On 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. Visitors 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. A beautiful afternoon to see what was going on at CommunityGrows.
At the most recent Mo’Magic meeting on December 1, 2016, CommunityGrows co-led a presentation from the Health and Wellness Committee on how to deal with the holiday blues and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) that is brought on by the shorter winter days and onslaught of holiday stress, family pressures, and loneliness this time of year. This opportunity for CommunityGrows was sponsored by a grant from Kaiser-Permanente and Aetna Foundation.
Mo’Magic meets usually every other week in the Western Addition of San Francisco and brings together many youth serving agencies, housing developments, schools, and organizations. Mo’Magic empowers the youth of the Fillmore-Western Addition and strives to “Mobilizing Adolescent Growth In Our Communities.” Here is the new Mo’Magic Director, Kimiah Tucker. As a sub-committee within Mo’Magic, the Health and Wellness committee is focused on community health, self-care and de-stigmatizing mental health issues. Kia Wallace, Program Manager atWestside Community Services, led the presentation spoke about stress in our lives and gave pointers in how to deal with it.
She asked a lot of questions about how we feel about things, emphasizing how important it is for us to connect with our feelings. Youth in the Western Addition also face many challenges and see much trauma in their lives. A friend or parent can be a life-line for these youth to share their feelings. The meeting was a great opportunity to talk about how we as a community can deal with the stress we feel on a daily basis.
Around Thanksgiving, there were two more deaths by violence that rocked the Western Addition. Many of the service providers in the room knew the young men and their families, and much of the time was spent to talking about how we can continue to protect and support the community, as well as helping each other process the grief and anger.
The second part of the presentation was led by CommunityGrows’ Seed to Mouth Coordinator, Crystal Jones, who talked about how important nutrition and healthy eating is to our mental health. She provided tips on which foods combat SAD and depression (see handout below) and prepared the Grateful Bowl recipe, filled with black eyed peas, brown rice, sautéed spinach, onions and an amazing sesame ginger dressing. “The idea behind the grateful bowl,” Crystal said, “is to have one dish that is not only satisfying, but is affordable and also meets every nutritional need. The grateful bowl should always contain these four ingredients: a grain, a green, a protein, and a sauce. The sauce that I make to top a grateful bowl is not only tasty and helps to tie the whole thing together, but it typically contains herbs and spices designed to aid in digestion. I am grateful for the bonding element of food and for creativity. My favorite thing about the grateful bowl is that the possibilities are endless.” Crystal also made a wonderful soothing tea with fresh lemons and ginger that was a hit with everyone. (see below for recipe)Everyone got to enjoy these food offerings, as well as handouts from the presenters, including tips for stress reduction, a tension ball, soothing tea, the Grateful Bowl recipe and sprigs of fresh rosemary and sage from Koshland Garden.
For more photos from the day, see our Flickr Photostream here.