Hayes Valley Farm and Garden 2009
While new dirt is being delivered, Hayes Valley Farm has already sprouted a new website.

The Hayes Valley Farm and Garden Education Project (HVF) is an exciting new opportunity to create a working urban farm and education center in Hayes Valley on a City of San Francisco-owned lot located between Oak, Fell, Laguna and Octavia streets.

The project is organized by a coalition of urban farmers, garden educators, social service organizations, and landscape designers. The project is proposed as an interim use – a one to five year time frame – until the City moves forward with other development plans for the site.

An interim vision for HVF is above, the longer term vision from Build Inc. is below.
Parcel P Site Plan

In our collective discussions concerning Parcel P, we struggled to find a solution that was less cosmetic and more genuine in its diversity. At some point, it dawned on us that perhaps the most genuine approach to diversifying the site was to actually break it up into smaller parcels with each of the parcels having a different architect designing to the specifics of a particular program and place; a recreation in spirit, not form of the surrounding organically grown neighborhood.

Build Inc's Parcel P Plan
239 new residences as envisoned. And yes, with a central mews.
Hayes Valley Farm [hayesvalleyfarm.com]
RFPs For Housing Along Octavia Boulevard [SocketSite]
Octavia Boulevard [Parcel P] Plan [buildinc.biz]

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Frank

    Maybe they could plant lemon trees instead of fruit trees. I lived next to two plum trees a few years ago and the rats would pour down the hill to have dinner every night. Fortunately we could mainly just hear them, but we only occasionally saw them run through the yard.

  2. Posted by dr. who

    1/2 the site as a hippie garden? SF never ceases to amaze me….

  3. Posted by BRCGranny

    Gee, Dr, that was highly constuctive. Perhaps you can enlighten us all about the evils of open space?

  4. Posted by D

    Planting an orchard in a spot that you only have for 4-5 years? Sounds like this organization is made up of people who’ve never farmed before.

  5. Posted by Oak & Orchard

    Once the orchard is set up, someone please plant a protected specimen in the place, like the Morro Bay kangaroo rat or the San Francisco garter snake.
    Then lay a few Adirondack chairs, sit back and enjoy the entertainment while the different parties fight it off in court.

  6. Posted by Dogpatch res

    Build does come up with some wacky ideas, but you can count on them for ideas that might actually make you happier where you live. For example — they built the Esprit Park Lofts in our neighborhood. Part of what they’ve done is create bulb-outs in the adjoining sidewalk corners AND inserted a provision in the CCRs that sets aside part of the homeowner fees to pay for some of the gardening at the city-owned park across the street.
    Eventually their “wacky” ideas get toned down into something more practical, but it’s nice to at least consider some nonconventional ideas that approach urban living a wee bit differently from everyone else.

  7. Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

    D wrote:

    Planting an orchard in a spot that you only have for 4-5 years? Sounds like this organization is made up of people who’ve never farmed before.

    It’s probably a bet that the city isn’t going to get their act together in the next 4-5 years and therefore won’t decide on their “other development plans for the site” until two or three harvests actually happen.

  8. Posted by divideandconquer

    I can’t believe the comment suggesting multiple designers! Exactly how many extra stairs, egress corridors, elevators, garage doors, water services, sewer connections, seismic gaps, design fees, permit fees, planning commission hearings and sub-contractors would be required to carry out this idiotic plan?

  9. Posted by joh

    Multiple architects designing smaller parcels will undoubtedly be more expensive, but at least it has the potential to add more visual interest than a single building could. Besides, it won’t be a free-for-all for the architects; they’ll have to conform to specific guidelines for their respective parcel.

  10. Posted by Invented

    “Multiple architects designing smaller parcels will undoubtedly be more expensive, but at least it has the potential to add more visual interest than a single building could. Besides, it won’t be a free-for-all for the architects; they’ll have to conform to specific guidelines for their respective parcel.”
    I like the idea of different designers; had some of this mix-up been applied to Mission Bay we might not have ended up with a monolithic residential/corporate mall experience. Think side streets, mews and um, perhaps a place where bulky same-as-anywhere corporate chain stores would feel out of place.

  11. Posted by Mark

    If a garden goes in — I think it is unlikely that the longer plans will ever be executed upon. This is a sneaky way to get something approved without having a full debate. Shame on the urban farmers — they are sneaky!

  12. Posted by Big V

    man, I got excited at the idea of a permanent educational farm at the location. That would have been excellent use of the land. What a shame it will only be temporary.

  13. Posted by lol

    LOL, dr. who, hippies win again! I couldn’t agree more, we have how much open space (and in the immediate area with pocket parks, Alamo Square up the hill, etc.) and how much of a need for more affordable housing?

  14. Posted by Kathleen

    would be great if garden became permanent.

  15. Posted by sunset guy

    Not so sure I want to eat the fruits of this garden seeing as it used to be a freeway. How much lead is in the soil. But I am sure it will be an organic farm.

  16. Posted by Chris Burley

    Re: “Lead levels” from sunset guy. We appreciate your concerns and invite you to read our Frequently Asked Questions section to learn more about how we’re force feeding (read handling) lead. – http://www.hayesvalleyfarm.com/about/faq.html
    Thanks,
    Chris

  17. Posted by Eric in SF

    Chris – good voluntary plan on your part, but have you received health department sign-off and approval for humans to consume what you grow?

