In 2010 ECOSF established The School Farm, an outdoor experiential learning space at the Academy of Arts and Sciences and the School of the Arts, two high schools sharing a sprawling campus at the base of the two highest points in San Francisco, Twin Peaks and Mt. Davidson. The vision is to create a meaningful and engaging ecological education program and a vibrant outdoor learning space. So far we’ve worked with the school and the community to setup a productive organic farm with a diversity of fruits, vegetables, herbs, native habitat, and egg laying hens, on-site compost production, greenhouse nursery operations, rainwater catchment system, an outdoor classroom/kitchen, and small, functional examples of natural building techniques like ovens, benches, walls, sculptures, and the awesome earthen chicken coop with a living roof! The School Farm is a collaboration between ECOSF and the school community to integrate ecological awareness, critical thinking and practical skills for sustainable living into the curriculum to enhance the educational experience and teach students leadership and cooperation through hands-on lessons in experiential learning.
The farm sits on the rim of Glen Canyon and at the headwaters of Islais Creek, one of the last free flowing creeks in the city that flows all the way into the bay at Islais Landing. The project centers around a sunny ¼ acre space that includes: organic farm rows (roughly 1/8 of an acre), a chicken run with happy egg laying hens, a fruit tree orchard, native habitat borders, a plant nursery, a cultivated wetland that will enhance an existing wetland on the site, an outdoor classroom space, outdoor kitchen space with 36” earthen oven , an SF backyard demonstration site, and natural building projects like the tiny house, sculptures and garden walls. The farm supplies fresh, healthy organic food to the school at a weekly farm stand Monday afternoons, while educating students and the community about urban agriculture and local food systems through in class lessons and other volunteer and extra curricular opportunities. One goal of the project is to highlight the potential for schools to grow fresh produce for healthy school lunches, and provide a model of resource efficient, community supported urban agriculture for other schools to follow.
The many living things that dwell in this lively space, like red tail hawks, coyotes, and all the other birds, bees, flowers, trees and fungi are living examples of science in action and can supplement classroom science lessons with hands-on field experience. The farm is a bridge between the classroom and the Islais Creek watershed that lies next to the campus and in which the school has already worked with the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department to restore habitat and build trails. With the help of students, teachers, interns and volunteers we’ve been able to expand and improve the trail network behind the school and there are plans for more collaborations with SF Rec and Park to have the school participate in more extensive watershed restoration and implementation of the Glen Park natural Area management plan.
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We’re looking forward to growing, sharing, listening, working and playing with you all on the farm. We're down there working on Monday and Thursday from 12:30-5:30 on school days and every second Saturday of the month for the weekend work party 12-4pm.
with any feedback and visit our get involved section to see how you can support the project. See calendar for schedule of regular volunteer workdays on the Farm and check out the gallery and facebook for pictures. See ya on the Farm!
The School Farm (map) is located on the campus of the Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Ruth Asawa School of the Arts – 555 Portola Dr. San Francisco. Enter gate on O’shaughnessy Blvd just before it crosses Portola. Close to 36, 44, 48, and 52 Muni lines. From the parking area at the top, proceed on foot to the right, down the hill towards the athletic field. Limited parking is available further down the driveway at the loading dock, but please do not drive on the grass. The farm is behind the east bleachers across the field.