Tag Archives: Environmental Education

Three Cheers for the Green Team!

Green Team Members and Volunteers at Rosa Parks Salad Day – 3.14.2018
Green Team Members and Volunteers at Rosa Parks Salad Day – 3.14.2018

As the school year comes to a close, we want to share our gratitude and highlight the Rosa Parks Green Team.

This group of parents are incredible advocates for CommunityGrows’ programs at Rosa Parks Elementary School. They work behind the scenes on fundraising and outreach projects, they’re instrumental in planning and implementing monthly Salad Days with us, and they host garden workdays for Rosa Parks families and neighboring communities. We cannot thank them enough for all of their support and dedication!

The coming school year will bring some transitions within the Green Team, as their current lead member Jocelyn graduates after four years with the group. Green Team member Mie is excited to step into the role, and was kind enough to sit down and talk to us about her involvement with the program. 

Mie has been involved with the Green Team for the last three years. She was initially drawn to participate because of how they combined food, health, and the outdoors all in one program. She enjoys working with a program that engages all the students in the school and finds it rewarding to see the kids hugging the chickens, eating salad, and creating beautiful spaces on campus.

RP Student in Lower Garden with Butterfly Wings

On the role of the garden spaces at Rosa Parks Elementary, Mie says that the visual impact changes the feel of the campus, softening and beautifying the outdoor spaces. Accessible and inviting, all of the students get a chance to experience the garden classrooms each year during our seven-week environmental education and nutrition courses. Mie believes that eating well is a skill that all children should have the opportunity to learn, and that being able to see, taste, and learn from our Garden Educator, Anna, helps to get kids excited about the material they are being taught.

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For Mie, one of the best parts about being on Green Team are the weekend workdays. She is inspired by the dedication from the parents, some whom even stay late to finish projects! The bonding that happens at these events, in addition to the actual work done, strengthens the community identity at Rosa Parks. See photos from the Green Team’s latest workday below.

Rosa Parks Workday – 4.28.2018

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Mie's Daughter
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CommunityGrows gives three cheers for the Rosa Parks Green Team!

Spring Fundraisers

Help our youth flourish in the garden this spring!

Your spare change — and even part of your dinner bill — can add up to BIG change for kids in the Western Addition.

4505 Meats

Starting Monday, May 7th, CommunityGrows will be the featured partner in 4505 Meats’ “Feed the Pig” program!

Please stop by 4505 Burgers & BBQ on Mondays in May and June and they’ll donate a portion of sales to support our garden-based youth programming.

Canyon Market Logo

Put your spare change to good use and cultivate garden and nutrition education in your community!

Stop by Canyon Market anytime during the months of April and June and “round up” your grocery bill to support vital youth programming with CommunityGrows.

Patxi's Pizza Logo
52 Weeks of Giving Logo

Visit Patxi’s Pizza in Hayes Valley on Wednesday, April 25th and support local youth programs with CommunityGrows!

Patxi’s will donate 15% of dine-in and carry out sales on that day to our environmental and nutrition education and job training programs for youth in the neighborhood.

We hope to see you there!

CG is always grateful for contributions from our friends and neighbors, great or small.

Abundant thanks to 4505 Meats, Patxi’s Pizza, and Canyon Market for teaming up with us on our shared mission!

DCYF awards multi-year grant for cultivating healthy youth!

DCYF

We are so grateful and excited to be awarded a 5-year grant from the San Francisco Department of Children, Youth, and Their Families!

This substantial grant will support our Seed to Mouth Garden Education Program, which teaches environmental and nutritional education using gardens and kitchens as classrooms. Through hands-on, project-based lessons in gardening and cooking, children in K-5th grade practice STEAM-related skills while increasing their physical, emotional, and social health.

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At Community Grows, we aim to support the youth in our community who have limited options for safe and educational in-school, after-school, and summer outdoor programs. We are countering a lack of green spaces, parks, and gardens in San Francisco’s historically underserved neighborhoods — which can make it challenging for kids to engage with and learn about the natural world — by building learning gardens in school and community spaces.

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Our classes are rooted in the benefits of experiential learning. Students begin with Garden Classes focused on environmental education, with the garden filling the role of both a classroom and a teaching aid. Lesson plans are customized for each age group and encourage observation, investigation, research, testing and presenting.

