Posts tagged ‘golden gate park’

HANC makes a peaceful exit – SF Rec & Park Dept builds new “community” with violence and force

On January 4th at daybreak, Sheriff’s Deputies descended on 780 Frederick Street to evict HANC.  They found HANC had already been cleared out for a day.  What remained were 50 garden beds, a greenhouse, and supporters who spent the night as a statement against the controversial eviction.  Sheriffs handled things with compassion and pragmatism, giving supporters time to leave and offering many ears to listen to their woes.  It was a sad but proud moment, no arrests were made, no violence took place.

On January 7th, Rec and Park began to take control of the space.  They feebly offered twenty minutes to supporters to remove their greenhouse, then locked them out.  Afraid of the greenhouse being destroyed, some folks ventured back on scene to remove organic and native plants and protect the greenhouse from destruction.  It was not dark.  Park Rangers had the authority and ability to ticket the individuals as is customary in these situations.   Instead, SFPD was immediately called to the scene to take the people down with force and violence.  Captain Corrales of Park Police station came down himself and was the first officer to initiate violence by lunging at a man harvesting plants.  He proceeded to direct his men to break glass, tear apart the greenhouse and drag out the peaceful house sitters to be arrested.

HANC makes a peaceful end to decades long public service and Rec Park takes a violent approach in starting their community garden.

Stay tuned for more this week as we continue to document the way Rec and Park chooses to build community in Golden Gate Park.

For more coverage of the eviction see Carolyn Tyler’s story on ABC 7 by clicking the link below.  She was the only mass media outlet who showed up on the ground to cover this very important story.

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SF Mayor Held Hostage by Latte Liberals

NIMBY politics force Green Workers into unemployment, leaving Ma and Pa shops to take back their own trash


Anything that’s good for the environment is bad for Ted Loewenberg and his local neighborhood association.  In addition to levying an appeal against new bike lanes in SF and working to remove benches in Golden Gate Park, Loewenberg now aims to stop people from recycling and gardening in San Francisco’s Haight Ashbury neighborhood.  With the Recreation and Park Department and a handful of Latte Liberals on his side, the group is intent on dismantling California redemption at the expense of Bay Area small businesses and firing vulnerable green workers right before Christmas.

Loewenberg claims only homeless people use what is known as the oldest recycling center in the city of San Francisco.  He believes removing the recycling center will eradicate homelessness in the area.

The center paints a different picture, entirely.  They say only a small part of their customer base identifies themselves as homeless.  Most of the customers are Chinese and a good portion arrive at the center in cars.  Moreover, the center hosts a San Francisco specific native plant nursery started ten years ago and a 51 plot community garden.  Supporters of the center call it an ecological space and have sent 1000’s of postcards, letters and emails to stop the eviction from taking place.

Moreover, San Francisco is notoriously under-served by recycling centers.  This center serves two large grocery stores in the area including a Whole Foods as well as dozens of small businesses nearby.  If the center is shut down, the grocery markets are required by law to provide in store recycling, this includes every little Ma and Pa shop in the area.  Though the battle for eviction has gone on for years, there have been no provisions made for recycling once this center is shut down.

On December 10th there will be an emergency hearing to discuss the fates of hundreds of small businesses in SF who will be forced to pay fines if they don’t comply with state recycling mandates.

Once again a handful of Latte Liberals with NIMBY agendas hold effective policies and state law hostage for personal gain.  A clear majority of San Franciscans see the recycling center as an asset to the community and to “zero waste” as pointed out in the attached video.

SF Mayor Ed Lee now must decide whether to stand up for small businesses and the law or cave in to the Latte Liberals.



What an amazing weekend it was-fleet week, THE GIANTS, the A’s, the Castro Street Fair, Italian Heritage Parade and the most awesome event of them all-The Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival.  A free, three day, multi-stage, concert that spans Speedway Meadow in Golden Gate Park.  The line-up included Patti Smith, Head and Heart, the Cowboy Junkies, the Chieftains and many many more delights.  It was a bring your own everything kind of deal and even the hardcore recyclers had fun grooving to the tunes as they helped in the effort yo recycle.

