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Friday, March 23, 2012

What Have You Done for the Community Today?

From Scoutmob,
True story: The Bayview, San Francisco's redheaded stepchild of a neighborhood, boasts one of the best gardens in the city. Stop thinking gangs, start thinking greens.

Eskender Aseged, owner and executive chef of the Bayview's Radio Africa & Kitchen, grows sea kelp, kale, and herbs you've never heard of before. So, the chard and spinach on the side of your leg of lamb with couscous came from directly right across the street; and you should feel good, not scared, about it.

The city of San Francisco appointed Eskender Johnny Green Thumb to make a positive impact on the community in 2010. He started clearing out broken bottles and mattresses from the garden, mostly by himself, and still somehow finds time to be in the garden 4-5 days a week while running his brand new restaurant.

With the garden in full bloom, he takes veggies to teen moms at a nearby high school, exposing them to healthier options for themselves and their babies. "They've never heard of some of these vegetables, but they get excited when they see how easy they are to prepare," Eskender said. "Where I'm from (Ethiopia) is community oriented and we take care of all the children, whether they're our own or not." The garden also serves as a way young people in the Hunters Point Family and Old Skool CafĂ© organizations to make money, helping Eskender with the garden. He painted a large wall white for summer projector-movie nights and will build a deck to make the garden an "edible hang out place for the community."

Eskender, if you were a boy scout, your patch game would be ridiculous.

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