Farm Updates

Dye Garden Workdays in May

Dear Farm Friends,

You are invited to Alemany Farm for some special Dye Garden Workdays this month of May as we further develop the garden:

  • Friday, May 6, 11 am – 3 pm
  • Friday, May 13, 11 am – 3 pm
  • Friday, May 20, 11 am – 3 pm
  • Friday, May 27, 11 am – 3 pm

Workdays will be led by LisaRuth Elliott, steward of the dye garden. Join her to work on clearing weeds, creating pathways, developing previously unplanted areas, and preparing for planting in the coming weeks. Then toward the end of the month we will be putting coreopsis, indigo, hopi sunflowers, weld, tansy, and flax in the ground and laying irrigation for these beds. The woad plants are in full bloom and the madder plants are very pert right now.

Bring a sun hat and wear layers. Please have a mask with you, as we are still asking people to wear them when working closely with others. You may want to bring some snacks for yourself and definitely have a water bottle! We will have gloves and all of the tools you’ll need on site.

Please let LisaRuth know by emailing lisaruth [dot] elliott [at] gmail [dot] com if you can join her for one or more of these Dye Garden work days. We’d love to have you.

Earth Day on the Green – April 23

Dear Farm Friends,

Join Friends of Alemany Farm and the Alemany Apartments Community for the…

Alemany Farm Earth Day on the Green Celebration

Saturday, April 23
10 am to 2 pm
Alemany Farm, 700 Alemany Blvd, SF
FREE

>> Bring a mask; mask wearing encouraged when in close contact with others.

Thumbnail image of Earth Day on the Green flyer, with details included on this page
View and download the event flyer

The day will include:

  • Potato planting (10 am to 12:30 pm)
  • Farm tour (11 am)
  • Plant sale and Alemany Farm merch (suggested donation) – see list of available plant starts (10 am to 2 pm)
  • Master Gardeners resources (10 am to 1 pm)
  • Music for kids with Emily Shumway (10:30 to 11:15 am)
  • Live music from Tony Saunders and the Noteworthy Band (11:30 am)
  • Catering courtesy of Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center (11:30 am to 2 pm)
  • Pig roast, BBQ, farm salad (1 to 2 pm)
  • Community awards ceremony (12:30 pm)
  • Worm bin creation station (10 am to 12:30 pm)
  • Bike-powered smoothie station (10;30 am to 12 pm)
  • Face painting for kids (10:30 am to 12:30 pm)
  • Kids games
  • DJ and more….

Please Note: Onsite parking will not be available for our Earth Day event. We encourage folks to use public transit or pedal power. If you are driving to the farm, you will need to find parking in the vicinity. For directions and other info on visiting the farm, see our Get Involved page.

Interested in volunteering for the event? We could use some extra hands with a variety of activities and areas. Contact farm volunteer John Stokes for more info and to sign up for a shift!

Friends of Alemany Farm thanks our co-sponsors and event partners:

Alemany Resident Management Corp
Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center
SF Recreation & Parks
San Francisco Landscapes
In-kind donor: World Centric

We hope to see you on April 23!

Feb. 26: Pond Restoration Day

Put on your waders and rain boots, learn about aquatic plants, and help us with our winter pond restoration day at Alemany Farm

Water Gardening & Alemany Pond Restoration Day

Saturday February 26, 2022,  12 – 4 pm at Alemany Farm.

Masks required.

Instructor: Brett Stephens 

Come out and learn about aquatic plants and water management and help with our end-of-winter pond maintenance. We are excited to see so much water back in our pond from the winter rains! Learn about pond ecology and support habitat restoration for the red wing black bird, tule reeds and more.  The pond work day will include a discussion on pond ecology, the importance of water sources on organic farms, strategies for management and creating plant and animal diversity. Bring your hip waders or rain boots, if you have them (a few will be provided), gloves, snacks, and join us in getting your hands wet!

Brett Stephens is owner/project manager of San Francisco Landscapes. He is certified in permaculture design, a Bay-Friendly professional, ARCSA accredited professional, and a long-time volunteer at Alemany Farm.

