Tag Archives: #Community

MLK Day of Service 2019

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This MLK Day, CommunityGrows joined the African-American Arts and Culture Complex (AAACC) to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the 2019 Day of Service. The event began at the AAACC with opening remarks from co-Executive Directors Melonie and Melorra Green, speakers Mayor Breed and District 5 Supervisor Vallie Brown, a spoken word performance by Arvaughn Williams, and AAACC’s very own Bushmama Africa, who called on “the ancestors to create a cover of protection on us and reverence for our ancestors” (AAACC website). The morning set the tone for the rest of the day as volunteers split off into groups to work on service projects in the neighborhood.

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This year, over 40 volunteers came out to work on maintenance and beautification projects at Buchanan Mall, the Fillmore mini-park, and the AAACC parking lot and garden plots. Volunteers also were involved with a letter writing campaign to political prisoners and some joined artist Kristine Mays on a community art project (see her art installation, Brutally Soft, at AAACC Jan 17-March 24). Everyone did an amazing job and we are so grateful to all of the volunteers.

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Following the volunteer portion of the day was a (well deserved) community lunch. For the afternoon portion of the day, the AAACC had two film screenings for volunteers to learn more about political prisoners Mumia Abu-Jamal and Assata Shakur. Thank you to the presenters who started and facilitated the discussion.

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A huge shout-out to Pearci and the staff at AAACC for hosting this event, and thank you to all the volunteers who took time to come out and work with us. We appreciate your support and commitment to community.

Hello BEETS, Mobile Meditation Pavilions, and 2019!

BEETS at the Wreath and Card Making Event 12.16.18
BEETS at the Wreath and Card Making Event 12.16.18

In Case You Missed It… 

The BEETS (Band of Environmentally Educated & Employable Teens) is an opportunity for teens to earn a stipend as they learn about environmental stewardship, experience nature, discover issues of food equity and environmental justice, and increase their personal well-being and that of their own neighborhood and community.

As part of the program, BEETS maintain sustainable community gardens, teach garden-based environmental education classes to younger learners, plan community outreach events, and build green spaces for and with residents in low-income neighborhoods. During each session, BEETS go on 10 field trips on weekends to places like Alemany Farms, Pie Ranch, Farmers Market, the Giant’s Garden at AT&T, and other places around the Bay Area!

So What’s on the Docket?

In addition to their twice weekly group cohorts, the BEETS are looking forward this month to visiting the gardens of Alcatraz and enjoying a breakfast at the Ferry Building farmer’s market. Aside from field trips, students said they were interested in learning more about GMO’s, growing organic, working with younger students and seniors, and different models of community gardening.

 

New Program Manager Debbie says that she is excited “to see how their interests develop as they become more comfortable in the program” and to hopefully to take the group camping sometime this winter! We can’t wait to see where the semester takes them!

Successfully pulling out the root of a sunflower!

YAX Mobile Meditation Presentation

In November, the Youth Art Exchange (YAX) teens presented their current project to the new BEETS members. This fall session the primary focus of the Advanced Architecture Firm students has been to design and build an outdoor mobile meditation pavilion in collaboration with CommunityGrows. A design build project, the parameter for the students has been to act as a youth architecture firm and lead CommunityGrows,“the client,” in an exploration and analysis of the site, the users, and the desired use outcome: an outdoor, collapsible, and transportable pavilion that holds 5 – 10 people and can be used for quiet reflection, meditation and teaching opportunities to be built and installed in Koshland Community park.

YAX students presenting on the Mobile Meditation designs.

The remaining steps for the project are to meet with the high school youth from CommunityGrows and present the final 2 designs, work with them to gain input and feedback, and collectively select the final design concept. Once this is decided the students will complete the build out of the pavilion and install on site in 2019. Stay tuned for more details!

Hot Apple Cider and Homemade DIY Decorations

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This weekend, folks braved the rain and came together with CommunityGrows for the annual wreath and card making event! The space was cozy under the tarps, with hot cider in hand, holiday music playing, and friends chatting as everyone created their masterpieces. We are so grateful to Hayes Valley Art Works and Friends of the Urban Forest for being so welcoming and sharing their space! 

BEETS at the Wreath and Card Making Event 12.16.18

One of the best parts of the wreath and card making event is seeing everyone’s different personalities shine through their decorations and drawings! While some kept their wreath simple, others went bold and shiny, and others still created forest themed designs. One thing is certain though, each one had style!

