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From the Director

Dear Friends,

Garden Feast 2009
Nell Newman, Keynote Speaker, and Michael McKechnie, SFBGS Executive Director

Garden Feast 2009
(from L-R) Don Baldocchi, SFBGS Trustee, Jim Marshall of Suncrest Nursery, Arden Bucklin-Sporer, Trustee and Co-Chair of Garden Feast, and Wendy Tonkin, Board Chair

Garden Feast 2009
Honey Johnson, SFBGS Trustee and Garden Feast Co-Chair, and Kathy Jaunich

Garden Feast 2009
Eva Monroe and the Walking Treeman

Garden Feast 2009
Michael McKechnie, Barbara Comer, Richard Davis, Pearl Kimura, Bill Stark, and Helena Titus

Garden Feast 2009
Laura Hartman and Peggy Jones

On September 23, 500 guests gathered on the Great Meadow under a large tent in the center of the San Francisco Botanical Garden to celebrate the 10th annual Garden Feast. Garden Feast is the Society's signal fund raising event of the year, and its proceeds benefit our 10,000-strong Youth Education Program. We were honored to have Nell Newman of Newman's Own Foundation address the issue of sustainable agriculture, bringing home a message of practical methods we can all employ to preserve our planet.

Nell, the daughter of two beloved American icons, learned early at the family's rural Connecticut home about organic and homegrown food. She became so adept at mealtime preparation of the family's own produce that she was the designated chef at all family get togethers. As she grew up her interest in healthy food and healthy communities based on locally grown produce became her passion. It was a great pleasure to hear how her upbringing led her to become a stalwart in the organic food movement based on the basic concepts of ecology.

Earlier in the program, there was an award ceremony deriving from the Society's mission to promote sustainability. In 2007, the Green Champion Award was established to recognize leadership, innovation and achievement in sustainability, environmentalism, and conservation of habitat and the planet's biodiversity. Two years ago we were delighted to honor Richard Goldman as our first Green Champion honoree. Last year we honored Dr. Peter Raven, President of the venerable Missouri Botanical Garden. This year we selected Mayor Gavin Newsom as our Green Champion. When Mayor Newsom took office in 2004, he put in place a comprehensive environmental plan with ambitious goals for San Francisco. The end result is that San Francisco is one of the greenest cities in the nation something of which we all can be proud.

Since he took office, the City has reduced government emissions to below 1990 levels, developed a plan to plant 25,000 new trees, launched the nations' largest solar incentive program, banned plastic bags, introduced green job programs and now the City diverts 72% of its waste materials away from landfills.

Our Mayor also has placed great emphasis on green building design, an emphasis that has played an important role in the LEED Platinum level design for our proposed Nursery: Center for Sustainable Gardening.

Mayor Newsom sees the City as a laboratory for green innovation, and he has quoted Michelangelo: "The biggest risk is not that you aim too high and miss your goals, but that you aim too low and reach them."

Leadership, innovation, and pioneering spirit are qualities Mayor Newsom has exhibited time and time again in his efforts to create a haven for sustainable systems, technologies, and materials. This is why we made the decision to honor his achievements and celebrate his accomplishments at our 10th annual Garden Feast celebration.

With warm best wishes for an enjoyable autumn gardening and harvesting season,


Michael McKechnie
Executive Director, San Francisco Botanical Garden Society


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