November Farm News

Dear Farm Friends,

Click here to read our November edition of “e-news.” In this edition, you will find (in order of appearance):

  1. An invitation to the final workshop of the season: “Touching Earth,” Zen + Farming: this Saturday 11/13 from 10 – 11:30 am. Note that this is an online workshop. Learn more and register.
  2. A brief introduction to our newest cohort of paid apprentices
  3. News about three recent focus groups conducted with our neighbors at the Alemany Apartments
  4. Some photos and highlights from our recent Harvest Festival
  5. Another installment of: Farm Voices! In this round, read a blurb from longtime farm friend and frequent weekend workday host, LisaRuth Elliott: Coreopsis Dreams: Cultivating Color

Thanks, as always, for your support – and farm on!

The Alemany Farm Team

Harvest Festival & Plant Sale

Come to the Harvest Festival & Fall Plant Sale!
Saturday, 10/23: 10 am – 2 pm. Learn more.
harvest festival flyer showing information included in body of the email
We are excited to welcome you back to the farm for the first Harvest Festival since the pandemic began: next Saturday, October 23, from 10 am – 2 pm!

Plus we’ll hold our final plant sale of the season. Masks are required for this event. Bring a small token to place on the farm altar (a photo, an intention, something to let go of, or an offering to the earth).

Festival features include:

Enjoy a kids music session with Emily Shumway from 10:30-11 am, live string music from 12-1 pm, courtesy of your favorite local old time music ensemble and mine: The Knuckle Knockers.
The final fall plant sale, including seasonally-appropriate crops to fill out your fall and winter garden (more information below).
pickling station with Master Food Preserver and SF Rec & Park Department’s very own Mei Ling Hui.
Make your own salt scrubs with Clinical Herbalist & author, Bonnie Rose Weaver.
Garlic planting – it’s a tradition for our fall festival.
Tour the farm: Get reacquainted with your neighborhood agricultural site; learn about the history of the land, discover how it has changed and grown during the pandemic.
Tour the expanded vineyard and hear about the 280 Project’s pilot apprenticeship program, led by our resident visionary, mover, and shaker, Christopher Renfro.
Learn about local apiculture at Alemany Farm’s beehives, where SF Beekeepers’ Association will lead a workshop.

Masks required at Harvest Fest!

Harvest Festival will include our final fall plant sale of the season. We will have a wide variety of seasonally-appropriate veggie starts, plus culinary and medicinal herbs. Check out all of the plants we have in stock before you come, and bring trays to help yourself carry everything home. Our inventory usually moves quickly, so don’t wait until the last minute to show up!
 
Cash preferred (our new card reader works intermittently). 
Suggested donation: $5 per 6-pack or 4″ pot, $10 per gallon pot,
$15 per tree.

Parking is available off the gravel driveway inside the farm gate. Masks required.

The Alemany Farmers will be on site throughout the sale to meet, greet, and consult with you. All donations directly support farm operations.
alemany farm plant sale flyer showing information provided in the body of email and in link to plant inventory


Final Fall Workshops
Hands On Herbal Medicine: Elderberry Syrup and Immune System Support

Saturday, November 6,  11 am – 1 pm 
On site at Alemany Farm. Bring a mask. Register: Herbal Medicine

various dried herbs and roots in jars and on trays on a marble table
Enjoy “Hands On Herbal Medicine” with Bonnie Rose Weaver, clinical herbalist, medicinal landscaper, and author of Deeply Rooted: Medicinal Plant Cultivation in Techtropolis.

Learn to make elderberry syrup in this hands-on workshop about herbs to support your immune system this cold and flu season.


Touching Earth: Zen & Farming

Saturday, November 13, 10 – 11:30 am
On Zoom. Register: Zen and Farming

a wreath of white strawberry fruits, blossoms, and foliage against weathered wood boards

Enjoy “Touching Earth” with Sensei Wendy Johnson, author of Gardening at the Dragon’s GateSara Tashker, Dharma Teacher and Farm Manager at Green Gulch Farm; and Jack Thomas, Co-Director at Friends of Alemany Farm.

Witness and join a conversation between three generations of Bay Area farmers and gardeners. Wendy, Sara, and Jack will discuss several methods that transform manual labor and land-based work into an expression of gratitude and a technology for individual and collective healing. Learn how to bring your contemplative practice to life in the garden.


