For the last two months I have been volunteering weekly at a beautiful place called The Free Farm. An urban oasis in San Francisco, this 1/3 acre lot now overflowing with organic vegetables, fruits, and flowers rose from the ashes of a burnt-down church less than three years ago.
I came to the Free Farm after a year of volunteering with Food Not Bombs because I was freshly unemployed and wanted to do more to get vegan food to hungry people. I knew absolutely nothing about gardening when I started, but am learning gradually. I especially enjoy doing purely physical labor like shoveling and chopping compost while getting fresh air and sunshine.
Tree, on the right, is the founder and leader of the farm, and a long-time vegan. John, on the left, is in charge of our greenhouse, where we grow plants not only for our own farm but for others throughout the city.
Pancho is a long-time volunteer at the farm and a very inspirational speaker.
Our farm attracts visitors from all over the world. As Tree wrote in his blog, these two women from Brazil, Natália and Juliana, helped harvest Yacón root (which I'd never even heard of before!) I'm looking forward to reading their article about the farm when they post it on their web site, though I'll need to translate it from Portuguese...
One of the wonderful things about volunteering at the farm is that we all share a free vegan lunch. We form a circle before eating, not in prayer but in thanks and recognition of the hard work of the volunteers and the bounty of the Earth.
On Saturdays we give away food at the farm, then on Sundays we give more food away at the Free Farm Stand, where I also volunteer; I'll write about that next week.
More photos of the Free Farm here. If you're local or visiting the Bay Area, come visit us! We're open Wednesdays and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.