Monday, October 15, 2012

Saving Seed

Saving seed is an art and a science that has been practiced all over the world since the time agriculture emerged...

"We are on the verge of losing in one generation, much of the agricultural diversity it took humankind 10,000 years to create. As late as 1900, food for the planet's hungry was provided by as many as 1,500 different plants, each further represented by thousands of different cultivated varieties. Today over 90% of the world's nutrition is provided by 30 different plants and only four (wheat, rice, corn and soybeans) provide 75% of the calories consumed by man. Where once diverse strains strengthened each local ecosystem, currently, a handful of "green revolution", super-hybrid varieties are "mono-cropping" farms and gardens worldwide."
"For approximately 10,000 years, individual gardeners and farmers created and sustained our rich genetic heritage. Now gardeners and farmers can play an important role in saving it by learning to save their own seeds from varieties that perform best in their own mini-ecosystems. This will assure diversity in the same the way that diversity was promoted and protected instinctively throughout the history of agriculture."
          -International Seed Saving Institute Website

At Graze the Roof we started saving seed about 6 months ago and are slowly building up a seed library that will nurture our garden for years to come and serve as a resource for our community.

On Sunday November 4th, join artist/scientists Zoey Kroll and Suzanne Husky for an experiential workshop on 'Seed Saving.'

  • Go on a 'Seed Walk' around the garden and learn techniques and strategies for saving seasonal vegetable and flower seed
  • Discuss the burgeoning seed library movement and design a system for Graze the Roof
  • Learn about appropriate seed storage and seed packaging
  • Leave with a holistic understanding of this ancient art and science and a dozens of seeds for your own home, community or school garden
RSVP for this FREE community workshop to : 
     ***donations graciously accepted***

WHAT: Seed Saving
WHERE: Graze the Roof
WHEN: Sunday November 4th
TIME: 1p-3p


50 lbs of HONEY

Yesterday our resident Bee Keeper, Paul Koski guided 15 volunteers through the delicate art and science of harvesting honey.

We collected 50 lbs of light, floral and perfectly sweet honey!

It will be on sale in a couple of weeks! 

All the funds raised from the honey sales will go to benefit the Graze the Roof Project. 
Thank you in advance for your support!

...and, "Thank You to the Honey Bees!" 


Monday, September 3, 2012

Support Graze the Roof!

Graze the Roof needs your support to keep GROWING into 2013!

Check out our newly launched Indiegogo campaign!

Tell your friends!

It takes a COMMUNITY to GROW a Garden!


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Celebrating August Abundance!


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Harvest Honey with Graze the Roof this Fall

The honeybees that live at Graze the Roof have been busy all year long! 
We will host a Honey Extraction workshop this fall and we'd LOVE for you to join us! 

This was a very popular workshop last year, so if you'd like to participate, RSVP TODAY!

Facilitated by seasoned beekeepers, Paul Koski of SF Bee Keepers Association and Konrad Bouffard of RoundRock Honey, these apiary experts will lead us through all stages of a honey extraction. 

Community Oriented

Register TODAY!

workshop: The Sweetness of Honey
date: Sunday October 14th
time: 1p-3p
tuition: FREE, donations for presenters welcome


Monday, August 6, 2012

THANK YOU Planet Drum

Planet Drum a local environmental non-profit, "promotes awareness of sustainable strategies for human inhabitation of the earth based on the bioregions where people live. We seek to enhance the intimate connection with life-places by spreading the ideas and activities of "living in place" through publications, workshops, formal curricula, and hands-on demonstration projects. This work is motivated by our vision of a truly sustainable world in which humans are harmonious with and respectful of the natural environment."

Planet Drum joined Graze the Roof last week during our weekly volunteer workparty with 6 summer interns, 2 British WWOFFers and a couple environmentally conscious community members to support our weekly development of garden, gathering space and food system laboratory.

Thank you for all your support, enthusiasm and dedication to local urban agriculture!

Learn more about the Planet Drum Foundation and how you can get to know your bioregion at:

Friday, June 29, 2012

Join us on JULY 5th from 10a-2p!

Lupine is a bloomin' !

We have been stewarding this particular blossom from seed and it is quite remarkable to see her in bloom. We saved this seed from an heirloom hybrid variety of lupine grown at Occidental Arts and Ecology center's garden. 

Join us on Thursday JULY 5TH 2012 from 10a-2p! (bring a picnic lunch!)

There are so many flowers, fruits, vegetables and some of our favorite perennial herbs taking off right now! You've got to see it to believe it!

