Thursday, March 31, 2011

Parachute - a really long word for fun!

We took a parachute down to the Civic Center to try it out before the April 16th SF Refresh in Hayes Valley and the Western Addition. And now we can confirm, parachutes are really fun!

We hope the parachute will encourage people to have fun like they did when they were kids.

Perhaps you have memories of joyfully playing with a parachute in gym class? On April 16th, you will have your own chance to have fun with the parachute at the Hayes Valley Farm (Fell/Laguna).

I'm a pretty able bodied 31 year old, but I realized somewhere in the fun of it all I had really gotten a pretty good upper body workout. Young Sara outlasted us all with her energy, but even those who played with the parachute for just 5 minutes or so, could be seen giggling for hours afterward. That's what we at SF Refresh call success!

You'll notice in this short video we took of our parachute adventure, that we can't stop giggling.

I hope you'll join us on April 16th, even if it is just to giggle. They say just visiting a garden improves your health, so please come even if you don't participate in any activities.

Have fun!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Green Your Fence: SF's New Gardening Zoning

The San Francisco Urban Agriculture Alliance (SFUAA), one of the presenters of SF Refresh, has been working with the powers that be at City Hall to create a new zoning code that would make it easier for urban agriculture to flourish in San Francisco. One of the requirements of the new codes, if they are passed, will be decorative fencing (if a garden chooses to have fencing). Though it's certainly more beautiful than cyclone fencing, some gardeners fear that this requirement would be to too expensive for the community gardens that have large sites and cyclone fencing.

At the urging of SFUAA, the new code will likely include language that also allows for cyclone fencing if more than 50% of the fence will be covered by living plants within 3 years. SF Refresh wants you to think about branching out from the old standards like covering your fence with ivy. Learn how to green your fence at our April 16th event where we will teach you two ways to grow drought resistant and hypo-allergenic but pleasantly scented plants on your fences. Here are some samples of what we'll be teaching on April 16th at the Hayes Valley Farm:

Green Your Fence Skill Shares:

  • 11:00am Fence Yarn Pocket Art - Lily Laurence and Lauren Gucik of the Revel Art Collective Description: Fence Decoration: Living Pockets in Yarn, Fabric, and Repurposed Materials

  • 2:00pm Building Succulant Fence Pockets - Booka (DIY guide)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Introducing: The Vespertine Orchestra

The Vespertine Orchestra is the resident music ensemble for The Vespertine Circus.

Sadie has been singing, composing, teaching, and performing (flute and piano) since she was 12 years old. Classically trained with a B.A. in Music Education from Sonoma State University. She has performed as mezzo-soprano soloist as well as choir singer with the Sonoma Bach Society. She is currently the music director for St. John’s Methodist Church in Rohnert Park, CA. Sadie as served as board member with the Santa Rosa Concert Association. She has also released several CDs in both rock and classical genres, performing works of classical composers and her own original music.

Since 1989, Jesus Contreras has written, arranged, performed, programmed, recorded, mixed, and mastered music in a number of diverse forms and styles including Latin American, experimental, Jazz, International, Classical, Pop, Rock, Alternative, Electronic, and in numerous media such as film, dance, and theater. Jesus has taught guitar, theory, and composition since 1990 in numerous styles ranging from Classical to pop/rock/country/blues from beginning to advanced levels. Jesus studied with Pulitzer Prize winning composer William Bolcom, Michael Daugherty, William Albright, Bright Sheng and Evan Chambers at the University of Michigan, receiving a Masters of Music in Music Composition in 1996. Jesus studied with Daniel Asia at the University of Arizona, receiving a Bachelors of Music in Music Theory and Composition with a minor in Classical guitar performance in 1993. Jesus studied Classical guitar with Thomas Patterson at the University of Arizona on a music scholarship for performance. Jesus also started an independent music label, Mockbrawn Records, with business partner and fellow ensemble member, Eric Baldoni, of the group Cortex Bomb, based in Tucson, Arizona. Jesus recently joined the music faculty at Sonoma State University where he is teaching composition, recording, and music technology.

