Fire Escape Farms, a new pop up shop in the heart of the Mission District in San Francisco, offers everything you need to transform your urban space into a flourishing farm. The brainchild of Naya Peterson, the store, located in Triple Base Gallery from June to August, offers City folks specially curated seeds, locally handcrafted wares made from recycled and sustainable materials, books and tools, as well as local, organic soil, and amendments.
Peterson, who was born in the Mission, and grew up in the City, moved to Napa a few years back to help open Ritual Roasters in the Oxbow market and worked at White Rock Vineyards. She loved getting her hands in the dirt and started gardening in her North Bay backyard, which was filled with fruit trees and wild mustard. She later fell in love with a City boy and moved back to the Mission two years ago, but hankered for a way to remain connected to growing.
“I was looking for a way to live in the City and do something I care about and believe in, something that inspires me,” Peterson said. “And I was dismayed that I lived in this sunny, food-centric neighborhood, but had to drive all over town to get gardening supplies.”
Recognizing that many people in the Mission were interested in starting an edible garden, but few have the resources or access to a vehicle to get supplies, Peterson set on the idea of bringing green goods to the hood. “People have come into the shop with crazy stories of how they transport huge bags of soil and gardening supplies home — on a bike,” she laughed. “I love helping people choose the right varietals for the amount of light they get as well as brainstorming what containers to plant them in that will make the most of small spaces.”
Peterson credits the Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center for providing support and structure, as well as a business plan. It took her about eight months to open; she shopped around for a good location and had the able design assistance of One Hat One Hand to build out the gallery space. All the while, she took horticulture classes at Merritt College and gardened in the light well and on the rooftop of her apartment. Her new home allows her to have container gardens and large raised beds, where she’s growing lettuces, beans, beets, carrots, radishes, peas, and tomatoes. “It’s a bit dangerous having access to over 120 seeds,” Peterson noted. She’s begun to bring extra greens into the shop to share.
Fire Escape Farms’ own brand of seeds are organic whenever possible and Peterson encourages saving heirloom seeds by getting many of hers from Seed Savers Exchange. Past August, she’s hoping the Web site will remain a resource to locals as she considers other locations for her next pop up, preferably in the Mission.
The gallery/pop up will also host an art opening for Rachel Weidinger upcoming exhibit, We Are Very Hungry, on Friday, July 1 (First Friday on 24th Street).
Photos: Daniel Dent
Originally published on Inside Scoop