Preliminary Report on Possible Design Scenarios for Urban Agriculture and Food System Related Elements on SanFrancisco Public Utilities Commission Land Within City Limits Prepared by: Kevin Bayuk and Fred Bove, Instructors UC Berkeley Extension and Class Participants for Summer 2011 “Designing Sustainable Urban Food Systems” at UC Berkeley ExtensionPrepared for: Francesca Vietor, President San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
SummaryIn early summer 2011 Kevin Bayuk attended two meetings with Francesca Vietor and staff at SF PublicUtilities Commission (PUC), along with other representatives from the San Francisco UrbanAgriculture Alliance (SFUAA), to solicit feedback from PUC on SFUAAs draft policy platform. Inthese meetings, SFUAA learned of SFPUCs intent to develop a Policy Framework for CommunityBenefits and Land Access regarding potential uses of PUC controlled public lands (what types ofaccess are possible? what uses are possible? who gets access? Etc.) and the intent to develop a “pilotproject” regarding urban agricultural use of PUC land. Kevin offered to support PUC in developmentof the Policy Framework by having his students at UC Berkeley Extension develop scenario planningfor PUC sites already identified on the land audit completed by PUC pursuant to former Mayor GavinNewsomes 2009 Executive Directive on Healthy and Sustainable Food. This report shares a summaryof the scenario planning developed by the students of the UC Berkeley Extension Summer 2011“Designing Sustainable Urban Food Systems” class in order to help assist PUC in developing aninformed Policy Framework by describing feasible urban agriculture and food system uses of thefollowing sites: 1. College Hill Reservoir 2. Sunset Reservoir 3. Sutro Reservoir 4. University Mound Reservoir 5. Central Pump Station/Merced Manor 6. Lake Merced Tract 7. Richmond Transport 8. Laguna Honda Reservoir 9. Stanford Heights Reservoir 10. Shafter and FitchThese scenarios are not meant to be recommendations for use, but rather to inspire and inform landaccess policies about the potential uses. Should public access be considered for these sites, thesescenarios could be used as starting points for collaborative design planning with local communitygroups, residents, SF PUC and other stakeholders. These site assessments and design scenarios arestudent work and are presented “as is”. Please forgive any formatting or grammar errors. Highresolution images are available for any embedded image.Contact for more information:Kevin Bayukkevin@uas.coop415-999-5354
College Hill ReservoirBy: Josh PainterAssessmentCollege Hill Reservoir is located in the Bernal Heights neighborhood between Brook Street andAppleton Avenue, near Holly Park. Constructed before the Civil War, it is the oldest reservoir in SanFrancisco. The reservoir stores approximately 13 million gallons of water. Main water lines from thenorth side of the reservoir travel through the Mission district and supply an area including City Halland the Tenderloin. The reservoir area is fenced in and is bordered by homes on Gladys Street on thenorthwest and Brook Street on the northeast. Elsie Street to the southeast is adjacent to the fencesurrounding the reservoir. The dimensions of the reservoir area are approximately 500 by 600 feet. Themain entry point is at the south corner at the intersection of Appleton Ave and Elsie Street. There is agate that allows vehicle access and an internal roadway that circles the reservoir. An additionalpedestrian access point is halfway along Santa Marina Street between homes. View of reservoir from Holly park hillside across Elsie Street
The site has a downward slope towards Gladys street on the Northwest. The reservoir itself occupiesthe flat area of the site at the south corner. The highest point on the site is at the south corner, which isat 270 feet above sea level. The top of the covered reservoir surface is at at 260 feet above sea level,and the lowest point is at the northern corner at 200 feet above sea level.Elevation view showing slope to northwest towards Gladys St.Sun exposure in the Bernal Heights neighborhood is good due to the area being out of the fog belt. Thepredominant wind comes from the Northwest. The site, as a pronounced area on a hillside, is fairlyexposed to wind, but there is a good deal of wind protection afforded by the exiting trees on the site.These are mostly Acacia and Monterey Cypress. There is a landscaped area with additional trees andshrubs along the Elsie street border. Soil quality has been improved over much of the area with a woodchip mulch. A shrub and tree landscaped area has been created in the area along the fence between thereservoir and Elsie Street.Acacia trees on Appleton Ave. side slope Landscaping along Elsie street, perimeter fence and Monterey Cypress in background.The Bernal Heights neighborhood is community oriented and residents are known for cooperating withCity agencies well. There are several community gardens in the neighborhood including Bernal HeightsCommunity Garden, Ogden Terrace Community Garden, and Good Prospect Community Garden.Good Prospect Community Garden is located near the reservoir at Prospect Street and CortlandAvenue. In a small area, this garden has a large variety of plants including roses, sweet peas, thyme,lemon verbena, Russian sage, and fruit trees. On Appleton Avenue on the southwest side the reservoir
is partially bordered by a preschool, the Junipero Serra Child Development Center. This preschool hasa small vegetable garden.Good Prospects Community Garden Junipero Serra Child Development Center GardenIn the western corner of the site along Elsie Street there is an area of about one fifth acre that issurrounded by a secondary fence (Area 1 on map). Because this area is separated from the rest of thesite, has potentially good access to Elsie Street, is not being utilized currently, and has good sunexposure, it is a primary area to consider for sustainable food system element development. This areacould be given its own access by a gate entrance to Elsie Street. Entrance to Area 1 would not meanaccess to the primary reservoir area. This could potentially simplify any security issues. Area 1, showing internal fence and sun exposueAnother area to consider for food system development would be the flat open space to the west of thereservoir (Area 2 on map). This area currently has some sparse groundcover and some bare ground. Itis fairly barren and does not appear to have planned landscaping. It has good sun exposure and issituated next to the access road around the reservoir, which would be useful for the movement ofsupplies and produce. It is next to the Junipero Serra Child Development Center.
Area 2, showing proximity to Junipero Serra Child Development Center
ScenariosScenario 1: College Hill Reservoir Area 1: Community GardenThe internal fence that borders Area 1 would make it possible to give this area a separate gate and makeaccess less restricted for users than would be for the main College Hill Reservoir area. It may bepossible to have an unlocked gate. Because of its’ separation and its proximity to the Good ProspectsCommunity Garden, it’s most natural role might be as a part of the neighborhood’s community gardensystem. The food produced by this garden could be distributed to the neighborhood, sold at a farmer’smarket, or donated to a food bank.The featured plan for Area 1 contains permaculture style elements that are designed to produce adiversity of food items with the least amount of maintenance and inputs required in the long term.There is a focus on perennial species and the interrelation of plants to create self-sustaining ecosystems.The layout of elements is designed to provide the easiest access to elements that are used the mostoften.The proposed gate would be on Elsie Street, near the west corner of the site. Inside the gate would becompost bins, situated for the easiest access. Near the compost bins could be an “herb spiral” plantingfeature. This is an efficient way to grow many herbs together by creating different microclimates. Sinceherbs are something that needs to be picked often for cooking, this feature is placed near the gate aswell.The vegetable planting beds are designed to be no-till. This requires more materials at the beginning,but requires less energy in the long term and better preserves the health of the soil. Additionally, the useof mechanized equipment is not required. The beds would initially be created by the importation ofoutside materials. A “sheet mulch” using layers of used cardboard covered with organic material suchas horse manure and wood chips would cover the ground. This would eliminate weeds, build new soil,and create the mounded planting beds. This plan features “keyhole” style planting beds. This is amethod of providing good access to a dense planting area. Gardeners can situate themselves in thepathway connected “keyhole” area of each square shaped area of planting bed and have access to all ofthe plants in that area without having to continually move along the bed. The mounded beds wouldhave internal drip irrigation, and use nitrogen fixing plants such as clover in conjunction with thevegetables. The beds run perpendicularly to the slope of the area and would act as swales to slow andcapture water flow.The site features fruit tree “guilds”, which are combinations of trees and understory plants thatmutually benefit each other. For example, a plum tree provides shade. Clover and fava beans arenitrogen fixing. Yarrow attracts beneficial pollinating insects. Onions suppress pests. Borage acts as anaccumulator, mining minerals from the soil. The plant can then be used as fertilizer. The productionpurpose of the site’s fruit tree guilds is fruit and berry production: figs, plums, apples, lemons, pears,raspberries, blueberries, and mulberries.
