Saplings of the City

San Francisco has an abundance of parks, but we all know the problem with parks: The grass. Good to sit on, but generally boring, not at all native, and irresistible to people who need to vomit, sleep, or the other thing. Lawns are also the enemy of the environment: The best book about lawn care released in 2006, American Green, details how we should just firebomb the front yard, or at least keep Scotts Turf Builder off it. Also, Michael Pollan once said this: “Lawns are nature purged of sex and death.” Why? Who cares -- he sounds like Jean Genet. But there’s a green-space alternative, at least in our city: The dozens of community gardens tucked into empty-lot nooks and stairway crannies, drenched in ‘70s patchwork funkiness. Longtime Bay Area gardener Alex Hatch details 30 in her book Cracks in the Asphalt: Community Gardens of San Francisco, complete with vibrant photographs by Stacey Miller. You can probably plant something if you get in good with the locals, swear off malathion, and request a plot. We just like to shuffle around, make fun of someone’s kale, and pretend we see Alice Waters.
Thu., March 26, 7 p.m., 2009

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