Tag Archives: Koshland garden

Workday with Bain & Co and Gateway High School

On September 29, 2017 volunteers from Bain and Co and Gateway High School joined CommunityGrows for a workday in Koshland Garden. Melissa Tang, our new CommunityGrows Director of Programs, working with Adrian Almquist, Garden Programs Manager, led the day and assigned tasks.IMG_2117 These great crews turned the compost, IMG_2111prepped beds in the lower garden, weeded, moved concrete blocks, IMG_2103pruned ivy near the stage and above the shed, IMG_2102chopped down fennel, IMG_2094touched up the mural, aerated roots on trees, gleaned the nasturtiums, weeded grass out of the blackberries, sweep steps and the stage, IMG_2104weeded along outer edge of garden, organized the gloves, checked tool shed, and watered.

During the workday we had a visit from the new Recreation and Park Department’s Urban Agriculture and Community Gardens Program Manager, Mei Ling Hui.IMG_2110She was able to identify one of the mysteries of the garden: a citrus tree that seemed to grow gigantic limes. It turned out that this was a grapefruit tree, IMG_0172and Mei Ling suggested we prune it back and give it lots of nitrogen. We are very excited to discover the identity of this gem in our orchard.

Both Bain & Company and Gateway High School worked very well together, accomplishing so many tasks to get our garden in shape for the fall environmental education classes. IMG_2108IMG_2115Thank you so much for your great work! For more photos, check out our Flickr Photostream here.

Western Addition Beacon Afterschool in Koshland Garden


On September 14, 2017 the after-school class of the Western Addition Beacon kids arrived in Koshland Garden full of enthusiasm to be outdoors. CommunityGrows Gardens Program Manager, Adrian Almquist, corralled the mostly kindergarten and first graders together to start a lesson on the what plants need to survive. Dirt..water..sun..and air. IMG_2061After taking attendance and helping everyone choose nature names for themselves, Adrian talked about the basics of helping plants grow. Youth then planted seeds which they will watch grow throughout the fall. IMG_2009Time was left for everyone to carry water buckets around the garden giving the plants much needed water. IMG_2035IMG_2041IMG_2033A IMG_2045great afternoon outdoors in the sunshine of the garden. IMG_2005For more photos, check out our Flickr Photostream here.

Morgan Stanley Shines at Koshland Garden

IMG_1470On Wednesday August 16, 2017 a large group of Morgan Stanley volunteers came out to help us get Koshland Garden in good shape for the upcoming school year. After welcomes and introductions by the CommunityGrows staff, Melissa Tang, Director of Programs led everyone on a tour of the garden. IMG_1490The memorial planting garden was under renovation and expansion thanks to a Community Challenge grant from the City of San Francisco.IMG_1535Walking through the rows of beds volunteers learned about and tasted various plants that were growing. In the fruit orchard they got to see apples, lemons, prunes, persimmons, raspberries, blackberries and figs growing for fall harvest. IMG_1495Then volunteers were assigned different tasks that keep them busy for the afternoon.IMG_1517 They got to clean up the memorial circle, prune ivy, IMG_1512rake paths, sweep stairs, weed berry bushes and community beds, IMG_1534as well as sweep the stage, turn over the compost IMG_1505and prune along the fence line. IMG_1531IMG_1528When all this was done, everyone enjoyed watering. At the end of the day the group reconvened to talk about their experiences and what they enjoyed and learned from their visit. Thank you so much Morgan Stanley for providing this volunteer opportunity for us.IMG_1503 We are extremely grateful for your support and hard work! For more photos, please check out our Flickr Photostream here. Thank you again!

Summer Fun with the Western Addition Beacon

6.26.17-KP-WABeacon_IMG_0755On Monday, June 26th the Western Addition Beacon Center youth came to Koshland Park for their fun time in the garden. Adrian Almquist, Garden Programs Manager led the class through the cycle of life—from seeds, to plants, to fruits and vegetables. 6.26.17-KP-WABeacon_IMG_07646.26.17-KP-WABeacon_IMG_0785They got to plant fava beans and starts of kale and then watered the garden. 6.26.17-KP-WABeacon_IMG_08016.26.17-KP-WABeacon_IMG_08146.26.17-KP-WABeacon_IMG_0816One of the highlights was looking at snails which Adrian passed around for the group to see. For more photos from the classes visit our Flickr Photostream here.

Workday with Starbucks!

