Our mission is to cultivate healthy youth through growing gardens in low-income, diverse communities.

About CommunityGrows

  • CommunityGrows,  a project of the Tides Center ,  was established in 1994 to respond to the tremendous needs in the Western Addition community. Back then we were known as the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Parks Group and our goal was to reclaim Koshland Park from rampant criminal activity.  Having been successful, we created the Koshland Park Community Learning Garden and Western Addition Peace Wall and, working in conjunction with John Muir Elementary School, we developed the park’s first community garden and nutrition education program for youth.
  • In the past 25 years, CommunityGrows has renovated and/or maintained ten other parks and gardens in San Francisco, providing welcoming oases for residents and outdoor classrooms for youth.
  • Today, CommunityGrows serves over 1,200 youth each year through three interconnected programs: Environmental Education; Seed to Mouth cooking classes; and the BEETS paid teen internship.
  • CommunityGrows was named “A San Francisco non-profit you need to know about” by Thrillist in 2018 and featured in University of San Francisco’s blog, “Building Community’s Organically” and Director Kelly ErnstFriedman was featured in “Profiles in Community-Engaged Learning 2017-2018.
  • Garden Programs Manager extraordinaire Anna Luberoff was interviewed as part of a podcast series entitled “Designers of Paradise
  • Barbara Wenger, our founder, was awarded the Chrissy Field Community Hero’s award in 2008.

CommunityGrows requires all new and current employees, volunteers and contractors who work with children and youth to have a complete criminal background check on file with Tides Human Resources. Read more about our Criminal Background Check Policy here. 

2018 Infographic Screenshot

Help us raise funds to get 1,300 youth from low-income communities away from violence and into programs that make them healthy, smart, environmentally educated and create pathways to jobs.