Sure, I’ll take a couple of those.

Good grief. I am going off on a rant here. The ranties over at Garden Rant will appreciate it even if you don’t.

I ask you, isn’t there a better way to spend $70,000 than to have someone install a high end potager/kitchen garden? “Plots as edible showplaces” is what the Wall Street Journal called the idea in an article “the Vegetable Garden goes Luxe.” Indeed. Yes, and then you let the stable workers, landscaper or limo chauffeur eat the produce. Damn, now isn’t that altruistic? And get this, these gardens are “installed at second homes they rarely visit…”. Yes, and one woman asked for her $50K veg patch instead of diamonds or a European vacation. Sounds like a true trade off to me. Shhhhhheesssh. Oh yeah, and sometimes she “catches guests admiring her produce. ”

Now this brings to mind the $180K community garden in San Francisco.

from AP phots by Scott Chernis.
from AP phots by Scott Chernis.

Rumor has it the the garden will be bulldozed in October. Would someone do the math on this for me? If 100 square feet of garden space will feed one person, and if we can determine how many square feet of garden space there is in front of San Francisco’s city hall, then we can figure out how much $180,000 buys in terms of produce.

Then, my pal Robin, or Bumblebee, the Garden Examiner over at, posted about this wonderful pair of farmers in Portland OR, and their video, Cooking Up a Story. These gardening gals install small gardens in people’s back yards, replacing the useless turf with productive veg patches, give the homeowner a share of the produce and the rest goes into the CSA program. Brilliant. And it didn’t cost $50K.

Then of course, there is my good neighbor, Bill Meeker, head honcho gardener at the Vineyard Christian Fellowship garden where, last year, on a third of an acre, with only volunteer help and a very small budget, they raised 20,000 pounds of food and fed over 4000 people. My hort fund raising group helped them out this year and hopes to help for many years to come. Bill want to go big, maybe two and a half acres. Oh, and he would like to add a hospital for folks who can’t afford the institutional medical system. (VIneyard already has a school and clinic).

Go ahead, read between the lines. People are fed up instead of being fed, got a problem with that?

7 thoughts on “Sure, I’ll take a couple of those.”

  1. Your friend Bill Meeker has the right idea. Those people from San Francisco are nuts! If that is a picture of the community garden they created, it should be bulldozed. It looks hideous, in MHO. And those that were responsible for it should be fined $180K. Use the fine to create real community gardens!

  2. Wow, I’m speechless. Who are these people, and what reality are they living in? How can they NOT see how bizarre this is? I don’t get why people just can’t understand the basics of using empty lots for gardens. How many community plots done the right way could San Fran get for the money that their one big ugly garden cost?

  3. At Sister BJ’s, we built a beautiful flower garden and added vegetables too. The San Fran garden is an eyesore, and it cost so much to build. The uber rich often live in an alternate universe, the silly things. Why would someone want a veggie garden and not eat the produce? To show off someone else’s labor?~~Dee

  4. And I thought Illinois was the award-winner for foolish government spending! I’m not going to do the math, but I wonder how many hungry people could be fed with $180,000? The food banks would love a contribution like that.

  5. Hmm… It looks as though I’m going to be the only dissenting voice here, but I’m taking my hat off to San Fran and their handsome mayor. I’d be thrilled if my city spent 180K on a veggie garden (or any garden really) in front of city hall. I don’t care if it is permanent or not. In the grand scheme of things, this is not *that* much money to spend on a garden in a city that is hosting the Slow Food conference. I’ve seen nearly this much money thrown away on much less noble private garden projects. Take a look at the last response to Amy Stewart’s rant about this on garden rant and see if you still feel the same way.

    And please don’t tell me that the money could be spent to feed people (Sorry Rose, but I get really annoyed with this argument). When that logic is employed, there are precious few projects of any sort that pass muster. One of this project’s goals is to show people how to grow their own food, which to my mind is better than giving them food.

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