Scenario 2: College Hill Reservoir Area 2: School GardenAcacia and Monterey Cypress trees cover much of the Santa Marina Street, Appleton Avenue, andGladys St perimeter areas around the reservoir, making these areas less suitable for sites. The ElsieStreet side has it’s own landscaping scheme which makes it unusable. The most promising area insidethe reservoir fence is the open flat undeveloped area to the west of the reservoir, adjacent to theJunipero Serra Child Development Center, a preschool. It is possible that this school, which already hasa small garden in front, would be interested in having a school lunch garden program.The Edible Schoolyard is a one acre garden at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School in Berkeleystarted by Alice Waters of the Chez Panisse Foundation. This program involves students in theeducational aspects of real farming and gardening as well as food preparation while providing food forhealthy lunches. The preschool students of the Junipero Serra Child Development Center may be tooyoung to participate in every area of a program like this, but there is a nearby elementary school atHighland Avenue and Holly Park Circle, the Junipero Serra Elementary School. This school is only oneblock away from the entrance of the reservoir at Elsie Street and Appleton Avenue. It would be possiblethat students could be led in a group over to the College Hill Reservoir garden to participate. Any
potential security issues around the use of a garden area inside the reservoir perimeter fence could bemade easier by the use of official school groups. Additionally, a secondary inside fence could becreated to prevent users of the garden from entering the main reservoir area.The plan proposes the development of the garden at the southern end of Area 2 (marked ‘A’ on the firstmap), due to its proximity to the school. Possibly a gate could be created for special school group useonly. The flat area labeled ‘B’ is also promising as a potential extension to the initial area. The arealabeled ‘C’ sloping and contains some trees, but may be suitable for a terraced orchard development.The plan for Area 2 features most of the same elements as Area 1, but adds the element of a windbreaking tree guild, or hedgerow. The flat topography and top of the hill location indicate that this areawould sustain a lot of wind. The hedgerow would protect the intensive annual beds from wind comingfrom the northwest. The space-efficient “keyhole” planting bed style is shown in the plan, but may notbe needed due to the amount of space that is available in the northern direction of the site.Aside from the use by the neighborhood school, other possible uses of this area as a sustainable foodproduction site may include small scale local “market garden” commercial farming use communityfood center use.ConclusionLocated in the center of a residential area that shows interest in community gardening, College HillReservoir has strong potential to become part of the production side of a local sustainable food system.Community connections can be made in this area to make the use of this site as a sustainable foodproduction area a practical reality today.
Sunset ReservoirBy: Luke SuchyAssessmentThe reservoir contains a large amount of grassy lawn areas on the North and North West edges of theproperty. It contains a large amount of slope (up to 15% in some areas) along the edges with fairlysandy soils. There are no known toxins in the soil, but it is likely most of fill may have come from onsite excavation of reservoir. Due to its elevation and relationship to the coast, moderate to heavy windsand frequent episodes of moderate to dense fog are common. Most of the arable land is on the North-facing and North West facing slopes, which I will be focusing on. There are other opportunities alongthe other edges with more gradual slope as well. The 25,000 solar panels lie on the roof of the Northhalf of the reservoir. There is a fairly new and well-maintained landscape containing low vegetationthat offers a buffer zone around the North side of the reservoir.
ScenariosThere is a locked gate on the South side with ample space on the interior for a possible screened
compost drop-off area. Accessibility is a big question with this scenario, but would provide a moreconcealed area for composting. This may be a solution to potential complaints of visible compostingareas. The Eastern Side has a rectangular open grass area that is adjacent to the large power and“electrical” boxes. The metal boxes could be screened from the public by having a compost area anddrop-off at this location.The South, South Western and South Eastern edges could have potential for fruit trees and edibleclimbers along the fence line. These are areas that would not interfere with the solar panels receivingproper solar light. The strip of lawn area on the South Western edge has a slight slope (5%), but couldbe used for food production. It is low enough and has trees higher up on the slope that would providefor a fairly protected area from the wind. One concern would be getting enough sun light in this area.The area of extreme interest and possibly has the most potential for producing food in a timely fashionlies on the North West corner of the site. It is a triangular shaped plot of land measuring approximately30,000 sq. feet. The plot could potentially produce a yield of 15 – 25 lbs. of food a week. The area iscurrently grass with a few existing trees (type needs to be investigated), and has a walking path throughthe middle of it. The plan of action would involve investigating the soil more extensively, then sheetmulching the entire area. This would build up the biomass to a level that is ready to be planted. It issuggested that there be a fruit guild set up here (planting plan in power point). The fruit guild couldoperate under permaculture principles and guidelines. Involvement of the local high school (AbrahamLincoln High) that is located at the South Eastern corner of the reservoir to help maintain and managethe area is a possibility to be explored. It was stated on the school website last year that the eco clubwas in need of a school garden. This could provide the opportunity to help educate the kids involvedwith permaculture and how urban food systems can work. The fruit guild could provide food for thefarmers market and/or a community forage plot. The possibility of the school providing parking forweekend market days in exchange for the use of the land is one to explore further.The farmers market would be located on the North side of the reservoir, along a fairly flat linear paththat wraps around the upper boundary of the property. The cement path has the stability and the widthfor vehicular or flatbed cart traffic for unloading and loading at the market. It is a wonderful spot forviews of the city and has benches and a grassy hill to socialize and relax. Another area for further
research would be who would be participating in the market and how far would the radius be for peopleto travel to market, as well as logistics on types of food etc.
Possible Integrated Design Scenario 1. Compost Drop-off Site 2. Fruit Tree Guild 3. Farmer’s Market/Fruit-Vegetable Stand(s)The three main recommendations for the highest use of the site relate to a few themes:a. Keeping Carbon on Site – The local compost drop off site will provide an opportunity for buildingbiomass and provide a healthy soil matrix for growing conditions around the reservoir. The idea is forresidents of the sunset district to have the opportunity to drop off compostable materials and eventuallyin return receive a share of food from the yield. The fruit guild could act as a food commons for peopleparticipating in building the biomass/composting on site or volunteering at the farmer’s market/fruitstands.b. Slow It, Spread It, Sink It (pertaining to rainwater and drainage systems) – The slope above the fruitguild provides an opportunity for water filtration and water conveyance to help irrigate the agriculturalareas. The current concrete culverts direct all the water into storm water drains and essentially wastethe water instead of putting it into good use on site. The reconfiguration of the culverts and addingswales and canals to properly sep up the system still needs hydrological design attention. The need foradded irrigation is likely and could be powered around the solar energy produced by the panels on site. c. Close the Loops - The relationship of production, distribution, consumption, and cycling isspecifically addressed in this design. The fruit tree guild and possible edible fence lines will providesome food for the community. It will also serve as a model and hopefully lead to more ediblelandscapes within the neighborhood. When enough biomass and healthy soil has been achieved at thereservoir, then the Food Forest will continue to thrive and expand. There are still many spaces andopportunities that could prove to be efficient in food production around the reservoir, even on moderateto steep slopes. The distribution and consumption of food relates to the farm stand and communityparticipation in exchange for access to the food commons (fruit guild). The compost drop-off and sheetmulching relate to cycling and giving back to the land as it provides for us. Involving the localschool(s) and organizations adds to the educational process, which will in turn, be importantknowledge, techniques, and ethics for the future of the local food system. The design is aimed atLOCAL production, distribution, consumption, and cycling. Just as the reservoir serves the communityas a model for reusable energy, the sunset district could be a leading example of the sustainable urbanfood systems model.