As always...Thank you to our committed corps of volunteers showin' up week after week helping to grow the garden. We couldn't do it without you!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Plant your Art: The Living Wall

Sunday, August 19, 2012
1:00 - 3:00 PM
Graze the Roof 
330 Ellis Street (at Taylor)
San Francisco, CA 94102
Free to the public
You’re invited to join the Museum of Craft and Design and Graze the Roof, GLIDE Memorial Church’s rooftop garden, in an afternoon immersed in eco-art. Where do art and the garden merge? How do contemporary artists and designers employ the living plant as medium and focal point? Join in this conversation while learning to craft a living wall using recycled wood pallets. Help install the garden’s very first living wall element, and create one of your own to take home. Limited spaces are available. Register today!

Please RSVP to Lindsey Goldberg, Project Manager at Limited spaces are available. Children are welcome with adult accompaniment.

Graze the Roof gets a new Intern

Hello San Francisco! Meet Megan Leary.

Megan is a native San Franciscan and joins us from Oberlin college this summer to get hands-on experience working at the intersection of urban gardening, food and social justice and community building. 

Megan has helped to transform backyards from simple lawns into productive food gardens. We are thrilled to have her support this summer season as a volunteer coordinator. I look forward to working alongside Megan as we manage the compost, build soil, plant seasonal crops, take care of the worms, the bees and continue to supply a weekly harvest to GLIDE's kitchen.

Thank you Megan!

Join us on Thursdays from 10a-2p for our weekly volunteer workday. Bring a lunch and bring a friend!

Demystifying Irrigation

This last Sunday was HOT. We don't get that many hot days in San Francisco and Sunday was truly a day to remember. The basil and tomatoes of Graze the Roof are loving the heat and growing fast! (On your next visit to the garden, take home beautiful bushels of basil to make your own pesto - a summer treat!)

When it gets this hot, we are reminded just how important water is, to the success and sustainability of our garden. Graze the Roof is watered via a drip system that was installed about four years ago. Like the garden, drip irrigation is dynamic. It has to be, as the flora of our garden: flowers, fruits and vegetables are in constant rotation...

For the June installment of our urban agriculture workshop series we invited Shain Herbert of the Urban Farmer Store to break down the "how-tos" of irrigation. He did an incredible job covering a vast amount of information and all the parts and pieces that can make up a successful irrigation system. The workshop participants were Master Gardeners, School Garden Coordinators and aspiring backyard gardeners. 

Following the lecture, we jumped into practice and worked together to refine a loosey-goosey drip-line  into a more refined and efficient system.

If you need support with irrigation, you can find Shain and his resourceful colleagues at The Urban Farmer Store -

Thank you Shain and all who came out on Sunday to learn and support the continued development of Graze the Roof!

Enjoy the sunshine and happy gardening!


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Flavorful Fermentation!

Graze the Roof sparkled on Sunday May 6th with the dynamic flavors of Fermentation. Samantha Hanan of Northwest Catering invited twelve inspired workshop participants to chop, dice and shred fresh and seasonal ingredients which included purple and green cabbage, carrots, spring onions, dill, and vietnamese  coriander that together created a huge vat of juicy, delicious and healthy sauerkraut. 

We learned about the health benefits of eating fermented foods, like activating digestion and infusing your system with good probiotics. Through demonstration, and discussion everyone walked away with new knowledge and experience for how to ferment their favorite foods at home.

Samantha's passion for this speciality fermented food was palpable and in the hot spring sun amidst the flourishing rooftop garden, our mouths watered and newfound culinary inspiration was seeded.

To learn more about Samantha's catering company, check out her website at:

Samantha and Ryan are located in Bodega Bay and will start serving up delicious and unique offerings every Sunday at the Bodega Bay Farmer's Market starting Sunday May 27th, 2012!

Graze the Roof's monthly workshops in the garden aim to create diverse access and opportunities for the community to engage with varied themes related to urban agriculture, re-skilling and building community around 'Doing it OURSELVES!'

Coming up in June: 

Demystifying Irrigation: Learn the In's and Out's of Drip Irrigation from local expert Shain Herbert of the Urban Farmer Store

Sunday June 10th 1p-3p FREE COMMUNITY WORKSHOP
RSVP to :

Monday, April 23, 2012

Kraut it up! Learn to Ferment your Favorite Garden Greens!

