FARM DAY PROJECT

About CCA's FARM Day ProjectOn Saturday, March 28, 2009, more than 50 CCA students, staff, and community members gathered to build a 66-foot-long farm on a toxic strip of land. Participants gathered at 8 a.m. on Hooper Street, the neglected side street running adjacent to the college's Montgomery campus in San Francisco.

For years CCA students have watched Hooper Street (which runs adjacent to the north side of the Montgomery campus) and wondered how they might generate substantial change.

FARM Day was spearheaded by Robyn Waxman, a Graduate Program in Design student, and developed as part of her thesis project to engage the next generation in collective action.

What is the FARM?
FARM (the Future Action Reclamation Mob) is an alternative form of nonviolent action. It is a gentle introduction to protest.

In an effort to appeal to the culture of participation, positivity, and progress, FARM was established as a symbol of protest to make visible needed societal and environmental change.

According to Waxman: "FARM serves as a reaction to unjust events and situations by publicly and productively voicing our views to influence public opinion and government policy. Yet we do so using a 'voice' that feels right. Some refer to this method as 'slow protest.'"

Who pays for CCA's farm?
The farm runs on a "gift economy," meaning most everything is donated. This system benefits others, too: half the harvest will be donated to local food banks and community services.

If the land is contaminated with lead, are items safe to eat?
Yes, the farm is designed to be safe for human consumption:

  • A protective plastic layer exists between the remediation project and the added sheet mulch.
  • Crops that grow upward from the soil (no root vegetables) have been planted. Lead would have to break through the protective layer and travel another 18–24 inches to reach the plant roots.
  • We keep the soil's Ph level high for greater acidity and to prevent the roots from traveling downward too far.
  • Close advisement with the San Francisco Permaculture Guild, an agency experienced with gardening toxic land, is maintained.

Who can share in the work?
Anyone can work on—or eat from—the Hooper Street farm. Please respect and protect this public space as if it were your own treasured garden. We invite you to play, eat, and relax here.

For more information, please contact Robyn Waxman at rwaxman@cca.edu.

Related:
SFMOMA's Open Space blog