COMMON THREAD COLLECTIVE
Out of a small storefront in the sunny Mission District of San Francisco, powerful waves are being transmitted across the region and the web. Mutiny Radio is a project of the Common Thread Collective and they host open house, live, community inclusive radio out of their spot at 21st and Florida Streets. Representing a collective voice of mostly unheard from people, Diamond Dave spins and spews information on gatherings, free farm stands, politics, music, art, the Buddha, the Occupy and anything else he deems relevant. One of the original HAIGHT STREET hippies, Diamond Dave was also part of FOOD NOT BOMBS that helped feed disadvantaged people in the Haight Ashbury starting in the 1960′s. Last Friday, he welcomed Ed Dunn from Kezar Gardens on his show to discuss the ill conceived yet ongoing eviction of 780 Frederick Street. The entire program can be heard on the mutiny radio website http://pcrcollective.org/ or watch a clip from the session above and see what everyone else just heard.
TAKING A STAND
Last Saturday, District Five Supervisor Christina Olague, stopped by Kezar Gardens Ecology Center for the first time. A long-time supporter, Olague still had not seen for herself what this space has to offer. During her visit, she talked about good San Francisco values, green jobs and the highly questionable act of closing a place that exemplifies the best of those ideals. She readily acknowledged the hugely diverse patrons who use the space and even asked for a garden plot of her own as a form of protest against the impending eviction.
The Supervisor was amazed at the 50 community garden plots thriving with native plants, organic veggies, and astounding wildflowers. She was impressed by the extension of habitat restoration taking place from the native plant nursery and was ecstatic over the people who were utilizing the center while she was there. No longer willing to stay quiet about the absolute inequity of closing down such a valuable space, the Supervisor staked her claim with the Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council and their recycling center and gardens at 780 Frederick Street.
We hope her support will help convince Mayor Lee to overturn this hateful eviction order and allow Kezar Gardens Ecology Center to continue serving the local community with their ecological needs. As Supervisor Olague classifies, it’s a battle between good and evil. It’s time to decide-which side are you on? Save Kezar Gardens!
SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY
Come on down to Haight Street this Sunday for the 35th Annual Street Fair. There are live bands on both ends of the closed off street and a variety of merchants and nonprofits with informational and interactive booths. This year, like last, there will be no open containers allowed and the sale of alcohol will be very limited. This should help create a more peaceful and fun loving atmosphere than some years past. Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council will have a tent as well. Look for the giant native plant photo booth featuring the lovely Farewell-to-Spring flower and get your mug snapped with it. There will also be video, fliers and photos on display! Learn more about the fight to keep Kezar Gardens Ecology Center alive and the meet some of the people behind this effort. Hope to see you there!
Also, a reminder that next Sunday, June 17th, is a community garden workday at Kezar Gardens! Come help us tend to the new vertical gardens, add mulch to the raised beds area and share fresh food and ideas about improving the site. Time: 1-4pm Location: 780 Frederick Street.
BLAST FROM THE PAST
Twenty years ago there was a summit in RIO de Janiero to address the global problem of the environment. The next summit, scheduled to start in a couple weeks, will deal with what, if anything, was accomplished in the past two decades and how we can get better at protecting this planet before it’s too late. The Nature Journal published a rather scathing report on the accomplishments of the last twenty years. You can read their thoughts here:
There are seven major themes for this year’s summit: green jobs, cities, energy, food, water, oceans and disasters. The major problem still remains the same as in 1992, who’s doing what and who’s gonna pay for it. This economic approach and measure of success is the greatest barrier to achieving our climate saving goals. No one wants to do the dirty work and even less does anyone want to foot the bill. Reduction of waste is much easier said than done. Same with preventing desertification, halting species extinction, and lowering the amount of CO2 we spit out into the atmosphere every year. The bottom line never makes room for the costly efforts needed to transition our world systems into cleaner, greener infrastructures.
