Be We From the Mission or the 'Loin, We Are All San Franciscans

This poster campaign’s got us thinking, and it’s true, we are all San Franciscans. So please excuse us while we spotlight the following project even though it’s based in a neighborhood other than ours. It’s called Graze the Roof and it involves bettering the lives of low-income and homeless children in the Tenderloin, via sustainable rooftop gardening:

Graze the Roof [...] will demonstrate soil-less and container gardening methods on the rooftop at Glide, a San Francisco church and nonprofit located in the Tenderloin District. The project eliminates the use of fossil fuel consuming production and distribution methods typical of modern agricultural practices while saving energy in the building and reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Students from Glide’s Training and Employment Services Youth Build Program will construct and maintain the garden which will produce 1,440 lbs. of food in its first year. The rooftop will provide a natural sanctuary and a space to relax, inspire, educate and empower 200 homeless and low-income children between the ages of 5 and 18.

Graze the Roof on the Project Slingshot blog.

Update: Graze the Roof has nothing to do with the poster above. I just used the poster’s two messages as a segue into something not overtly related to the Mission.

9 Responses to “Be We From the Mission or the 'Loin, We Are All San Franciscans”

  1. zinzin says:

    well, i think we can all get behind helping out homeless families and kids in the loin, or anywhere else for that matter. how do we feel about wasted bums who use our Mission doorsteps as a toilet? a little heavy for this blog, i know (And i love this blog). all that said, somehow SF believes a 15 minute commute is a god given right. if folks can’t afford to live in the middle of the city, and lots of folks in lots of cities can’t, what are the alternatives? Well, there’s Daly City. And SSF. And Fremont. All very nice places, cheaper, and with better schools. This is the model all over the world…why not SF? I lived in DC for 5 years before I could afford the city. The other poster in the campaign cites the gap between service workers’ salaries and rent in SF. I’d wager there are cheaper rents AND similar jobs in these outlying places. Now I’ll get flamed for driving diversity out of the city. and saying “poor people out”. Not true. I want those kids to have a better life. And strapping their futures to an inevitably unattainable cost structure in SF – perhaps so certain “altruistic” organizations can keep their coffers full – just doesn’t make sense.

  2. Allan says:

    well i grew up mostly in sacramento, so i can’t really speak to how great it might be to grow up in the city. but i think it’s probably pretty great growing up in the city. can someone with firsthand knowledge back that up?

    also, i love this blog too, but there’s no reason it shouldn’t get heavier. thanks for bringing the heavy, zinzin.

  3. zinzin says:

    i grew up in NYC, and then we moved to the burbs because NYC was too pricey. i’ve lived in SF for 16 years now. so sure, it’s great to grow up in the city. but when you’re poor to the degree that you might become homeless, and require the attention of orgs such as this one, it can’t be any fun. i am not speaking from personal experience there. my point was that folks – in SF particularly – have this unreasonable desire to “live in the city” when they can’t really afford to do so. hell, all my artist friends are gone (granted, i’m old). so i’m saying…what are the alternatives? personally, i’d like to see some plans outside what looks to me like a losing fight to prevent city-centers from becoming too expensive for most regular folks. there’s just too much momentum & precedent. seems to me folks with limited means would be much happier renting in DC or Fremont than in the loin, especially if they have kids. sad, but true.

  4. Allan says:

    i don’t disagree. i mean if someone thinks they can hack it in fremont, go for it. but what about the slippery slope argument? without orgs like this one at least trying to maintain some tiny semblance of a foothold, pretty soon don’t we have literally this?

  5. zinzin says:

    absolutely agree. i personally am pro-rent control, pro-affordable housing, pro all the stuff that keeps SF diverse and what-it-is. last thing i’d want is for SF to become another Manhattan, where it’s all rich people and literally no one else.

    my whole point is that it’s a complex issue, and there’s a wide variety of folks effected, from the guy who craps on my doorstep 3 days a week, to these families, to self-entitled hipsters in the mission – me included – who feel it’s their god-given right to have a 15 minute commute, to folks who have scraped & saved to finally buy a place – me included, after 12 years – only to have the city focus on everyone else BUT me & my feces-encrusted stoop.

    all i’m saying is…it’s not a one-issue issue. focusing on housing is great, but how do you get a demented bum into housing? focusing on programs is great, but how do you tease apart real ones from bureaucratic bunk? focusing on qulaity-of-life issues is great, but what about the folks of limited means? it’s so complex!

    the thing that originally irked me about this campaign is that while it’s core is apparently this eco-garden deal – super! – their rhetoric is typical SF one-issue housing stuff. what do the gardens have to do with keeping kids from becoming homeless? what do they have to do with the fact that rent in SF is too expensive for service workers? the campaign IN NO WAY talks about the gardens…only the same old story about rents being to high for some folks. well, i think it’s sad that this is the case. and i miss my friends that had to move to oakland, grass valley and ohio because of it. but it’s true, and it’s happening everywhere…and wishing / hoping for lower rents ain’t gonna prevent it.

    that said, if someone really wanted to help these folks – all of us – they’d think of something that might work, instead of toe-ing the same old 1960′s party line that prevents, in my opinion, ANYONE from getting ANY help at all.

    it’s a cynical view, but if we “solved the homeless problem”, a lot of these groups would have to close down. and i can tell you, they don’t want to close down.

  6. Allan says:

    my fault. graze the roof has nothing to do with the poster campaign. the posters’ “we are all san franciscans” slogan simply jogged my memory and made me want to write about this thing in the tenderloin.

  7. kal says:

    Not to divert from the Graze the Roof project – which sounds cool and worthwhile – but to answer some of the other points brought up…

    On the general homeless issue: there’s this organization called Compass Community Services (disclosure: I volunteer with them) that focuses on assistance to homeless families, with an emphasis on (a) transitioning said families to independence and (b) providing critical services to the children during the most vulnerable times in their lives. They bust their behinds providing child care, transitional housing, and social work, while simultaneously fighting things like the recent city supervisor proposal to remove time limits from rent subsidies (since that would remove the incentive towards independence).

    This is different than the general (and more fundamental) question of increased housing costs in the city, but does directly address the problem of homeless kids/families and giving them actual help towards independence.

  8. zinzin says:

    doh. sorry for ranting then. ah well. i could go on all day.

    whose posters are those then? Coalition on Homelessness probably. gearing up for the District 9 supervisor election.

    great blog man. really captures the spirit of the hood. well, “a” spirit anyways…

  9. zinzin says:

    thanks kal. Compass Community Services sounds like a most worthwhile – and well planned – effort…focussed and specific. i will try to learn more about it.