Only in San Francisco will you find Hayes Valley Farm—a temporary community farm built on the site of a former freeway exit ramp that was made unsafe by an earthquake in 1989.
The land will eventually be redeveloped since it’s zoned for residential use, but in the meantime the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development issued a grant to a team of volunteers to start a non-profit farm.
Mayor Newson’s ‘Directive for Healthy and Sustainable Food for San Francisco’ jump-started the farm—the goal being to increase awareness and offer educational opportunities about urban agriculture and sustainability—bonus was to revive a vacant lot while beautifying the neighborhood.
The latest news report shared by Hayes farm is that they’re growing fava beans and clover to ‘fix’ nitrogen in the soil. In the near future, they’ll focus on indigenous plants that will thrive in San Francisco’s coastal climate—good stuff like squash, leafy greens, potatoes, herbs, citrus…
Hayes Valley Farm uses cardboard to ‘sheet-mulch’ the soil—a technique to generate more fertile soil by suppressing the growth of unwanted plants and weeds, while absorbing and retaining nourishing moisture, and balancing carbon and nitrogen in the soil. First, lay cardboard sheets, then add layers of manure and mulch 3 or 4 feet deep and cover with top soil. Lastly, plant fava beans and clover to fix nitrogen in the soil and to balance out the carbon-rich cardboard and mulch.