At this very moment crews are disassembling and hauling away the Victory Garden that has stood in front of San Francisco City Hall for several months. Though private funds initially paid for the projects construction (some estimates put the cost at $180,000), we ask how the mayor and city could allow this expensive, temporary gesture without providing a concrete plan to address real food security needs of nearby low-income communities.
As the mayor has begun to talk up plans to “green” civic center with solar panels, wind turbines and living roofs we question how these benefits will serve existing low-income neighborhood, and worry that instead they will be a vehicle for gentrification and displacement. We challenge the mayor to embrace a notion of sustainability beyond ‘green’ consumption and fixtures by building this city to support our environment and the people who live and work here. We say let’s bring an end to the greenwashing (see bus stop with living roof) and put in place meaningful and low cost steps that can benefit the adjacent communities.
Instead of a pricey show garden dedicate open space in civic center to permanent, public gardens. Relax zoning and regulations to allow easier creation of personal gardens. Provide incentives or encourage landlords to allow tenants to utilize empty space in apartment back yards, empty lots, on structurally sound roofs. Keep rent low for the Heart of the City Farmers Market.