Farm Voices:
Heather Weiss, FOAF Steering Committee Member, on
Food Activism, Farm Practice, & Community Nourishmenta person stands at the end of a wood-mulched pathway and picks beans growing on a long trellisHeather harvests Early Riser pole beans in the western row crop beds. Photo Credit: Navila Hossain, Alemany Farm VolunteerDear Alemany Farm Community,

My name is Heather Weiss and I grew up in and am lucky enough to still call San Francisco my home. As any San Franciscan can tell you, we are passionate about food here. I came to Alemany Farm to connect with food that I had a part in growing, and to be a part of a project that supports food access and autonomy for everyone in San Francisco. Through this access and autonomy, we are currently experiencing and being nourished by the Farm’s wonderful late summer bounty as we enter more fully, with each passing day, into the excitement of the SF second spring—fall. 

My own work with Alemany Farm started in the first half of 2020–the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, and halfway through my Master’s program at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS).  It was, as you well know, a time filled with change as well as personal and collective stress. Despite this, I was really excited to connect with a project in San Francisco growing free food – and after the shelter-in-place order went out last March, I reached out to see if I could support the farm. In 2020 and beyond, food justice efforts came to the forefront and became even more important as COVID-19 and the national uprising for Black lives and racial justice underscored inequalities throughout our system. As we saw throughout the pandemic, food security efforts became even more important in San Francisco and across the nation, as so many people were losing jobs and/or access to affordable grocery shopping. Alemany Farm’s activist work of growing and distributing food, as well as the work of creating community space and green space became even more urgently needed.

My first project with  Friends of Alemany Farm was a grant writing collaboration, where we had an opportunity to consider how decisions are made, and reflect on the farm project overall. In the middle of all that COVID stress, I got to log in to video chats with the Friends, meet up in masks on site to hear about what got people excited about the farm, and write my final paper, “Free(way) Food: Politics and power of place at Alemany Farm.” 

Since then, I have joined the farm’s steering committee. Together, we are reconsidering how we work, so that FOAF’s efforts are more aligned with movements for food justice, racial justice, and economic justice. I still go to quite a few video chats and collaborate online, but since it has been safer to be on-site, I have also joined friends and volunteers at the farm and I feel so grateful to be a part of the turning of seasons this year. 

Urban food justice is a response to urban food injustice–the ways that the food system has created gaps, disempowerment, and inequality in terms of access to food that is nutritionally and culturally appropriate. Another way of thinking about that is to consider who has access to growing or getting food and where that food comes from. Take a moment and really consider this: Do you have a say in where your food comes from? Do your neighbors? Do the people in the neighborhood across the city from you? Who grows and makes your food and how? Answers to these questions are deeply connected to histories of racist policies, and systems of marginalization and will look vastly different depending on your race, class, and neighborhood. Urban food justice projects consider these questions and then take action to create spaces of food access that allow more people to have a say in what and how they eat—especially people and communities most marginalized by the dominant food system. Community management, communal work, food that is free, education, and a relationship to place are all a part of food justice.

As a researcher and a student, part of what I do is activist research. The “activist” side of activist research, where action reinforces theory, is really central to my time at Alemany Farm. Food and activism have a long legacy here in the Bay Area as well. Food, especially food in San Francisco, is central to culture(s), but beyond just food and “foodie” culture, food as activism is central to SF culture, too. In the Bay Area, we have a long history of projects that use food as a tool for activism from the Black Panther Party and The Diggers in the 1960s, onward all the way through to today. Today there are so many incredible projects like Alemany Farm, The Gill Tract Farm and Sogorea Te, Acta Non Verba, Planting Justice, Urban Tilth, Community Grows, Florence Fang Community Farm, and shout out to our close community partners Hummingbird Farm & Urban Sprouts. These activist projects—just to name a few—focus on food, justice, and a (re)connection to land. Through projects like this, communities are working to address the need for more food access and more decision making power over our food through growing, distributing, and connecting deeply to the plants we grow and eat. 

On a recent Friday, after working with a team of long-term volunteers and former interns, I loaded up boxes and boxes of produce for distribution to the Free Farm Stand and Food Pantry in the neighboring Alemany Apartments. This big late-summer harvest included lemon cucumbers, eggplant, green beans, zucchini and zucchini flowers, basil, purslane, cherry tomatoes, and of course greens, greens, and more greens! We added boxes of kale, collards, rainbow chard, and lettuce to the already full cart and were ready to send it off to be distributed for free through our partners to support San Franciscans who might not otherwise have access to fresh food grown nearby. Growing food collectively, connecting to place, and being in partnership with other organizations doing this work to connect more San Franciscans to produce is all a part of the food justice mission of Alemany Farm.