Introducing: Amy Hintze

With over 10 years of experience specializing in deep tissue and sports massage, I will work out your knots and tension and make you feel like a whole new person. I will find the problem in your muscles, and I will help fix it. Amy is offering chair massage at Hayes Valley Garden from 11:30AM-2:00PM and from 3:00PM-5:00PM.

Introducing: Megan Dowdell

I am a PhD student in ethics and social theory at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, and an adjunct faculty member at Starr King School for the Ministry, also in Berkeley. My work is interdisciplinary, drawing from Womanist/feminist ethics, bioethics and medical sociology to grapple with issues of racial disparities in health care. Some specific topics I am interested in: criminalization of pregnant women of color, birthing options under Medicaid, the history of barriers to African American participation in biomedical research, physician culture, race-related stress in the ER, and more being added daily! Megan will be giving a talk on Feminist Approaches to Bioethics at Hayes Valley farm at 11:00AM on Saturday, April 16th.

Activity Leader Profile: Sam McMullen

Hey Folks! I am Sam, the new Garden Educator. I am very thrilled to become a part of the Growing Home Community Garden family. Participating in activities such as herb drying and planting seeds with 6th grade students has been exciting while making connections with the current volunteers and new peer mentors. As spring approaches, I am looking forward to planting warm weather crops and watching the garden transform. Hurray for tomatoes and basil! I am returning to the Bay Area after a year-long internship at Slide Ranch in Marin. There I learned about bio-intensive organic gardening, milking goats, and chasing chickens. And then I taught students how to do all these things during their day to week-long visits. The internship expanded my skills as an educator and sparked my passion for helping students connect to their food and their larger natural community. I fancy goats, herbs, and oral history and my favorite vegetables are brussel sprouts. Stop by the garden and say hello! Sam is leading several activities at Hayes Valley Farm. Saturday, April 16th: - 11:00AM: Composting - 1:00PM: Herbs and Wellness - 2:00PM: Composting - 3:00PM: Herbs and Wellness

Introducing: Pancho Ramos-Stierle

Pancho Ramos-Stierle's passion for Astrobiology brought him to the University of California at Berkeley to pursue a PhD in Astrophysics. But when the U.S. government and the laboratories of this university announced that they were developing "safer nuclear weapons," he decided to stop cooperating with this institution. Now as a responsible scientist, he says, he is doing his PhDO in Citizenship of the World.

Pancho believes that when the inner (r)evolution merges with the outer (r)evolution, the Total (R)evolution of the Human Spirit is imminent. Furthermore, when science and art are balanced, the beauty of life blossoms at its best. It is what he calls the New Renaissance of Humanity.

Pancho's mission statement in life reads: "To live in radical joyous shared servanthood to unify humanity."

He will be facilitating several workshops for SF Refresh at the Free Farm:

Saturday, April 16th
- 10:00 AM: Being in Receptive Silence -- Meditation Workshop
- 11:00 AM: Bravenough -- Inner and Outer Nonviolence Workshop
- 4:00 PM: Bravenough -- Inner and Outer Nonviolence Workshop
- 8:00 PM: Star Party! (Stargazing)

Introducing: Jessica Kraft

I create public art murals and installations with local communities. My projects integrate social organizing with educational graphic art. Designed to be completed in a few hours by groups of volunteer artists and non-artists, the murals and installations transform dull spaces into vibrant tableaux. I’ve worked in London, UK, New York, NY and San Francisco, CA. My recent projects incorporate themes of sustainability in an urban context, and are designed to educate and decorate!

Some of Jessica's other projects include: the rooftop garden mural at Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco, Marshall Elementary School cafeteria mural in San Francisco, and the Globe School playground mural in London.

