Ecological history tour of San Francisco

Record hot temperatures followed the nine of us as we biked around San Francisco, listening to Chris Carlsson’s well researched tour of the ecological history of the city.

Starting at CounterPULSE (Mission @ 9th), we looped through alleyways and the wrong-way down streets, stopping in front of the community gardens on Howard (I pass these every day on my commute and never noticed them!) to hear about the Food Conspiracies of the 1970s when people began to care about eating natural unprocessed food direct from farmers. Rainbow Grocery is one of the last remaining results of the Food Conspiracies (ironically, Rainbow was hated by the community in the 70s for its focus on capitalism and making a profit, which is what has kept it around through the last 30+ years), where neighbors would get together and bulk purchase produce from farmers in the Central Valley.
Then to Folsom & Main where the sparkly new highrise luxury apartments were build on shipwrecks and toxic sludge from the mines and gold rush dregs. Then to the original shoreline at Battery and Market, where we stopped to discuss the evils of PG&E and the Raker Act.

Deeper in the FiDi, we learned about the walruses on the old Alaska Commercial Company building (California @ Sansome). Heading out towards North Beach, we stood where the freeway used to allow people to zoom straight from Broadway and Sansome onto the Bay Bridge, learning about the freeway revolt and San Francisco’s rejection of the Federal Highway Plan which would have dropped highways smack dab on top of the city in the 1950s (Terry Francois was the deciding vote against this).
After cooling off in the shade of Telegraph Hill, we heard about illicit dynamiting of the hill and the transformation of the area by Grace Marchant’s garden development. The wild parrots yammered overhead, and then we were off to Pier 39 to ogle the sea lions who co-opted some of the most desired land in the city. Finally, up past Fort Mason then through Chrissy Field to admire the restoration work of the marshes and sand dunes.
Also along for the ride were Eduardo, the Brasilian traveling the world with his bike, and Bryan, editor of SF Streetsblog.
I love Chris’s “Serfs Up” hat:

Eduardo had a sweet bicycle evolution tattoo: