Year End Report … New Year Support

spinach seedlings in trays in greenhouse
Spinach seedlings, Alemany Farm greenhouse, January 2019. Photo by Chase Johnson

Dear Farm Friends,

Most of the crops at Alemany Farm begin like these spinach seedlings: tiny and delicate, nurtured in the warmth and shelter of our greenhouse.  We know many of you have volunteered time in our garden beds popping young plants like these out of trays and into the garden soil to set them on their journey to maturity, ripeness, and productivity.

This is the time of year when we ask you to consider giving the farm a nurturing hand on our journey into the new year with a donation to Friends of Alemany Farm, if you are able.

Below are some quick stats, highlights, and images from 2019, to let you know what Friends of Alemany Farm has been up to in the past year with your help. We also hope they will inspire you to make a tax-deductible gift to keep us growing in 2020.

24,000 pounds of fresh produce harvested year-round and provided free to San Franciscans. In addition to our substantial weekly harvest for the Free Farm Stand, we also provide produce to supplement the weekly food pantry next door in the Alemany Public Housing community, as well as the student food pantry at SF State University, a relationship fostered by one of our former interns.

left: an intern writes a harvest list on a whiteboard; at right, two people rinse greans in a bucket
Left: An intern writes a harvest list. Right: Harvesting the weekly produce donation to the Free Farm Stand, which gives out free food in the Mission district every Sunday. Photos by Chase Johnson

17,000+ volunteer hours logged in 2019 (a record for us). This includes close to 15,000 hours of volunteer work on site at the farm, contributed by many hundreds of volunteers. These individuals not only contribute to the work of the farm, but they come together in community with folks of all ages, backgrounds, and levels of experience. We’re grateful for this outpouring of energy, and proud of our role in welcoming and guiding such a diversity of people in this work. Help us keep the farm gates open.

people working in the south garden at Alemany Farm on a sunny day
Volunteers at work in the south garden, April 2019

120 group visits to the farm hosted by Friends of Alemany Farm throughout 2019: corporate groups, service groups, school groups, college classes, church groups, and more. That’s a relatively short sentence that represents long hours of work on the part of our two paid staffers, our volunteer leaders, and interns. We aim to make sure these many hundreds of visitors have a safe and rewarding experience while pitching in to help with the work of the farm. (Dozens more groups were hosted at the farm thanks to our partnership with SF Rec & Parks Department and RPD’s Youth Stewardship Program.)

31 interns participated in our internship program throughout 2019. Managed by our farm manager with help from the assistant farm manager, the program continues to grow in popularity. Interns not only learn fundamentals of gardening and community agriculture, but make a significant contribution to farm operations, notably through their assistance with weekly volunteer workdays. They show up early to set up, stay late to clean up, and in between help orient and guide volunteers in collaboration with workday coordinators.

Your donation will help support Friends of Alemany Farm’s two paid staff positions, which are central to enabling us to realize all the activity detailed here and to maintaining the farm’s volunteer ethos.  Funds are also used to pay for seeds, basic materials and supplies, and workshop and special event expenses.

22 workshops in 9 months of the year served over 350 participants, many of them experiencing the farm for the first time. With topics ranging from worm composting to gardening basics, beekeeping, natural fabric dyeing, and cooking from the garden, Friends of Alemany Farm’s workshops are accessible in content and cost, with no one turned away for lack of funds. Our series has truly blossomed in the past year under the direction of our farm manager. In the fall, we piloted our first workshops specifically for young kids and their guardians, and plan to offer more in 2020.

Left: A man and young girl stand by their worm bin. Right: A colorful bowl of salad with edible flowers
Left: Readying a worm bin at the worm composting workshop, spring 2019. Right: An early summer farm salad at a “cooking from the garden” workshop.

2 beloved annual seasonal events: Our Earth Day Celebration in April and Harvest Festival in October – both now in their teens – each drew a record number of attendees this year. With live music, farm chores, farm tours, kids activities, and a traditional potluck picnic and BBQ, these free community-building events draw many old friends and new friends to connect with the farm and our community.

left: musicians play near a tree while a man and young child look on; right: people help themselves to a potluck buffet
Left: Tony Saunders and friends played at Harvest Festival. Right: Earth Day crowd help themselves to the traditional potluck lunch.

1 Head Start partnership. This fall, we began a collaboration with the Alemany Head Start program to provide monthly activities to enhance early childhood classroom education through hands-on learning related to food, health, agriculture and nutrition. In October, our farm manager and several interns got 18 kids at Head Start started on planting their own garden, and they have begun to work with them monthly on caring for their plants and garden beds. Already they have harvested cabbages and onions and tried some new foods! With your help, this work will continue in 2020. Future goals include a potential “kid zone” on the farm.

Left: young children sow bean seeds. At right, a young child waters young plants.
Very beginning gardeners sowing seeds and watering young plants. Alemany Head Start, fall 2019.

A singular San Francisco treasure. That’s how we and many other people think of Alemany Farm.  Your year-end donation will help us keep all these good things growing and flowing at the farm in the coming year. As we look forward to celebrating Friends of Alemany Farm’s 15th anniversary working at Alemany Farm in 2020, we’re grateful for the year-round generosity of spirit, time, and energy that keeps the farm so alive on many levels. If you are able, please make a gift to support our hard work and our vibrant community.

Support Alemany Farm

blue sky with wispy clouds, and lupine leaves with water droplets
Spring sky and lupine at the Farm.