When I moved to San Francisco in 2010, I soon faced an all too common situation; getting on my feet while trying to house and feed myself and struggling to do so. I was referred to a newly established urban agriculture project within walking distance of my studio in the Tenderloin, The Free Farm. I discovered not only a means through which I could help grow my own food but also an incredible project that created a community resource and truly served egalitarian purposes. Almost four years later, I am still getting my hands dirty.
The Free Farm is located on the corner of Gough and Eddy St. near the Civic Center. It is a 1/3-acre lot located in the foundation of an old church, which is communally worked by volunteers. The space serves many functions but the guiding principles of the project are to grow food for equitable distribution and empower others to grow food, even with limited space.
On January 1st, 2014, The Free Farm will be evicted and eventually razed to raise a new apartment tower. It will join Esperanza Gardens and the Hayes Valley Farm/Gezi Gardens as the third public garden evicted in the city in 2013 and on an ever-growing list of victims of the gentrification and urbanization of San Francisco. In the view of many of us at the Free Farm, this is a local manifestation of a global historical trend of privatization of land and resources once held in the commons. From Gezi to Zuccotti, the parks, the streets and publicly held lands are controlled by private interests and the landed elite.
We are trying to increase participation and general support for The Free Farm in the final three months before our eviction. It is an amazing space and I wish to cordially invite the global readership of Slingshot to visit and enjoy the space while it is still open and in its current form. If you are found in Northern California and your house or space could use plants, soil, containers, etc., we are looking to distribute as much material as possible to our neighbors.
Public volunteer days are every Wednesday and Saturday 10am-2pm, with a free delicious vegan lunch served at noon. Additionally, the produce from The Farm is distributed onsite every Saturday at 1 pm.