I hear time and time again that many urban farmers get bitten by the urban farmin' bug because of their love and passion for FOOD! Learning how to cook and celebrate home-grown food is an important part of the local food movement. 'Food Crafting' is the process of adding value to your harvest through transforming it from it's raw, fresh form into a jam, bake, pickle, sautee, ferment, or roasted delight. 'Food Crafting' is delicious and creative! For our May edition of the urban ag workshop series...Graze the Roof brings YOU an exploration into 'Food Crafting!'

JOIN Culinary Artist Samantha Hanan on May 6th from 1p-3p for a special urban agriculture workshop on FERMENTATION!

Samantha will teach the basics of fermentation, share her passion for pickled foods and sample homemade seasonal sauerkraut. She will walk workshop participants through making sauerkraut, and each participant will go home with a pint of delicious sauerkraut.

Samantha was born and raised in New York, the daughter of a butcher she developed a passion early on for all things food. Growing up visiting and eating at all types of restaurants, from classic NY deli to some of the cities finest restaurants Samantha knew from early on that she wanted to spend her time making and serving food. Samantha moved to Southern California to finish college and there discovered the world of Healthy, Organic, Sustainable and of course Farm Fresh Food. She quickly began preserving and canning food and about two years ago went back to her heritage with fermenting using her Grandfather’s recipes. Although only an amateur in fermenting, Samantha is an advocate and lover of fermenting foods and beverages and is honored to share her technique with anyone with desire to learn. Samantha now resides in Bodega Bay.

This workshop is FREE!
Space is LIMITED
Please RSVP to

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Celebration the Earth through 'Harvesting Color'

Some gardeners harvest food, others harvest flowers. Some harvest honey, or worm castings, and those with hens harvest fresh eggs. Have you ever considered the possibility of 'harvesting color'?

Rebecca Burgess of San Geronimo teaches the lost art of Natural Dyes, utilizing native flora to create beautiful natural shades of color to dye farm fresh wool, fabric, and homespun garments. From her new book, 'Harvesting Color,' she writes,

"Making and using your own natural dyes can reduce your impact on the environment (textile production as a whole is the fifth largest contributor to CO2 in the US), and has the added side benefit of some very pleasant time spent outdoors as you search for, gather, and/or tend the plants that yield nonsynthetic color."

I recently took a workshop with Rebecca at the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center in Sonoma County and was amazed to discover interdisciplinary essence of this lost craft and I was mesmerized by the science and wonder of harvesting color from plant species I know well.

I left the workshop, with great examples of natural color on an array of different fabrics including wool, cotton and silk. We harvested color from Coyote Brush (soft yellow), Coriopsis (vibrant orange), Logwood (dark purple) and Oak Gall (silver-gray). Feeling inspired, I crafted curriculum to bring this earth honoring technique to the students of the FYCC in honor of Earth Day.

Yesterday we began exploring the question, "Where does color come from?..."

We explored the idea of 'harvesting color,' by going into the garden and picking some of our favorite seasonal leaves and petals; Ashley chose nasturium leaves and Gabriel was drawn to the firey pink pineapple sage blossoms. Joseph and Jacob gathered the brightly colored violas and Lucero was excited to try ranunculous petals. Downstairs in our studio space, we experimented with technique that involves captures an impressionistic image of the season, by drawing the color out of the freshly picked plants.

On cotton squares we created beautiful patterns of natural color, using soda ash as the mortent.

These squares will be tied along a piece of twine and used as Earth prayer flags, which we will hang in the garden. The flags will celebrate the season and our collective ethic to stewarding ecological balance in our community! Read more...

Monday, April 9, 2012

We LOVE our Volunteers!

Spring has sprung in the Bay Area with this lovely pattern of sunshine and rain, the hills are green, the wildflowers are blossoming, and it is time to plant basil and tomatoes!

At Graze the Roof we are expanding food production, planting more flowers and cultivating more ways for community members to engage with the garden and benefit from the many elements that make this urban agriculture project so special.

Every week, we host a volunteer workday, where members from our community at-large, folks who live in and around the Tenderloin, GLIDE congregation members, students from various universities, and retired elders participate in the cycle of building soil, sowing seeds, tending to plants, feeding the worms, turning the compost and beautifying the space. It is the volunteers that make Graze the Roof possible; it really does take a community to grow a garden.

Since November we have been doing a weekly harvest of food for the soup kitchen facilitated by the GLIDE. Since that time we have harvested a comprehensive 87lbs of food for the Free Meals Program and Nutrition Education programs that serve the needs of thousands of people a day.

It is because of the volunteers that we have elevated the garden to the point where we can offer local, seasonal, organic food grown with love to those in need.