Though recycling was available at the festival, the numbers of bottles and cans quickly overwhelmed the receptacles.  The volunteers worked hard and they were helped out by the street collectors who gathered much of the debris.  It would be amazing if there could be recycling buyback during an event like Hardly Strictly Bluegrass.  People could hand over their collections for cash and continue to help keep the park clean during a major event.

It would also be amazing for the recycling process to be demonstrated as a part of the fabric of major events in our public spaces.  When we connect environmental acts like recycling to people rather than receptacles or bins, we have a more profound impact on people who participate.  It also creates opportunity for dialogue about important issues like recycling and bluegrass to happen all in one place.

It was lovely to see these hardworking street recyclers enjoy the music while protecting their stash.  Many patrons looked to them to turn over their bottles and cans instead of the overflowing and unmanned bins put out for the event.  Go figure.

Human Be-In Then and Now

Sit down with Diamond Dave and Soumyaa Kapil Behrens as they discuss the history of the Hippie Revolution and the first Human Be-In at Golden Gate Park in 1967 on Mutiny Radio.  Diamond Dave was there, at the start of the movement, and will be streaming his show on Mutiny Radio live from the event this weekend.

The Human Be-In kicked off as a “gathering of the tribes” in January of 1967.  This weekend, it will be re-created by a group called the Space TranSFormers.  They hope to raise awareness about the outrageous eviction of Kezar Gardens, the redevelopment plan for Hayes Valley Farm and the removal of the Free Farm in San Francisco. They will openly protest the leadership of the Recreation and Parks Department, namely Phil Ginsburg who has been heavily criticized for pandering to private interests regarding park land governance.

Back in 67, Allen Ginsberg was a beat-nick leader in the movement to live freely, humanely, creatively and passionately; today Phil Ginsburg reasserts that name into a symbol of corruption, power politics, and privatization.  So, if you are going to San Francisco this weekend, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair and and write your lawyer’s number in the pages of your copy of HOWL.  In this Ginsberg v Ginsburg battle of ideology, don’t expect anyone to play fair.  Will love and inclusiveness conquer all?  Or, will it finally be trampled down by hate and exclusive societies who do not care to share?

The conversation goes on all weekend.  Kick off the dialogue with the local band Classical Revolution 3pm Friday September 14th at ground zero: 780 Frederick Street.  Make some love, make some community, make some gardens, and make some history while you are at it.

For more information including schedules:

South Central Community Garden Wake-Up Call


The documentary film tells the story of the largest urban garden in the United States located in South Central LA.  Over a dozen acres of land was given to the community to grow their own food and that’s just what they did.  From 1994-2006 this parcel thrived, spreading health, joy and community bonds to everyone who encountered it.

But, a viscous land battle between the city of LA and the previous owners resulted in a back door sale of the parcel and the garden was ultimately evicted.  The film tells their story and includes the likes of Darryl Hannah, who was arrested for civil disobedience at the South Central Garden.  It was nominated for an Academy Award in 2008 as well.  The trailer, posted above, gives a great sense of the dramatic relationship between the common gardener and the heavy had of politics and corruption.

What you won’t see in the film is where things are at now.  After taking back the 14 acre community garden, the owners attempted to build a Forever 21 warehouse but failed.  The lot, currently, in 2012, sits vacant and empty.

The  story of South Central garden is a foreboding message to all those who have community gardens in urban settings.  The competition of the money hungry developers and land owners always eventually comes into play no matter how big, how great, how vast the community’s garden may be.  As we fight to save Kezar Gardens, the plight of South Central makes it even more urgent to solidify our place here in Golden Gate Park.  While our comrades like Hayes Valley Farm and the Free Farm are located on lands always sited for development, Kezar Gardens is on land that will never face that challenge.  There will never be condos or a Whole Foods or a Forever 21 warehouse at 780 Frederick Street.  That land is zoned for public use.  And, it is the right kind of land to have an ecology center like ours because of that fact.


