New Stories From 'Urban Agriculture Notes'
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One lone carrot motivates a weekly food bank at 20th and Mission streets, San Francisco

The urban farm on Treasure Island, where Vasquez plans to use the Treasure Island First greenhouse to create starts to give away to the community. Photo by Clara-Sophia Daly.

In response to the pandemic, former city gardener uses a bus to pick up and deliver fresh food.

By Clara-Sophia Daly
Mission Local
January 19, 2021


Our first stop was Treasure Island, where his nonprofit, Indigenous Permaculture, manages two community gardens in partnership with the Treasure Island Development Authority. Vasquez is of Nahuat descent, an indigenous community from El Salvador, and this has informed his work educating people in urban cities about farming and the history of indigenous peoples.

“We need to educate people in urban cities about environmental problems,” says Vasquez, who has been living in the Mission for more than 30 of his 55 years.

For 20 of those years, he worked as a gardener at Golden Gate Park and since then he has been teaching people about sustainable agriculture, indigenous farming practices, permaculture and environmental design.

Indigenous Permaculture specifically works to revitalize Native and local communities through indigenous science, land stewardship and community food security. For example, in the community garden, Vasquez cares for the soil by planting cover crops to get nitrogen into the soil and help the soil’s living biology. He also sprays compost tea on the soil to conserve water and help soil fertility.

Vasquez also planted amaranth, an indigenous plant that was banned by colonizers because of its high nutritional value, using seeds from Guatemala. He worked with the group Semillas Viajeras to invite indigenous Guatemalan farmers to come visit the garden and educate the local community about amaranth and its properties.

Read the complete article here.