Sutro ReservoirBy: Natalie ForsythAssessmentMaps, Dimensions and ElevationsSitting just below Sutro tower, the Sutro Reservoir and Midtown Terrace Recreational Area is on thewestern slope of Twin Peaks. The elevation is around 500 ft above sea level. It lies just below thelooming Sutro Tower, which is less than a half mile away up the hill. The site is close to the geographiccenter of the city, located in the hills to the east of the Sunset District.The areas outlined in blue are the suggested sites to examine for the site. The full dimensions of thearea, including the reservoir measures 592,852. The sections of the site which are being directlyassessed for this project make up a much smaller area. The land of the site has both flat and extremelysteep sections. The small triangular-shaped field to the west of the recreation building (white roofed building at thecorner of Clarendon and Olympia.) is 3,100 square feet. This corner of the site has a gentle, nearlynegligible, slope from the corner up to the doors of the recreation center. The strip of land to the northof the reservoir is 28,000 square feet. This section beyond the reservoir is either very steep or quitesteep, held up by a retaining wall. It is so steep that it would not be easily climbed on foot. The sectionwhere the retaining wall is is slightly less steep.The field to the east of the community center is 25,000 square feet. This field is very flat, with a steeperslope on the north side leading up to the reservoir.Sector AnalysisThis hilly location guarantees strong wind from the ocean, across the Sunset and up and over theMidtown Terrace neighborhood. It seems to be windy most of the time. With this wind often comes
fog. The fog, which roles around Sutro tower, is also constantly rolling over this site. During site visitsthroughout the summer months, the sun was never witnessed. The sun must emerge at times, but fogand wind are the predominant weather characteristics of the area.People frequently interact with this land. Throughout the site visits, it became apparent how active thissite is in the community, and how important it is for community purposes. It seems to be a place ofrecreation, with people playing with their children, their dogs and doing exercise. There are sectionsthat are clearly not accessible to humans, such as the top of the reservoir, and the steep hills around thereservoir. These are clearly marked with fences and signage. Otherwise, the park is an open space forthe community to engage with how they see fit.Site History and Current UsesThe Sutro Reservoir was built in 1952 and holds 32 million gallons of water. It is a large space witharound 300,000 square feet of rooftop covering the reservoir. The top of the reservoir used to becovered with tennis and basketball courts. When the top of the reservoir was redone (for siesmicstabilization) in 2006, they intended to put the courts back on top, but due to some design issue, has notyet been completed. Many community members miss this space. (Historical information gathered fromhttp://www.sutrotower.org/)The Midtown Terrace Neighborhood Association The Midtown Terrace neighborhood was designed asa planned community in 1957. Characteristics of note about the neighborhood include the following:●All Midtown Terrace homes are separated and detached.●There are no homes built directly behind one another. All Midtown Terrace homes are separated by a strip ofland called a green belt.●All telephone lines, power lines and utilities are located underground.●The 817 homes located in Midtown Terrace neighborhood are represented by a homeowners associationdedicated to fostering better homes and better community life.(Statistics from Midtown Terrace Homeowner’s Association:http://www.midtownterrace.net/community.html)The Sutro Reservoir site is a cornerstone of the community where people are consistently engagingwith the space for many different purposes, including but not limited to:-All ages of children playing at the recently replaced park structure-Soccer and other children’s sport practice and general playing in the field to the east of the communitycenter.-People walking their dogs around periphery of the park and using the paved walkways along the northand south sides of the reservoir to throw balls for their dogs to fetch.-Picnics on the field to the East of the Recreational Center.-Small children walking the stairs and pathways around the playground for exploring and going onadventures.-After school program as well as summer camp program at the Recreational Center.-Birthday parties at the Recreational Center, on the playground and on the field. Birthday parties oftenbring large inflatable “jumpy” houses, even pony rides.-Other social occasions when the community center is rented out, such as office parties.-Senior classes at the Recreational Center.-Basketball on the basketball courts.-Stretching and exercising around the reservoir.-Storing and preparing food for parties, camps, etc in the small kitchen in the Recreational Center.
Site AccessibilityThere are two roads which intersect at the suth-west corner of the site: Clarendon Avenue and OlympiaWay. Clarendon Avenue is the main thoroughfare connecting Laguna Honda Blvd and the rest of theSunset in the west to Cole Valley, the Upper Haight and the Panhandle of the city to the east. ClarendonAvenue is a steep and winding two to four lane road. This road seems to be traveled mostly by personalcars. No bicycles were observed. There is a bus line that goes through Midtown Terrace. It operatesabout every 20 minutes. It is the 36-Teresita (Forest Hill Station) line. Midtown Terrace is near thegeographic center of the city, so it’s accessibility to all parts of the city is theoretically great, ifsomewhat car-bound. The site itself is readily accessible to foot traffic. Many people were observedwalking from inside their neighborhoods to the site. Many people were also observed parking outsidethe recreation center, and then using the services of the recreation center and the park. There is apedestrian bridge that crosses Clarendon Avenue just north of the site. It clearly connects the school (onthe west side of Clarendon) with the site (on the east side of Clarendon.) This is important to notebecause of the in-place infrastructure that will continue to support this site as a community hub.Once on the site itself, it is not readily accessible to vehicular traffic. There are no obvious roads on thesite, and might require some infrastructural shift if it was necessary to bring in any sort of equipment todo work.Nearby Neighborhood Groups and OrganizationsMidtown Terrace Homeowner’s AssociationBrian McDermottP.O. Box 31097San Francisco, CA 94131415.675.5864Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgYahoo Group:http://groups.yahoo.com/group/midtownterraceClarendon Alternative Elementary School500 Clarendon AvenueSan Francisco, CA 94131-1113(415) 759-2796Second Community Child CareCooperatively-run preschool with parents directly involved in the community.500 Clarendon AvenueSan Francisco, CA 94131-1113(415) 759-1897www.secondcommunity.org/St. John Armenian Apostolic Church275 Olympia WaySan Francisco, CA 94131-1136(415) 661-1142stjohnarmenianchurch.comLaguna Honda Hospital and Rehabilitation Center
375 Laguna HondaSan Francisco, CA 94127(415) 759-3333 (volunteers line)lagunahondavolunteers.orgSan Francisco Fire Department StationOn Olympia at Clarendon.ScenariosScenario: Community and Educational Garden:Community and Educational gardens are an important component to any sustainable urban foodsystem. It engages the community with the food growing process. When children work in gardens, theylearn where their food grows, how to care for the earth, and how to make the most responsibleenvironmental decisions. Since the site is so heavily used by children, creating an educational garden ison obvious addition to the site. The garden could be placed on the field to the east of the RecreationalCenter. As the field is quite large (25,000 sq. ft), it could take up the far eastern section perhaps takingup as much as 5,000 ft. Reducing the current play area by 1/5th. This garden could have individualplots for people in the community to garden as they see fit. There could be 50 garden beds measuring10 by 3 feet, taking up a total of 1,500 square feet in planting space, plus space needed for paths, etc.People could plant fog tolerant vegetables and flowers, artichokes and tree collards for example. As thearea is so foggy, windy and cold, a green house would be a necessary part of the community garden. Acomprehensive composting system would also be part of a well functioning garden space.Yields:- education of community on gardening, cooking and food preservation.- individual yields of the community plots- 1,500 square feet of gardening space- 50 families gardening who would not be otherwise- increased community involvement and connection- increased awareness around food productionQuestions:-What is current irrigation infrastructure?-Who would be the organizing group?-Could netting or other barrier (fruit trees?) be put up between the play field and the garden? (So thatballs would not constantly go into the garden.)-What would be the best material for the green house? (for warmth, as well as strength- in case oferrant balls)-Would it be worth using the space for this in terms of sunlight-fog ratio?Scenario: Farmer’s MarketFarmer’s markets allow neighborhoods to shop for nutritious whole food close to home. They allowfarmer’s to sell their food in a consistent way. Relationships develop between farmers and communitymembers. The farmer’s market becomes a gathering place for the community.A small scale farmer’s market with about 10 vendors would be appropriate for this site- includingvendors who sell vitamin and mineral rich perishable fruits and vegetables, eggs, dairy and meat, as
well as other food items such as bread, grains and nuts. On this site, the market would work well as anafternoon week day market. Many people already frequent the area making use of the playground, afterschool programs and sports practices. It could become a consistent part of the communities routine,supplying them with fresh, nutritious food and enriching community life. The market could be on thefar southwest triangular corner of the site, where Clarendon and Olympia Way meet. As this would beonly one afternoon a week, the area would be free for usual uses for most of the week.Yields:-ability for community to buy nutritious, whole food within neighborhood (there are currently nogrocery stores within the neighborhood.-greater opportunity for community development-greater percentage of communities money going to local food sources, rather than large super marketchains-education of children and community members about the importance of a local, decentralized foodsystem-income for farms participating in market-more time for community members to be with family, not shopping farther from homeQuestions:-What sort of community outreach would need to happen to make a farmer’s market successful?Scenario: Demonstration Fog Collection AreaTechnology on fog collection is currently advancing with some real success stories throughout aridregions of the world. These systems work by placing “fog fences” in the path of the fog. The fog thencondenses on the fences and drips down into a collection barrel. “Larger fog collectors ofapproximately 40 square meters, which can produce 200 liters per day, can be set up for $1000 to$1500 each. The system is completely passive, requires no energy inputs, and can last ten yearsprovided it’s taken care of.” Summer in San Francisco is notoriously foggy. The summer months arealso generally rain-free. The ability for the San Francisco peninsula to accumulate water during the dry,but foggy, months would be a great step in being water-independent. The western slope of Twin Peaks,which is often totally socked in with fog, would be a perfect location for a test demonstration site of fogcollection. With the large and constant circulation of community members around the site, it is a greatopportunity to not only collect water, but also to educate the community members on waterconservation and collection. The best location on the site for fog collectors is perhaps on the backretaining wall on the far north side of the site. Could also perhaps be on top of the reservoir, or on thefar east side of the reservoir. Could also be placed on the eastern edge of the community garden,allowing the immediate utilization of the water collection as irrigation in the garden.
