The fate of San Francisco’s Victory Garden

December 9, 2008 | By | Comments (1)


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The Victory Garden that turned a third of an acre of San Francisco’s Civic Center into a productive vegetable garden for a summer and a fall is gone. Though I’m sad to see it go, I can excitedly report that the materials (soil, irrigation equipment, etc.) will be used to create a permanent garden in Mission Bay as part of Project Homeless Connect.

There was grass before the garden, and now there is a plaza of decomposed granite. This is the finished product on the last day of the garden deconstruction:

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It looks a bit barren, but I believe this use of the land is a victory in and of itself. It’s one patch of Civic Center that will no longer need fertilizer, year-round water, or constant re-sowing of sod to repair damage. There are whispers that outdoor furniture and vendors may find their way to part of the plaza, and the space will continue to host events, many of which help make San Francisco the town it is.

On a personal note, I had the incredible fortune of volunteering every Thursday, harvest day, for the past four months. We collected hundreds of pounds of organic produce each week for distribution by the San Francisco Food Bank. I can’t believe we grew all that bok choi, winter squash, lettuce, and even tomatoes right across from City Hall. I met some of the most interesting people since moving to San Francisco during my weekly stints in the garden, including children of sharecroppers in the South, people that had victory gardens all over the country during WWII, garden experts, and curious bystanders.

I was also lucky enough to be there on the day photographer, Katie Standke, shot portraits:

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I’ve been able to share my inspiration by creating our own mini-victory garden at Sunset, inspired by landscape architect, John Bela, and his brilliant use of rice straw wattles as malleable, compostable (and affordable) bed-edging. Learn more about the wattles, created by Earth Savers, here.

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Victory gardens are making a comeback, and some are even aspiring to plant one on a certain White House lawn.

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