Donâ€™t have much of a green thumb?Â Me neither, but I like the challenge of learning something new and I love to eat, especially fresh fruits and vegetables.Â So when Mayor Newsom passed theÂ Healthy and Sustainable Food Directive our department looked at ways we can incorporate the directive’s goals intoÂ Department of Public Works‘s (DPW) everyday business.
Increasing food production on public land is thus a priority for the City of San Francisco, henceÂ Street Parks, one of our Community Programs here at DPW. The community members with whom I work are more than happy to partner with us and add herbs or tomatoes between the flax and dieties.
TakeÂ the garden at Broadway and Himmelman Streets, stewarded by Dian Blomquist.Â The area was once a drab looking piece of land, but with a little TLC, Dian transformed it in less than a year to a garlic/chard/tomato-producing community garden where members of the localÂ Self Help for the Elderly help Dian maintain the garden and enjoy the fruits of their labor.
One of our most unique community gardens is located on a median at La Playa between Judah and Kirkham near the Great Highway.Â We have broccoli, chives, mint, cabbage and we anticipate some pumpkins will be sprouting up before the fall.Â Oh and did I forget to mention our stewards are creating two full-length bocce ball courts among all the flowers and food?
What I like most about the Street Parks Program is that even if you are like me and donâ€™t have much of a green thumb, the program works to engage and educate the public to help them learn tips and techniques from experienced gardeners.Â We hold workshops every six months on topics that the 200+ Street Parks participants are interested in.Â Street Parks stewards learn something new and share what they know, plus itâ€™s a great way to network.Â
This July I am more excited than ever about our upcoming workshop “Dig In“.Â Weâ€™ve partnered with theÂ American Community Gardening Association andWoodbridge by Robert Mondavi Wineries who will bring gardening experts from around the United States to provide would-be gardeners and San Franciscans the best tips and tricks on planting vegetables, garden maintenance and composting.Â Plus, weâ€™ll have a guest chef show participants the best ways to prepare vegetables.
The workshop is free and open to the public, Saturday, July 24, 2010 at the Visitacion Valley Greenway located at Leland Avenue and Peabody (map).Â The workshops begin at 9:30am and end at 1:30pm.Â Lunch is provided and all participants receive a free gift.Â You do not have to be part of the Street Parks program to attend.
So whether you are a novice gardener or HGTV has offered you a primetime show, join us at the next Street Parks workshop. I look forward to meeting you. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to register for the workshop.
Sandra Zuniga is the Community Liaison for theÂ Department of Public Works and manages several programs that engage San Francisco residents in cleaning and greening the City. She can be contacted at email@example.com.