Yields:-Education around water conservation, supply/collection-Accumulated water, perhaps to use as irrigation water in the demonstration garden.-Potential to teach the whole Bay Area about the value and logistics of fog collection-Moving towards water independence for San Francisco-PR value of high impact image for SF PUCQuestions:Would it be possible to use this water for irrigation on the site?How much water could be collected at this site?How many hours of fog are there yearly?What direction do the fog cloths need to face in order to best collect the fog?How would this information impact the suggested preliminary placement on the site?Resources:http://www.fogharvesting.com/http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fog_collectionhttp://www.fogquest.org/http://www.oas.org/dsd/publications/unit/oea59e/ch12.htmhttp://blogs.ei.columbia.edu/2011/03/07/the-fog-collectors-harvesting-water-from-thin-airScenario: CSA- Community Supported Agriculture- Pick Up SiteCommunity Supported Agriculture is a method of purchasing vegetables and fruits, directly from afarm, through a weekly box supplied at a pick up site. The CSA is purchased at the beginning of thefarming season, and allows the farmers to have the up-front capital needed for the season.
If one farm could supply the community of Midtown Terrace with a CSA delivered to the site, thendozens of homes would receive all the vegetables and most of the fruit that the families would need forthe week by simply dropping by the neighborhood playground. Having a farm in the peri-urban that theneighborhood supported would create more community connection.Yields:-Healthy nutritious food reaching the community on a weekly basis without having to travel out of theneighborhood-Greater community involvement, a whole neighborhood supporting one farmResources:http://www.wilson.edu/about-wilson-college/fulton/robyn-van-en-center/index.aspxhttp://www.csafarms.org/csafarms0656231.asphttp://www.ecovian.com/s/sanfrancisco/csahttp://nuttyfig.com/2011/03/starting-a-successful-csa-tips-from-the-calif-small-farm-conference/Placement of Different Possible Elements on SiteMapFarmer’s Market and CSA Pickup- small yellowish triangle on SW side
Community and Demonstration Garden- small red section in the fieldFog collectors- blue lines on far north side and on reservoir itself.Possible Integrated Vision for the SiteThe primary goal for using this site as a component of the San Francisco sustainable food system willbe to bring greater awareness and action around the food system to the Midtown Terrace community,including over 800 homes. This site is already at the center of the neighborhood, with communitymembers using the site daily. With a shift in the focus of the land purpose and use, the wholeneighborhood can become more empowered and enlivened to engage with a sustainable food systemdirectly inside their own community.Production Elements:-Educational garden, including community plots and greenhouse, chickens and geese-Hardy fruit trees planted throughout area on gentle slopes-Hands-on educational programming on gardening, from seed saving to food productionDistribution Elements:-Micro Farmer’s Market, including fresh fruits and veggies, grains, nuts and seeds, eggs, dairy andmeat-CSA pick-up site, possibly an egg CSA from the chickens on the site-Educational opportunities at Farmer’s Market about why local, decentralized food systems areimportantConsumption Elements:-Snacks for after school program provided by garden and orchard trees, when possible-After school program food also supplied by micro-farmer’s market, or perhaps CSA-Community garden plot yields consumed in private homes-Hands-on educational programming on cooking, food preservation and nutrition in commercialkitchen in the recreation centerCycling Elements:-Composting system, possibly vermiculture, taking all compostables from garden and from recreationcenter, near greenhouse, taking advantage of thermal and wind block-Grey-water and black-water recycling in the recreation center, used as fertilizers-Fog collection site, used to irrigate garden and educate community-Educational programming on water conservation, purification and compostingBy incorporating different elements from each of the stages of the food system, this design for the siteat Midtown Terrace, guarantees an expanding positive interaction between the community and the foodsystem. Emphasizing community involvement throughout the design is necessary for this site, as it isalready hugely utilized by the community. There are already many students and children who use thesite daily. By shifting land use, the children will still be learning and playing, with the food system atthe center of their activities. Children are an essential element in helping their parents make transitions.Through the stacking of functions, as well as maximizing the input and output to each of the elements,this design has the potential to create a comprehensive plan that will be able to serve the communitythrough education, community growth, food production and distribution.
University Mound ReservoirBy: Tim RyanAssessment 1. Orientation- The site is rectangular in shape, the longest side(s) is parallel to a south/southeast-north/ northwest axis 2. Street Boarder(s)- University St. (west-side), Felton St. (north-side), Bowdoin St. (east-side) and Woosley St. (south-side). Bacon St. bisects the property on an east/northeast- west/southwest axis, (currently it is closed to the public but scheduled to reopen) 3. Elevation changes- The roof of each reservoir is the highest & flattest area on the site, the planted area(s) descend at different slopes from the reservoir toward the street(s). The greatest change in elevation is on the Southeast corner. 4. Wind/Surrounding Terrain- the Northern side is the most exposed to winds, as it is located near the break in the mountains running north along the peninsula (I-280 runs through this corridor). The rest of the site is somewhat protected by hills rising to an elevation of nearly 500’ which wrap around the Southwest corner. This elevated feature is important also to the drainage around the site. The southwest corner of the site is located near the base of a valley which funnels rainwater run-off toward the reservoir. 5. Area with Existing Plantings - The majority is located on the southern & eastern edge(s) of the rectangle with a small strip on the northern side of the property. 6. Existing Trees- Within the property are mostly Cupressa macrocarpa- “Monterey Cypress” and along the street Arbutus marina “Strawberry Tree” 7. Structures/Paved areas- The reservoir(s) occupy the majority of the site. In the north section are maintenance sheds & storage, a pumping station and parking lot. In the south section are several small maintenance sheds. There is a two-story house on the corner of University & Bacon St. with a small garden enclosed by the fence, which also surround the reservoir. 8. Access- An area on the northern side is the only section that is not fenced off. There is a staircase located near the pumping station on Felton St. This area is terraced with two retaining walls. 9. Fencing- most of the property is surrounded by a +10’ high chain-link fence.Surrounding Neighborhood(s) 1. Parks a. John McLaren Park, specifically the Louis Sutter Playground, is adjacent to the property of the southwest corner. b. Palega-Portola Recreation Center is one block east on Felton St. 2. Schools within a 5-10min walk a. St. Elizabeth’s b. Edward R Taylor Elementary c. Martin Luther King Middle d. Phillip & Sala Burton Academic High e. Hillcrest Elementary f. Cornerstone Academy (2 locations) 3. Other Organizations a. University Mound Ladies Homes is an assisted living center adjacent to the property at University St. & Bacon St. 4. Unused/ Abandon Property
a. Greenhouse adjacent to the property at Bowdoin St. & Woolsey St.Questions about the site 1. Granting access to fenced areas (excluding the roof of the reservoirs) a. Could student groups be allowed to farm the site under the guidance of teachers during designated hours? 2. Is the house on the corner of University and Bacon St. used/owned by the PUC or is it a private residence. Could it be used as to store gardening tools, distribution of food, as a teaching center and/or a residence for an on-site care taker(s)? 3. Would the PUC be will (in the future) to re-position the fence surrounding the southern reservoir to allow access to the planted area?Scenarios 1. Immediate use of the north side to create a teaching garden for local schools a. Create a wind break using fruiting trees which will eventually replace aging Cypress and Eucalyptus trees b. Use those trees (as they are removed) for construction timbers and/or mulch on or off- site. Timber could also be sold to local artisans as a raw material. c. Create smaller terraces to make plant-able areas easier to access 2. Begin outreach to local schools, the Rec. center and the University Mound Ladies Home for participants as wells Non-profit organizations focusing on a. Grant students, supervised by teachers/ instructors, scheduled access to southern section to begin farming existing soils. b. Students may use time on site toward community service hours c. Programs matching students with the elderly
3. Fences as support for climbing edible plants a. Structures are already in place b. Use of several varieties of climbers c. Plants will a an aesthetic quality to the site, softening the harsh feel and look of the chain-link4. Installation of Solar Panels, based on results of the Sunset Reservoir Solar project a. This site is larger and more than likely experiences more sun exposure than the Sunset location5. Rainwater collection-Based on the surrounding topography a. Construct rain gardens where the street(s) meets the curb edge to capture and clean street run-off. These would be best located on the south and west sides of the site. (this system can daylight the historic location of a creek that flowed toward the Yosemite slough) AND/OR b. Construct rain gardens at the edges of the reservoirs to collect and clean reservoir run- off. These would be best located on the south and north sides of the site c. These rain gardens could catch the “1st flush” and allow the overflow to collect in basins to provide irrigation to the on-site gardens.6. Create an orchard a. The southern section of the site can support a large number of trees. b. Fruiting trees could begin to replace existing/aging trees, c. An orchard would need less daily maintenance than a vegetable garden requiring fewer visits to fenced/ secured areas on the site d. Trees selected for the orchard should bear fruit/nuts during various times of the year to spread the yield and work load.7. An education center/ Teaching Kitchen a. The yellow house on University & Bacon could be used to prepare meals using food grown on site b. If there is an existing kitchen small groups of students could attend classes on preparation methods and nutrition related to the foods grown on site.8. Transformation of Bowdoin St. a. This street could be easily closed on a temporary basis or permanently to host a farmers’ market or small festival b. Food from the site’s garden as well as off site farms could be sold here. c. This street could also become an extension of plant-able space by building soil on top of existing road surface. d. As the area is unfenced, admission would require a lower level of supervision.
