On Friday, October 20, 2017, youth and adults from nearby housing complexes came out to enjoy the fall weather and carve pumpkins to decorate Buchanan Mall.Citizen Film planned the event and built a scarecrow and laid straw bales. With the help of CommunityGrows staff, Melissa Tang (Director of Programs) and Osceola Ward (BEETS Program Manager)……and BEETS (Band of Environmentally Educated and Employable Teens) Michele and Elius……youth chose their pumpkins, drew faces and commenced cleaning out the seeds and carving. Lots of slimy work……but the results paid off!Pumpkin pie was another highlight.Everyone got to take their creations home to remember a great afternoon celebrating the fall season! For more photos, check out our Flickr Photostream here.
On Friday, September 8th, volunteers from GAP joined CommunityGrows in Buchanan Mall and the AAACC to help us get the gardens in shape for the Fall season.
We started our afternoon with a visit from two Citizen Film representatives. They shared the story of how the community came together to create, and now maintain, the Buchanan Mall street gardens.
For the first part of the workday, we divided and conquered. One group assembled student journals for the Rosa Parks garden classes, while the other group began working in Buchanan Mall.
The gardens looked healthier after some weeding and trash pickup.
And the water and deadheading went a long way towards beautifying the plots.
Not to mention how welcoming the area looked after the leaves had been swept and collected!
There was also some heavy lifting involved, not that it stopped Colleen! (full disclosure: the bag is filled with leaves).
Thank you so much to the GAP volunteers for taking part of their Friday to help us clean up and give the gardens a fresh new look for Fall! Check out our Flickr page for more photos.
On Saturday, August 26th there were a lot of rallies going on in San Francisco. In fact, two blocks away from our office and Buchanan Mall, thousands of people mobilized around Alamo Square to show their disdain for white supremacy. Months before these rallies developed, our Western Addition community came together to present a Peace Festival in Buchanan Mall. It was a day of motivational speakers, live performances, kid activities, arts and crafts. This event honor Ms. Alice Rowena Jamerson Lane, community mother of Virgo’s store (she and her husband were both Virgos). Ms. Lane lived in the community for over 70 years. She opened the store “Virgo’s Deli and Liquor Store”. She had 5 children and a husband who helped run the business. Ms. Alice took care of the community and the community did the same towards her. Ms. Lane passed away July 8, 2017 at the age of 79.
The Peace Festival sponsors included Terry Taylor, Mattie Scott (the Healing Circle), Citizen Film, Xpress Ministry, Success Center, Brothers for Changhe, United Playaz, SFPD, SFFD 798, Eli Crawford, Band Funk Star, Big Rich (Project Level), Ella Hill Hutch Center and Positive People for Positive Change. I love SF Skate Club also participated and was a highlight for all the skateboarders in the neighborhood! CommunityGrows Vista employee Karen Lally and Barbara Wenger, ED, presided over a table passing out information about our upcoming BEETS (Band of Environmentally Educated and Employable Teens) Program, volunteer opportunities, information on our Joey the Cat fundraiser, as well as seed packets, peace envelopes and postcards. David Lazar, Commander of the San Francisco Police Department, was on hand, as well as a few other police officers. Most other police officers were busy with protests and rallies in other parts of the neighborhood. One officer said she would much rather be at this Peace Festival. Nursing students from the University of San Francisco were a big hit offering blood pressure readings and other health resources. Big Rich and Danielle Banks from Project Level came by. Sophie Constantous and son Milo captured the afternoon for CitizenFilm.The music from Band Funk Star was awesome and the BBQ and food from Bi-Rite Grocery was delicious!The kids had a great time doing arts and crafts, skateboarding and playing games. With such a busy day in San Francisco, it was also a pleasant surprise to have the President of our San Francisco Board of Supervisors, London Breed, come out and revel in the good work of the community and share the afternoon. London is second from the right, next to Mattie Scott from the Healing Circle on the far right. It was a wonderful afternoon that brought out the neighborhood in Buchanan Mall to celebrate peace and stop the violence. For more wonderful photos from the day, check out our Flickr Photostream here.
