Going Green in the City

by Adriani León, ex-Vayable Intern

The Bay Area has a long history of progressive green movements, from foraging to school gardens, underground food markets and guerrilla grafting, these activities are supported by people found in community gardens, street food fairs, and thriving farmer’s markets.  We are also one of a few cities pioneering a composting program.

In 2009, the city of San Francisco passed the Zero Waste Initiative, a citywide composting and recycling program whose goal is to reduce the amount of reusable materials that are discarded. This program uses the residents’ discarded food wastes, turns it into compost, and then sells the compost to wineries in the neighboring regions to fund itself.

A lesser-known initiative mandates that 1% of all city funding for new construction goes towards creating green spaces. The last place we think of green in this city is in the financial district unless, of course, you are Marylin Straka. Marylin has devoted her career to making the city accessible to the physically disabled and seniors, wants to give you access to many of the city’s hidden green spaces.

In an effort to make the downtown area more attractive to live in, the city of San Francisco has been greening the financial district for years, but many of these spaces are not so easy to find. Sitting atop rooftops and declared by unassuming plaques there are gardens, courtyards, artifacts, and art available for pubic viewing.

One of the best things about San Francisco are the rooftop gardens, that exist throughout the Financial District—you can traverse three city blocks without crossing a single street! Take a lavender scented elevator ride with her and discover the green spaces that most locals aren’t talking about.

Check out other San Francisco tours like a street art walk in SOMA and downtown SF or for the truly adventurous, do a kayak tour in the Bay.

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