Jessica will be designing and painting a mural at Hayes Valley Farm.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Introducing: Rik Center

Rik Center is a Somatic Stress and Trauma Counselor/Practitioner, Mindfulness Stress Reduction & Meditation Teacher and a Buddhist/Interfaith Chaplain. He is Co-Founder of the Nonprofit "Mindfulness Care Center" and is a member of the USABP/United States Association For Body Psychotherapy.

His private practice focuses on healing high levels of stress, unresolved traumatic anxiety and PTSD bringing about discharge and regulation of the autonomic nervous system. The nonprofit “Mindfulness Care Center” supports people in reclaiming their inner wisdom of the body/mind connection in feeling whole and safe and learning to move in the world with empowerment, boundaries and joy.

Over the years Rik has worked in volunteer community outreach care at the Haight Ashbury Free Clinic utilizing somatic therapy and bodywork. He’s traveled to Baton/Rogue New Orleans providing trauma sessions and assistance training in supporting people who were still reeling from the effects of Hurricane Katrina and Rita. He currently volunteers time at San Francisco General Hospital as a Chaplain, teaches mindfulness movement in one of the hospital wards and meditation. Rik also assists in training other Somatic Experiencing Practitioners.
Rik has trained with Peter Levine, the creator of Somatic Experiencing and author of “Waking The Tiger, Healing Trauma.” He has studied MBSR/Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, developed by author and PHD, Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn and has been a Buddhist meditation practitioner of “Insight Awareness” since 1988 and currently leads a weekly meditation class in San Francisco and offers Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Programs.
His background also includes advanced bodywork studies that utilized both eastern & western healing practices. He has a small yoga and Qigong practice and has been a practitioner of the Martial Art Kyudo, “The Way Of Bow” since 1991. Rik’s spiritual practice is connected with Spirit Rock Mediation Center located in Woodacre, Insight Meditation Center in Redwood City, Abhayagiri a Thai Forest Monastery in Ukiah
and Theravada Monastery for Nuns in San Francisco, Aloka Vihara.

Rik has retreated with gifted meditation teachers such as Jack Kornfield; renowned author, psychologist and former Buddhist Monk, Ajahn Sumedho a well known Thai Forest Theravada Buddhist Monk and teacher, Dr. Robert Hall, meditation teacher and founder of the Lomi School in Northern California and Stanislov Grof MD, creator of Holotropic Breathwork, plus many other wonderful teachers. At the end of 2009 he concluded a three-month silent meditation retreat at the IMS Forest Refuge. Rik continues his own study and practice of mindfulness, Buddhist practices and spiritual concepts.

In my personal experience, Rik's professionalism, skills and empathy are unmatched by any other in a world where everyone talks and few listen or connect. Rik has a rare gift in being able to be present and open others up, mentally, physically and spiritually. It's clear that he also takes great pride in what he does and that he never lets himself settle…he is always on a quest to improve himself”…SS

4 pm Hour of Mindfulness and Meditation

SF Refresh, in partnership with the Interfaith Center at the Presidio, is seeking leaders and participants at 4pm on April 16th to create an hour of Meditation and Mindfulness in community gardens throughout San Francisco. Interested in sharing something from your faith practice that encourages meditation or mindfulness? Help us create opportunities for individuals to try out as many types of mindfulness and meditation as possible to find what works for them and to dramatically increase the amount of positive energy in San Francisco. You can learn more about the project and find the April 16th schedule of free whole body care activities at community gardens throughout San Francisco.

Contact Megan Rohrer at or 415-503-2196 with questions, to volunteer or to lead an activity, meditation or mindfulness practice.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Leader Profile: Ilyse Magy

My work seeks to encourage the exploration, exploitation, and exhaustion of all of life’s possibilities, no matter how whimsical or perverted. Life itself can be art; the creative process in any mode activates the typically passive nature of daily existence.