*Community Lunch at 12:30p

Natural Building

Cecil Williams used his '5 minutes' on stage toward the end of the 9am Celebration service with an extraordinary rendition of 'Amazing Grace,' joined by the GLIDE Ensemble and the congregation at large, the lyrics and collective voice were truly amazing...What a way to start off Easter Sunday; feeling inspired, moved, and filled with awe at the remarkable culture GLIDE is seeding in the streets.

Later in the day, up on the roof, we dug into the art and craftsmanship of Natural Building during the April installment of our urban agriculture workshop series.

Sam Hartman and Tori Jacobs of Eco-SF facilitated an in-depth and experiential workshop on building with natural materials and together a group of twelve community members from 4 years old to sixty years old, rolled up their pants and danced in clay, sand, straw and water to make cob, (a mixture similar to adobe that has been used for building projects around the world for hundreds of years)!

We 'cobbed' two milk crates and finished them off with beautiful mosaic tiles, creating images of the sun, moon and spring inspired growth, butterflies and dragonflies! Read more...

Monday, April 2, 2012

Easter = Celebration, Service and Learning

Join us on Easter Sunday April 8th for a special and celebratory day in the garden!

Tours at 10:30a and 12:30p

Workparty from 11a-noon

Potluck 12oon-1p

Earth-Building workshop with ECO-SF 1p-3p (Free! Please RSVP

Happy Spring!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Cob Building comes to the Garden

Join ECOSF and Graze the Roof us for a fun filled workshop on building with cob (sand, clay and straw)! We’ll mold these natural materials with our hands, and feet, and use this mixture to cover milk crates to enliven our mobile garden seats. We’ll also embed colorful mosaic tiles to decorate these new earthen additions to the beautiful roof garden at Glide.

All ages are welcome, be prepared to get dirty and have some fun!

ECOSF has been designing and building sustainable landscapes and natural building projects with schools and communities throughout San Francisco for over five years. Tori Jacobs and Sam Hartman, along with Davin Wentworth Thrasher, co founded this local non-profit organization and coordinate the programs including the Design and Build services, Ecological workshops and the School Farm, an outdoor experiential learning space and organic farm on the Campus of the School of the Arts High School.

Check out the inspiring work of ECOSF at {}

COB BUILDING Workshop in the Garden (rooftop of 330 Ellis St.)
April 8th 2012 - Easter Sunday at GLIDE is a spectacular place to celebrate!

RSVP for this one of a kind cob building workshop at Graze the Roof at Read more...

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Graze the Roof MURAL children's book PUBLISHED!

Artist and Sustainability Educator Jessica Kraft who was the visionary behind Graze the Roof's unique story-telling mural has published a children's book inviting youth to engage in the principles behind the extraordinary images!

These books will be purchased and distributed to the 75 youth in the Family, Youth, and Childcare Center's program who have weekly interaction with the garden!

The book captures the essence of place-based transformation and the urban agriculture movement taking hold in San Francisco and beyond.

Take a look at the newly published book using the following link:

THANK YOU Jessica!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Flatland Flower Farm supports Graze the Roof!

Here is a great article published on CUESA's ( online newsletter.

Graze the Roof has been blessed by having dozens of plants from Flatland Flower Farm's nursery over the past several seasons.

Thank you to Dan and Joanne for all your hard work and dedication to the urban agriculture movement!

You can find Dan selling his delicious edible plant starts every Saturday at the Ferry Building Farmer's Market.

Spring rains have come and the days are getting longer, which means business is picking up for Dan Lehrer and Joanne Krueger of Flatland Flower Farm. The Sebastopol-based nursery has been providing plant starts to Bay Area gardeners at the Saturday Ferry Plaza Farmers Market since 1995. "We have customers who have been buying our starts for 17 years," Lehrer says with pride. "People show us photographs and bring us tomatoes from plants they got from us. We get to share in people's success."

Flatland's long history at the market belies its humble beginnings. In the 1990s, while Lehrer was completing a master's in journalism at Berkeley and Krueger was working as a magazine editor, they moonlighted as helpers at the Berkeley Farmers Market. One cold February day, they decided to bring some bunches of cut sweet peas from their backyard garden to the market, and Flatland Flower Farm was born.

"The 'farm' part was kind of joke," Lehrer laughs. "We'd have the organic inspector come and inspect our backyard. It was always funny." They started selling their sweet peas and plant divisions regularly, and the business began to grow. While the two knew little about plant propagation, Krueger shadowed fellow marketeer Annabelle Lenderink of Star Route Farms to learn more about seeding.

