Tag Archives: programs

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!

DCYF awards multi-year grant for cultivating healthy youth!

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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!

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