MODEL FOR THE FUTURE
When we look at the dire state of the green economy and the ultimate lack of progress, it seems pretty grim and depressing. The future is rapidly approaching and large scale efforts have not proved successful as of yet. It does appear that the old adage by Margaret Mead, that a few thoughtful citizens really do have the power to change the world, still rings true. At Kezar Gardens Ecology Center, our motto is just that. Empower a small community to perform at their best when it comes to urban environmental action and preserving green jobs. Our site is the most unique eco driven space in the city of San Francisco as it offers services that include CRV recycling, donation recycling, veggie oil collection, 50 community garden plots, innovative landscaping like vertical gardening spaces and a fountain made from recycled materials. It also has a geo-specific native plant nursery that hosts a variety of San Francisco vegetation that once dominated the landscape here before urban sprawl took over. It also pays a staff of ten economically challenged people living wages and health care to keep the operations running smooth. It is a model infrastructure for communities all over the world to learn from and repeat in small and thoughtful ways.
EMPOWERMENT IN SMALL DOSES
This small scale empowerment mission has driven Eco friendly development in San Francisco since its inception in the 1970′s. But now, those thirty some years of building social and environmental capital while integrating vulnerable populations and peoples of color into the movement, may be abruptly halted. If the Rec and Park Commission get their wish, the most unique Ecology center in the city of San Francisco will be shut down. This decades long empowerment of small groups of people to change the world will be stopped. Looking back at the last twenty years and the failing efforts of institutions to actually make an impact on the environment, I’d say the little guys are the way to get something real accomplished. Save the little guy, save the green jobs, save the planet. Maybe that’s what they should talk about at RIO+20 this year. Maybe that’s what they should talk about at Rec and Park this year, too.
Today’s video is PSA with the staff of Kezar Gardens Ecology Center along with comments about this center by its executive director, Ed Dunn and one of its major opponents, Ted Loewenburg.
SPRING IS IN THE AIR
Harvested kale, lettuce and herbs leave plants with funky haircuts and new blossoms flood the garden!
When I first met Tristram in 2008, it was before he had his second child. He is a valuable asset to the staff because he has a strong sense of core values. A family man, he supports his kids and wife on the income he makes working at the center. He also rides his bike back and forth to work from the Richmond district nearby. If you ask him about working recycling, he can give you a good sense of the various patrons who come in and has a deep sense of compassion for those that have-not. Tristram first worked at the center as a part of a community service plan and eventually got a gig there in 2001. Eleven years later, he is still part of the family.
Tristram’s declaration to the court is written below. The included video is an excerpt from an interview we did four years ago, before any legal action, where he introduces himself and talks a bit about the problem of homeless in the park and closing the recycling center. Tomorrow morning, three judges will consider an appeal to stop the eviction of this center. If they accept the arguments presented, it could mean a trial to finally reverse this ridiculous effort to close a valuable environmental resource that welcomes everyone and employs individuals who are most vulnerable to the impact of extreme poverty.
TRISTRAM SAVAGE declares
I have been employed by the Haight-Ashbury Neighborhood Council recycling center for approximately 11 years. In addition to myself, I support my wife and two children with my income.
My highest level of education is high school, and my prior job experience is food service. If I lose my job, it will be a severe hardship on me. The effect on my family is likely to be homelessness. I am the sole provider for my disabled wife and children. Any loss of income would cause loss of housing, food, clothing, medication and other basic needs.
This Wednesday Attorney Robert De Vries will present an appeal on behalf of the Haight-Ashbury Neighborhood Council to stop the eviction of the recycling center, native plant nursery and community garden at 780 Frederick Street. The city plans to install another more lavish community garden of their own at the site; the first phase of the project would cost San Francisco $250,000. The only reason the center remains open today is because a judge, the Honorable Judge Woolard, granted a stay of eviction until the appeal was heard in October of 2011. The reason for the stay was the undue hardship that would be caused to the people who would lose their jobs at 780 Frederick Street. Since the incoming landlord (San Fran) was not going to lose revenue or jobs by delaying the lavish garden until the appeal was heard, the stay was granted. Wednesday, the appeal will be heard by three judges in the First District Court of Appeals located at 350 McAllister Street. The public is welcome to view. The results of this hearing could mean anything. It could be as dire as an eviction before the month is out or it could open the door for a trial and a longer (undefined) stay of the eviction until the matter is resolved through the court system.
