The family happened to take a trip out to Visitacion Valley today on a quest for a DVD for my daughter and happened to arrive a few minutes before the library there opened so we decided to walk around. Once again we found a little gem in San Francisco.
I don’t know too much about this little urban park, but it runs for three blocks between houses and the beginning can be found at Leland St. and Peabody St. It was a cool little walk that while you’re in an area that’s very urban and a bit on the industrial side has very little inviting in the area. This part of VV is mostly single family homes, but you won’t even find much greenery around there other than a weed growing out of the cracks in the concrete so this was a pretty nice place for the people who live there.
As you can see from the quick shots I took there are places for people to sit and relax. It’s a nice bit of respite from all the concrete and asphalt in the area and because it’s a bit inland on the warmer side of the City the streets are a bit dirty due to a lack of rain. True you could go up a couple miles to Crocker Amazon Park, but for some of the older residents which we saw walking around and sitting in the little urban parquet that might have been too much trouble.
If you’re ever over in the area I think you should check it out. It’s not Golden Gate Park, but for those who are probably the farthest away from Golden Gate Park I think it was nice that the City gave them some nature to relax in. In the central park there’s a community garden where they’re growing vegetables and fruits. I couldn’t make out any of the plants and trees other than lettuce and a few artichokes, but since this is a warmer part of the city you could grow much more tropical produce than in other parts of the City.
I went to my local Walgreen’s today and got a surprise. They had a charging station for electric cars. This was a first for me as I didn’t know that we had any set up yet, but had heard of talk about them being installed. All of these are owned by a company called Chargepoint.net and they charge $3 per hour to charge your electric car. While this is a cool idea, I think that when you charge your car at home and have to pay somewhere around 25¢ per KWh the price is a bit steep.
I’m not sure how many KWh hours a typical car needs to be fully charged, but I’m sure it’s less than the $65 I currently pay to fill my car up every month [we rarely need to drive outside the Sunset District, so most of our trips are short.] I also can’t exactly see why if I’m mostly driving in the Sunset District that I would need to fill up my battery on a trip to Walgreen’s less than a mile from my house when on average electric cars get about 100 miles on a charge [quoting the Nissan Leaf].
I could see if you were driving from SF to someplace outside the city that was at least a 50 mile drive and needed to be there for a couple of hours that a system like this would work well. Say we take the family out in our electric car for a drive down to San Jose for a couple of hours then it would make sense to charge up the car before we drove home, but the way we drive we would be able to do it much cheaper at home.
As you can see from the photo the charging station doesn’t have a solar panel which would make it even more green. The electric car brigade is still in its infancy and needs some fine tuning still. They’ll need to work the bugs out over the next few years, but at least it’s a good start. While people who live in the Sunset know that sun and this part of the city do not go hand in hand solar panels would still be a good addition.
I like the idea that there is a push in this city towards being more green since after watching a show last night on Hong Kong that the breathing the air there is similar to smoking two packs of cigarettes a day that I like our air quality here and if there’s people trying to make it better I’m all for that.
We still have the problem that not all electric cars have the same hook up so just because there’s a charging station there doesn’t mean you can hook your car up to it. Nissan has teamed up with chargepoint.net so that’s great if you buy a Leaf, but not so good if you’ve bought a car that hasn’t teamed up with them. There are still some kinks to be worked out, but I think this is a good start.
Other Avenues is the store that served as the foundation for the redevelopment of the “outside lands” at the foot of Judah. Yes, there’s Java Beach at the very end which is another part of the community out there, but it all started with the new millenium when Other Avenues gave itself a make over. My wife and I used to live near here so it was a short walk to see what they had. Before the make over it was an ok place, not great, the produce was a little on the sad side, but after the redo you can see it’s really a bit of a community center piece.
I stopped in today because my daughter has a cold and we found their “Old Indian Wild Cherry Bark Syrup” does the trick and it’s all natural. I started to have a walk around because I hadn’t been there in awhile. I’ll have to say I forgot about what a treasure this place is. It started as a co-op, but has now become a worker owned democratically run business.
Someone or several of the owners took a hard look at what they were selling and how they were selling it and made some great changes to the shop. Most of their products are locally produced and all of their products are aimed at the health conscious, no fillers, no preservatives crowd. You find a “dirty hippie” walking around or working here they’re all average people who want good food and maybe there’s a bit of a lean towards the alternative side with some of the people, but still they have good products. They have fresh cheeses, bulk products of flour, nuts, Dr. Bronner’s soaps that are cheaper because you bring in your own packaging and fill them up. Freshly made peanut butter is a standard here and it’s made in the shop too.
Don’t expect to find any meat here unless you consider tofu or seitan a meat product. They are wholly focused on vegetarian sustainable foods and they’re going a good job of it. I remember being in their one day and they had someone offering samples of seitan. I was really surprised, it does tastes and has the texture of chicken. It’s also the only place where I’ve found REAL wasabi. It is the ground up root of the japanese horseradish, not a mixture of horseradish and mustard that mainstream stores sell as wasabi. I’ll have to pick some up next time and surprise my wife [who never looks at this site so I can say that without worries.]
[mappress mapid=”26″]For all you home brewed DIY type people they have a wide selection of herbs and tinctures for you herbal medicine needs. They also have a large selection of organic chocolates and candies as well as some surprisingly tasty vegan brownies and cookies. If you like the idea of eating health, organic, sustainable foods you should definitely visit this place.