Since that time, it has won the Center for Art and Public Life's IMPACT: Social Entrepreneurship Award and grant, and has gained much attention and praise in the San Francisco arts and crafts, architecture and urban farming communities because of its plurality of aims, coupled with the sensitivity and cogency behind its implementation.
With its proximity to the Alemany and Holly Courts public housing complexes, the Outdoor Kitchen at Alemany Farm has the unique potential to be a community resource that brings together the wisdom and experiences of people from diverse backgrounds in order to facilitate an educational experience for everyone involved. It also provides a practical and enjoyable facility for preparing food grown on the farm. Key to what is being generated at the farm is a new connection to the city and to the physical world that has been lost to so many inner-city residents. The hope is that the didactic and sustenance-producing goals of the Alemany Farm can be bolstered by the kitchen and will nourish the surrounding communities in more ways than one. We want the Outdoor Kitchen to be part of the farm’s program for giving to the community over many generations and many lifetimes.
We speak about whole lifetimes because it takes a lifetime to learn sustainability. Children come to the farm to learn from an early age about the processes that nourish them, reducing their conceptual distance from the earth and the services that it provides. This teaches the children about sustainability in a way that they will not easily forget. This external exploration is accompanied by an internal exploration that occurs when multiple generations of people come together at the farm, weaving a rich experiential fabric of differing levels of experience and accomplishment. In this way, children at the farm explore not only the life cycles that keep the planet alive and our species sustained, but also the valuable cycle of life that each being is subject to. Intergenerational (and intercultural) farming provides a bonding mechanism that helps to teach diverse and essential values to children and adults of all ages. The hope for us is that by providing a space for food preparation alongside the existing food production, this shared experience will be richer and more complete.