San Francisco Bay Area’s Greenhouse Project is a cultural and economic restoration garden project making use of what we have and growing on it. This week Cultivating Place is joined by Caitlyn Galloway who shares more about the firm belief of this project that Urban Agriculture is essential to building a sustainable future wherever you might live.
The Greenhouse Project is an urban agriculture initiative working to restore and repurpose a historic 2.2 acre agricultural site lined with abandoned agricultural greenhouses in the city’s Portola community into a collaborative, visionary hub for food production, education, connection, and environmental stewardship.
Caitlyn Galloway is an artist and a gardener, as well as the vision and strategy lead for the Greenhouse Project. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Caitlyn Galloway has a 15 year career in innovative and place based urban agricultural projects, beginning in 2009 with something called the Little City Gardens project. IN our conversation, Caitlyn and I explore how that project both asked and began to reveal some answers to the question: can a farmer make a healthy environmental and economic living in community by farming on small not always contiguous patches of earth?
The Greenhouse Project team is in their last month of fundraising to secure the Portola Farm project sight, with a deadline of July 31st, 2022. To support their work online, go to: www.sfgreenhouses.org/.
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JOIN US again next week, when we are in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio making a visit to the Civic Garden Center of Greater Cincinnati where for 80 years this civic center has been a garden, providing and habitat and education in a green and welcoming community center for all. Listen in!
Bio photos of Caitlyn at the Greenhouse Project Site by Jeff Hunt, Storied: San Francisco, all rights reserved. Photos of the 770 Woolsey Street, site of the Greenhouse Project courtesy of the Greenhouse project, all rights reserved.
Thinking out loud this week:
Can you believe it’s July? I can’t, but then there are a whole lot of things I can’t believe so this time-disfluency should not surprise me. I’ve been on the road quite a bit this late spring/early summer and it’s been great to meet so many of your in person at these events. In Austin, Texas as the finale speaker for Pam Pennick’s Garden Spark series, in Charleston, SC, in Southern Vermont. I was in Charlottesville, VA, in Philadelphia, and in East Hampton, NY where I had the great joy of witnessing landscape designer Edwina Von Gal’s Prfect Earth Project and 2/3rds for the Birds initiative in action with meadows of wildflowers, with an osprey nest full of chicks and two doting parents, and in the transcendence of an evening field alive with hundreds and hundreds of fireflies.
IN Charlottesville, VA I was the annual Peter J. Hatch Cabinet speaker at Monticello for the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, where I was joined in conversation with their Curator of Plants and my friend Peggy Cornett as well as the Foundation’s field Archeologist Derek Wheeler where the three of us explored the idea of all the levels of invitation our gardens offer out to us, and all the levels of invitation our gardens allow us to offer out to the world around us – from our inner selves, to our communities, to the greater than human planet mates we depend on. The whole 24 hours there was an honor, in which I got to tour the gardens, the house, the center for historic plants. I was seated a dinner with one of the country’s great constitutional lawyers, with an architectural historian, with a newly college graduated young writer, with a gardener, a plantsman, and a presidential librarian. And we all engaged in civil conversation about the power of gardens in our world – across our world and across our many divides.
You may recall me reflecting on this before – this idea of invitation in and from our gardens? And it may sound a bit trite, a bit small or frivolous – an invitation may seem an old-fashioned sort of formality, but the way I see it, in all of their pathways for grounding, for connecting and for agency to affect the many challenges we face – I think that our gardens might just offer us the greatest invitation of our lives - which is to grow better.
What do you think?
I loved when Caitlyn described her first urban agricultural experiment The Little City Gardens like this: “This really felt like a project made up of questions more than one made up of projections or answers.”
It is the perfect description for me of starting Cultivating Place – And who am I kidding – it’s the perfect description of what actually happen when you begin with a garden – or for that matter each new phase of life…
Keep asking questions – keep asking them of yourself and of your gardens and garden lives friends.
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