June 1, 2013 is the first day of a land liberation action in San Francisco at Laguna and Fell Streets.
We linked the Taksim solidarity march and land occupation together, showing the intentions of a global movement and helping to spread the news of the brutalization of Turkish citizens. Our fight is theirs because development, no matter where, is strictly in the name of capital, and in that sense, is rife with innocent victims, in the pursuit of profit. In the end, we don't simply want to garden, we want massive systemic change, and are attempting to show ways in which these changes can begin.
"As a citizen, I have the freedom of being able to ask what's better for the community, this farm or more developments?" says Morgan Fitzgibbons, head of the neighborhood sustainability group the Wigg Party and farm volunteer. "The farm is an anchor of a burgeoning sustainability movement, and after seeing all the good it can do, are we still going to go in there and build? I think the issue is bigger than one city block." We plan to hold the space indefinitely and create a center for urban sustainability and permaculture.
See the architectural plans Build Inc. and Pyatok Architects have hatched to replace this permaculture haven here: http://www.pyatok.com/portfolio/hayes.html
See past photos of Hayes Valley Farm here: http://www.flickr.com/groups/1535994@N22/
The displacement of Hayes Valley Farm, Esperanza Gardens, and The Free Farm in order to further develop will not go unchallenged. A network arises to plant this land located on Laguna and Fell and build a new eco-village. We will maintain the edible landscape and community space. Condominiums are rampant, but urban gardens that can sustain
low incomefamilies are far too scarce.
Liberate the Land is bringing into dialogue the concept of common space, a classification of space that goes outside of the dichotomy of private and public and instead places itself as the commons. The commons exist as the spaces owned and operated neither by governments and states, nor corporations and private individuals. Instead, the commons are owned, or stewarded, by all people, with an understanding that the gifts of the earth are for all to enjoy and that people need land bases for growing food, harvesting medicinal plans, maintaining healthy forests for building materials and firewood, wildcrafting plants for fabrics, and hosting wildlife habitat.
So now, the city having sold the land that sustains these gardens to a developer, the people of San Francisco are looking at losing another recreational and open green space to a housing unit. At first, we may consider the need for more housing in San Francisco, until we look at some of the latest US Census Bureau statistics that state there are currently 36,000 empty housing units in the city alone. There are only estimated to be 6 to 10,000 homeless people. This means we can house every person without a home in SF somewhere between 3 and 6 times over. Liberate the Land claimed in the dialogue and discussion hosted at The Free Farm, another farm slated to become a housing unit, that if housing was the issue we are best to look at these 36,000 empty units, retrofit them and move people into them, especially families who have been displaced due to the foreclosure crisis.
foreclosurecrisis and the large corporate banks' role in the displacement of people and the abandonment of viable homes, we will celebrate the solutions offered by the local, organic food movement and urban farms and gardens. The Free Farm, a community farm and permaculture garden that rose in the ashes of a burnt out church at Gough and Eddy Streets, grows thousands of pounds of food that it gives away for free. Every Sunday, the Free Farm Stand sets up at Parque Ninos Unidos in the Mission district. Canopies, tables, and a full spread of free food are on offer. Hundreds of people line up to receive organic produce, fruit, breads, pastas, greens, pastries, and more. The majority of the organic vegetables and greens, in addition to smaller amounts of fruit and other produce is grown right here in San Francisco at The Free Farm and Esperanza Gardens, both slated to become condominiums within the year.
Separately from the Liberate the Land group taking direct action, another network has formed to approach the situation on the legal grounds. With a petition to "Preserve Hayes Valley Farm," and a proposal to "transition ownership from private to the collective common property," this network is asking the city to buy back the land from the developer and maintain it as open space.
We support a diversity of methods to resist the ongoing development of the last viable green spaces in every city across the Earth.