Tag Archives: programs

DCYF awards multi-year grant for cultivating healthy youth!


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.


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.


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!


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!

BEET Rangers Garden Maintenance class

Naz, Candy, and Rashida are hard at work, taking care of their garden beds!

Today the BEET Rangers learned all the necessary skills for General Garden Maintenance, including: Pruning, Watering, Weeding, Mulching, Cultivating, and Integrated Pest Management!

Katie Walsh led our lesson on Integrated Pest Management, and Arif Husain filled us in on the dangers of corporate control of our food supply. We talked about Monsanto, Cargill, and other companies who are making a profit off chemical seed technology that makes farmers dependent on products like Round Up in order to grow food to feed themselves.

We made the connections between organic pest control and the importance of knowing how to grow our own food without chemicals, without the influence of corporations whose interests are in making money rather than supporting a healthy community food system.

The highlight of the day was when Krystal pointed out that she was weeding without gloves on- this was a huge deal! Earlier in the program she was not into getting dirty in the garden at all, and now she does it with a smile on her face! It’s the little things that count so much.

BEET Rangers in the Marin Headlands

The Steepest Trail of the Day!

Today was awesome! We went for a hike in the Marin Headlands with Mike Yoshioka, of Hostel Adventures. Mike talked to us about what it takes to become a naturalist and outdoor educator, leading people on interactive hikes.

The day started out with a discussion on environmental ethics, and how to care for our national parks- most importantly, to get out and use them! Our duty was to explore, learn, and share what we discovered with our friends and family when we returned. Then we got to choose our trail names and headed out to the beach.

We learned about different native plants and their uses on the way, including mugwort, sticky monkey flower, yarrow, and horesetail, to name a few.

The times that stood out most were undoing a human knot we formed as a group excersize in teamwork, and eating lunch on top of an old bunker way high up on a hill, overlooking the ocean.

Some parts of the trails were steep and challenging, especially the one at the end, but everyone stepped up and together we made it a good time!

BEET Rangers and IYEL

Sebron Brown and his new friend from Tree Frog Treks

Today the BEET Rangers went to visit the Inspiring Young Emerging Leaders (I-YEL) program at the Chrissy Field Center. It was also the annual Earth Stroll earth-day celebration event at the Center, so we got the chance to participate in a lot of festivities.

Some of the fun we had was checking out turtles and handling snakes with Tree Frog Treks, making homemade sugar-based bath and beauty scrubs with I-YEL youth, learning about compost with Suzie from Garden for the Environment, and answering Wheel-of-Fortune questions about healthy snacks that could earn you one or more strawberries dipped in melted chocolate- yum!

Over lunch, a few folks from I-YEL talked to us about their experiences in the program, and we got to ask them questions about the many ways they help their environment and community. We learned a lot, and all of the BEET Rangers are eligible to apply for the I-YEL program next year if they are interested.

BEET Rangers has begun!

Krystal Curtis, Candy Williams, and Calvin Yu get into the compost!

The BEET Ranger green job training internship has begun! We have 14 inspiring and wonderful youth working with us at Koshland Garden. The youth will be participating in workshops and activities with different green businesses and youth environmental education programs throughout San Francisco and the surrounding areas.

We will explore different areas of employment in the green job movement, and learn about environmental and social justice ethics and struggles. At the end of the program, the youth will be able to choose from the different careers and programs we learned about, and we will help match them with a program or job in that field to start them on a career track in the area of green jobs. It’s very exciting!

Today we had an orientation to the program, learned the history of Koshland Park and the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Parks group, played games, worked in the garden, and learned about compost. It was a great day, and we are very excited to be working with these youth for the next eight months!

For more information, please contact Elokin: gardenkids@gmail.com