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Bummed that you weren’t able to make it this year but still interested in learning how to make a homemade wreath? Check out:   37 Christmas Wreaths You Can DIY

Happy Holidays from all of us at CommunityGrows!

4th Annual Choose Peace Festival

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CommunityGrows had the privilege of attending and taking part in the 4th annual Choose Peace Not Violence festival at the Ella Hutch Hill Center on August 25th. The sun was shining as friends, neighbors, and community organizations came together to listen to music, watch performances, and take part in the many activities offered by local organizations. The bouncy castle, face paints, and bubbles were definitely kid favorites, while many teens could be found skateboarding on the ramps brought by SF Skates.

At CommunityGrows’ table, visitors chose from lemon balm, rosemary, and white and culinary sage to craft their own herb bundles. The herbs, freshly cut that morning from the Buchanan Mall garden, were chosen because they help with relaxation, digestion, memory, concentration, and anxiety. Thank you to everyone who stopped by and introduced themselves – it was great to meet so many people who are interested in gardening!

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The festival also took time to remember Sharen Hewitt, an inspiring and committed activist who passed away earlier this year. Her family attended the festival and were given a plaque to honor her incredible dedication to and work for the community.  

Click photo to read more about her work and life from her 2010 Local Hero recognition.
Click photo to read more about her work and life from her 2010 Local Hero recognition.

Thank you to everyone who organized and took part in the festival this year. It was great to connect as a community!

CG Volunteers: Always in Bloom

Buchanan Mall Workday – 6.9.2017
Buchanan Mall Workday – 6.9.2017

In honor of Volunteer Appreciation Week, we want to give a shout-out and a thank you to all of the neighbors, partners, businesses, and friends who have supported CG this past year. We could not do our work without your help, and we appreciate all of our volunteers for their time, their energy, and their commitment to our programs.

Read on to learn more about our volunteers and the different ways to get involved at CommunityGrows.

Buchanan Mall Workday – 4.14.2018
Buchanan Mall Workday – 4.14.2018

Program Volunteers

This year CommunityGrows has had the pleasure of working with 12 dedicated and knowledgeable program volunteers. These volunteers commit at least seven weeks of their time to supporting our programs and can be found in our gardens, offices, and kitchens working on projects that help to support our Environmental Education, Seed to Mouth, and BEETS programs.

CommunityGrows is grateful to have such committed volunteers working with us week after week cooking, weeding, watering, teaching, and working on special projects with our staff and students. Thank you all for your hard work!

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Rosa Parks Salad Day – 3.14.2018

Li started volunteering with CommunityGrows this January, helping to maintain the AAACC Garden and assisting with monthly salad days at Rosa Parks Elementary School.

Perhaps most importantly to me, though, was the inspiration and support I drew from the BEETS as I prepared and applied for grad school in a new field — a scary risk for someone in the middle of their career. The struggle of studying for tests, researching scholarships, and searching to find the right path forward in life was made easier because I was able to share and learn from the BEETS, who were all facing similar challenges.  

— Alana, BEETS Program Volunteer 2017-2018

Corporate Volunteers

In addition to our individual volunteers, CommunityGrows is fortunate to also have the support of local businesses and companies committed to giving back to community. This past year GAP, Bain & Co., Morgan Stanley, and Starbucks all participated in one or more workday events in our gardens. Their hard work and energy during the summer and early fall helped us to set the students up for a successful year. We appreciate their support!

Buchanan Mall Workday – 4.14.2018
Buchanan Mall Workday – 4.14.2018

Weekend Warriors

Finally, we want to highlight all of our weekend workday and special event volunteers who donate their time to move soil, plant vegetables, pick-up trash, turn compost, and do a host of other jobs in our community garden spaces. We couldn’t do it without you!

 

Photo: Gateway High School Workday – 9.29.2017

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MLK Day Workday – 1.15.2018
MLK Day Workday – 1.15.2018
Buchanan Mall Workday – 6.9.2017
Buchanan Mall Workday – 6.9.2017

We are so appreciative for the support and community involvement that you all have shown us. Thank you to all of our volunteers, both past and present!

Buchanan Mall Workday – 4.14.2018
Buchanan Mall Workday – 4.14.2018

A special shout-out to Citizen Film for hosting the latest Buchanan Mall workday on Saturday, April 14th, and to SF Rec & Park, the USF McCarthy Center, the Rosa Parks Senior Center, and all of the volunteers who came out to support and beautify the Mall.