Central Pump Station / Merced ManorBy: Laura RoseAssessment • Rainfall – October through April are the wet months, while June through August are the driest. • Fog/Sun – Merced Manor is slightly south facing, just west of the ridgeline, so it receives good exposure when there is sun. It can be blanketed in fog during the foggy season, sometimes multiple times a day interspersed with sun, and receives approximately two thirds of possible sunlight annually. • Wind – The site is relatively exposed to a predominantly westerly wind, which averages around 8mph but can reach speeds of over 45mph. • People – RC Hobbyist on reservoir top, smokers, its a public open space, potentially active community and educational centers nearby. • Traffic – Lots of street noise from Sloat Blvd. • Site History – Central Pump Station was originally built at the Merced Manor Reservoir in 1915, and recently underwent a restoration that wrapped up in 2007. • Water – Located at reservoir, potentially irrigate that way. Other options include rainwater harvesting from the roof of the pump station and/or reservoir, or fog harvesting, with storage on-site. • Vegetation – Grass, white clover, cheeseweed, dandelions(few, and not very healthy), plantains. • “Weed” bio-indicators show that soil is somewhat compacted and nitrogen deficient. • Accessibility – Good accessibility for both vehicles and pedestrians, with lots of on-street parking and a potentially usable small parking lot behind the station. • Soil – Sandy, not obviously stained or chemically odiferous. ◦ Composition: ▪ 60-70% Sand, 20% Silt, 10% Clay, 5% Organic Matter • Elevation Characteristics – Located at 200ft above sea level. Large flat open area in NE corner of site, flat surrounding pump station at N end. Steeply sloping edge of land surrounding the reservoir, approaching 30 degrees on W and S edges, slightly less sloped along E edge.
Local/Community Organizations of Interest • San Francisco State University (Sustainability Committee or Friends of the Greenhouse?) • Lowell High School • Lakeshore Alternative Elementary • The Urban Farmer Store (not a community organization, but close by and may be interested in involvement)Risks/Unknowns • Water access for irrigation • Security concerns regarding reservoir • Community involvement • CostsScenariosScenario 1:Vision & Goals:To provide a space for community building and involvement, to provide an educational resource for thecommunity and nearby schools, to provide food and forage for local people, and to provide forage forbirds and insects, while cycling as many elements and closing as many loops with as little waste aspossible.Elements: • Greenhouse (for plant starts, tree starts, and slightly warmer/less foggy climate plants like tomatoes) • Thermal composting (if maintained and turned frequently with a good C/N balance, can also be used to provide some heat for the greenhouse. Innoculate with micro-organisms needed to help form a healthy rhizosphere in the soil. Should have three 4x4 batch compartments) • Community Garden (raised beds, natural slug traps)
• Tool shed • Berry/Fruit polycultural forage border (interplanted apple, plum, linden, blackberry, comfrey, fava beans, olallieberry, nasturtium, mint, etc, planted on slopes wrapping around reservoir, possibly on a couple of swales on contour dug/piled in) • Woodchip Distribution node • Rainwater Harvesting & Storage (from the roof of the central pump station building, and possibly the greenhouse roof)Estimated Yields: • Increased community awareness of issues surrounding urban food systems and healthy and complete human nutrition. • Increased community access to educational and material resources related to a sustainable food system. • Mulch, compost inputs, and finished compost • Thousands of pounds of fruits & vegetables per year, depending on community garden crops. • Bird & insect forageScenario 2Vision & Goals:To provide local access to market elements of a sustainable food system, provide forage for localpeople, birds, and insects, to provide a functionally aesthetic space for the neighborhood andcommunity, to produce a relatively healthy natural sweetner (honey), and to provide an access point fordistribution of useful waste from other parts of the system.Elements: • Outdoor (Seasonal?) Farmers Market (there are no Farmers Markets held anywhere within 3 miles) • Berry/Fruit polycultural forage border (interplanted apple, persimmon, linden, blackberry, elderberry, comfrey, fava beans, olallieberry, nasturtium, mint, white clover, dandelion, borage, etc, planted on slopes wrapping around reservoir, on a couple of swales on contour dug/piled in) • Herb Labyrinth (lavender, rosemary, sage, thyme, mint, yarrow, chamomile, etc. which together function as medicinals, spiritual metaphor, and stress reduction)
• Perennial Flowerbeds • Earthworks or benches • Woodchip Distribution node (waste woodchips to be upcycled in kitchen gardens, mulch, etc.)Estimated Yields: • More and better convenient local access to local, organic food • Honey • Calming space and Medicinal Herbs • Bird and insect forage, human forage (thousands of pounds of fruit, other forage, annually) • Mulch (chop and drop it in the forage border)Possible Integrated VisionTo create a context in which people positively interact with and influence their community towardsactive participation in more sustainable models of urban food production, better human health andnutrition, and education on the principles and specificity involved in those goals. This context will becreated by a diverse array of elements that interact in a complex system of mutual feedback thatmimics an ecosystem in order to derive most of its overall nourishment from within, and implementsvarious permaculture strategies to educate both participants and observers by their demonstration.The elements that will be involved in this system are: • A greenhouse, for plant and tree starts as well as growing a limited number of less frost and fog tolerant crops, such as tomatoes. • Next to the greenhouse, and rigged to heat and circulate water through the greenhouse from its active compartment(s) is set of three thermal composting containers, each 4x4, and teeming with appropriate microbial life, such as mychorhizal fungi and aerobic bacteria. This will serve as a method to replenish the soil in the garden and beginning food forest. • Also next to the greenhouse, rigged to capture water from the greenhouse roof and the central pump station roof is a cistern for storing rainwater. • Arrayed down the eastern side of the reservoir is a series of shade-cloth fog-condensers, each with a smaller cistern on the lower leg/support to catch the condensed fog runoff. • Wrapping around the south and west edges of the reservoir is a food forest with two polyculture guilds, an apple tree guild and a coastal live oak tree guild. • Bee boxes would be stacked along the northern edge of the reservoir, with a woodchip distribution pickup spot near the small parking lot directly behind the pump station, to distribute for kitchen garden/mulch upcycling. • In front of the Central Pump Station are two perennial flowerbeds to either side of the paths, with a healing herb labyrinth and earthwork benches between them. • Back around in the flat open space near the green house is a tool shed, more earthworks or benches, and a raised bed vegetable garden. The area around the greenhouse, shed, garden, and compost and water systems is fenced, with chayote squash growing on the fence.The greenhouse will provide some plant and tree starts for the garden and food forest, which couldprovide organic matter for the compost which will heat and nourish the greenhouse, and nourish thegarden. The rain and fog capture/storage systems will provide water for all of these elements, and theflower and herb gardens, and a demonstration of the potential of the techniques employed to helplocalize water use along with food production and consumption. The food forest will provide bird,
insect, and human forage in large quantity, as well as “chop and drop” mulch for itself. The bees willpollinate the food forest and gardens, assuring their production and future fecundity, and produce honeyfor human consumption.The forest will provide a multiplicity of functions, as will each of its elements. It will provide fruits,nuts, leafy greens, medicinals, edible roots, berries, and more for human consumption.The Food Forest is designed to slowly develop from pioneer plant communities to more complex,diverse, and stable communities whose interactions mimic natural forest ecosystems to build soil andregenerate the landscape. If we do it right it will transform itself into an interdependent network ofcooperatively self-maintaining systems.Structure: Two swales wrapping around the West and South edges of the reservoir to capture water andcounteract erosion.Initial Inputs: Sheet mulch, compost, water, seeds, startsSpecies Selection Notes: For trees, cultivars with borderline-frost tolerant and low chill characteristicsare suitable for this foggy west SF site.The start of an implementation timeline: • 1st 6 months: Start with community and local schools involvement, sheet mulching, One time inputs (compost, mulch, seeds, starts), Plant ground cover and all oak guild except climbers, Build swales • 1st Year: Oak guild established, soil building, plant apple guild, except climbers; Start harvesting, reap increasing yields from here on out. • 2nd Year: finish planting, continue to reap educational opportunities
Lake Merced TractBy: Lisa BarretThis report explains the context of the three PUC sites at Lake Merced – including both current landuse and features and historical land use and features—analyzes the unique features of each site, andproposes ten permaculture design ideas to develop local components of a sustainable food system. Theproposal also highlights relevant issues, such as the presence of pesticides, and addresses communityconcerns and groups that need to be part of any design considerations. Finally, the proposal presents acoherent long-term vision for use of the PUC sites that integrates elements of the ten individual designideas. The integrated vision outlines how the three PUC sites can be designed to recover lost energy,cycle energy toward food production, grow food sustainably, and ensure that lake visitors, localresidents, and area establishments directly benefit from both food production and food education at thethree sites.While many local conversations need to follow this proposal and precede design implementation, thepotential to implement a sustainable program that aligns with the goals of Lake Merced advocates andsupports the long-term health of lake ecosystems is both exciting and tangible.AssessmentThere are three PUC sites for possible development at Lake Merced:The three sites vary in size and geographical context:Surrounding Lake Merced are various local establishments, organizations, and resources that play arole in the local community and should play a role in determining the most effective use of the PUCsites within the local context:
