Development push Hayes Valley Farm to multiple city locations 

click to enlarge Spread: Jay Rosenberg, co-director of the farm, would like to see mini farm plots in each S.F. neighborhood. - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy Photo
  • Spread: Jay Rosenberg, co-director of the farm, would like to see mini farm plots in each S.F. neighborhood.

After nearly 2½ years occupying a 2.2-acre parcel off Laguna Street, Hayes Valley Farms’ days are numbered.

The urban farm — one of The City’s first and largest — used a former freeway off-ramp as a temporary location to compost, grow food and plants, harvest honey and educate the community about agricultural techniques.

This month, a condo project slated to permanently fill the property is expected to go before the Planning Commission for approval of its development plan. And city officials expect that they will serve the farm its 60-day eviction notice by Dec. 1, requiring it to vacate the site by February.

Although many farm volunteers still hope to “save the farm,” organizers have been preparing for this day for about a year.

Co-director Jay Rosenberg said many farm volunteers have met to discuss what’s next. He said his organization is identifying potential locations and working on a moving plan. But they may end up replacing their current site with multiple locations.

“We think it’s important that urban agriculture can use interim spaces,” he said. “One idea is to break it up. So we’re looking at elements of the farm, how these elements can find themselves in other neighborhoods.”

Rosenberg said he and other organizers would like small pieces of the farm located in every San Francisco neighborhood. The new sites don’t need to be as large as the farm’s current location, and could transform small plots on unused parcels of land into useful space.

“I’d love to see it explode into a fireworks so that little farm projects start popping up all over, as a space to grow food, recycle, create compost, take classes and share tools,” Rosenberg said.

City officials said the farm’s success should not be squandered, and vowed to do all they can to help it obtain permissions to use any potential new locations.

“We’re committed to being helpful,” said Kelly Pretzer, project manager with the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development. “There’s certainly a sensitivity to plopping down in a new community and saying ‘We’re doing it here.’”

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