In every medium—video, performance, installation—I approach my work with a childlike zeal. Some of the primary qualities of being an artist are those of being a child: the impulse to play, the impulse to make, the openness to engage others without bias, and interacting with the world through an active imagination. Engaging in art is a way to retain the excitement of exploration we have in childhood, yet enhancing it with a critical lens.

My emphasis on play and humor is critical; it questions the given, the habitual, the way things are. I use art as a means of illuminating the arbitrary constructions that govern our daily lives. In the creative act, play can be serious and stimulating, continuously opening new possibilities.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Call For Artists

SF Refresh wants you! That's right, you!

SF Refresh's goal is to create six daylong citywide events that enable San Franciscans to receive free whole body care in community garden settings in 2011. Activities include: gardening classes, yoga, life coaching, meditation, trauma care, nutrition classes, massage, acupuncture, tea and coffee cuppings, movement classes, creative writing, art, art therapy, preventative health care information, and much, much more.

Community gardens are amazing venues for artistic expression of any and all kinds, and we are looking for artists and other creative types to be Volunteer Activity Leaders. These can be activities that are ends in and of themselves, or beautification projects that leave a lasting (and dazzling) mark. We are looking for:

-Fence Decorators

This is an amazing opportunity to connect with the area's community gardens as well as the community at large. It is also an opportunity for some self-healing as well, and after all, who couldn't use a little refreshment?


Confirmed Sites:

If this sounds like something you want to be a part of, let us know by filling out the online sign-up sheet! And please pass this along to anyone you think would be interested!

If you have any questions about leading an artistic activity, contact Ilyse at iimagy [at] gmail [dot] com.

Be Well!
Ilyse Magy
Lead Art Coordinator, SF Refresh

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Leader Profile: Lindsey Goldberg

I began studying yoga asana six years ago in a quaint Bikram studio in San Luis Obsipo; enlivened by the discipline and strong sense of yogic community, I have been steeping myself in yogic tradition ever since. My personal practice has evolved a lot since the days in the Bikram studio over the creek; dance and other somatic movement methodologies have infused my awareness, encouraging integration of joy and playfulness while practicing listening to the heart, the body and the breath. I moved to the Northwest in the fall of 2007 to pursue a Master's Degree in Environmental and Art Education. During that time, my passion for spending time outside developed into a deep reverence for the natural world, the birds, the bees, marshland, cattails, soil fertility, biodiversity and the dynamics of weather. Today in my teaching I integrate awareness of the environment into the practice. Practicing out of doors, is rejuvenating, basking in the sunshine or being moved by the winds is an invigorating way to connect to the earth and recognize the delicate interconnections that permeate the dynamic equilibrium of life. Following graduate school, I took a year long sabbatical; I traveled through the Middle East and India. I chose to study and practice with teachers of the ancient wisdom traditions, including Buddhism, Hinduism, Yogic philosophy asana, as well as Tantric cosmology. My personal practice and teaching is rooted in traditional Hatha Yoga and infused with many stories that have informed by path. I am passionate about offering a practice that is restorative, relaxing, joyful and strengthening. I intend to make my offering accessible to yogis of all ages and when we practice together outside, we will attune to the brilliance, the beauty and the deep wisdom of the earth. Today I live in San Francisco, I facilitate youth education programming at Hayes Valley Farm and help maintain Graze the Roof, the rooftop garden at Glide Memorial Church, where I also help to educate and connect the local youth to the project on the roof. I teach yoga in San Francisco and Marin County.

Lindsey will be teaching yoga at three of our garden locations:

Sunday, July 24th [Hayes Valley Farm]
- 8:00 AM: All Levels
- 1:00 PM: Yoga for Kids
- 4:00 PM: All Levels

Sunday, September 25th [Garden for the Environment]
- 8:00 AM: All Levels
- 1:00 PM: Yoga for Kids
- 4:00 PM: All Levels

Saturday, October 15th [Visitation Valley Greenway]
- 8:00 AM: All Levels
- 1:00 PM: Yoga for Kids
- 4:00 PM: All Levels