This spring I started working with an incredibly dedicated group of young urban farmers to focus on SF local food policy. Lately this work is seeing the light of day--sometimes for the worse, sometimes for the better....here are my latest thoughts.
We came together to make a mandate have some muscle. We came together to promote growing food in this little city by the sea. We came together because we all feel the importance of knowing where your food comes from. Because we should all have access to affordable, healthy, and chemical-free food.
Such hard work.
We spent hours around conference tables after our day jobs hashing out the question: how do we build a strong urban agricultural system in SF? and do it with no money. and put that on one page please.
But then, right out of the gate, our good idea was turned into the wrong idea in the wrong place. A little over a week ago the Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Recycling Center / Native Plant Nursery received a 90-day eviction notice. Despite 3 hours of public testimony--when local food advocate after garden advocate after homeless advocate stood up in solid support for the Recycling Center. Instead, over 36 years of providing recycling services will be put to an end and 10 green jobs will be lost. All in the name of putting in a new community garden and resource center. The same type of center we recommended to the city--a place where residents can get mulch and compost and manure and other foundations for starting a garden. But this neighborhood already has access to one of my favorite SF garden resources, Garden for the Environment. There is a glimmer of hope that the recycling center will be saved. Good will come of this -- because as urban farming advocates this is a huge lesson to be more strategic and organized about our next steps. It's time to get active.
Today's Huffington Post article by SF Public Utilities Commission president Francesca Vietor provides some hope that SF food and farming policy will move forward for the better. She's continuing the PUC innovation of providing public land for public good--growing food.