On Friday afternoon August 11, 2017, volunteers from the GAP came out to help us prepare our Rosa Parks Gardens for the upcoming school year. After introductions and tours of the Upper and Lower gardens, two groups worked on watering and breaking up a area for planting. Tilling hoes and shovels did heavy work on the hard earth opening up the soil. Compost was mixed in and cover crops of beans, oats and crimson clover were added to bring nutrients back. The chickens enjoyed the afternoon taking naps in the dirt and fluffing out their feathers. At the end of the day everyone shared what the experience was like and what they learned. It was also the last day of our great Rosa Parks Garden Educator, Jay Jordan, and the second day of his wonderful replacement, Anna Luberoff. Thank you so much GAP volunteers for helping us get the gardens ready for school. For more photos check out our Flickr Photostream here.
On Saturday April 29, 2017 Rosa Parks Elementary held a workday in collaboration with CommunityGrows and the Buchanan YMCA Healthy Kids Day. This free event for families and friends-to charge into summer-included a bouncy house along with very helpful and healthy resources.Many families turned out to work in the gardens, getting them ready for summer planting-so much work to do!CommunityGrow staff Jay Jordan keep folks engaged in weeding, mulching and watering, as well as picking up trash. Here is one of the Rosa Park’s parents working near a Brussels sprouts plant.Seed-to-Mouth instructor Crystal Leon oversaw a table with food for a summer fare. She prepared a breakfast porridge of brown rice, almond milk and mashed bananas that was delicious especially with the addition of summer berries, grapes, pineapples, bananas and melons. Sunflower and pumpkin seeds topped the dish.It was a beautiful way to spend a healthy day outside enjoying the sunshine! For more photos from the day check out our CommunityGrows Flickr Photostream.
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. In their walk through the garden they saw that the potato plants were still green which meant the potatoes were still growing underground. They 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.The students picked weeds and then got to plant pumpkin seeds along the edge of the garden. All 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. It seemed like the perfect day to understand the beauty of what we do at CommunityGrows-growing children in the garden! For more photos from the day, check out our CommunityGrows Flickr Photostream.
On Thursday, February 8th, thanks to a grants from Kaiser-Permanente and Atena Corporation, CommunityGrows was able to partner with the Green Team at Rosa Parks Elementary School to offer a monthly Salad Day. One of the parents on the Green Team, Jocelyn Herndon, was able to secure delicious produce from Whole Foods on California Street for the day. The morning was spent washing and chopping tomatoes, jicama, apples, carrots and oranges for the salad and crudités. Then off to the cafeteria to offer the bounty to the students. Everyone loves Salad Day and lined up to fill their plates. Parents from the Green Team also went around the room offering seconds to everyone. Student monitors helped everyone recycle their leftovers. Another highlight of the lunch time was receiving a healthy sticker for eating the salad. The stickers were a great hit! Thank you everyone for making the Salad Day a great success!
On a beautiful rainy Saturday, October 29, 2016, the Citizen Advisory Committee of the Public Utilities Commission lead a green infrastructure walking tour to see water catchment sites in the Western Addition neighborhood. Their first stop was Rosa Parks Elementary School, where Kat Sawyer from Touch-the-Sky and Barbara Wenger, CommunityGrows Executive Director greeted them. Kat and Barbara described the success of the PUC Urban Watershed Grant that CommunityGrows received to put a water catchment and greenhouse in the upper garden of Rosa Parks. The two tanks have 625 gallons of storage capacity. This water catchment system captures over 3,000 gallons of stormwater per year. Some of the dignitaries on the tour were:
Sarah Minick, (Urban Watershed Management Program Manager)
Rosey Jencks (Urban Watershed Management Program Manager)
Ken Kortkamp (Stormwater Program Manager)
Tracy Zhu (Stakeholder and Advisory Body Analyst)
Tamar Barlev (Schoolyard Greening Project Manager and SFPUC Citizen Advisory Committee member)
Anietie Ekanem, Social Niche Guru and SFPUC Citizen Advisory Committee member (D10 seat)
Ernesto Martinez, SFPUC Citizen Advisory Committee member (D9 seat)
Misty McKinney, SFPUC Citizen Advisory Committee member (Environmental Justice seat)
Wendy Aragon, SFPUC Citizen Advisory Committee Chair (D1 seat)
After their tour of Rosa Parks Elementary, the group went on to explore different green infrastructure sites within walking distance. These sites included Willie B. Kennedy Apartments, 388 Fulton, 300 Ivy St, Avalon Hayes Valley & Hickory Allen (325 Octavia St) and Alta Laguna at 55 Laguna Street. Thank you for this visit of the PUC Citizen Advisory Committee and for this opportunity from the Public Utilities Commission to enhance the gardens at Rosa Parks Elementary!
Saturday, September 10, 2016 was an exciting day at Rosa Parks Elementary. As usual, this workday was a blowout fantastic event with so many families and friends. It was also the exciting arrival of five new chickens for the coop in the upper garden! Scroll down to read more…The Green Team and other parents from the school laid out a delicious spread of snacks and goodies for everyone to munch on during the morning.A group of neighbors showed up and joined Principal Jacobsen as well as University High School student Ian, and our CommunityGrows staff and BEETS intern, Ivan Gladamez, and Advisory Board member Sarah Penny. Tasks for the day were split between the Upper Garden under Garden Educator, Jay Jordan’s supervision, the Lower Garden under Garden Assistant Cha’Shay Woldridge’s supervision, the Courtyard work under parent Wayne, East Gate, under Jocelyn and the Chicken Coop, under parent Debra’s supervision.Everyone pitched in and the youth went right to work exploring bugs and butterflies, as well as watering.In the lower garden, the teachers’ plots were gleaned and made ready for the new school year. In the upper garden, compost was rotated, tomatoes were staked, vines were attached to arches, weeds were pulled, sage cuttings were planted, and collard starts were prepared.The highlight of the day was the arrival of five new chickens to occupy the newly restored and renovated chicken coop. Everyone wanted to hold the chickens that were very accommodating. We hope they find their home a pleasant place. The students will love taking care of them! For more great photos from the day, check out our CommunityGrows Flickr Photostream here.