One of the motivating factors in granting the stay was the set of declarations from the staff, many of whom would not or could not find other jobs, if they lost this one. This week, we will bring you some of these declarations by the staff and let you hear in their own words how the eviction would impact them. Wayne Wiley has been working at the site for over three years. Here is his statement as presented to the court. You can hear him speak about this in the video below his statement as well.
WAYNE WILEY declares that:
I have been employed by the Haight-Ashbury Neighborhood Council recycling center for approximately three years. In addition to myself, I support my wife (who is currently out of work). I have to rent, monthly car payments, and other expenses. My family is not eligible for any kind of long-term government assistance.
With my income from this job my family can get by. Without it, we will not be able to. There are also some things in my past that make it extremely difficult to find a new job.
My highest level of education is two years of college, and my prior job experience is in ethnic art sales.
A DAY’S (or many months’) BOUNTY
It was a darling day as the fog cleared and the sun shone over Kezar Gardens Ecology Center. A lot of people turned up for the garden meeting and workday. There were vegan cinnamon cupcakes, roasted sweet potato salad, hot dogs (veggie and not), jicama salad, guacamole, fresh breads, sweet pickles and more at the potluck. We all shared our thoughts on the future of garden, addressing the needs of the vertical spaces, having a community watering board for people to connect and help each other keep our gardens fed. There were suggestions about bike racks, nursery stewards and we enjoyed the new pews from the old red vic movie house too! Many gardeners also took some time to harvest. There were a lot of kale cuttings, lettuce gathering, we also reaped beets and carrots four months in the making. The artichoke plant in the back row is totally immense, sporting eight growing artichokes and claiming the title of tallest plant in the garden. The fava beans are all close behind, lush and reaching for the sky.
All in all it was a terrific day from the inside out. The rest of the summer season community workdays will be on the third Sundays of the month. Come join us for the next event! It’s always a potluck, so bring something to share and enjoy the community spaces at Kezar Gardens Ecology Center.
Also known as the Cabbage White Butterfly is an easy to spot Spring emergence in many San Francisco gardens including Kezar Ecology Center. Similar looking to a moth, this butterfly is recognizable by the small black spots on its wings. It can cause some crop damage, notably to cabbages and other veggies in that family like Kale or Broccoli. The caterpillars are green and hard to spot, usually taking refuge on the leaf’s underside. It is in the larvae stage and emergence as a caterpillar that is the most damaging to the crop. But many gardeners find their impact relatively insignificant since its mostly takes place during the early stages of the life cycle and hesitate to label them a nuisance.
I caught these two cabbage whites getting busy on my organic beet leaves yesterday afternoon. I did not have the heart to shoo them away, but I did spy on them a bit! We will see how the beet fares when we harvest tomorrow afternoon. Til then, here’s to love, cabbage, and butterfly season…
On June 5th, 2012, San Franciscans are asked to vote on the garbage bill. Prop A is legislation that seeks to modify the ordinance from 1932 that gives the company now known as Recology (formerly Sunset Scavenger) the ability to take care of all the waste streams that have since formed. Recology feels this Proposition will only deter from the incredible work they have already done and potentially invite companies who don’t really care about SF to rake our waste goals over the proverbial fire. Prop A proponents say competitive bidding will not get in the way of Recology’s work, because they can still win four out the five separate contracts.
SORTING THE POINTS
Last week, the HANC membership meeting invited representatives from both sides of the issue to present their cases and take questions from the community. In attendance were Tony Kelly and Paul Zusky defending each side of PROP A. Also present were several notable community members including David Pilpel, who summarizes the talk well at the end of our video today. Some of the points brought up by the community were as follows. Is Recology against competitive bidding? Who controls the trash rates in our city? What is going to happen with the Yuba City Landfill? Is it better to change the system through Prop A or leave things well enough alone?
