[permaculture] positive i garden/bank, nytimes

akiva w kevinakiva at yahoo.com
Wed Sep 27 00:52:58 EDT 2006

since these folks are in sonoma, maybe keith deserves
some credit.
doug goslin involved as well.



September 26, 2006
A Rare Kind of Food Bank, and Just Maybe the Hippest,

FORESTVILLE, Calif. — For most gardeners, spending a
gorgeous Saturday morning harvesting basil and organic
heirloom tomatoes is a life-enhancing experience. But
for green thumbs at one particular garden — an
innovative addition to a food bank for people with
H.I.V. and AIDS — the life-embracing quality of a
bountiful harvest is quite literal.

“I’m not a California effete kind of person; it’s
important to get the nutrition,” said Andrew Eckers, a
51-year-old volunteer gardener with a fondness for
sorrel and pea shoots who, when the disease had him
fully in its grip, spent eight years in a wheelchair.
“But this is also pleasurable.”

Founded in 1999 to provide produce for people living
with AIDS, the garden is part of what may well be the
country’s hippest food bank, a place where the Alice
Waters grow-your-own organic food ethic supplants
gloomy institutional staples like American cheese and
day-old bread.

While most people find little appeal in the typical
food bank, this one “creates a place of beauty,” said
Rachel Gardner, a retired chef from San Francisco who
helps coordinate the volunteer work and gives
nutrition and cooking classes for those the garden

The garden, run by Food for Thought, a nonprofit
organization, is overseen by horticulturalists from
the nearby Occidental Arts and Ecology Center, and
many of its volunteers are H.I.V. patients who benefit
from it. It brims with green beans and scallions but
also obscure varieties of amaranth, an ancient Andean
grain with flowing Rapunzel-like purple stalks. The
fresh produce harvested by the volunteers is the food
bank’s mainstay, though it also dispenses other
groceries as well as vitamins.

(more at web link)


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