6.10.17-KP-Wkday-Starbucks_IMG_0580Koshland Garden got a spiffing up on Saturday, June 10, 2017 with the help of a great crew from Starbucks. Thanks to CommunityGrows Advisory Board member Jaromy Schmidt, who manages a Starbucks stores in San Francisco, many of his team came out to support us and brought delicious coffee. Adrian Almquist, Garden Programs Manager led the morning, and got people weeding the pathways, composting, and pruning back blackberries, ivy and mock orange plants.6.10.17-KP-Wkday-Starbucks_IMG_05866.10.17-KP-Wkday-Starbucks_IMG_0583Long time neighborhood volunteer Richard Johnson trimmed the ivy along the ramp of the peace wall. CommunityGrows ED joined the day to meet and greet, take photos and organize the garden gloves, finding 23 lonely right handers! At 1:00 PM some of the community gardeners came by to check out the upcoming plans for garden renovations. 6.10.17-KP-Wkday-Starbucks_IMG_05936.10.17-KP-Wkday-Starbucks_IMG_0589A couple new gardeners were thrilled to finally get a plot and get off the three year wait list. 6.10.17-KP-Wkday-Starbucks_IMG_0584Thank you everyone for a great day. The garden looks terrific!6.10.17-KP-Wkday-Starbucks_IMG_0592

BEETS Graduate!

IMG_0239Thursday, May 4, 2017 the Fall-Spring BEETS Cohort graduated. The CommunityGrows staff celebrated the past eight months of their accomplishments with a slide show and BBQ in Koshland Garden. IMG_0229The BEETS program is a stipended, hands-on, outdoor learning experience that provides roughly 20 youth each year with life skills and job-readiness training. The program aims to help youth live healthier lives and build skills for successful futures, with the goals that youth will: learn to make positive choices in their lives, in their community, and for their environment; acquire job skills to prepare for the workforce and futures; and develop supportive relationships with adults and peers.IMG_0242The new model we launched for this cohort in October 2016 lengthened the BEETS program over the academic year and focused on a project learning component. It was a year of growth and adventure for these eight young adults. During the fall, the BEETS completed workshops and trainings on garden maintenance, soil knowledge, planting methods and water conservation. They also completed a ropes course together, bonding and practicing trust and teamwork. They also learned more about food access and justice-particularly the importance of communities having access to fresh, affordable and nutritious food.IMG_0261IMG_0249IMG_0250The learning component scheduled for this cohort allowed the BEETS to work with residents at Plaza East, a subsidized housing community in the Western Addition, to create patio gardens and garden care guides. This project was also an opportunity to explore incorporating a revenue generating component into the program. They learned how to build container gardens from a horticulturalist and entrepreneur who owns her own landscaping company in San Francisco.
IMG_0256IMG_0252There have been positive results in changing up the BEETS Program with an extended period. The BEETS have been able to expand and deepen their learning about gardening, the environment and nutrition; their relationships with each other and staff have grown stronger; and they have expressed appreciation for the increased earning power and financial literacy. With consistent earnings they have been able to create and follow personal budgets which they check throughout the year. IMG_0254IMG_0259The project-based learning component has expanded their job skills, improving their resume and their real-world work experience, and given them a sense of ownership and pride within the community. We also anticipate that the longer time will strengthened their resume and make them more competitive in the workforce post-program. Base on a mid-point survey, 100% of our current cohort thinks they are learning valuable life skills through the program and 100% of participants apply what they learn through the program outside of the program at least once a week. “This session is better [than the shorter session] because I’m closer to the BEETS and this time I was able to achieve my goals because we had more time to work on them,” Barry, a second year BEET said.IMG_0244Cultural relevancy is vital to the work we do. Indeed it is the only way to support low-income and youth of color in San Francisco who are continually displaced from their homes and neighborhoods. For many of the youth we serve, the “environment” is distant, distinct from their everyday lives and concerns. We work to help youth feel safe and welcome outdoors by co-creating and maintaining green spaces in their neighborhoods and connecting them to other youth who look like them and also care about the environment. Our goal is for the teens to connect physically with the outdoors as they learn how they can combat environmental and food injustices which disproportionately impact their bodies and communities.IMG_0268 Thank you also to Jaromy Siemers and Liz Holm from our Advisory Board for joining us in celebrating the BEETS!

Earth Day with International High School

IMG_0168On Saturday, April 22, 2017 CommunityGrows celebrated Earth Day with students from International High School in Koshland Garden. It was a great day of weeding, pruning, planting and cleaning up the garden for the summer.
IMG_0174IMG_0175IMG_0173 We were also happy to have two of our Advisory Board members Sarah Penney and Catheline Leung join us.IMG_0170 Paul Bergkamp led the crew through mulching the vegetable beds and composting. Great day to celebrate being outdoors and give thanks to the earth! Thank you International High School and Sarah and Catheline!IMG_0178

