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SF community garden in a median strip

  • Subject: [cg] SF community garden in a median strip
  • From: yarrow@sfo.com
  • Date: Wed, 19 Jul 2006 01:50:08 -0700

Here are some excerpts from an inspiring story from today's paper 
about a community garden that was planted in a median strip.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/07/18/BAGTVK0N8B1.DTL&hw=community+garden&sn=001&sc=1000

SAN FRANCISCO
Garden transforms a mean street
4 years after a scrubby median patch was planted, crime is down and 
neighbors cultivate friendship as well as flowers

by Patricia Yollin, Chronicle Staff Writer

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

....The street's metamorphosis began in 2002 when Paige and Annette 
Young Smith, who also lives on Quesada, started the garden on the 
median -- which had been a dumping ground for car parts, mattresses 
and other flotsam and jetsam.

A lot has happened since then.

Flowers, plants and vegetables now fill the entire median, from Third 
Street to the east to Newhall Street to the west. When The Chronicle 
last wrote about the block in September 2004, Quesada residents had 
driven out most drug dealers, forced the sale of a dilapidated vacant 
house, gotten rid of vehicles camping on the strip and landed a water 
meter from the city.

Almost two years later, the garden is more lush than ever. Residents 
have formed the Quesada Gardens Initiative, a community-building 
project. To get grants, they secured fiscal sponsorship from 
Renaissance Parents of Success, a Bayview nonprofit. The 
Exploratorium featured Smith in a video about the garden, and the 
Clean and Green City Summit honored her and Paige five months ago. 
The two also received national Jefferson Awards for public service.

The city's Community Challenge Grant Program has given the block 
$24,000 to paint a mural on an ugly concrete wall at the west end of 
the street, and San Francisco Beautiful has awarded $8,000 for a drip 
irrigation system. Schoolchildren take tours of the garden and 
Stanford University volunteers do hard labor. Even the 13 Canary 
Island date palms on the median are prospering -- they've acquired 
landmark status.

Quesada residents have helped start another garden a block away, and 
Dr. Charles Drew Elementary School also has asked for their 
assistance. People elsewhere in the Bayview seek advice. Every time, 
the question is the same: How did you do it?

"They always say, 'I can't do it by myself,' " said James Ross, who 
moved to Quesada in 1983. "That's true, but somebody has to start. 
All it takes is two, three people who want to do it. If nobody gets 
started, won't nothing happen."

It's entirely possible that nothing would have transpired on Quesada 
if Smith's brother, Woody Young, hadn't begun gouging the dirt on the 
median to get worms for fishing bait. His sister stuck some plants in 
the ground to cover all the holes.

"I was surprised anything took root and grew in the first place," 
Smith said on a recent morning. "The dirt was so hard at that time 
that we had to take picks and dig. We'd pour water, like you mix 
concrete, and put the plants in the mud."

....

How to help

To learn more about the project, to volunteer or to make donations, 
call (415) 822-8082, e-mail info@quesadagardens.org or write to: 
Quesada Gardens Initiative, P.O. Box 881764, San Francisco CA 
94188-1764. A Web site will be up in the next few months.

E-mail Patricia Yollin at pyollin@sfchronicle.com.



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