We met outdoors.
Hayes Valley Farm was about experiencing and stewarding common land, and creating a place where creativity and sustenance deepened. It was about growing food and growing community, about hands-on participation, like flipping compost, and art, creating site-specific structures and experiences.
Hayes Valley Farm came to life outdoors — on a former freeway in the heart of San Francisco. From January 2010 through June 2013, thousands of volunteers transformed the collapsed on and off ramps of the 101 freeway into a thriving food forest.
The group’s dynamic activation of the site through weekly volunteer opportunities and ongoing free events, as well as its central location in the heart of San Francisco, attracted a steady stream of over 10,000 volunteers from the surrounding neighborhood and the world throughout the course of the project.
One of the first and largest initiatives of the 2.2 acre site was building soil on the land’s ivy-covered on and off-ramps with 80,000 pounds of cardboard from the waste stream and 200 cubic yards of organic matter, including mulch, manure, and local kitchen scraps. From start to finish, the project was an explosion of energy. Partnerships and collaborations formed daily, and spontaneously, based on who showed up to the site.
Thousands of volunteers answered the call to lend a shovel. We rallied to create community through collaborative and collective efforts such as designing permaculture plant guilds, shaping a lateral governance structure, rendering large-scale art projects, educating youth and producing an unmistakable identity with uniquely structured volunteer days, social media participation, and one of a kind events.
History: Here’s how the project began, and how it evolved.
Plants: We built a thriving greenhouse and seed library.
Projects: Projects emerged like plants out of the soil.
Governance: We learned to work together.
Frequently Asked Questions: We’re asking these too.