What better way to be outside on a beautiful sunny day, than to give back to the community by spiffing up Buchanan Mall. Citizen Film, the Village Project and most of the CommunityGrows staff rolled up their sleeves to plant and mulch this wonderful space, making it even more inviting. This five block area has been undergoing a transformation thanks to Citizen Films and many community partners. Today’s event got kids to put their hands in the dirt and do a lot of weeding and cleaning up of the site. They really got into having the responsibility of working with shovels, pitchforks and trowels, all under adult supervision.The space was truly transformed when the work was done. Thank you everyone for making the neighborhood more beautiful!
For more photos see our CommunityGrows Flickr Photostream here.
On Thursday, May 11th CommunityGrows Seed-to-Mouth cooking instructor Crystal Leon led a cooking demonstration at Rosa Parks Senior Center in Buchanan Mall. This was in partnership with CitizenFilms and took place during the lunch hour. Crystal made zucchini pasta with pesto sauce. Everyone marveled at the machine to crank out the zucchini into long strands for “pasta”. The event was well received and everyone enjoyed hanging out under the tent chatting about the beautiful Buchanan Mall. A wonderful afternoon. Here is the recipe!
Kale Pesto Zucchini Pasta
3 zucchini (use spiralizer to cut to resemble spaghetti)
1 1/2 cups of kale (packed)
1 cup fresh basil leaves (packed)
¾ cup freshly grated parmesan
½ cup olive oil
1 tablespoon of fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup of roasted pumpkin seeds
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon of crushed chillis
pepper to taste
1. Combine kale, basil, olive oil, cheese, garlic, pepper and seeds in a food processor/blender and process until smooth.
2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the Zucchini and toss to coat in oil.
3. Add a few tablespoons of kale pesto and toss with the zucchini. Once the Zucchini begins to take on color, transfer to a platter.
4. Top with cheese, herbs/bread crumbs. Serve warm. Enjoy!
*From the Seed to Mouth Cooking Class*
A program of CommunityGrows
On Thursday, April 28, 2016 CommunityGrows joined Citizen Films, Green Streets, the Western Addition Neighborhood Access Point Career Center, Bayview Senior Services, the Recreation and Park Department, and other neighborhood partners for an afternoon on Buchanan Mall at the Rosa Parks Senior Center. There was planting of edibles led by Jay Jordan, our CommunityGrows Garden Educator,and cooking demonstrations, led by Crystal Jones, our Seed-to-Mouth Cooking Coordinator. Jay worked with volunteers to harvest vegetables and fruit, and taught them how to re-plant starts.
Crystal made a spring vegetable stir fry and and a veggie loaded three bean chili. There were many dignitaries that joined the Buchanan Mall festivities and seniors from the neighborhood, including Board of Supervisors’ President, London Breed and her legislative aide Iris Wong; Cathy Davis, Executive Director of the Bayview Hunters Point Multipurpose Senior Services; Vallie Brown of the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development; Tamara Walker from Citizen Films; and Derick Brown, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services. Sophie Constantinou, Director of Citizen Films talked about the history of Buchanan Mall with Liz Ozol, Program Officer, Arts Education Community Investment of the SF Arts Commission. It was a beautiful afternoon to get out and see Buchanan Mall, meet neighbors and enjoy healthy food. More events like this are planned for the future. For more photos from the afternoon, check out our Flickr Photostream here.