As someone who saw the meeting as well as recorded it, I found this a major challenge to distill it into a short, slick video. So, I worked through the material the best I could and gave each speaker equal time to present their points on screen as well as included issues that were raised multiple times and seemed inherently relevant to the content of PROP A. The community comments, questions and elaborations were also added to show that this was a discussion, not just a political pitch. The best part of this night was the fact that a real conversation on the state of our trash and our goals was had and many varying points of view were welcomed and addressed by Tom Kelly and Paul Zusky. It was a clear indication that no matter where you fall on PROP A, we have much to sort through on the subject of trash in San Francisco. This complicated part of our existence is in a major state of change and to better our future, we all need to get involved.
Take a gander at the video which includes comments from Tony Kelly, Paul Zusky and David Pilpel.
BETTER LATE THAN NEVER…
Cannes Film Festival is coveted affair sure to launch any filmmaker into an echelon of greatness not to be disregarded. The festival usually announces their lineup in early April but reserves spots for late additions. On April 30, one of those late invitations went to the new documentary film, “Trashed” starring Jeremy Irons and directed by Candida Brady. The message of this film can also be thought of as better late than never as it explores what the heck happens to our trash on a big picture global wide scale.
THE SAN FRANCISCO FACTOR
Part of the adventure involves a stop in San Francisco. The “Trashed” team spent two days filming with Recology, SF’s trash master, and lauded them for their work in waste reduction. Enjoy the new trailer below posted on today’s blog. Hopefully the entire world can learn a thing or two from the innovative waste reduction work that is done in our little seven square mile piece of paradise. And kudos to Cannes for including such an important film among their selective and prestigious ranks.
THE GNOME FACTOR
Among the wilds of Kezar Gardens Ecology Center, a community of critters have emerged from behind leaves and under dirt mounds. These creatures, neither human nor animal nor plant, do have a unique life force all their own. Once a race of small, pointy hatted, European, bearded men statues, the gnome has evolved into leftover plastic fast food toys, abandoned teddy bears, and a fair share of girls. Many myths surround these garden dwellers. Some feel the gnomes are slaves, trappings of the bourgeoisie gardener. That they long to be freed from the garden watch and set to roam the earth. The Garden Gnome Liberation Front is no joke, organized to protect gnomes of the world and emancipate them from garden oppression.
www.freethegnomes.com has more information on this interesting global issue
Garden gnome folklore also goes the opposite way. Some people swear these are the protectors of the natural earth, warding off evil wizardry. That the gnome has found its final home and will defend it to the end. At Kezar Gardens we found over 50 gnomes inhabiting planter boxes and garden plots appearing strange and familiar all at the same time. After documenting the lot of them, we queried the humans that were around and came up with a selection of ten to show you today. Come by Kezar Gardens Ecology Center to see this phenomena for yourself. Should we set these gnomes free or enjoy the mystical aura they emanate, it depends on what you believe. Personally, I plan to continue the investigation into garden gnome culture and ask the gnomes themselves to reveal the secrets of their past and their hopes for the future.
ATOP A SMALL MOUNTAIN
Head up the hill near 14th Avenue in the Sunset and you will wind your way into Golden Gate Heights and its surrounding and steep bluffs. An adorable neighborhood with pockets of native plants still present, some folks have taken it upon themselves to return more unused land back to its natural habitat. Before the Sunset and Richmond area of San Francisco were developed, they were miles of dunes and bluffs home to Coast Buckwheat, Seaside Daisies and other geographically specific plants, animals and insects.
A GREEN BUTTERFLY ROAMS
One of the inhabitants of this unique ecosystem is the Green Hairstreak Butterfly. A shimmering sage colored floater with white antennae and a flair for the camera, the Green Hairstreak Butterfly can only survive if she has her larval plant, the Coast Buckwheat to lay eggs on. The delicate joining of plant and insect is precious, original and historical. Through the work of Nature In the City, a local nonprofit, the corridor of native plants restored to the Golden Gates Heights area has proven its impact already. Many of the initial plants for the project were donated by the native plant nursery at Kezar. On our visit last Friday, we encountered three different green hairstreaks at the corner of 14th Avenue and Pacheco Street.