  18. Posted by Kurt Brown

    “Chris – good voluntary plan on your part, but have you received health department sign-off and approval for humans to consume what you grow?”
    And when you have that approval, have you got approval from all the neighborhood busybody committees? And the long-range, short-range, and medium-range planning board, commissions, and panels? Next up will be approval from the assessor for a special waiver, and then the labor department for a special permit to allow you to recruit volunteers, along with regular inspections to make sure you’re following the city’s regulations on volunteer labor practices and OHSA compliance. Next after that…
    Now if you were a developer wanting to put in a high density multi-use development on a $250M budget, then you could have just had a quiet little meeting with the board of supes and the mayor and agreed to a “mutually beneficial” arrangement and you’d be done.
    Chis, despite my sarcasm, I love you and what you are doing. You’re keeping this city vital and alive. I’ll be volunteering myself, bureaucracy be damned.

  19. Posted by anonconfused

    Everybody moans as if San Francisco were like the dark canyons of New York or Chicago, when I think there is an amazing amount of open space for a city of such density. Plus, we have the shoreline areas of the Presido, Ocean Beach and GGNR,and the hilltop parks, plus of course Golden Gate Park, so why are people so lacking in open space?
    I still think San Francisco needs to decide whether or not it REALLY wants to be the urban city many people claim it already is, or whether it should be a historic boutique urbanity with orchards, backyards, and suburban style desires.

  20. Posted by noearch

    anybody see the pics of the singing farmers on their Hayes Valley Farm website?? my god, they look like they never left the 60′s.:)
    get a haircut. buy a condo. grow a garden in your private open space. we need more housing on that big lot.

  21. Posted by Eric in SF

    Sorry Kurt but I am still not convinced this group has determined that there are no residual contaminants on their future farm plot. I never said I thought what they were doing wasn’t good, but food safety is paramount. They have tested for lead, what about all the associated VOCs that come from vehicles, trucks, etc? Why should the food they grow not be subject to the same food safety laws every other farm is subject to?
    The catch is that the food grown here has a high chance of being served in a soup kitchen or other social service place where children are present.

  22. Posted by Kurt Brown

    Eric, my sarcasm wasn’t specifically directed to you, altho it was triggered by your post. I’m sure your concerns are valid. People shouldn’t die. I can get behind that. I also want to state categorically that I’m against killing puppies and clubbing baby seals.
    My post was a lament on getting anything accomplished in SF (or worse, Berkeley), where there is an endless supply of people who will tell you your “doing it wrong” or make fun of your singing and hair styles (God forbid you don’t “look right” in San Francisco, I mean, come on!). But when it comes to finding people that will chip in and help, you’ll hear the sounds of birds chirping.
    You sound like you have some valuable knowledge Eric. I’m sure the Hayes Valley Farm folks would love to have you volunteer. At least you didn’t complain about hair styles, so points for that.

  23. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    Your point is clear Kurt. There’s and endless noisy fracas over petty issues in front of city hall while the real (boring but important and high $) deals slip through the side door unnoticed.
    There’s an oligarchy that is very happy that the city continuously argues about distractions like critical mass, chains (of 3 stores!), old but neither historic nor unique buildings, and urban farms that will supply 0.07% of the vegetables consumed in the city.
    Nothing makes a die hard exploiter happier than to see the “guardians of the people” beat up on one another while the gold can be ransacked out the back door without a fight.

  24. Posted by michael in sf

    Are you people kidding me? Get a haircut and buy a condo? Seriously? Hey, I have a condo and a “respectable” haircut (most days), but I have to balk at the some of notions presented above.
    I agree open space is not really at a premium in SF, but I welcome individuals committed to their neighborhood and attempting to do something positive. Yes, environmental remediation needs to be considered, but do you have any idea where the rest of your food comes from? Personally, I love the beauty of an atrocious freeway getting replaced by a “hippie garden.”
    Multiple architects on smaller parcels? Isn’t that how about 90% of the city was developed? And the other 10%? Well, I don’t want to live there.
    Jesus, the negativity and narrow-minded-ness I witness on this blog amazes me. You guys need to get out more! While SF has some issues, at least there are folks trying to make the world a better place. What are you doing? Complaining about people that don’t look like you or lack of parking on demand? Fine, get lost.

  25. Posted by Eric in SF

    Kurt – thanks for the clarification. I’ve engaged the Hayes Valley Farm folks privately on the issue and we’re discussing. I’m volunteered out myself as I’m an officer on two volunteer nonprofit horticulture boards already.
    Milkshake – can’t argue with your points. My only defense is that I’ve never been a big picture person and feel I can contribute more to the big picture by working out details on the ground.

  26. Posted by Eric in SF

    Michael – disingenuous rant. You have *NO* idea of how much or little any commenter here contributes to their neighborhood. To infer otherwise does nothing to further the discussion.

  27. Posted by noearch

    You do realize I was being kinda playful and snarky with my comments? That site needs a balance of housing and perhaps some garden areas. The highest and best use would be fairly dense housing, for different income levels, combined with common and private open space.

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