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  Guerrilla Gardening with The Kitchen Sisters' Interns  
   
Interns Notebook
 
 
Kitchen Sister Interns
 
     
  Inspired by the rich community and bucolic lushness of the Manor Garden Allotments and British guerrilla gardener Richard Reynolds, The Kitchen Sisters' interns (lft to rt) Allie Wollner and Eloise Melzer took to the streets, shovels in hand.  
     
   
     
 

After working on the story, A London Kitchen Vision, we were both heartbroken over the senseless bulldozing of the treasure that was Manor Garden Allotments. When Richard Reynolds' book on Guerrilla Gardening came through the office, we saw the perfect opportunity to counterbalance the graying of a green space in London with the greening of a gray space in San Francisco.

We looked to Richard Reynolds' website which includes a 12-step Guerrilla Gardening plan and plentiful resources to get started. We then enlisted the help of the local gardening gurus at Flora Grubb nursery for some greens to beautify San Francisco's Mission District. Jim at Flora Grubb whisked us around the nursery guiding us towards plants that would put up a fight to survive on the streets of San Francisco. With a flat full of blooming life ready to plant, all we had to do was find the perfect home for them. A home that was in need of some green.

Eloise lives in The Mission-- a predominately Hispanic neighborhood in south San Francisco. It is vibrantly alive with taquerias, panaderias, and stores selling everything from kiddie pools to fluffy quinceria dresses. It's also rapidly becoming "The Place" to live for hip, young 20-something students and artists. The neighborhood certainly has lots going on around the clock, but it's a far cry from the prettiest part of the city.

Walking around one night, we found more potential guerrilla gardening sites than we could revitalize in one go. We finally found the perfect spot on the busy corner of San Jose and 29th. When we started, the site was a barren patch of dust, weeds, and trash surrounding a little tree struggling for life. We had our work cut out for us.

At 10:30 pm, the perfect hour for guerrilla gardening in our opinion, we started clearing out debris, rocks (LOTS), and dusty soil. A cop car passed within five minutes of our arrival, and we thought we were headed for the slammer. Instead, they just asked us to move our car a little when we had a minute ("No rush!"). As the night wore on, plenty of passerbys stopped to inquire about our project, thank us for our contribution to the neighborhood, and generally chat. Some even offered to lend a hand or to help water it in the future. A few people even knew what we were doing and cheered us on with shouts of "Go, Guerrilla Gardeners! You rock!" We felt pretty cool.

After the dust settled, we added some new, fertile soil and planted our array of greenery around the tree. A local restaurant graciously filled our watering cans so we could give the plot a good drink. It was 12:30 when we stood back to survey our work. It looked beautiful. We felt proud.

As we drove away, we marvelled at how simple and fun it was to make an impact in our community. We had spent 2 hours, gotten a little dirty, and engaged with our neighbors and the city in a meaningful way. The seed had definitely been planted; we were now converted to the gospel of Guerrilla Gardening: anyone can reclaim fallow public land and make it beautiful. We are currently conspiring with our friends to rescue some more desolate plots of land in the future. We hope you're inpsired to get your hands dirty too.

 
 
Eloise Melzer & Allie Wollner
 
  Here are some photos from our night gardening.  
   
 
 
 
 
 
  Local Resources for Community/Guerrilla Gardening in the San Francisco Bay Area.  
 


Plant SF

Organization dedicated to beautifying the city and working to promote relations between the public, city and neighborhood groups


Fillmore Street Gardeners
Blog of SF Locals planting flowers in the Fillmore Street/Lower Haight Neighborhood


Garden for the Environment
Garden Center in SF that conducts education seminars on organic gardening, urban composting, as well as low-water-use gardens.


Flora Grubb Gardens
Local Nursery


Alemany Farms
San Francisco's only urban farm promoting community, organic food, and economic and environmental justice

 
     
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