BUILD IT AND THEY WILL COME
The extraordinary thing about ecological systems is how well they work. There is a certain simplicity in the earth’s natural systems, pairing plants with water and wind cycles and watching how they support a specific set of living creatures. There is also a satisfying sense of power, as a human, to restore an ecological system back to its more primal form. The result seems to be a good partnership between people and the planet, full of impact and inclusive of nature.
THANKS MIKE BELCHER, BUTTERFLY GUY
It was an absolute treat to explore and interact with the ever blossoming habitat restoration program for the Green Hairstreak Butterfly near Golden Gate Heights. We commend Mike Belcher for his dutiful stewardship of this program’s plots and for spending the morning showing us around the hill. Today’s video gives you a look into this project and captures our own sighting of the Green Hairstreak Butterfly that day. Totally proud of his work, Mike was also missing the others who help bring this project to life and was sure to send along the following to highlight some of the major people involved in this unique and successful restoration project along with mention of another significant sighting at the 14th and Pacheco site the very next day.
From Mike: “Hello Soumyaa, It sure was a special day, and it continued the next day when I returned to 14th and Pacheco and observed a female actually laying eggs on one of the coast buckwheats! This is the ultimate goal of the restoration project, to increase the habitat and population of the Green Hairstreak. As far as people to mention: First, Liam O’Brien the butterfly expert whose vision started the project. Nature in the City, the non-profit organization run by Peter Brastow with Melanie Trelles and Deidre Martin, who took this vision and made it a reality with the help of dedicated volunteers like Sarah McConico (Steward of the site at 14th and Pacheco), Barbara Kobayashi, Matt Zlatnich and others. Also a big shout out to Ed Dunn and Greg Gaar from HANC for providing many of the native plants for the restoration projects. Thanks again and best of luck to you and HANC. “
Herman Yee comes by the center to recycle every couple of months. He has curbside at his apartment but prefers to collect his own stuff and bring it in on his bike. We asked him one day what he thinks about the place. Watch this interview as he talks through some of the issues we face trying to keep this community space open every day.
Do you think recycling should be in recreational areas? How about native plants and vegetable gardening? Where is the best space for a center that offers these experiences to to a community?
Personally, I think it’s fine just where it is. What does Herman think?
Mini Irrigation Keg Recipe
(please note, it is important with a primitive system like this that the water be above the irrigated land so gravity can do its business and that the tubing be loose, clear from blockages and in a natural slightly curled position.)
1-community garden blot
1-medium sized bucket
1-medium sized box or stand
rocks, bungee cords, bamboo sticks
couple hours of your time
JUNE 3rd, 2012 12-4pm
780 Frederick Street
COMMUNITY GARDEN PARTY and WORKDAY
BBQ Potluck, Garden Development Meeting and workday!
Kick off June by finding your bliss at the garden and sharing it with your fellow man via food, drink and mulch mulch more. Bring something to plant, eat and share, come with ideas about how to improve the garden site, and your weekend calendar so we can schedule community work days for the rest of the summer season!
JUNE 6th, 2012 9am
350 McAllister Street, ROOM TBA
APPEAL THE EVICTION
Fight the depression head on by supporting Kezar Gardens in court. The Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council goes downtown to have their appeals heard on the eviction of the Ecology Center. Oral arguments take place Wednesday morning in the 1st District Court of Appeals in front of a three judge panel. Go HANC.
JUNE 10, 2012 11-6pm
Upper Haight Street
HAIGHT ASHBURY STREET FAIR
Get your groove on all the way down Haight Street and stop by the Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council Booth while you are at it. Kezar Gardens will have a larger than life native plant photo booth and take your picture for free. Bands, merchants, and restaurateurs all take part in this annual street fair.