Within close proximity of the lake are several golf courses, Lowell High School, San Francisco StateUniversity, the Zoo, and other groups and organizations that could contribute to a local, sustainableurban food program and/or benefit from it. In later design ideas, this proposal will circle back to howvarious local establishments and organizations might contribute volunteer time and resources toprogram components, and how they should be considered as main food consumers and programbeneficiaries.This proposal also takes seriously the established current uses of the lake area and the context of LakeMerced neighborhoods, to ensure that futures uses of the area will work well with (and also improve)existing local structures:
Current uses and usage features: *• Biking/walking path around the lake– Thin but steady stream of walkers, runners, bikers, dog walkers– Walking paths give access to the lake and are used by walkers, student groups,and fishermen• Three Golf Courses• Several restaurants, including banquets, weddings, golf tournaments, and regular dinersheld at Harding Park * Based on observations over two days, 7/2011 Current neighborhood: *• Mostly single family homes, denser on the north and west sides• Traffic on Skyline Blvd. on the west side of the lake is fast (45+ mph)– Almost no stop signs/intersections– Likely a high number of commuters– Relatively loud (both car and airplane noise)• Traffic on Lake Merced Blvd. on the east side is relatively slower (three5 mph)– More stops, traffic lights, residential off-shoot streets– Likely more residential traffic * Based on observation over two days, 7/2011An effective design will put local residents and lake users at its center, viewing them as theprimary local consumers of, volunteers for, and contributors to the various programcomponents. For example, residents may really appreciate a new local farmers’ market to buygood produce, but they may be more likely to go if it is in a highly visible location with easyaccess and attractive signage. Additionally, an effective design should complement current lakeuses and goals to ensure community support and program success.An effective permaculture design must also consider and work within the context of the area’s history,including changes to the lake area ecology and human impact over time, and Lake Merced hasundergone significant changes in the past 200 years. In the late 1700s, the lake area was covered insand dunes with minimal human usage, and the lake had an outlet to the sea. Today Lake Mercedfunctions as a city park with many human uses and includes a range of micro-ecosystems around thelake that vary in soil quality, flora, and fauna. Today there are also numerous, well-established non-native species of plants and animals that co-exist with the remaining native species in and around thelake. The following is a brief history of Lake Merced and its uses. Brief historical timeline:• Before 1774:– Dune landscape and ecology– Lake had an outlet to the sea– Inhabited by Ohlone Indians who used the lake for fish• 1774 – 1868:
– Passed from the Spanish to the Mexicans, used for limited but increasingagriculture– Increased grazing led to decreased grasses, increased brush• 1868 – 1890– Sea outlet disappeared– Spring Valley Water Company purchased water rights and exercised near-monopoly on city water, holding the city hostage for drinking water and fire fighting needs– City of SF built Hetch-Hetchy to ensure stable water source• 1890-1950– Without a monopoly SVWC sold off land pieces, housing/development began tosoar– Fort Funston was activated for military use in WWI and WWII• 1960 – present– Citizens established concern over water levels and loss of flora/natural habitat– PUC acquired water rights, charged with ensuring potable water supply andkeeping water levels from dropping– Water levels and health of the fishery have fluctuatedGiven both this historical context and the importance of contextualizing permaculture designs in localpriorities, it is worth noting the priorities established by a 1998 report commissioned by the SFPUC forthe purposes of establishing baseline information on the existing ecology of Lake Merced and settinggoals for future management: • The report stated that the number one priority of area management should be the use of Lake Merced as an emergency water source for San Francisco. • The report also listed three goals for a suggested Natural Resources and Education Program: 1. Enhance biodiversity. 2. Minimize human impact.3. Educate the public about natural resources and restoration.These three priorities inform the design ideas outlined later in this proposal and thedifferentiated approach suggested for the three (very different) PUC areas.Analysis of the Three Sites
The following analyses are based on site observations over two days in July 2011.1. Harding AreaWind • Strong wind from west and slightly from the north • Not much shelter provided by trees on this part of the lakeSunlight • Often overcast but with a lot of indirect light coming through cloudsSoil and • Gentle slope from parking lot down to the lakeElevation • Mostly grassy, manicured effect (mowed lawns) • Soil quality appeared good: black, rich texture, many earthwormsPlants • In terms of trees, eucalyptus dominate, also cypress • Some shrubs and grassesAnimals • Fish in the lake, dogs on leashes (relevant to all parts of the lake) • High concentration of seagulls on the abandoned building (southern side) with strong smell and large amount of feathers, poopPeople use • Observed use north of Harding Drive: Grills and picnic tables that show signs of recent use, walking paths, parking areas for 80+ cars, boat launch/storage area, student groups kayaking and learning water safety • Observed use south of Harding Drive: No obvious current human use; abandoned parking lot with chopped wood and cleared debris (possibly from the golf course), next to abandoned building • Heavy traffic/steady stream of cars to Harding Park Golf Course
2. Sunset AreaWind • Regular wind from the west, not as strong as Harding but noticeable • Area directly west of parking lot is somewhat protected by older treesSunlight • Often overcast but with a lot of indirect light coming through cloudsSoil and • Steep slope from large parking lot down to the waterElevation • Area just southwest of parking lot has been developed for lake access: steep slope down with winding paved paths, bushes between paths • Area directly west of the parking lot appears untouched: sloping, tree- filled, flattens out at bottom, no walking paths • Soil seems to be loamy sand (from basic soap and water test)Plants • Trees are mostly eucalyptus; there are numerous small bushes • Thick growth in the “untouched” area directly west of the parking lot • Numerous flowering plants that need identification and analysis for existing food potential; Lake Merced Taskforce documents California blackberry (Rubus ursinus) and red elderberry (Sambucus racemosa)Animals • Fish in the lake, dogs on leashes (relevant to all parts of the lake)People use • Observed use: walkers and fishermen on the established paths • Use of the large parking lot (can hold approx. 100 cars) as a starting point for walking/running around the lake
3. Middlefield AreaWind • Relatively strong wind from the west: less windy than Harding area, windier than Sunset area • Some protection from trees closer to the road, although sparseSunlight • Often overcast but with a lot of indirect light coming through cloudsSoil and • Flat elevation, level with roadElevation • Dry in appearance: golden-brown plants grasses and plants in contrast with green in the other parts of the lake • Soil seems to be loamy sand (from basic soap and water test)Plants • Mostly grasses • Sparse and younger trees (possibly eucalyptus, need identification)Animals • Fish in the lake, dogs on leashes (relevant to all parts of the lake, although in the Middlefield Area most people walk by on the path/sidewalk and are not stopping or exploring in this area)People use • No observed or formal use by people in this area; evidence of informal walking trails • Joggers, runners, and bikers pass by on the sidewalk/path on the edge
4. Accessibility Cars • Overall easy car access with steady traffic • More commuter traffic on the west side/ Skyline Blvd. (conjecture) • More local traffic on the east side/ Lake Merced Blvd. (conjecture) • Parking lot opposite Sunset Blvd. is large, easily visible, and attractive • Harding parking lot is smaller, invisible from the road, and suffers in parts from heavy amounts of bird manure and feathers • City should consider increasing access to the Sunset parking lot (e.g. for farmers’ markets): reconstruct north-west entrance to allow entry from west-bound cars exiting Sunset Blvd; possibly widen Lake Merced Blvd. by the eastern lot entrance to add a dedicated left-turn lane Bikes • Great bike lanes • Could serve sunset neighborhood bike traffic • Not sure of neighborhood origin of bikers who use the lake paths Public Transit • At least one bus line • Need more research on bus presence and use Pedestrians • Walkers currently appear to be mostly exercisers who drive, park, and walk (based on observation and conjecture) 5. Concerns – Pesticides are being sprayed on Harding Park Golf Course: • Confirmed: Cleary’s 3336 fungicide; active ingredient: Thiophanate Methyl • According to a sign observed by the Harding Park Golf Course on 7/26/11, human access was slated to resume on 7/28/11 after the last round of spray • According to the EPA (http://www.epa.gov/oppsrrd1/REDs/tm_red.pdf) Thiophanate Methyl is “a likely human carcinogen” and “is expected to pose a chronic risk to endangered birds, mammals, aquatic animals, and aquatic plants under most of the registered use scenarios” – Permaculture designs that are less “complex” will have a higher likelihood of sustainability and effective management for years to come, but more complex solutions may better involve the community and ultimately lead to long-term change. • E.g. A zoo waste composting program run in partnership with Lowell HS students that produces compost and energy for a garden that feeds zoo visitors may be more meaningful and impactful than a simple composting program, whereas a simple program may be easier to maintain but less meaningful/impactful. • Any permaculture design will need to answer the question of who will maintain these areas in 2, 6, 10, and 30 years. – Currently there is no composting at Lake Merced. Given the presence of energy bi- products from picnickers, dogs, birds, fish, grass cutting, landscaping, and the nearby zoo, there is a clear need for an energy cycling program to tap this resource. As a “must do,” the city should prioritize creating an effective composting program.
