Victory Garden Watch: Day 1 | Civil Eats

Victory Garden Watch: Day 1

With the freezing summer fog whirling around us, Slow Food Nation Victory Garden Manager John Bela and his team began the installation of the city’s first edible garden in front of City Hall in 65 years. In true San Francisco style, the folks who practice their morning exercises on Civic Center plaza didn’t seemed fazed in the slightest, as a chain-link fence went up around them and the construction site. It was truly exciting to witness the groundbreaking of what could be one of the most important civic statements regarding the future of community food production. Radio and television crews came and went as tourists and locals wandered in and around the site, watching the sod cutters slice neat strips of lawn. John and his crew started pulling back the sod and lifting the heavy grass and dirt onto wheel barrows. Soon thereafter, West Portal residents Meredith and Bill Denny showed up and started loading free sod into their car. “We were going to go to Home Depot until we read the ad on craigslist for recycled sod,” Meredith said. “Now we’ll have City Hall lawn in our backyard.” An hour later, Scottsdale residents and Phoenix convivium members Steve Lewis and Carol Mills-Lewis arrived with their five-month-old grandson, Liam Whelan. Liam in tow, they spent several hours helping the crew dig up sod. Google Café sent over delicious sandwiches and will be generously donating lunch for the crew and volunteers for the next 10 days of garden installation. Stay tuned for more sod removal and landscape fabric installation.

Photo by Naomi Starkman: Steve Lewis & Carol Mills-Lewis with grandson Liam Whelan

We’ll bring the news to you.

Get the weekly Civil Eats newsletter, delivered to your inbox.

Today’s food system is complex.

Invest in nonprofit journalism that tells the whole story.

Naomi Starkman is the founder and editor-in-chief of Civil Eats. She was a 2016 John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford and co-founded the Food & Environment Reporting Network. Naomi has worked as a media consultant at Newsweek, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, GQ, WIRED, and Consumer Reports magazines. After graduating from law school, she served as the Deputy Executive Director of the City of San Francisco’s Ethics Commission. Naomi is an avid organic gardener, having worked on several farms.  Read more >

Like the story?
Join the conversation.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. Steve Lewis
    We were so pleased to be able to share and contribute in this tremendous program. Thank you for letting us volunteer.
    Carol, Liam and Steve

More from

Urban Agriculture



California Takes a Step Toward Restricting Bee-Killing Pesticides

Close-up of honey bee pollinating almond blossom in Northern California almond orchard. California contributes over 80% to the worldwide almond market with many of those almonds being grown in Butte County.

As the Infant Formula Shortage Drags On, Food and Farm Workers Focus on Breast-Feeding

Mother breastfeeding her son at home

How an American Crisis Brought Together US Dairy Farmers and Mexican Farmworkers

Ruth Conniff and the cover of her book, Milked, about the dairy industry and dairy workers

From Farmland to Frac Sand

An overhead view of US Silica's frac sand mine in La Salle County, Illinois. This mine is in front of Diane and Phil Gassman's home. (Photo courtesy of Ted Auch)