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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: San Francisco | Environment & Forest Defense | Health, Housing, and Public Services
Richmond District Community Garden Organizes for Eviction Threat
People from the neighborhood, supporters rally around a squatted "Guerilla Garden" that people in the neighborhood say has been transformed from an area of blighted waste to a community garden.
Gardeners and a couple dozen supporters gathered this morning to support a garden that they say has transformed the corner of Stanyan and Fulton from an empty lot full of weeds, trash and dog feces into a vibrant community project. The project, which one gardener is calling it the “Stanyan Street Commons,” was, until recently, an unused lot that residents complained was usually covered in trash.
“We’d like to see this as a place where passers by could pick fruit or vegetables,” says Justin, one of the gardeners.
“Our garden [was] a vacant lot that sat vacant for 10 to 20 years, according to our neighbors out here. It’s about 100 feet long and about 20 feet wide, which was, essentially, just a repository for dirt and dog waste, heroin needles and all sorts of urban trash. About three months ago, a group of us here in the neighborhood started getting together and cleaning it up, started planting a bunch of food, flowers, fruit trees and now, Citywide Property Management and the landlady, Aileen O’Driscoll want to get rid of the garden, and essentially, in their own words, turn it back into a vacant lot full of dirt and weeds.”
On the corner of Stanyan and Fulton facing the Northeast corner of Golden Gate Park, the modest plot of land appears well weeded and tilled, and splashed in the spring sunshine, fava beans are decked in delicate purple and white striped flowers, next to neat rows of red leaf lettuce, strawberries, potatoes, garlic and other food crops, all grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers.
Becky, another gardener, has been tending plants, pulling weeds, and bringing compost from here kitchen here for three months and is already harvesting greens from the plot. She has worked at other community gardening projects such as the ‘Alemany Farm’ near the Cesar Chavez Street overpass. “We have a lot of support from the neighborhood, many of which were shocked to hear that the owner wants us out,” she said while holding up a banner that reads “SAVE OUR GARDEN.”
“This garden was put in here by some members of the community,” says Matt, who came out from the Mission district to support the farm, which has been threatened with eviction. “[The gardeners have] had a lot of feedback from the neighbors about how great it is to have some growth here instead of a vacant lot. The city had actually put up a sign saying that it is a blighted lot, that it needed to be cleaned and fixed up, so it seems like [the gardeners] are helping more than hurting, but the landlord got wind of this and just wants it dug out and refuses to talk to anyone about why. ”
Gardeners expect an extended campaign and will continue to be in the garden everyday 9:00 am till dusk and invite all to come by anytime.
For More info call 888-760-1958.