Outstanding QuestionsMany questions came up in researching design ideas to turn the PUC sites at Lake Merced intoworking parts of a sustainable urban food program. These questions should be fleshed out inthe next phase of design and in ongoing discussions of appropriate, effective uses of these sites: ? What pollutants are affecting the water quality of Lake Merced? What are possible permaculture solutions? ? How can Harding Park Golf Course use non-chemical pesticides? How can the city enforce eco-friendly practices? Is there a local permaculture solution? ? Does the zoo currently have an animal waste compost program? Does it compost/recycle all of its manure? How is energy regained from dead animals? ? What existing relationships at Lowell High School and/or SFSU can facilitate management of urban food program structures at Lake Merced? Based on relationships to date, what is the assessment of effort it would require vs. impact it would have to leverage Lowell/SFSU to manage such structures? ? What consumer markets can be tapped by food production at Lake Merced, e.g. Harding Park Golf Course (tournaments, dining, banquets, weddings, and normal users), SFSU community, shooting range visitors, local residents? ? How sustainable is the fishery? Is it possible to run a sustainable fishing program in the lake, i.e. no restocking? Are there bi-products of the fishery that can be utilized for the energy cycle in an overall urban food program? ? Is there a way to manage seagull manure to result in energy benefits and minimize annoyance (smell, appearance) for lake visitors? ? What material are the clay pigeons used by the shooting ranges? Is there a good permaculture re-use for bi-products? Are there sustainable clay pigeon material options that can benefit an urban food program (a la rock dust)? ? Should biogas also be explored as a possible use of zoo animal waste?ScenariosThe following permaculture designs are potential ideas to maximize resources available at theLake Merced sites, while considering the context of the Lake Merced ecology and localcommunity resources.Each design idea includes subjective “effort” and “impact” ratings of high, medium, or low,where “effort” means the amount of human time and resources required to start and maintainthis design, and “impact” refers to how great of an impact this design can have on overallsustainable food production in SF.These ideas are not mutually exclusive and ideally should be synthesized and integrated into anoverall long-term vision. An integrated design proposal for the best use of the Lake MercedPUC sites follows the individual design ideas.
Design Scenario #1: Composting ProgramRationale: Compost recaptures energy and diverts materials that would otherwise end up in thewaste stream. Good compost also means high food yield and has many potential uses.Details:• Lowest level of effort: Create composting program in the Harding Area to captureenergy from dog and picnickers’ compostable waste around the lake• Build enclosed compost bins that meet city regulations• Establish Lowell HS program to manage compost• Medium effort: Add on composting program to recover all grass and landscaping bi-products from Harding Park Golf Course• Enforce SF regulations for eco-friendly golf course management, potentiallyleveraging Friends of Lake Merced and Lake Merced Taskforce• Remove toxins through compost process• Medium effort: Add on composting component to recover lost energy from seagullguano and/or fish emulsion (high in N, P, K)• Create a fish-cleaning station to encourage fishermen to clean fish on-site andcompost bi-products in special containers; manage emulsion process through designated,trained staff or volunteers• Collect seagull feathers and waste for compost, or design nesting areas that willconcentrate waste for increased compost collection• Highest level of effort: Add on zoo bi-product composting program at the Middlefieldsite to recover massive amounts of available (unused) energy• Collect animal waste and dead animals• Compost through non-odorous processes (well-managed compost piles and blackfly larvae programs)• Sell or offer top-quality soil for urban gardens, turning this area into a compostpick-up site• Could create green-collar jobs for SF residentsDesign Scenario #2: Food ForestRationale: A food forest, once established, takes care of itself and complements lake goals topreserve natural species, beauty, and habitats.Details:• Lowest level of effort: Preserving the current “wild” feel of the area directly west of theSunset Blvd. parking lot, cultivate native food plants• Analyze existing plants for food potential• Create materials to teach what is available and how to cook with it,including posting signs to indicate what is ripe and not (and/or)• Teach local restaurants what is available and how to cook with it toreduce food miles for Lake Merced establishments• Low-medium effort: Cultivate additional fruits (e.g. berries) and vegetables that cangrow in sandier soil
• Cultivate new food plants near existing walking paths, or constructlimited additional walking paths from local, abundant materials• Bring in native food-producing plants that can also tackle erosion• Higher level of effort:• Cultivate native plants (more research needed) that can out-compete non-nativeplants (e.g. Eucalyptus); potentially sheet mulch specific areas• With invasive species under control, diversify with local plants in phase IIDesign Scenario #3: OrchardRationale: The trees currently dominating the Harding and Middlefield Areas are invasive, non-native, and non-food producing. Orchards, once established, take little effort to maintain andbring joy to those who benefit.Details:• Medium effort: Bring in appropriate local, fruiting frees to the Harding Area• Establish a wind break on the west side, near Skyline Blvd., which will cut noiseand wind and allow for an orchard on the edge of the picnic area• Create a healthy guild with multiple nitrogen fixers, insectaries, etc. and withtrees with varying harvesting seasons and that can prevent erosion• High effort: Create a fruit orchard in the Middlefield Area, which currently is largelyunused and generally lacks native plant species• Designate an intensive composting and mulching area, leveraging availablenutrient-rich sources (dog poop, zoo animal waste, picnickers)• After 1-2 years of intensive mulching, plants windbreaks, nitrogen fixers,appropriate keystones, climbers, insectaries, etc. in designated part• Manage harvesting with help from Lowell HS students or green collar cityworkers, posting signs to inform the community whether fruit is ripe/ready• Medium effort: Establish chicken flock at the base of the orchard, complemented by ablack fly larvae compost program to feed themDesign Scenario #4: Small-scale food gardensRationale: Reduce food miles for local restaurants and consumers. Create a model that can bereplicated in many local backyards.Details:• Medium effort: Turn the unused south side of the Harding Area into garden plots withseveral potential uses:• Green collar city workers could receive training to manage the garden and sell oroffer crops to local restaurants and residents• Local restaurants could lease space to grow food and reduce food miles• SFSU or Lowell HS students could lease or manage plots• Community members could lease or manage plots• Medium to high effort: Create a learning center in the Harding Area in the unusedbuilding or the newly developed food gardens
• Increase wind breaks to increase diversity of potential cultivars• Create a model garden with species and cultivar labels where city residents cancome learn, pick a garden to replicate, and start a garden in their own backyards• Provide education about edible plants, mushrooms, nuts, etc.Design Scenario #5: Farmers Market in Sunset Blvd. Parking LotRationale: The closest farmers’ markets are currently at 8th & Irving and Stonestown. TheSunset Blvd. parking lot is large and highly visible to lake visitors and local traffic patterns.Details:• High effort: Redesign parking lot entrances and traffic lanes and redraw parking spots toincrease accessibility and maximize space• Add left turn lane and parking entrance for drivers exiting Sunset Blvd. andheading west on Lake Merced Blvd.• Add dedicated left turn lane into the parking lot for drivers heading north onLake Merced Blvd. from the east side of the lake• Add additional pedestrian crosswalks in the vicinity• Add attractive, hand-painted signs on all approaching streets• Medium effort: Run monthly or weekly farmers’ markets (start slow to gauge interest)• Manage through green collar city workers, SFSU students, or residents,depending on their readiness and goals of the market• Low effort: Set up roadside stands for seasonally grown produce• Self-managed booths, requiring minimal city oversightDesign Scenario #6: Food distribution centerRationale: Significant energy is currently spent on packaging and refrigerating perishable foods.The cool climate of the lake creates the conditions for a green storage and distribution facilitywith “natural air conditioning.”Details:• High effort: Revamp the abandoned building in the Harding Area to create a storage anddistribution facility• Use root cellars and manage natural air circulation to regulate conditions year-round• Store tubers, squash, melons, etc. which can be stored and sold over severalweekends of Farmers’ Markets• Use re-usable packaging and crates (wooden, cardboard)• High effort: Install egg vending machines to reduce food miles and support local,decentralized food exchange; if successful, expand to other products• Use cool climate (not electricity) to regulate temperature• Depends on local egg production/farmers to put eggs in the machine• Best location is Sunset Blvd. parking lot for accessibility; aesthetic design wouldbe key
