Cheers to the rowdy folks at the San Francisco Bay Guardian blog for calling the Civic Center victory garden what it is: a photo op for a slow food conference. Now, I was totally psyched about the idea of San Francisco mayor / major hottie / potential gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom showing up to do a little digging in front of City Hall, and I do love the idea of growing food in public urban spaces, but.
It’s not really a victory garden.
It’s a demonstration. Which will be pulled out after the conference. Here’s what our pals at SFBG had to say:
"Then I heard that they’re going to rip out the garden in a couple
months, in my mind reducing the garden to a mere photo op for our jolly
green would-be governor. Ick. Just what this country needs, another
hollow gesture toward environmental sustainability rather than the bold
collective action that we actually need to tackle serious problems like
climate change, resource depletion, and a wasteful, polluting, and
ineffective global food system."
Well said. I mean, plant a victory garden. By all means. But don’t just put another pretty face in front of City Hall.
Not that there’s anything wrong with pretty faces.
Now for the really interesting part: the spokesperson of Slow Food Nation, the group responsible for the garden, is quoted as saying that she "sees value to even having a temporary garden in Civic Center Plaza, for
which her group is covering the roughly $180,000 in costs."
A hundred and eighty grand? For a two-month garden? (And good luck getting a tomato to ripen in San Francisco by the end of August, by the way.) You can buy a house for that kind of money. More to the point: UNICEF distributes this amazing, nutrient-rich nut butter called Plumpy Nut that is easy to store, distribute, and feed to starving children. It literally saves lives. For the price of that victory garden, 26,470 starving children could have been fed for a month.
But, you know. This sounds like it’s important, too.
Any Friends of Rant in San Francisco want to keep an eye on that garden for us? I can’t wait to see what $180,000 worth of produce looks like come September.