After moving to Mission Bay, San Francisco, Stephanie Goodson, NOMADgardens founder, discovered that it was difficult to meet and connect with her neighbors. As an architect and urban designer she realized that her neighborhood lacked a ‘third space’ (third to home and work) which she craved and more importantly an outdoor venue to connect with others. And like so many San Franciscans, Stephanie had no outdoor space to grow a garden and grow her own food.
After reaching out to the developer, Seth Hamalian, she heard his reluctance to let her build a garden. People put a lot of sweat equity into gardens and grow attached, as one can imagine. It’s disheartening to see the disappointment when the gardeners are told that their plot is no longer available and then the developer feels awful and potentially looks bad for uprooting such a loved community space. Stephanie asked “What if the gardens/event space roamed from vacant lot to vacant lot?” In 2010 the idea of NOMADgardens was born.
Stephanie forged a relationship with the City of San Francisco and was able to get land gifted for a two year period. She talked to some of her neighbors and found the vacant lots deterred people from walking around in the evenings and left people feeling unsafe. By creating a ‘roaming community garden’ developers would be able to reclaim the land easily, the community would feel more safe and most importantly individuals would have a place to grow their own food, and connect with others.
In 2013 Stephanie met Anne who had recently moved to the Bay Area. Anne also craved a piece of land to grow her own food and she too shared the vision of developing the social fiber of transitional communities. They decided to become partners and the rest is history.
On April 12th, 2014 NOMADgardens opened its doors to the community; just in time for growing season.
*Katie Crepeau, Stephanie’s old business partner at Urban Matters design lab was a significant contributor through 2012. NOMADgardens was incredibly fortunate to have her as part of the team.