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As each session goes on, instructors begin to incorporate the science of cooking and nutrition using produce that the youth have grown. Lessons cover the impact of food on our bodies and minds, and basic skills such as reading a recipe and using kitchen tools. Then students put their knowledge into practice in the garden or kitchen for more hands-on learning!

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We believe that when youth are healthy, safe and supported they become catalysts for positive, lasting change.

Thank you, DCYF, for supporting this vital work!

After School with Ella Hill

IMG_0380On Friday May 12, 2017 the afternoon garden program at Ella Hill Hutch got into full swing. Led by CommunityGrows Garden Programs Manager Adrian Almquist, the youth read stories and played some games about fruits and vegetables. Then out to the garden to water and check out how things were growing. IMG_0382IMG_0383Visitors from the Episcopal Impact Fund enjoyed the class with CommunityGrows Deputy Director Kelly ErnstFriedman. As part of their site visit, they also walked through the Buchanan Mall and over to Rosa Parks Elementary to check out the gardens and chickens there. IMG_0387IMG_0389A beautiful afternoon to see what was going on at CommunityGrows.

John Muir Students in Koshland Garden

IMG_0273On Thursday, May 11, 2017 Koshland Garden was buzzing with Ms. Martin’s first graders from John Muir Elementary School. IMG_0318CommunityGrows Garden Programs Supervisor Paul Bergkamp led them on a lesson about spring, flowers and pollinators. After their discussion, they went off through the garden with paper and pens to draw flowers. IMG_0294IMG_0320IMG_0280IMG_0309It was an opportunity to create gifts for Mother’s Day the upcoming Sunday. Back in the circle the students shared their drawings and learned about the stages of the bees life and how important bees are to make flowers, fruits and vegetables grow.IMG_0330IMG_0345IMG_0335IMG_0357
For more photos from the day, check out our CommunityGrows Flickr Photostream.

Kindergarteners Celebrate Earth Day!

On Friday April 21, 2017 the kindergarten class of Rosa Parks Elementary enjoyed a day in the upper garden with CommunityGrows Garden Educator Jay Jordan. Jay has a way of getting everyone engaged in physical activity and working in the garden. He began the lesson by talking about Spring and planting seeds. IMG_0037In their walk through the garden they saw that the potato plants were still green which meant the potatoes were still growing underground. IMG_0048IMG_0058They talked about the soil and that it gets tired and needs to be taken care of. Jay led them on a chant: “fava beans are medicine for sick and tired soil”. Jay talked about saving corn and potatoes to plan for the next harvest.IMG_0069The students picked weeds and then got to plant pumpkin seeds along the edge of the garden. IMG_0152All throughout the lesson Jay made it fun and engaging, especially with exercises praising the earth and thanking the sun, rain, wind, and soil. “Circle of Life, thank you earth, Ashay!” Ashay meaning “Be with us,” inviting and thanking ancestors for joining us in the celebration of the earth. The last half of the class everyone got to water the garden. IMG_0118IMG_0102IMG_0111It seemed like the perfect day to understand the beauty of what we do at CommunityGrows-growing children in the garden!IMG_0076 For more photos from the day, check out our CommunityGrows Flickr Photostream.

Kindergartners Learn about Water

Steve Herraiz (Mr. Steve) had his class of enthusiastic kindergartners at John Muir Elementary School, walk down to the Koshland Park Community Learning Garden for their morning lesson on Wednesday, April 13, 2016. CommunityGrows Garden Programs Manager Adrian Almquist was excited for the day to talk about water and where it comes from. (Hetch Hetchy! Thanks SF PUC!)4.13.16-JMES-MrSteve_IMG_6159“Where does our drinking water come from?” “From the ocean!” “What does ocean water taste like?” “Why can’t we drink salt water?” “What is Hetch Hetchy?” “How does it get here?” “What happens to water if we leave it in a glass for a long time?” “Why is water good for you and the plants?” “What happens to water when we water the plants?” 4.13.16-JMES-MrSteve_IMG_61764.13.16-JMES-MrSteve_IMG_6180All these questions captivated the students until it was time to divvy out water cans. Kelly Bohan, a CommunityGrows volunteer, filled everyone’s buckets as they lined up. 4.13.16-JMES-MrSteve_IMG_6184Then off through the garden to gently water plants and bushes. 4.13.16-JMES-MrSteve_IMG_6192A great day to be outside and care for the earth. Thank you Mr. Steve! For more photos from the class, check out our Flickr Photostream here.