Workday with Avila & Associates and FUF

11-5-16-kp-avila-fuf_img_8325On Saturday November 5, 2016 CommunityGrows held a workday in Koshland Garden to celebrate our partnership with Avila & Associates, and Friends of the Urban Forest (FUF). Avila and Associates provides provides civil engineering, environmental services, and water resources engineering services to public agencies at the federal, state and local level; private property owners; civil engineering professionals and other professional service firms. One of the many environmental services they provide is field surveys and regulatory reporting. Leanne Feely-Botanist, Sarah Flaherty-Wildlife Biologist, and Rachel Spadafore-Ecologist/Senior Project Manager, all participants in the workday, do this research. They talked with many of the BEETS about what they do and how they are working to save different endangered species. Here they are with volunteer Janine Kaiser.11-5-16-kp-avila-fuf_img_8416 The morning started with introductions and welcomes from staff members Jay Jordan, Garden Educator, and Melissa Tang, BEETS Program Manager. Then people commenced to flipping compost, trellising peas, weeding the mustard and strawberry beds, collecting leek seeds, thinning radishes and preparing bed for the BEETS to plant starts. 11-5-16-kp-avila-fuf_barry_img_8385Lots of Jerusalem Artichokes, onions, collards, kale and herbs were also harvested. 11-5-16-kp-avila-fuf_deondre_img_839211-5-16-kp-avila-fuf_img_8391Sarah Penney-CommunityGrows Advisory Board member, Emily Danford-CommunityGrows office/communications volunteer, and three wonderful students from University High School (Judith Edwards, Joley Costa, and Nicole Cuthbert) also helped out in the garden. 11-5-16-kp-avila-fuf_img_8389At 1:00 PM the volunteers were joined by a group of youth from Friends of the Urban Forest, who led a workshop in pruning trees. Alex Javier, Education Coordinator for FUF, talked about the essentials of pruning and tree care, the types of cuts to make, proper pruning techniques, and equipment safety. 11-5-16-kp-avila-fuf_img_8437Then the youth went off to the orchard to trim back and prune the fruit trees. 11-5-16-kp-avila-fuf_img_8460It was an amazing workday with lots of knowledge gained about the environmental field and how to care for the earth through the pruning of trees. Thank you Avila & Associate and Friends of the Urban Forest for a very engaging and worthwhile day.11-5-16-kp-avila-fuf_img_8495 For more photos, check out our Flickr Photostream here.11-5-16-kp-avila-fuf_img_8356

Bain & Co Volunteers

bain-workday_group-photo_2A group of great volunteers from the San Francisco office of Bain & Company spent Friday, September 16, 21016 working with CommunityGrows. We met at the African American Arts and Culture Complex (AAACC) garden, where CommunityGrows’ headquarters is located. To start the day, Kelly ErnstFriedman, CG Deputy Director, Melissa Tang, BEETS Program Manager, and BEETS (Band of Environmentally Educated and Employable Teens) intern Ivan introduced the group to the history and current programs of CommunityGrows. bain-workday_compostBoard members Jaromy Schmidt and Sarah Penny shared how and why they chose to get involved with CommunityGrows. Then the team got to work. We started with some pruning, weeding, and planting in the public beds located outside of the AAACC in Buchanan Mall. bain-workday_aaaccAt lunch time, we walked a few blocks over to Koshland Park on Page and Buchanan Streets. Over lunch, Ivan shared some of his personal experience with the BEETS program with the participants. Then we got back to work. The volunteers spent the afternoon tackling a variety of tasks in the Koshland Park Community Learning Garden, including flipping compost, pruning raspberries, painting over graffiti on the storage shed, and of course lots of weeding and watering!bain-workday_paintingbain-workday_sandIt was a great day to celebrate all the good work we do at CommunityGrows and share it with Bain & Company. Thank you for volunteering! You guys are awesome!9-23-16-wkday-bainco-photo_1For more photos, check out our CommunityGrows Flickr Photostream here.

End of School BBQ

On Friday afternoon May 13, 2016 from 4-6 PM students and CommunityGrows partners came out for a great BBQ in Koshland Garden. 5.13.16-KP-BBQ_IMG_6723Teachers from John Muir Elementary School joined parents from Rosa Parks Elementary School, along with Magic Zone and Western Addition Beacon kids for hot dogs, salads, chips, watermelon and cookies to celebrate the end of the school year. 5.13.16-KP-BBQ_IMG_6718It was great seeing the kids hang out in the garden were they had their classes all year. 5.13.16-KP-BBQ_IMG_6764Their favorite activity was picking raspberries and hanging out with their friends. 5.13.16-KP-BBQ_IMG_67555.13.16-KP-BBQ_IMG_67335.13.16-KP-BBQ_IMG_6746Everyone had a good time. Mr Adrian Almquist, CommunityGrows Gardens Program Manager, cooked the hots and kept the conversations going with the kids. 5.13.16-KP-BBQ_IMG_6749He said this was his favorite event of the year. For more photos check out our Flickr Photostream here.5.13.16-KP-BBQ_IMG_6728