Back in 2010, a group of industrious urban farmers took what was formerly the Fell Street off-ramp and transformed it into Hayes Valley Farm. They created a base of soil by layering several feet of cardboard and wood chips over the asphalt, and began growing squashes and chard, teaching classes, and keeping bees. At the time, with a $50,000 grant from the city, they agreed to work the land for two to five years, knowing that eventually the site was to be developed into a condo project. Now, that time has come, and they got their official eviction notice earlier this year — it’s not the first time this has happened, but this time it’s for real.
As they explain on their blog, they’ve already vacated one parcel on the south side of the farm, and they will need to leave the entire property by June 1 to make way for a five-story, 182-unit building. They say they are “grateful to our volunteers, visitors, and partners, including the City and County of San Francisco, for all of the support and joyful participation!” And they “look forward to continuing these relationships on other sites.”
And while supplies last, you can drive up to the farm and load up your trunk or pickup truck with free soil.
This makes us nervous that the same thing is going to happen shortly with the Proxy development and Biergarten, which had similar temporary agreements with the city until the economy turned around. Those empty lots along Octavia are intended to be developed for affordable housing.