SF residents go green versus green in turf battle


There are about 35 community gardens in San Francisco with about 1,000 individual plots and the city needs more.

"We have a waiting list of over 500 people, some of whom have been waiting for 2 years," Recreation and Parks Department General Manager Phil Ginsburg said.

Ginsburg and many residents of the Inner Sunset neighborhood want a new community garden near Kezar Stadium on the edge of Golden Gate Park.

"Community gardens are great resources for people especially living in dense places like San Francisco where lots of people don't have backyards and don't have the ability to grow their own food," Inner Sunset Park Neighbors Association spokesperson Andrea Jadwin said.

The only problem is the spot where they want the garden has a recycling center that has been there for 30 years.

"Recycling is a noble cause but times have changed, we have curbside recycling now and in store redemption," Ginsburg said.

The center is run by the Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council which is fighting to save it. The battle is pitting neighbor against neighbor.

"I've lived in the neighborhood and supported the center for years, I'm here at least once a week," customer Martha Hoffman said.

Money from the recycling center supports a lot of community services and 10 jobs. Many local businesses bring their recycling there and as do a lot of low income people.

Michael Moore lives about five blocks away and collects recycling from his neighbors.

"Since my check got cut by SSI, the state took 140 bucks a month, I have to make up the difference to pay my rent and bills," Moore said.

Moore has a home, but one of every six people who bring recycling to the center does not. Supporters say the park department just wants to get rid of the homeless. But the department says it is an inappropriate industrial use of park property.

"We think a community garden is a safer healthier use for everybody out there," Ginsburg said.

Recycling supporters say there are plenty of other places to put a garden.

"They ought to put it in an underserved neighborhood that is actually looking for more community gardens," Recycling Center Board Member Jim Rhoads said.

Park and Rec. commissioners will hold a hearing on the garden proposal next Thursday.

Written and produced by Jennifer Olney

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