While SF is known for its activism, its many cultures, its food, and its vibrancy (all true!), SF has also been and continues to be the site of race and class inequality which limits access to so many things, including food. This history and, let’s be honest, present day blight on our social fabric, is why centering activism and justice in our food project here at Alemany Farm is so critically important. Alemany is a place to practice relationships to land, place, people, and food that allows all to joyfully participate and be nourished. Practice is a big word here for me. We haven’t perfected anything but we’re very interested in getting honest, telling the whole story, and getting experimental. We want to remember, study, and practice old ways—maintained today by indigenous everywhere—and bring in new ways where relationships to land, place, people, and food allow all to participate joyfully, and be nourished.

If you have been on site in the past year to walk through or volunteer, thank you! If you have joined via video conference or online, thank you! If you have eaten something grown at Alemany Farm, thank you!

Hope to see you out there,
Heather

overhead photos of trays of various greens and artichokes; someone's forearm extends into the frame to select an artichokeLate summer bounty: A farm volunteer reaches for an artichoke to bring home. Photo by Heather Weiss

Fall Plant Sale & Workshops

three people in pandemic face masks pose and smile behind a table displaying a variety of potted plant starts, with a welcome sign visible on the bulletin board behind them
Abby, Corey, and Michiyo helped welcome folks to the spring plant sale.

Dear Farm Friends,

Join us for our second and final fall plant sale on Saturday, October 23, 10 am – 1 pm at Alemany Farm! We will have a variety of seasonally-appropriate food crop plants, plus culinary and medicinal herbs. (A detailed list of offerings will be available closer to sale date.) Our inventory usually moves quickly, so don’t wait until the last minute to show up! The Alemany farmers will be on hand to meet, greet, and consult with you. Cash only, please. All proceeds benefit Friends of Alemany Farm, a fiscally-sponsored project of Earth Island Institute.

Parking is available off the gravel driveway inside the farm gate. Masks required.

Please also check out our lineup of fall workshops, several of which will be held on site at Alemany Farm!

  • Water Gardening & Pond Restoration – Sept 25
  • Organic Fall Vegetable Gardening & Cover Crops – Oct 2
  • Natural Dyes: A Rainbow from the Garden – Oct 10
  • We Can Pickle That!: Carrots and Kraut – Oct 16
  • …and more to be announced.

Find details and registration links on our Workshops page.

We Have a New Fiscal Sponsor!

We are pleased to announce that we have made the move to a new fiscal sponsor: As of July 1, Friends of Alemany Farm is a sponsored project of Earth Island Institute. Founded by environmentalist David Brower and based here in the Bay Area, Earth Island has an excellent, 30-year-plus track record of fiscal sponsorship, and currently has a vibrant network of more than 75 projects – which now includes us!

Since 1982, Earth Island has been a hub for grassroots campaigns dedicated to conserving, preserving, and restoring the ecosystems on which life depends. Earth Island provides comprehensive fiscal sponsorship and project support to a vibrant network of activists and social entrepreneurs promoting ecological sustainability and environmental justice.

We are excited about this change, and are confident that Earth Island will provide us with high quality financial management and organizational support.

Please note that all donations to Friends of Alemany Farm will now be made via Earth Island Institute, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Please visit our Donate page, which is updated with new links and fiscal sponsor information.

As always, thank you for your support – and thank you Earth Island for your fiscal sponsorship!

To learn more about Earth Island, visit earthisland.org.

Earth Island Institute logo

Sign Up for On-Site Volunteer Days!

Mondays & Saturdays, 1 – 5 pm

Come volunteer with Friends of Alemany Farm! Learn new ways to grow fruits and vegetables in an urban setting while supporting our food security programs.

We are excited to start welcoming volunteers back to the farm. Everyone, young or old, experienced and/or still learning, is welcome to join our community workdays held currently on Monday and Saturday afternoons from 1 to 5 pm. We are welcoming up to 15 volunteers per day** and registration is required in advance. Masks still required.

REGISTER for MONDAY Volunteer Day

REGISTER for SATURDAY Volunteer Day

** Space is limited due to continuing pandemic restrictions. Please only sign up for what you can commit to and let us know ASAP if you do not plan to attend so we can open your space to someone on the wait list.

Eight farm volunteers dig two long trenches, into which they will plant potatoes. They stand on pathways that are covered in golden straw mulch. In the foreground: a red rosebush in bloom; in the background: a green hillside; and above, a blue sky.