John Bela With Urban Campesinx / Hummingbird Farm: Garden To Transform Hatred Into Love

JANUARY 13, 2024 THROUGH MARCH 10, 2024

On the occasion of the Bonnie Ora Sherk: Life Frames Since 1970 exhibition, Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture (FMCAC) commissioned a pop-up ethnobotanical teaching garden from urbanist and artist John Bela, accompanied by Urban Campesinx / Hummingbird Farm Sunday workshops.

Like Sherk’s groundbreaking Portable Parks I – III (1970), Bela’s Garden To Transform Hatred Into Love remade an industrial, asphalt landscape into a healing environment. A classic garden enclosure held oak logs harvested from fallen trees and inoculated with edible and medicinal mushroom species. Garden beds featured California native and regional medicinal plants. Beehives supported bees to gather nectar and send intentions for healing far and wide. A central teaching hut offered an arbor space for quiet meditation, gathering, storytelling, and skill shares. Every Sunday throughout the project, the Urban Campesinx / Hummingbird Farm collective led a series of workshops and knowledge sharing sessions on topics such as queer ecology, Indigenous land stewardship, and growing and preparing herbal medicines to ease stress and trauma.

Bela’s Garden To Transform Hatred Into Love was free and open to the public daily from Saturday, January 13, 2024 through Sunday, March 10, 2024. Urban Campesinx / Hummingbird Farm offered free, 45-minute workshops on Sundays from January 21 through March 10, starting at 11:00 a.m. (Please refer to details below.) If possible, please register in advance; walk-ups are also available.

About Urban Campesinx / Hummingbird Farm: Urban Campesinx, the food justice and young adult leadership program of PODER SF (People Organizing to Demand Environmental and Economic Rights), stewards Hummingbird Farm in San Francisco’s Excelsior district. Hummingbird Farm foregrounds ancestral wisdom in food production, sustainable living, plant medicine, and community resilience. As they note, “We are undoing the disconnection between each other, between people and the land, between workers and their labor, between communities and their ancestral wisdom. Together we are integrating ‘buen vivir’ (well-being) at all scales of life!”

Learn more about Urban Campesinx and Hummingbird Farm here:

About John Bela: John Bela is an artist, urbanist, and landscape architect focused on public space design. He combines a background in art, science, and environmental design to create vibrant, dynamic, and resilient human habitats. As a founder of Rebar, Bela created some of the group’s most innovative works such as Park(ing) Day, The Panhandle Bandshell, The Civic Center Victory Garden, and Parkcycle Swarm. He was instrumental in the creation of the first Parklets in San Francisco. From 2014 to 2021, he served as a Director and Partner in Gehl Studio, the U.S.-based practice of Gehl Architects. Bela is currently a partner with Urban Field Studio, leading landscape and public realm design efforts throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. He is a senior lecturer at the California College of Arts in San Francisco and a distinguished lecturer at the University of California (UC)–Berkeley, CA.

Read more about John Bela’s thoughts on Garden To Transform Hatred Into Love.

Urban Campesinx / Hummingbird Farm Sunday Workshops:

These free workshops started at 11:00 a.m. If possible, guests pre-registered at the links for each workshop. Spontaneous walk-up admissions were also available.

January 21, 2024
Ramaytush Ohlone: Honoring The Original People Of This Land
This workshop honored the living legacy of the Ramaytush Ohlone, sharing curriculum from the Ramaytush Ohlone Association. Participants visited two stations, sharing the vision of what Indigenous Land Stewardship looks like in Yelamu at Hummingbird Farm. REGISTER

Seed Luv Station: This activity facilitated a process to make Seed Luvs (also known as Seed Bombs) with local native seeds grown at Hummingbird Farm. Participants were able to take them home and spread them during rainfall.

Zine Coloring Station: PUEBLOTE (Public Land in People’s Hands) reclaims public land for communities that have been affected by environmental racism. This activity shared the story of PODER’s community organizing for housing and green open space — work that supports healing for working class communities of color in Southeast San Francisco that have been affected by adverse land use polices.

January 28, 2024
Plantcestor Allies: Healing With Plant Allies
When we heal the earth, we heal ourselves. This workshop shared the medicinal properties of Calendula, which grows abundantly in the Bay Area. Participants made a calendula salve with oil made from flowers grown at Hummingbird Farm. Calendula regenerates skin cells and helps with inflammation, minor pain, and overall skin health. REGISTER

February 4, 2024
Plantcestor Allies: Healing With California Native Plant Allies
When we heal the earth we heal ourselves. This workshop shared the healing properties of the Arroyo willow (one of the original aspirins). Participants made willow oil they can take home and rub on their bodies for pain and inflammation. NOTE: This workshop was rescheduled for Sunday, February 18, 2024.

February 11, 2024
Queer Ecology
This workshop opened a discussion that looks at the historical context in which heteropatriarchy has been used to dominate nature, our bodies, and communities. Participants looked at ecology through a queer lens and examined how heteropatriarchy has justified the power and privilege of what is “natural.” Participants learned the history of Western science in reinforcing the gender binary. Attendees learned how nature uses queerness as a survival tactic, as well as how queer ecology can be used as a tool to organize and deconstruct the gender binary imposed on the natural world. REGISTER

February 18, 2024
Food is Medicine/Plant Allies: Healing With The Abundance of Mama Earth
This workshop discussed the Bay Area’s healing herbs that grow year round in a pot, in yards, and at local community gardens. Participants infused water with different herbs, including mints, sages, lemon verbena, lemon grass, and locally grown lemons as an alternative to sugary drinks. The workshop featured an Herbal Tea Bar where participants made themselves a hot cup of tea. Each participant was provided with bags to mix a tea blend to take home. REGISTER

February 25, 2024
Food is Medicine: Healing Our Communities With Ancestral Seeds
This workshop discussed the importance of ancestral seeds in healing, how many were outlawed, then commodified, and how people are now reclaiming them by growing them at Hummingbird Farm collectively. Participants made Elder Berry Chia Jam. Elderberry is one of the strongest natural anti-viral foods, and an ally is helping build immunity against viruses. Chia seeds are an excellent source of fiber and good for heart and intestinal health. REGISTER

March 3, 2024
Medicinal Honey: The Magic Of Bees
This workshop shared the story of bees and their important role in eco- systems. Participants infused local honey with a locally grown herb to take home. REGISTER

March 10, 2024
Plantcestor Allies: Healing With Rosemary
When we heal the earth we heal ourselves. Rosemary is known as the plant that helps memories: it rushes blood to the brain to help with focus, stimulates hair growth, and supports memory. Rosemary grows abundantly in the San Francisco Bay Area year round. Participants infused Rosemary into oil and left with infused rosemary oil to use for support at home. REGISTER

Other Fort Mason Center For Arts & Culture Events Of Interest