Friday, March 11, 2011

Empowerment and Urban Gardens

Yesterday a group a college students from South Carolina joined the volunteer work party. This diverse group of young leaders stepped onto the rooftop wanting to discuss empowerment, application of rooftop gardening techniques to small-scale home gardening, and the transformative edge between youth education and the urban food and farming movement.

This movement empowers. Why? Because the fundamental act of gardening or farming, of getting your hands in the soil, cultivating fertility, biodiversity and nourishment, in tandem with awakening seasonal awareness and a sensibility of life's interconnections is essential to evolving humanity's eco-literacy.

As we toured the garden, we discussed the different techniques that we use on the roof to compost, produce a yield, experiment with different containers to grow food, practical tips on what to plant, how to plant seeds, yield potential and the educational branch, and community outreach component that is core to the urban food and farming movement.

These young leaders have vision. They are gaining skills and experience that will fuel their respective work to feed, nurture and educate the collective. Read more...

Friday, March 4, 2011

Weeding, Refreshing, and Watering

The chard sparkles and the spinach sprouts look vibrant and healthy, the garden feels and smells fresh on a surprisingly sunny and warm Thursday morning. There is a sweet quiet that permeates the rooftop garden. In the heart of the tenderloin, traffic swirls below, and yet seven floors up, the static, the layered rhythms of city living seem to melt away. I am present with the colors of the garden; the bountiful food growing in milk crates, and five gallon buckets captivates my senses. I notice bees buzzing amongst the flowerbeds and a few ladybugs crawling up the yarrow.

The first volunteer, Ruby arrives, and begins making her rounds, weeding and tending to the plants. Joseph arrives, sets down his stuff and brews up some worm tea to fertilize our flowering fruit trees.

Thanks to a donation from Four Barrel Coffee in the Mission, we had a hefty stack of burlap sacks. Joseph began taking measurements and repurposing the coffee sacks to serve as an aesthetic covering for our white plastic buckets that make up much of our container garden and needed to be “refreshed.”

Caroline joins us around noon with her peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Full of passion and enthusiasm for all things community, we discuss future plans for a summer rooftop bbq and volunteer appreciation event. Caroline waters the thirsty garden; we go in and out of conversation, each of us involved in our own tasks while working on a collective vision.

Around 1:30 we pause, drank a lot of cool water and ate at the community picnic table, the moment was rich with laughter, life lessons, and birthday invitations.

The afternoon sun high in the sky, we said our goodbyes and each went our separate ways, after having shared a highly productive, creative, and fruitful volunteer workday on the roof.

Graze the Roof!

Volunteer Workdays Thursdays from 11a-1p