SAN FRANCISCO—A new ecology center, which put the finishing touches on a new greenhouse Wednesday, could get shut down any day in the wake of the eviction of a connected recycling center.
The greenhouse, which was built with funds from the Haight-Ashbury Neighborhood Council (HANC) Recycling Center, received a new roof Wednesday.
However, the city has plans to evict the HANC Recycling Center, located on city land, and replace it with a community garden.
With the recycling center gone, the small grocery stores around the area would have to absorb the cost of a $100-per-day fee—by state law—unless they are able to provide a recycling center on their property. Neither option is one the small businesses can absorb, the HANC argues.
The eviction date was originally slated for Dec. 5, but it has yet to happen. According to Mark Nicco, assistant counsel to Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, the law states that the eviction merely needs to happen in a “timely manner,” according to the San Francisco Bay Guardian. The sheriff still fully intends to carry out the eviction, according to his spokesman.
“It’s extremely hypocritical,” said Ed Dunn, executive director of the HANC Recycling Center, at a rally at City Hall Tuesday. “They want to spend hundreds of thousands to build a garden when we already have one.”
“They want to spend hundreds of thousands to build a garden when we already have one.”
—Ed Dunn, executive director, HANC Recycling Center
The recycling center currently has a community garden, plant nursery, and now a greenhouse, and Dunn said that officials do not understand the full context. The overarching reason the center is to be evicted stems from the fact that it is “non-conforming use on park land,” according to Dunn, but county law states that if the non-conforming use includes a public service that cannot be provided elsewhere, then it is permitted.
“In the last year-and-a-half, we built a 50-bed community garden with proceeds from the recycling center,” Dunn said.
The recycling center’s landlord gave the HANC the eviction notice roughly 18 months ago, in June 2011. But regardless of timing, urban agriculture has community backing throughout the city.
The HANC Recycling Center alone has over one hundred community gardeners, according to Dunn, and there are similar neighborhood projects throughout the city.
“The Free Farm and the Hayes Valley Farm are two other permaculture farms in San Francisco that demonstrate a sustainable way of growing food, and they’re both being evicted within the next couple of years as well,” said Rick Rising, from the Golden Gate Ecology Center, at the rally.
“The city government is trying to put $120,000 toward the creation of an urban agriculture department. At the same time, there’s these three already-working urban agriculture resources that are being pushed out of the city,” Rising said. “So we’re asking for people to stand up for [their] community gardens.”
With additional reporting by Christian Watjen.
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