We cannot count on the kindness of developers to give sanctuary to our burgeoning urban ecology centers.  City parks must be the safe havens for urban gardens, the protectors of ecology programs and the champions for people who take charge of their health and well being by participating in the environmental movement.   Through gardening, habitat restoration, recycling, composting and engaging one another in free and public spaces that reflect unity rather than segregation and disparity, we can create a small utopia in Golden Gate Park together.  Save Kezar Gardens-don’t let our future be an expensive empty lot they say they are going to do something with.  Don’t let them bulldoze this garden to erect another one more expensive and not yet paid for.  There is plenty of land in Golden Gate Park to house a dozen community gardens.  Demand that urban ecology centers be written in to the Golden Gate Park Master Plan and demand that more community gardens, not less, be open and available in Golden Gate Park and other city parks in San Francisco.

Take Action!

How can you help save Kezar Gardens, let me count the ways…

1.  Vote for our site on under the challenge “What is your favorite thing in your neighborhood?”

2.  Print out a postcard off our SAVE KEZAR GARDENS page and send it to Mayor Edwin Lee.

3.  Stop by and say hi, share your story with us, enjoy the gorgeous gardens in bloom.

4.  Tell people you know about this problem-express your concerns-spread the word

5.  Ask reporters, TV stations and other media outlets to cover this story and get the important facts out there.

RETRO WEEK: Alvord Lake and Food not Bombs


In acts of defiance, members of FOOD not BOMBS led marches and held food giveaways around the city including Alvord Lake, starting in the late 1980’s.  The message was to provide the poor and homeless people with resources instead of marching orders.  People from the movement were regularly arrested and cited for these giveaways since, while it required a permit to sell food in Golden Gate Park, it was always illegal to give it away for free.

The Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council (HANC) was a backer of this movement.  They often provided logistical support to the food giveaways though many opponents chided their involvement.  Many in the HANC community also claim that local neighborhood group CVIA (Cole Valley Improvement Association) was actually formed in order to combat the progressive position HANC took on the FOOD not BOMBS movement.  CVIA still works tirelessly to oppose HANC initiatives at every turn.  The main difference is that HANC promotes an inclusive society which finds a way to help everyone in the community while CVIA would rather create an exclusive community, finding ways to eliminate people who are visibly needy or unsavory from the neighborhood.  This critical difference in philosophy has not lost steam in our time, rather it has been magnified and polarized this area, turning neighbor against neighbor in the war on poverty.

Greg Gaar, our native plant guru and former Haight Street fixture, used to spend his days photographing the people, culture and politics in the Haight in black and white film.  His unofficial archive captures many pivotal moments from the neighborhood and brings a close-up perspective to a movement for the poor and hungry most people have never seen.  A selection of his photos from a FOOD not BOMBS protest on September 5, 1988 is included below.   Above, find the adorable animation from the FOOD not BOMBS website illustrating their ideas.  For more information check out

Stay tuned for more retro themed stories this week on our blog.  We will be looking at the Mc Donald’s drive-thru debacle, the Cala/Whole Foods development, and the groundbreaking environmental work of John Barry and May Pon.  If you have a unique story about this neighborhood, please email, maybe we will feature you on our blog!

All Chained Up!

Community members stopped by Kezar Gardens Ecology Center to help save our site last Sunday.  We collected pictures of patrons chaining themselves to the fence to demonstrate their support of this unique garden, native plant and recycling space in Golden Gate Park.  Check out the highlights below!

Taking creative action to help protect unique Urban  Agriculture initiatives is one thing you can do too!  If you missed our chained-up party but still want your mug taken wrapped up in civil disobedience, email to schedule an appointment!

We shall not be moved.  We shall overcome.  Stop the Eviction.