On a rainy Saturday, January 9, 2016, CommunityGrows joined Buchanan Mall partners, Green Streets, Citizen Film and Mo’Magic to clean, green, serve and beautify San Francisco. Many volunteers throughout the City came to Ella Hill Hutch at 9:00 AM, donned yellow rain gear, and helped plant a tree in the front of Ella Hill Hutch Center and divided into teams to plant around the building and the mall. The event was sponsored by the Department of Public Works, the Recreation and Park Department and the Mayor’s Office.Mayor Lee joined Mo’Magic youth and director, Cheryl Davis to dedicate a tree in front of Ella Hill Hutch Community Center and to honor the good work in the community reactivating Buchanan Mall. Then Green Streets workers, Randolph Lee, Tyrone Mullins, Roger Blalark and Shannon Watts (also of CommunityGrows) lead the Mayor, Phil Ginsberg, Northern Police Station Captain Greg McEachern and other dignitaries on a walk through the mall. The Green Streets team talked about all the community effort that went into the Buchanan Mall project, with support from the Recreation and Park Department, the Trust for Public Land, and the Exploratorium. They talked about how this was just the beginning in reclaiming the Mall and bringing residents out to revitalize it.For more photos, see our CommunityGrows Flickr Photostream here.
On a beautiful Saturday afternoon, November 7, 2015 the community came out to celebrate all their hard work on the Buchanan Mall. The Buchanan Mall Community worked closely with the partners—Green Streets and Citizen Film, The Trust for Public Land, S.F. Recreation and Parks Department, and Exploratorium—to imagine, design, and build new site improvements on Buchanan Mall. The gardens, signage, story audio-boxes, and gathering places reflect the community’s history, sustainability, beauty, and family connections. There were many speakers including London Breed, President of the Board of Supervisors; Mattie Scott, Director of Healing 4 Our Families & Our Nation; Tyrone Mullins from Green Streets; Gina Fromer, CA Director of the Trust for Public Land; and Shawn Lani from the Exploratorium. Devonta Bolden, one of the Design Task Force youth also spoke, as did Raymond Wade, a resident from Bannaker Homes and one of the Design Task Force elders.The mall was filled with residents enjoying the new structures, feasting on BBQ and listening to music by the Young Kings of Project Level and the DJ Marcus Bradley. Some of the buildings that border the mall are the African American Arts and Culture Center, Ella Hill Hutch Community Center, the Rosa Parks Senior Center, Bannaker Housing Development, Plaza East Housing Development and Ammel Park and Loren Miller Homes.For more photos, see our CommunityGrows Flickr Photostream here.
On Thursday afternoon, October 22, 2015 the BEETS (Band of Environmentally Educated and Employable Teens) joined partners CitizenFilm, GreenStreets and the Exploratorium to plant hearty succulents and drought-resisted natives along Buchanan Mall. This effort is a reactivation of an area once blighted by crime and neglect.
Walking through the area, which covers Buchanan Street between Turk and Grove, it was wonderful to see the progress that has been done so far. There will be a grand opening celebration on Saturday November 7th from 12-3 PM.
Clifton from the neighborhood joined the BEETS in their plantings. It is wonder be involved in helping to transform this area, close to our CommunityGrows office at the African American Arts and Culture Complex. For more photos from the day, visit our Flickr Photostream here.
The CommunityGrows Fall BEETS (Band of Environmentally Educated and Employable Teens) spent Thursday October 1, 2015 working with Green Streets, Citizen Film and other partners to paint troughs which will hold plantings along Buchanan Mall in San Francisco.
This project is part of a Buchanan Mall Activation Project which has brought together many neighborhood elders, youth and adults since March to discuss design and stewardship of the Mall. The Exploratorium, the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department, and the Trust for Public Land are also partners working with the community to redesign this under-utilized open space between seven public housing communities. The site will include planter boxes, memorial markers, youth-designed signs, seating, lighting, installations designed to inspire inquiry, and audio boxes with local history stories from African-Americans in the community. The Exploratorium translated the community’s design ideas into Activation elements and have begun installing them throughout the five blocks of the Mall. Completion should happen by the end of October. The Activation elements will be at Buchanan Mall for at least 12 months, after which the partners and community will discuss the appropriate next steps. The Trust for Public Land, with generous support from private donors, is the lead funder and project manager for the Activation. A Ribbon Cutting event is scheduled for Saturday, November 7th at 12 noon.
For more photos from the day, check out our CommunityGrows Flickr Photostream here.