In 1999, they decided to go full-time and, with Lehrer's parents, purchased 22 acres in Sebastopol. "Originally, we were just growing plants between the trees in the apple orchard. We didn't know deer would come and eat them," said Lehrer. Their first growing season, they lost all of their starts to a late frost, because they hadn't built any greenhouses yet. "I have to say, we've made every possible mistake you can make. It's just been figuring it out as we go."

Fresh Starts
In 2008, after receiving a letter from one of their seed suppliers saying that vegetable seed sales were on the rise, Lehrer and Krueger decided to focus on edible plant starts, which now make up about 98 percent of their business. When the recession hit later that year, they were poised to meet the urban gardening boom. The nursery grows starts that will thrive in San Francisco's cooler microclimates. "We're not planning on Walnut Creek," says Lehrer. "If you can grow it in the Sunset, you can grow it pretty much anywhere."

Though they're no longer in the Berkeley flats and no longer a flower farm, the name has stuck, and Flatland now sells their starts to retail nurseries around the Bay Area. Remaining part of the farmers market community has been invaluable in helping Lehrer and Krueger find seed sources, stay on top of the popular vegetable varieties, and receive feedback on what works in what conditions. Being at the market every week also gives them the opportunity to educate and learn from their customers. "You can't just say, 'That'll be $3.75' and send people on their way, because many people don't know how to grow stuff," says Lehrer. The farm has also hosted school tours for CUESA's Schoolyard to Market program, teaching San Francisco high school students about the basics of plant propagation.

For Lehrer and Krueger, growing a bit of your own food complements shopping at the farmer market as another basic way to connect with your local foodshed. "If you grow something yourself, it tastes that much better," he says. "And there's the aesthetic value, too. Even the lowly lettuces are beautiful. It's nice to have this connection to your food and the natural world available at your doorstep."

Ready, Set, Grow
Lehrer has talked to thousands of Bay Area gardeners over the years and offers a few tips to inspire and empower beginners.

Don't be shy. When buying plant starts, expect a conversation. "I always find out people's back story when I'm talking to them because that's crucial to giving them a successful growing experience," says Lehrer. He asks a lot of questions ("Where do you live? What are the conditions like? What are growing now?") and expects you to do the same.

Start small. If you're new to gardening, try growing low-maintenance and versatile herbs like thyme and rosemary, which are perfect for containers and are only harvested a bit at a time. All you need is a sunny windowsill. Arugula and lettuce are also ideal for newbies because they grow fast and are well suited to San Francisco's varied microclimates.

Plant for success. Many beginning gardeners have their sights set on tomatoes, which, unfortunately, are not well adapted for San Francisco. Lehrer knows gardeners who have had success with certain tomato varieties, but if your plot is a container garden on a chilly, wind-swept balcony, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment. Instead, choose plants that are climate-appropriate. "The reality is, you can have great lettuce, great Swiss chard, and awesome kale," he emphasizes, "but you have to be careful with tomatoes."

Be water smart. Keep your plants hydrated and protect the soil by putting mulch, such as pebbles or bark, on top of your pots to slow down evaporation. Place saucers under your pots to catch water that can later be wicked back up by the plants. Lehrer recommends checking out The Urban Farmer Store for classes and supplies to make watering plants easier and more efficient.

Just do it. The best piece of advice Lehrer gives budding gardeners is to just do it: "The thing that prevents people from gardening is thinking they don't know enough. The worst case scenario is that the plant doesn't do well or you kill it. I can tell you that you are not a real gardener until you've killed some plants. But the more experience you get, the more you observe the way the plants grow and the more stuff starts to make sense." Read more...

Friday, February 24, 2012

Get your garden GROWING this Spring! We'll show you how!

On Sunday March 4th YOU ARE INVITED to PARTICIPATE in a seasonally inspired workshop on how to get your Spring garden GROWING! Now is the time to equip yourself with the skills, the resources, and inspire the passion needed to cultivate a healthy, beautiful and most importantly...a delicious spring garden.

Join us at Graze the Roof on 3/4/2012 at 1p for "Designing your Spring Garden," led by Nikolaus Dyer of Purple Carrot Gardening. Nikolaus designs, installs and maintains edible gardens throughout San Francisco, Marin and Sonoma counties. He has been practicing stewardship in gardens, farms and backyard food forests for over a decade and brings expertise, passion for growing food and a gift for teaching the art of gardening.

This workshop is great for beginning gardeners as well as those who have been at it for awhile - get inspired, learn something new, refine your skills all in the context of GLIDE's unique rooftop gardening project!



Sunday March 4th