Mike Soracco has had the same job for 50 years.
In this podcast, Mike, who today owns Liguria Bakery in North Beach, takes us back to the founding of this neighborhood staple. Mike's grandfather came to the US in 1907 from near Genoa, Italy. He worked in bakeries in North Beach for a few years before opening his own at the location where Liguria operates to this day (that's 109 years, for those keeping track).
Mike describes the hard working environment he fell into when he started at the bakery as a teenager. Also, back then, the general public didn't know focaccia like we do today, and so Liguria was selling mostly to Italian-Americans in North Beach.
He ends the podcast talking about the adjustments they've made at Liguria during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We recorded this podcast in Washington Square Park in July 2020.
The story of Dragonspunk Grows, the Black-owned organic farm in the Bayview, starts with the Chinese community.
In this episode, Isaiah, whom you got to know in Part 1, takes us on a tour of Florence Fang community garden. Isaiah's work at the garden inspired him to join forces with Faheem Carter, to carve out a large section of the existing land to establish Dragonspunk Grows. It started out with their wanting to grow food for themselves and their neighbors, due to the area's status as a food desert.
This June, Isaiah's fiancée, Danielle, suggested that they dedicate a row of vegetables to honor the life of George Floyd, who was murdered by Minneapolis cops in May.
As for the future of Dragonspunk Grows, Isaiah and Danielle see their part in this as more of a service than a specific plot of land. They hope to replicate the model in other gardens, starting in the Bayview. You can help them reach their goals by donating to their Go Fund Me today.
We recorded this podcast at Dragonspunk Grows in July 2020. Special thanks to Erin Lim of Bitch Talk Podcast for letting us know about Isaiah and the garden.
NYC hip-hop artist turned SF city gardener? Why the hell not?
In this podcast, Dragonspunk Grows gardener Isaiah Powell charts the early stories of his life's journey. His family moved all over the East Coast when he was young. He went to four different high schools, then got into the University of Miami immediately as a 17-year-old. At such a young age, Isaiah didn't take college seriously and he soon dropped out.
He went back to New York City and started to pursue a career in hip-hop. After eventually graduating from Columbia University and getting and losing a number of jobs, a fellow Columbia student friend recommended that Isaiah move to California to work on a farm near Santa Cruz. Toward the end of his stay there, he met Danielle online. And when he returned to New York, the two moved in together.
They decided to move to the Bay Area after learning they could live in a house that Danielle's family owned. Danielle moved first, then Isaiah came out a few months later. He soon started volunteering at the Florence Fang Asian Community Garden, which was just down the hill from his home. And that work was the inspiration for what eventually became Dragonspunk Grows, which Isaiah will talk more about in Part 2 on Thursday.
Meanwhile, you can help support Isaiah's work on the garden by donating to their GoFundMe.
We recorded this podcast at Dragonspunk Grows in the Bayview in July 2020. Special thanks to Erin Lim of Bitch Talk Podcast for letting us know about Isaiah and his farm.
In this podcast, Josiah picks up where he left off in Part 1, sharing stories from his time with Molotov Mouths, the touring poetry collective from the 1990s. He pivots to talking about the gentrification he saw happening first-hand in the Mission in the late-'90s/early-2000s.
Josiah has been working at City Lights Books in North Beach for the last several years, and he talks about his job at this iconic San Francisco business (which is open during the pandemic).
He ends this podcast with a hella powerful poem about gentrification in the Mission. The words to that poem:
Josiah Luis Alderete's poetry speaks for a people devastated by gentrification and colonization.
In this podcast, Josiah traces his life back to his parents' union at a club in North Beach roughly 50 years ago. He moved around the Bay Area a bit, from various spots in the Mission to Marin and back. He tells stories from the back room at Cafe Babar, including his first time to read poetry in front of people, and the connections he made as a result. Josiah reflects on how he finds representation and expression in poetry. He and other poets formed a group called Molotov Mouths that toured the country doing readings, which he'll talk more about in Part 2.
Josiah ends this podcast describing the world of artists in the Mission in the late-'80s and early-'90s and the influence that Bucky Sinister had on him.
To hear more from Josiah, including some of his poetry, check back Thursday for Part 2.
We recorded this podcast on Zoom during quarantine in San Francisco in July 2020. Special thanks to Cassandra Dallett (this season's Ep. 1 storyteller) for introducing us to Josiah.
In this podcast, Dave the Butcher picks up where he left off in Part 1. He started traveling to Europe every year, and eventually moved to Berlin. While living there, he traveled to Spain and then over to Morocco.
Dave came back to San Francisco and worked at Falletti Foods for a short time, then got a job as manager at Marina Meats in 2007, where he works to this day.
As butchery exploded, Dave started doing demo events at La Trappe in North Beach. Around that time, he got married again.
Dave talks about running his butchery during shelter-in-place and he ends with his love letter to San Francisco.
We recorded this podcast on Zoom during quarantine in San Francisco in May 2020.
Dave Budworth's great-grandfather, who trained in Allsace, had a butcher shop in San Francisco at Polk and Green more than a century ago.
In this episode, Dave the Butcher, as he's known, talks about growing up in Santa Rosa. His mom exposed him to culture, but also dog shows, which formed the backdrop of Dave's first impressions of San Francisco. Dave tells stories of a trip to Australia when he was a young man that contextualized his Western privilege.
He came back to The City and fell into butchery. He describes the old-school mentality of the trade that he learned from, and he ends the podcast reflecting on what that means.
We recorded this podcast during quarantine in San Francisco in May 2020.
Jesus Barragan is a fighter.
He left his job at the VA after he was victorious in suing them. From there, he went to Child Protective Services in The City, where he caught mistranslated material that discriminated against Spanish-speaking parents.
After he retired, Jesus met David Campos and started volunteering in Campos's office at City Hall, which is where he met Hillary Ronen. He stayed on when Ronen took over as District 9 supervisor in 2016.
After reflecting on what the coronavirus pandemic means for humanity, Jesus ends the podcast with a verbal love letter to San Francisco.
If you missed Part 1, please go back and listen to that.
We recorded this podcast at Jesus's apartment in South of Market in July 2020.
Jesus Barragan was born in the segregated town of Glendale, Arizona, and grew up with bigotry all around him.
In this podcast, Jesus talks about his move to San Jose as a young boy and the education systems of Arizona vs. California, where he quickly encountered difficulties. He moved to San Francisco in 1975, but he ran into prejudice and discrimination at the jobs he got here, both directed at him and systemically. Among other fights he waged, Jesus helped file complaints to get The City to comply with federal employment guidelines.
Check back Thursday for Part 2, when Jesus will tell us how he ended up volunteering at City Hall.
We recorded this podcast at Jesus's apartment (with masks and distance) in South of Market in July 2020.
In this podcast, Kevin picks up where he left off in Part 1, talking about various bars he worked in all around San Francisco. He and his wife loved Emmy's Spaghetti Shack in Bernal Heights, and got to know Josey (host) and Sarah (chef). A few years later, Josey and Sarah asked Kevin to open a restaurant with them, and that's the story of how The Front Porch got started.
Kevin shares the history of the Front Porch location, tells us how they came to open Rock Bar across 29th Street, and talks about running a restaurant during the coronavirus shelter-in-place.
We recorded this podcast during quarantine in San Francisco in May 2020.