm throughout 2018! Take a look at what we’ve accomplished in the past year with the support of our entire community of volunteers, donors, and staff.  

  • Over 14,000 volunteer hours this year.  That’s an average of over 1,100 volunteer hours per month on the farm or in service to the farm, contributed by many hundreds of people over 52 weeks of the year…and a significant increase over last year. We’re proud of this figure and grateful for what it represents: the beating heart of the farm from which everything we accomplish flows.
  • Together, we grew close to 13 TONS of healthy produce (a 13% increase over last year), all of which is given away for free.  As always, this food was provided for free to farm volunteers, farm neighbors, and in sizable weekly food donations to the Free Farm Stand, which provides free produce to individuals and families in the Mission district each Sunday. This year, we also provided produce to supplement the weekly food pantry at the Alemany Public Housing community.
  • A popular new internship program. Our farm manager Abby has created and managed a program that to date has provided training and work experience to over a dozen individuals, many from local schools like SF State, City College of SF, University of SF, and others. Four of these interns have already moved into paid positions in urban agriculture in the Bay Area. The benefit has been mutual: Our interns’ presence has helped shore up our capacity to host community groups, grow food, and do outreach in the area of food security. (And they created our sturdy new row crop signs.)  And two interns have transitioned into auxiliary membership in our core volunteer group!
  • Over 160 group visits to the farm in 2018. Field trips and workday farm visits by schools, service organizations, and corporate and faith-based groups. This included adult and youth groups hosted by Friends of Alemany Farm on our workdays, plus over 30 children’s and student groups hosted thanks to our continuing collaboration with SF Recreation & Parks Department’s Youth Stewardship Program.
  • A destination for kids summer programs. Our work on the farm continues to make Alemany Farm a desirable home for summer programs: Sprouts Cooking Club returned to the farm to hold 23 sessions in our outdoor kitchen, and SF RPD hosted 60 children at its second Summer Farm Camp for several weeks.
  • Youth development pilot program. Under the guidance of our assistant farm manager, we hosted three teens from underserved communities for 7 weeks in summer 2018. Each earned $15/hr while learning and working under a dedicated manager, with 3 field trips to working farms to widen their horizons. We hope to expand this program next summer if budget allows. This is one of several of our valuable programs your donation would help support.
  • A revitalized and growing workshop series. In 2018, Abby spearheaded and curated a creative and collaborative workshop series that has drawn over 200 attendees (many of them farm newcomers) to 13 workshops from February through December. New sessions like natural dyes, worm bin composting, and cooking from the farm have joined popular favorites in a series that provides accessible, low-to-no-cost introductions to a range of topics. The series has drawn on the expertise and interests of our own volunteers as well as guest instructors. Look for more learning in the spring!

We hope you’ll join us in celebrating what’s been happening here at Alemany Farm in 2018. Many of you helped make it happen, in one way or another, throughout the year. We think here is a good place to grow from. If you’re moved to make a gift to support our growth, please make a tax-deductible donation today to keep Alemany Farm thriving.

We value anything you can give, whether that means an afternoon weeding or sowing seeds, or a year-end gift to Friends of Alemany Farm.

Thank you, as always, for your work to grow food security and to build community in San Francisco. We hope you have a peaceful year end, and we look forward to working and growing with you in 2019.

The Farm Team