ODE TO ORANGE
The Golden Gate Bridge is 3/4ths of a century old this weekend. We photographed these wonderfully orange flowers around Kezar Gardens Ecology Center in honor of our most fashionable local bridge. Most people don’t know that the bridge was not originally supposed to turn out quite the color it did. Any trivia buff or San Francisco resident can probably tell you the official color of the Golden Gate Bridge is hardly golden, rather a unique and bright concoction titled ‘International Orange’. But a true historian reminds us that, in fact, the idea of being ‘Golden’ was considered, floated by the Navy at the time. They wanted the bridge painted golden yellow and black stripes for increased visibility. Can you just imagine?
7TH AND CABRILLO
There is a new game in town on the recycling front. At the Inner Richmond Safeway, near Golden Gate Park, at 7th Avenue and Cabrillo Street, the reverse vending machine is being tested out. This machine was once proposed to be a replacement for places like community recycling centers and it was said that dozens of these types of machines could do what community recycling at Kezar does. However, upon observation, there are many things this machine does not have to offer.
The reverse vending machine ONLY takes CRV (cash redemption) containers, and nothing too big, please.
ONLY one container can be inserted at a time.
The machine will not accept crushed cans or bottles (KEZAR does). On my last visit, I saw a homeless woman try to recycle her large bag of goods, only to walk away with half the bag rejected after trying for 40 minutes.
Do not try to recycled mixed paper, cardboard, or any oversized items at the machine.
There is no compost or garden like component at the machine.
The machine is ONLY for particular, well kept, bottles and cans, that have a CRV deposit. No milk jugs, no wine bottles, no tin foil, no, no, no, no.
PART OF A WHOLE
Reverse vending seems like it would be a great service for people who don’t have a lot to recycle and can build it into their regular shopping at Safeway. People with large amounts of CRV or a variety of recycling needs will find long waits at the machine and, often, that it does not serve the entirity of their needs or even gives them credit for all their stuff. As part of a whole, the reverse vending machine seems complimentary to community recycling and curbside service, but is hardly a stand alone system.
URBAN RECYCLING MYTHS
It is not unheard of for a recycling fiend to pop the top of every tin can they find and squirrel it away for a grand reward. Pop-top recycling is actually an urban myth. At Kezar Eco Center, the recycling department often encounters hopeful patrons with multiple two liters full of pop tops. The staff always disappoints when they break the news, those tops you popped were just for fun, no CASH value.
So, the pop top joins the ranks of the discarded book, the half used paints, the old party straws and all the other no CASH value things left behind for someone else to find. Today, we collected some of those items: a flamingo straw top, old acrylic paints, some fine paper, dried poppy petals and a pop-top and made them into a short animation, just for fun, no CASH value.
HAIGHT STREET HISTORY
Last summer the iconic, beloved and sometimes notorious Red Vic Movie House closed its doors and rolled up the red carpet at 1727 Haight Street. But do not entirely despair, building owners Jack and Betsey Rix are working furiously to take this space to the next level. The plan is to remove the single screen movie theater and install a smaller 49 seat digital screening room that can also be used for community events. The remaining space will be parceled out to small food related start up companies, sort of a food bazaar, with a Vegan Bakery, Cajun Cuisine and food from the country of Georgia. Part of the lobby will also be given to Alembic, the restaurant next door, to expand their seating area. So, while the single screen will not be jettisoned into the future, the idea of the motion picture will and coupled with interesting new food, should draw a more diverse crowd and help with the bottom line. In order to start work, they await the planning commission’s approval but have already started getting rid of some cool stuff.
OH THOSE PEWS
Anyone who has ever been to the Red Vic has had an experience with the wooden pews that served as most of the seating in the theater. With little room in the new screening area, they mostly have to go. That’s where we came in! Instead of retiring the famous hot seats to the dump, we took a few of those pews off the hands of the Red Vic and are arranging them at Kezar Gardens! Come by this Sunday from 12-4 to help decide where they should go!