Rooftop Medicine Farms hides atop the new Whole Foods in Temescal, asserting food sovereignty from above
By Ray Levy Uyeda
Eater San Francisco
May 18, 2022
To that end, the farm conducts surveys with organizations and community groups that receive food grown on the rooftop plot. “We are figuring out what people want to eat seasonally, what they’re drawn to, and what they need,” says Alayna Reid, lead farmer at Rooftop Medicine Farm. Traditional Ecological Knowledge — a term referring to Indigenous knowledge, spiritual practices, and relationship with the land — guides what and how they farm, and Reid is learning about generational foodways from her father, who is from Jamaica, and grandmother, who is Choctaw Cherokee. Through DMC’s Land Back Solidarity Project, the group also worked with Ramaytush elder Cata Gomes to form her Muchia Te Indigenous Land Trust and remit land to its rightful stewards; the organization also has plans to help restore the San Gregorio Creek watersheds, where salmon once, though no longer, ran.
DMC isn’t aiming to dismantle Whole Foods as a business, but to infiltrate places where these temples to so-called clean eating chafe against spaces where people aren’t able to buy their way to good health. The group also wants to answer questions about land: who can lay claim to it and what happens when people with resources move into neighborhoods deprived of them. “These condos are popping up all over,” Reid says of the neighborhood around Rooftop Medicine Farm. “So here’s the model. Maybe by doing this, there won’t be any more excuses as to why food deserts exist.”
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