On a huge empty lot in the middle of San Francisco—once a freeway off-ramp, and then abandoned for years— the new Hayes Valley Farm has been born. It's a great example of how quickly an empty lot can go from disrepair to producing vegetables. The area will eventually be developed with housing, but since the recession delayed construction, the city approved the use of the area for growing food.
Three committed urban farmers, along with over 2500 volunteers, have cleaned up the lot and started food production in just six months. In one area that's scheduled to be developed in a couple of years, the plants are all in containers, so they can easily be moved when construction begins. Other parts of the 2.2 acre lot are undergoing intensive permaculture techniques to build topsoil. Huge stands of fava beans are helping create healthy soil. The farm holds classes on gardening and other community events (even a Cardboard Tube Duel Tournament). The food is all given away to volunteers. It's helping bring neighbors together, says community organizer Jay Rosenberg. People who don't have backyards come for a place to get outside, get a workout, meet their neighbors, flirt, grow food, and generally have fun.
Visit www.hayesvalleyfarm.com to learn more.