First Graders Learn Honorable Harvest

Ms. Erin Miranda’s first grade class had a special day of thanks for the Rosa Parks Garden on Monday, April 11, 2016. It was their last class of the season and they did a labyrinth walk through the beds of spinach, lettuce and chard that they planted thanking the earth for growing and teaching them. 4.11.16-RP-Mirana_IMG_60864.11.16-RP-Mirana_IMG_60904.11.16-RP-Mirana_IMG_6097CommunityGrows Garden Educator Jay Jordan led them through exercises of stretching–praising the sun and teaching them kindness to the earth. 4.11.16-RP-Mirana_IMG_6110They then recited the eleven practices for an Honorable Harvest:
1. Know the ways of the ones who take care of you, so you can take care of them.
2. Introduce yourself; let the plants know who you are.
3. Ask permission before taking. Listen to the answer.
4. Never take the first. Never take the last.
5. Take only what you need and take only what is given.
6. Never take more than half, leave plenty for others.
7. Harvest in a way that is safe for every one.
9. Share.
10. Give thanks for what you have been given.
11. Give a gift in reciprocity for what you have taken.
The last part of the class everyone wrote down ways the garden takes care of us, how we can take care of the garden, why it is important to share, and why is it important to give thanks. Everyone also thanked volunteer Laura Stroud for helping out in all their classes.4.11.16-RP-Mirana_IMG_6143

Lunch with Alice and Will

3.8.16-ESY-Waters-Allen-IMG_1085-SFWOn March 8, 2016, CommunityGrows staff Adrian Almquist, Garden Programs Manager, and Crystal Jones, Seed-to-Mouth Cooking Coordinator had lunch with Alice Waters and Will Allen at the Edible Schoolyard in Berkeley, CA.  
Here is Crystal’s report: 
“There are very rare opportunities where one gets to gather among a couple of their heroes, in a room (or in this case a garden) full of people of like-minds; coming together solely for the sake of encouragement to further the work that they are doing, and to soak up wisdom from those represented. Gathering together at the Edible Schoolyard in Berkley this February was just that. Among the organizations represented (included but not limited to), were CommunityGrows, Education Outside, City Slicker Farms, Growing Power, and Boys and Girls Club of San Francisco. We all were taken on a little tour of the ESY Berkeley gardens, given a short history of the project and had the chance to hear about the philosophy of the Edible Schoolyard from none other than Alice Waters (author, chef, activist, restaurateur, and brains behind Chez Panisse) – the woman who started it all. 3.8.15-ESY-Waters-Allen_CJ-SFWAlice then introduced us to our guest of honor that afternoon, Will Allen (farmer, food justice advocate, pioneer of urban agriculture, and founder of Growing Power). After the tour we all gathered around one big table, full of introductions and conversations, where we enjoyed a beautiful lunch, outfitted with some of the bounty of ESY harvests. The major question we address during this gathering, was “How do we not only continue the good work that we are doing, and do more of it?”

 
The answer?

 
By forming strong and meaningful partnerships with one another. 

 
In the spirit of complete community and a philosophy that states I’m not healthy if you’re not healthy and none of us can exist and thrive without the other. 

 
“I used to think I was in charge in the kitchen, and now I know that is not the case – the farmer is in charge of the kitchen.” – Alice Waters”

 

ESY Willie Mays was the first after school program in the country to become an affiliate of the founding project and it is actually considered one of their six founding programs (the only other official ESY in Northern California).

Classes at Alemany Farm

BEST-IMG_0675-SFWWednesday, March 2, 2016 CommunityGrows started teaching classes at Alemany Farm thanks to a grant from Aetna Foundation Local Roots Program. Judy Jue and David Banks brought their youth from Vision Academy to tour the farm. They were able to taste mint and sample nectar from pineapple sage flowers, smell geraniums and rosemary. Adrian Almquist, CommunityGrows Garden Programs Manager talked about bees, and help the youth identify many plants and flowers. At the end of the class they were all able to harvest lettuce and take it home.

We’re so excited to have expanded our programming into the Outer Mission/Excelsior ! Since the start of this year, Adrian has been meeting with members of theThe Friends of Alemany Farm, Rec and Park representatives and community members to build a strong, community-based garden and cooking program based at the Farm. We’re excited to watch it grow!