The vacant lot at 203 Cotter street lies behind the back yard of my house on Cayuga avenue. A year ago, it was of concern to us because a fence securing the property had fallen down and people were spraying graffiti on the back fences and leaving trash. People walked their dogs back there too, but didn’t clean up, according to a neighbor. Fennel was overtaking the site, creating a potential fire hazard in summer. Rats were frequently seen, even in the daytime. In my time here, there have been three homicides in this ten block radius so personal safety is a concern as well.
I had the feeling like the property and by extension the neighborhood was going downhill due to factors beyond my control. Once Little City Gardens became established on this property, things turned around dramatically. A secure fence keeps vandals out of the lot as well as my back yard. The weeds and brush are controlled, eliminating the fire hazard. The rats are vastly reduced. Social activities and the farmstand they have operated have provided a meeting place for neighbors I have gotten to know, for the first time. I feel much more involved and positive about my neighborhood. It is no longer just a bunch of houses and driveways- it has that vital ingredient -life.
In meeting Brooke, Caitlyn and their friends and associates, I have been exposed to a whole new world of urban agriculture, fast evolving and connected to endeavors throughout northern California. The produce is extremely good and varied. Now, 203 Cotter street is a jewel of this neighborhood. It’s like the sun has come out at last in this heretofor neglected part of San Francisco.
— Fred Rinne & Tryntje Rapalje
I am very pleased that an urban farm exists in my neighborhood. It is a blessing to have an area where food is grown locally.
— Rick Alvarez
We have lived across the street for 30 years. Before LIttle City Gardens, the lot was a weed-filled eyesore. The owners of the property never cleared the weeds, and over the years some neighbors took on this responsibility so they could use the lot to walk their dogs. Twice a fence was put up and left unmaintained until it fell down. Blackberries grew untended, and though we did go harvest berries in the summer, this involved tramping through waist-high weeds.
I had my doubts when Little City Gardens started working the land, since the weeds were so entrenched — I didn’t think it would be possible to cultivate. But months of hard work paid off, and we now have a beautiful, interesting farm filled with flowers and butterflies in the summer. Our subscription to the weekly farm box last summer was a real joy. My family was introduced to some vegetables we had never tried before, and it was always fun to find the occasional surprises in the box along with the vegetables. The farm is a great asset to our neighborhood and I hope it is able to continue for many years.
— Judy Lofton
I have only walked by the farm. I haven’t been inside the fence or even bought any of your food. BUT, I love that you are there! More than anything it lets me know that anything is possible. I hear so much bad news everyday, I could go on but won’t, ON THE OTHER HAND, your news is good. You turned kind of nothing into something GREAT.
— Donna Sharee
Your farm has not only cleaned up the eyesore but brought purpose back to the land. You also managed to bring the community together. Many of the neighbors now coming by for their fresh vegetables. I only wish Mom was around to see all the beautiful vegetables. She would have loved it. Thanks for all that you do…
— Nancy Barsotti
I was excited to see that they had taken over this abandoned patch of land a couple of blocks from me. The two gals Brooke and Caitlyn had approached the owners and asked if they could start their urban farm there. Lo and behold the owners said yes, under one caveat…that they beautify the place. And boy did they ever. Now, whenever I walk by, whether in the dewey morning or as the sun is starting it’s descent behind the hills, I see two silhouettes lovingly tending to all those growing things.
— Christine Armand, written here