On July 29, 2016 The Civic Leadership Institute (CLI) youth made their second year visit to CommunityGrows as part of their summer site at UC Berkeley. The Civic Leadership Institute (CLI) is a three-week summer service-learning program for outstanding high school students throughout the world who are completing grades 9 through 12. The program combines hands-on education, meaningful service, powerful speakers and seminars, and an unforgettable residential experience for a summer that students describe as “life-changing.”
The Civic Leadership Institute is a collaboration between the Civic Education Project, based at Northwestern University’s Center for Talent Development, and Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth. These youth joined our Summer BEETS cohort to work at Rosa Parks Elementary School gardens. Some of the countries represented were South Korea, Germany, Jamaica and Thailand. We started the day off with an opening circle where each group talked about who they are and what they do. Then the BEETS led an icebreaker, “Biggest Fan”, which is a rock, paper, scissors tournament. We did a lot of weeding, mulching, clearing out the chicken coop, soil blocking and organized the shed. Then we ended the day with a closing circle of what we learned or will walk away with. A great time with youth from around the world. Thank you for joining us!
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. CommunityGrows Garden Educator Jay Jordan led them through exercises of stretching–praising the sun and teaching them kindness to the earth. They 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.
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.
On Wednesday, February 2, 2016 parents came together to prepare for a monthly Salad Day at Rosa Parks Elementary. Many of the parents are part of the Green Team that helps us raise money for CommunityGrows garden educators at Rosa Parks. They devote their mornings once a month to gathering produce (some from the Rosa Parks Gardens and some donated by Whole Foods on California Street). Then begins the task of washing and spinning the lettuce, grating and cutting carrots and apples and assembling trays of the delicious salad. We want to particularly give a shout out to Regina Deacon, Bret Lobree, Debra Price-Seo and Jocelyn Herndon, picture below, as well as Mie Yaginuma and Miné Ikep pictured below with Cha’Shay Woldridge, our Rosa Parks Garden Assistant. These folks, and many others like Barb Fujimoto, and Chris and Wayne Hiroshima (grandparents) have been devoted to the school and garden and salad days for a long time. After Cha’Shay started the morning off harvesting kale from the garden, she joined the parents to prepare the salad. Satsuma oranges, apples, carrots, cucumbers, and a organic leaf lettuce mix were topped off by broccoli and arugula flowers.
Miné Ipek created a delicious salad dressing a few year back that is used for Salad Days and sold at fund raisers for the school. The dressing consists of chopped carrots, celery, onions, apples, and ginger blended with soy sauce, vinegar and salad or olive oil. Delicious! Once the students begin to arrive in the cafeteria they happily devour the salad until every shift of students has been served and the salad bowls are empty. It is wonderful to see how enthusiastic the youth are about eating salad and enjoying Salad Day. After checking out Salad Day we went out to the upper garden to see what Jay Jordan, our CommunityGrows Rosa Parks Garden Educator was up to. He was between classes and designing a new layout for the garden. Thanks to all the recent rain, paths were made to collect the water so that it wouldn’t lie in puddles. Through those paths a new layout for the garden emerged. The rain was also a welcome gift because it filled the new water catchment cisterns installed in December. Both cisterns are full with water now for the garden. The new Rosa Parks greenhouse is just beginning to take shape and shelves will be installed soon. In the meantime, sweet potatoes are growing inside. In digging the paths, Jay uncovered a huge boulder and will have fun removing it in a few days with Ziek McCarter, another CommunityGrows garden assistant. Students are growing and eating healthy thanks to all the wonderful people who come together at Rosa Parks. Thank you for partnering with CommunityGrows! We really appreciate you all! For more photos see our Flickr Photostream here.
On Saturday, October 17, 2015 Rosa Parks Elementary School family and friends came together for a workday and BBQ to celebrate the completion of their new greenhouse in the Upper Garden! This greenhouse was made possible with a Community Challenge-PUC Urban Watershed Stewardship Grant. The goal of this project was to build a greenhouse and create a rainwater catchment system utilizing the new greenhouse roof and the existing chicken coop. The installation of a rainwater harvesting system will offset the garden’s irrigation requirements, help water and sustain our chicken population, support our 7500 square feet of green gardens, and engage the school community in tangible water conservation activities. The greenhouse will help us grow vegetables, which will be eaten during monthly school Salad Days, and starts, which will be sold to raise funds for garden education classes.
At the beginning of the week a great team of Rosa Parks volunteers and CommunityGrows staff met the truck carrying all the structures and material for the greenhouse. Patrick Costigan from Nest Builders spend the week with his assistant, Neville Clark, putting the Studio Shed greenhouse together. It was even more beautiful than we imagined!
On Saturday, a large crowd of parents worked in the gardens getting them ready for the fall school year, weeding, digging, mulching, planting and composting. Kat Sawyer from Tap the Sky, the lead project manager, worked with others on the water catchment component of the project.In the lower garden many volunteers gather to get assignments for the day.One activity was building seed beds for planting through soil-blocking.
Other projects were weeding, planting and mulching.
Parents and their children also spent time in the upper garden watering and loosing up the soil. For more great photos from the day, see our Flickr Photostream here. Also see a video from today on our YouTube Channel here.