• Numerous preconditions (health regulations, physical design) for successDesign Scenario #7: High-Water-Usage Crop CultivationRationale: Use lake water irrigation to cultivate crops that require high amounts of water.Create a specialty for lake food production. Reduce water use in other parts of the city.Details:• High effort: Design gardens in the Harding area for high-water-need crops• Use multi-layered worm/compost bins to filter lake water, digest possible toxinsin the water, and cycle water into simple, sub-soil drip irrigation system• Plant melons, cucumbers, and/or other high-water-need plants• Adjust light and wind (reflective light, natural wind breaks, etc.)• Create guilds with plants that match possible toxins, i.e. analyze toxins in the soiland water and introduce appropriate plants that can absorb or break down toxins to keep themout of food production• High effort: Replace invasive eucalyptus trees, which use a ton of water• Designate pieces of the Harding area to remove eucalyptus, sheet mulch,“restart” the soil, and envision new guilds of food-producing trees• Include a significant number of trees to break wind• Determine which trees can thrive in a relatively harsh, cold climate• Consider phasing in high-water-need trees and plants in designated plots of theMiddlefield area, with years of soil-enrichment work/mulchingDesign Scenario #8: Consumer FocusRationale: Focusing on the perspective of existing users can produce a simple, streamlineddesign approach, with the goal of complementing existing practices with sustainable designs.Details:• Cyclists: Create a water re-fill station for cyclists with treated lake-water• Design attractive educational boards to promote sustainable practices• Explore using a root system to filter water (similar to using watercress to filterfish waste out of water in closed-loop aquaponic systems)• Zoo visitors: Sell sustainably-grown food to the zoo café/restaurant• Capitalize on visitors’ inherent interest in nature and the environment• Use zoo waste to grow plants to feed zoo visitors; highlight this cycle to zoorestaurant visitors to increase consumer interest and spread good practices• Zoo animals: Raise plants at the lake to feed zoo animals, reduce food miles• Walkers: Create a seasonal juice stand using fruit/berries grown at the lake• Address the fact that beverage consumption practices are particularly wasteful(packaging waste, many food miles, refrigeration energy)• Fishermen: Create a designated baiting and fish-cleaning area• Develop a worm/grub harvest program using dedicated plots/bins• Post attractive educational materials with sustainable practices/ regulations
• Provide an area to clean fish on site and recover “waste” for energy cyclingDesign Scenario #9: PackagingRationale: There is a huge need for sustainable food packaging made from local, abundantsources. Willows and other weaving plants can grow in the lake climate.Details:• Low effort: Analyze existing lake-side plants for weaving potential (for packagingproduction), and increase the abundance of plants that can be used for weaving material• Integrate planting of new plants with lake beautification goals, which shouldinclude planting more trees to reduce wind, reduce sound, and absorb pollutants• Establish Lowell HS program to appropriately harvest plants for weaving• Sell or provide raw packaging materials to local individuals who can producesustainable packaging• Medium effort: Explore low-city-investment options for packaging production, e.g. hireor appoint community members or SFSU art students to develop a weaving program• Medium-high effort: Establish formalized, commercial packaging program• Invest in branding• Invest in tools or machinery, as well as locationDesign Sceanrio #10: Seagull ManagementRationale: Although seagull management alone is not necessary for urban food production, ifintegrated with sustainable agriculture practices at Lake Merced it will recover energy (scat) fornutrient cycling, improve the appeal of the lake to visitors and potential food buyers, andaddress possible disease transmission.Details:• Low effort: Introduce closed compost, recycling, and garbage containers around the laketo remove unintended seagull food sources• Include effective educational signs on the importance of proper waste disposaland proper trash separation• As part of regular park clean-up activities, collect feathers and poop fromHarding Area and deposit into the compost area on site• Medium effort: Design structures that will attract gulls to roost, in order to manage andconcentrate the population and recover waste products/energy• On land: Add an aesthetically attractive and gull-friendly rooftop design to theabandoned building in the Harding Area; use materials that will catch feathers and are easy toclean• Over water: Design a floating island with a mesh bottom to attract seagulls toroost and return feathers and poop to the water for energy cycling• Explore introducing a managed food scrap program, to manage human desire tofeed the birds, e.g. mechanism to deposit crumbs on the island
Possible Integrated Design ScenarioContext:An effective overall design for the Lake Merced PUC sites, to support the larger city goals ofdesigning and promoting sustainable urban food programs across San Francisco, needs tointegrate the various design ideas above into a comprehensive long-term vision. Then in orderfor the vision to move forward, the process must involve local stakeholders and communitygroups for the purposes of incorporating local input, aligning goals, and determiningcommunity commitments. This plan cannot be successful without the support and commitmentof local groups (see Next Steps).As alluded to previously, the goals of many Lake Merced advocates include preserving naturalhabitats and native species in and around the lake. Effective permaculture designs also dependon replicating and developing healthy, balanced ecosystems. Therefore the integrated designproposed here differentiates its approach to each PUC area, to consider the unique naturalfeatures of each:• Harding: The Harding Area presents a manicured setting with a traditional park feel(grass, picnic tables, paths, parking, outdoor activities). Therefore proposed design features are“hands-on,” bringing in sustainable human activities such as gardening and composting tocomplement existing uses.• Sunset: The Sunset Area is composed of a well-accessed, highly-used and paved area ofhuman activity right alongside a largely untouched tract of trees, shrubs, and other plants. Tocomplement these features, the proposed design preserves human and natural boundaries.• Middlefield: The Middlefield Area is a more unused (by humans), dry, sandy area withnumerous invasive species. The presence of invasive species and the changes to this area overtime suggest that appropriate management should preserve some of the existing features butrequires significant human intervention to address current imbalances in the micro- ecosystem.The proposed design features therefore strive to achieve a middle ground between preservationand re-envisioning of this area.This proposal also makes assumptions about the human resources necessary to set up and thenmanage ongoing Lake Merced design components and includes some ideas for humanresourcing in the text below in italics. The assumptions need to be scrutinized and refinedbefore finalizing the program design. To manage all aspects of the proposed program, a paidsite-manager position could be a full-time, city-funded, green-collar job that conceivably paysfor itself or is subsidized through the successful sale of crops, food products, and high-qualitysoil from the program. However, to determine the most effective management and staffingstructure, a detailed analysis will need to be undertaken to confirm true costs and projectedprofits/outcomes of the program, as well as available community resource to help sustain it.Rationale:The integrated design proposal naturally combines the individual design elements by weighingthe benefits of any component or strategy against the effort it will take to implement thatcomponent, in order to ensure the overall plan is not only effective but efficient. The integrateddesign proposal also continues to focus on local context: how to ensure benefits to local users
and expand the impact into local establishments, backyards, and routines.More specifically, the integrated design proposal stems directly from the larger permaculturegoal to maximize use of the PUC sites to support sustainable food practices in San Francisco.Therefore, the integrated design proposal• Pulls out individual design ideas that are high impact, in order to maximize useof the available land (e.g. composting is a central feature, seagull management is not) andfocuses on implementation of these ideas.• Selects lower-effort means of achieving high-impact results (e.g. creating acompost program in the Harding Area with existing lake waste products) to work mostefficiently and also take advantage of “low-hanging fruit.”• Only selects higher-effort strategies with significant positive impacts (e.g. a zooanimal waste composting program is a big operation but benefits a significant numerous cityresidents in multiple ways, from increasing soil quality in the PUC sites to helping farmersthroughout the city fertilize new gardens to reducing landfill quantities to increasing foodproduction).• Includes a diverse range of program components in order to broaden the impactof this work by affecting multiple users (e.g. restaurants, fishermen, local households andshoppers, etc.).• Offers multiple entry points for long-term impact opportunities, includingthrough educational materials and training sessions (e.g. food foraging can become a high-impact activity if sustainable practices are replicated by visitors in their own backyards orreplace previously-practiced non-sustainable approaches).• Thinks both short- and long-term by• Ensuring that immediate, tangible results (“quick wins”) will buildimmediate community support (e.g. food production in gardens and food forest), and• Putting in place design components that will help local residentsinternalize and implement permaculture practices (e.g. through model gardens, food foraging,local egg production, etc.) for years to come.• Increases in complexity year over year to ensure incremental success (e.g. startswith gardens only in the Harding Area – the natural choice –but builds soil quality in theMiddlefield Area to eventually implement a well-managed guild there, expands the HardingArea gardens to increase impact and scope, etc.).• Addresses issues that are obstacles to success (including the presence of toxinsand harsh wind which will affect human use and enjoyment of the area no matter what, inaddition to permaculture success).Long-Term Vision: