Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Heart of Bayview celebrates

Dozens of residents in the heart of San Francisco's Bayview neighborhood gathered on Saturday to celebrate the accomplishments of the Quesada Gardens Initiative with healthy food, music and performance. The neighbors arrived after just a little word-of-mouth notice and a few home-printed flyers.

Healthy fruits and vegetables, donated by the San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market, located a few blocks from the award-winning Quesada Gardens, were the centerpiece of the event. Quesada youth, Kristine and Edward Ying, created gift bags of produce for neighbors, while other neighbors enjoyed vegetable kabobs hot off the grill.

New neighbors on the 1700 block of Quesada were welcomed. Mark McQuillen and Angela Goebel, along with new housemate, Val, are renting QGI Co-Founder Shane King's house...known as the Watermelon House for it's red color and watermelon seed part of their interest in building intentional community. Mark Philpot and Tai Trang, who moved in to their new home on the block just as recently, are already contributing their expertise in bee-keeping and gardening to the group's work. They prepared much of the food enjoyed on Saturday.

QGI organizer Carla Eagleton and Quesada corner business Wendy's Bakery donated Ernestine Howard's corn muffins, while Yvonne Hine's Southern Treats provided the pralines and butter cookies she is well-known for. Sudeep Rao contributed Tandoori chicken, a taste of his home country, and helped with outreach and organizing. Jacob Watta,Tom Galante, Tony Tarket, and stellar student volunteers from University of San Francisco (thank you Brandon Oldham, Elizabeth Straney, Ernest Ong, and Yue Song "Ronald"!!) did much of the set-up and tear-down work, while everyone lent a hand when a hand was needed.

Not Your Grammy's Theater, a neighborhood performance group led by Amy Crumpacker, staged an advance reading of a performance piece that will appear at the Hunters Point Shipyard. Group member, Elmira, did her first public reading to a very receptive audience at the community mural and gathering site.

Local business was represented, too. Mr. Willie Howard arrived with a group of Wendy's Bakery denizens, as neighbors from the Barber College and the branch library joined in the fun.

Greg, a local musician, took the microphone as rains that had been predicted to be heavy began to gently fall toward the end of the community event. He held the crowd with his harmonica and bluesy lyrics tailored for the occasion. For those who enjoyed the shower (as much as the plants in the gardens did), Greg told impressive stories of local music luminaries he had come in close contact with through the years.

All the neighbors behind the Quesada Gardens Initiative, and the many projects that are part of the network of community-building emerging in the heart of Bayview, are grateful for the contributions and hard work that went in to making the celebration a success.

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