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Slow Food Nation and San Francisco plant first edible garden at City Hall in 65 years

City Breaks Ground on July 1 for Slow Food Nation Victory Garden

July 12 Community Planting Day with Mayor Gavin Newsom, Slow Food Nation Founder Alice Waters and Dozens of Bay Area Community Gardening Organizations

Architectural rendering of Civic Center Plaza Marketplace
courtesy of SMWM Architecture, Urban Design + Planning.

Beginning Tuesday, July 1, the lawn in front of San Francisco’s City Hall will undergo a transformation from grass carpet to edible garden, as dozens of Bay Area organizations join together to plant the Slow Food Nation Victory Garden. On Saturday, July 12, Mayor Gavin Newsom, Slow Food Nation founder Alice Waters and more than 100 volunteers will plant the first edible garden in the City’s Civic Center since 1943.

The Victory Garden project takes its name from 20th Century wartime efforts to address food shortages by encouraging citizens to plant gardens on public and private land. In the early 1940s, Victory Gardens were a way for San Francisco residents to participate in developing a secure source of domestic food during a time of war, which was one of the most pressing issues of the day. Victory Gardens sprouted in front yards and vacant lots, and produced 40 percent of the nation’s vegetables. San Francisco’s program became one of the best in the country; Golden Gate Park alone had 250 garden plots.

“The Slow Food Nation Victory Garden is one more way to showcase the City’s tangible commitment to sustainability and, as in the past, confront some of the most challenging issues of our times,” said Mayor Gavin Newsom. “For many urban residents, access to healthy and nutritious food is as important now as it was during the Second World War.”

Slow Food Nation, the largest celebration of American food in history, takes place in San Francisco over Labor Day weekend (August 29 to September 1, 2008). The Slow Food Nation Victory Garden in the Civic Center will serve as a demonstration and education centerpiece leading up to and following the Labor Day weekend event, providing visitors the opportunity to learn about urban food production. Bounty from the garden will be donated to those with limited access to healthy, organic produce through a partnership with local food banks and meal programs.

“San Francisco Victory Gardens 08+ redefines ‘Victory’ in the context of modern urban sustainability. ‘Victory’ means growing food at home for increased local food security and social equity,” said John Bela, Victory Gardens 08+ Program Manager. “The Slow Food Nation Victory Garden demonstrates the potential of building community around local food production, and along with the City’s creation of a Food Policy Framework, demonstrates the City’s growing commitment to food system sustainability.”

The Slow Food Nation Victory Garden is designed and built by the Garden for the Environment’s Victory Garden 08+ Program, CMG Landscape Architecture and City Slicker Farms, using seeds donated from Seeds of Change and numerous individuals from around the country. Other participating organizations include: The Presidio Native Plant Nursery, Alemany Farms, Friends of the Urban Forest, Ploughshares Nursery, Urban Permaculture Guild, Coevolution Institute and many others.

The garden is produced in partnership with Victory Gardens 08+, developed by the Garden for the Environment and the City of San Francisco’s Department for the Environment. Their mission is to respond to the social and ecological challenges that San Franciscans and all urban residents face in creating more self reliant, ecologically sound and socially just urban human habitats.

/ / About Slow Food Nation / /

Slow Food Nation is a subsidiary non-profit of Slow Food USA and part of the international Slow Food movement. It was created to organize the first-ever American collaborative gathering to unite the growing sustainable food movement and introduce thousands of people to food that is good, clean and fair through enjoyable, accessible and educational activities. Slow Food Nation is dedicated to creating a framework for deeper environmental connection to our food and aims to inspire and empower Americans to build a food system that is sustainable, healthy and delicious.

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