This MLK Day, CommunityGrows joined the African-American Arts and Culture Complex (AAACC) to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the 2019 Day of Service. The event began at the AAACC with opening remarks from co-Executive Directors Melonie and Melorra Green, speakers Mayor Breed and District 5 Supervisor Vallie Brown, a spoken word performance by Arvaughn Williams, and AAACC’s very own Bushmama Africa, who called on “the ancestors to create a cover of protection on us and reverence for our ancestors” (AAACC website). The morning set the tone for the rest of the day as volunteers split off into groups to work on service projects in the neighborhood. Our BEETS led two volunteer groups on the Mall and at the AAACC.
This year, over 40 volunteers came out to work on maintenance and beautification projects at Buchanan Mall, the Fillmore mini-park, and the AAACC parking lot and garden plots. Volunteers also were involved with a letter writing campaign to political prisoners and some joined artist Kristine Mays on a community art project (see her art installation, Brutally Soft, at AAACC Jan 17-March 24). Everyone did an amazing job and we are so grateful to all of the volunteers.
Following the volunteer portion of the day was a (well deserved) community lunch. For the afternoon portion of the day, the AAACC had two film screenings for volunteers to learn more about political prisoners Mumia Abu-Jamal and Assata Shakur. Thank you to the presenters who started and facilitated the discussion.
A huge shout-out to Pearci and the staff at AAACC for hosting this event, and thank you to all the volunteers who took time to come out and work with us. We appreciate your support and commitment to community.
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 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. We were also happy to have two of our Advisory Board members Sarah Penney and Catheline Leung join us. 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!
On 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. 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. Lots of Jerusalem Artichokes, onions, collards, kale and herbs were also harvested. Sarah 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. At 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. Then the youth went off to the orchard to trim back and prune the fruit trees. It 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. For more photos, check out our Flickr Photostream here.
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.
We love the rain! Even when there’s a workday in Koshland Park and Garden. On Saturday, May 7th eighteen volunteers from the Yale Alumni group came out to help us spruce up the park and garden. Besides helping Freddie Ealom, our Recreation and Park Garden in the upper park, everyone took on the tasks of composting, weeding, moving mulch with wheelbarrows,removing debris,picking up trash, weeding strawberries, and pruning the Mock Orange and Black Knight Butterfly Bushes that grace the entrances to the garden.Everyone was in a jovial mood, and after an hour and a half, we got done early, just before the rain really started to come down. Thank you Yale Alumni for making the day a great success! For more photos see our Flicker Photostream here.
On Saturday, April 9, 2016 the rain was coming down, but that did not deter our CommunityGrows staff Jay Jordan, who was on a mission to get volunteers involved in the garden at Cobb Elementary School. Most of the BEETS (Band of Environmentally Educated and Employable Teens) showed up and they were joined by ten hardy volunteers: two from University High School (Lucia Tice and Jan Wignall); a CommunityGrows Advisory Board (AB) member, Casey Johnson; a couple AB candidates; a wonderful family with a toddler; and other family and friends.The activity for the first part of the morning was weeding all the beds on three different levels of the garden. The BEETS were real troopers, some without rain gear. Yet they did not complain as the rain came drizzling down! What a devoted crew! The second half of the morning we all gathered together to learn about the Three Sisters. Jay read from the book Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. “Native people speak of this gardening style as the Three Sisters. There are many stories of how they came to be, but they all share the understanding of these plants as women, sisters. Some stories tell of a long winter when the people were dropping from hunger. Three beautiful women came to their dwellings on a snowy night. One was a tall woman dressed all in yellow, with long flowing hair. The second wore green, and the third was robed in orange. The three came inside to shelter by the fire. Food was scarce but the visiting strangers were fed generously, sharing in the little that the people had left. In gratitude for their generosity, the three sisters revealed their true identities—corn, beans, and squash—and give themselves to the people in a bundle of seeds so that they might never go hungry again.” It was really nice to hear this story as a group of volunteers and then be presented with the seeds of these three sisters. Everyone took a few of these seed in flower pot and went around the garden planting the three seeds close together as a group. In the fall, we will reap a bountiful harvest. For more photos, see our Flickr Photostream here.
On Monday, January 18, 2016 over 90 volunteers came out to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. This event was sponsored by the African American Arts and Culture Center (AAACC) and CommunityGrows. Volunteers began arriving at 8:30 AM on a morning reprieved from the wonderful rain we’ve been having in the Bay Area. After a light breakfast of bagels and coffee, Mohammed Soriano Bilal, Director of the AAACC directed everyone to the buildings Burial Clay Theatre to hear an inspirational talk by John William Templeton. Mr. Templeton curated a African American Freedom Trail brochure which leads visitors to the various historic landmarks, such as the Third Baptist Church of San Francisco founded in 1852, that illustrate the remarkable contributions of African-Americans to the city. He is also the author of “Come to the Water: Sharing the Rich Black Experience in San Francisco,” “Our Roots Run Deep: The Black Experience in California” and other books. He is founder of ReUNION: Education Arts Heritage, an instructional video network designed to provide culturally responsive curriculum to schools globally. Templeton also operates SF Soul Shuttle tours which bring the African American history and culture of San Francisco, including where to dine, meet, shop and worship. He spoke about Martin Luther King coming to San Francisco and his importance for the African American community. Then over 90 volunteers, many from the San Francisco Teacher Residency Program, Playworks, Lick-Wilmerding and University High School divided into three groups and traveled to three garden sites to work. A group from Lick-Wilmerding under the leadership of CommunityGrows staff Kelly Ernst-Friedman and Melissa Tang, worked in the garden and parking lot of the AAACC picking up trash and mulching and gleaning the native plants. A large group from Playworks joined CommunityGrows staff Adrian Almquist, Crystal Jones, and BEET (Band of Environmentally Educated and Employable Teens) Jennifer Nazara to work in Koshland Garden.Another large group from University High School joined CommunityGrows staff Jay Jordan, Cha’Shay Woldridge and BEET Adrian Valencia to work at Rosa Parks Elementary School garden. At the end of the workday morning, groups convened by at the AAACC for a delicious lunch and BBQ. So much good work was done to make these gardens and spaces shine. All the volunteers were awesome. Thank you so much to everyone for this very successful day!For MANY more photos check out our CommunityGrows Flickr Photostream.