Tag Archives: Workday

Robert Pitts Workday!

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The Robert Pitts Apartments is a very friendly and welcoming community. The residents are very involved and want to continue improving their spaces and create more community activities for  their future (and current!) families, children, and residents. We were honored to be invited to help the community transform their garden beds, together.

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On Friday, October 20th, 2019, the Robert Pitts Apartment residents and CommunityGrows worked together to improve the garden beds. We cleaned up the garden for the new plants, deadheaded the plants growing there, and beautified the space. We added compost and blended it into the soil, which helps the new vegetables and seeds planted that day to have room to grow. After blending the soil, we then proceeded to plant a raspberry tree, lettuce, kale, and many different herbs.

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Thank you Robert Pitts for including us in this wonderful event, we hope to be invited again in the future. Please enjoy these amazing pictures of the residents of Robert Pitts and some of our CommunityGrows staff helping the community, one garden bed at a time!

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Thank You Hall Capital!

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On September 17th, 2019, CommunityGrows had the honor of working with some of Hall Capital staff, to work on  garden maintenance and beautification projects in the Buchanan Mall Garden. These group workdays are a huge help to our staff because it can be difficult to work on large garden projects between teaching classes, curriculum building, and day-to-day work tasks.

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We divided into three groups to be more productive and get more projects done. One team worked in the African American Arts and Culture Complex (AAACC) garden- they were in charge of cleaning up the garden for the new plants, pruning and deadheading the plants growing there, and cleaning up the beds and sidewalks. The second team created garden journals for the students – they folded and stapled over 100 new journals! Last but not least, team compost- they walked to Rosa Parks Elementary School to go sifted and flipped both of the compost bins. The new sifted compost was then used to plant new plants in the Buchanan Mall Garden.

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At the end of the day, we walked to Rosa Parks to end the workday appreciating our team members and hard workers from Hall Capital.

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Once again, thank you Hall Capital and every member of CommunityGrows that came out! Hope to everyone there again next time!

Willie Mays Planting Day!

The Willie Mays Boys & Girls Club is located in the Hunters Point neighborhood of San Francisco. This Boys & Girls Club is named after Willie Howard Mays Jr., a former MLB player for the San Francisco Giants. The garden at this location provides food for its community members, which is comprised of the students and staff members on site. If there is a particularly large harvest, the food is also shared with other Boys & Girls clubs in the area. While this garden has been established for several years, it has recently experienced revitalization through permanent maintenance by Community Grows.

On September 6, 2019 at one pm, the CommunityGrows team worked together at Willie Mays Boys & Girls Club to change and improve the onsite garden. They flipped the garden beds, planted new plants, as well as put in new irrigation for the community. At the start, we divided different teams to work on separate teams to flip beds, plant new plants and clean up around old plants therefore there is more room for the new and better plants. As the new kids are coming in for the new school year, we also would like to teach culture, roles, and methods to the youth at the Boys & Girls Club therefore they could invest and work together to better the community.

We hope to use some of the food harvested in cooking classes on site, to solidify student understanding of how food is grown, and encourage healthy ways of eating.

Westside Court Workday!

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Westside Court Apartments is a very engaging community with committed residents who are activating the outdoor shared spaces. 

Westside courts is a pleasure to have in the neighborhood. I play basketball there a couple times a week (super convenient), and people are always friendly. It’s nice to come home to a neighborhood with something actually going on, whether it’s people heading to a friend’s place for dinner or kids skateboarding and shooting hoop on the court”

 

a community members expresses. The community members reached out to CommunityGrows to help rebuild their backyard garden beds  and plant new plants.

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On Friday, July 19, 2019, the community of Westside Court, CommunityGrows, and the Wu Yee Children’s Services had the honor of working together to help revitalize the outdoor community space. . We aerated the dirt (i.e digging in the old dirt so air circulates through) and we also used water to soften the dirt so it was easier to plant new plants. Afterward we prepped the dirt, we planted herbs, kale, peas, lettuce, radish, and mizuna lettuce. After we were done planting, the  kids’ volunteers, along with the help of the adults, got to water the new plants. 

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The whole workday went amazingly due to the wonderful community volunteers who worked together to make a better garden for its community. Thank you to everyone who cooked and brought food to feed the hardworking people that day. Thank you to everyone who came out to help at the event or just came out to support. You are appreciated!

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MLK Day of Service 2019

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Bain & Co. Brings a Green Thumb to our Garden

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Last Friday, Bain and Co. joined CommunityGrows for a workday in Koshland garden! Though a bit overcast, the team jumped into the task list for the day and gave the garden a makeover, just in time for the start of classes. Read more about their workday below!

The day started with a group activity led by Garden Programs Manager, Anna. One of her favorite activities to do with the kids, Anna had everyone close their eyes and smell an herb as it was passed around the circle. Once everyone had the scent, they went into the garden to find the mystery plant. The activity not only gives students a tour of the garden space, but it also sharpens their observational skills. The team was able to identify and find both the basil and thyme! Well done, everyone!

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Hard at Work!

The group then broke into 3 teams to tackle some garden projects. Two teams worked on weeding and clearing sections of the garden to make room for new seedlings while a third team worked on pruning the fruit trees and raspberry bushes. We also had a few volunteers sifting and flipping compost! 

The workday ended with everyone planting lettuce starts and peas in the newly cleared beds and covered by the newly sifted compost! By the end of the workday, the garden had a complete facelift. Everything looks beautiful and ready for the Fall classes.

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Thank you to Bain and Co. for volunteering in the garden and supporting our programs! We hope to see you in the garden again soon! 

Volunteer Highlight: Autodesk Comes to Koshland

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It was a perfect Friday to get out of the office and into the gardens! Autodesk joined CommunityGrows last week for a workday at Koshland to get the garden in shape for the upcoming semester.

After a round of introductions, the team participated in a game led by Gardens Program Manager Anna. One of her favorite lessons to do with the kids, Anna asked everyone to close their eyes and smell two mystery herbs as they were passed around the circle. Once everyone had smelled the herbs, they went into the garden to try to find the plants. The lesson not only gives students a tour of the garden space, but also sharpens their observational skills. The team was able to identify and find both the thyme and lavender!

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The team was then split into three groups to tackle a range of projects in the garden:

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Team 1: Soil Samplers

CommunityGrows is in the early stages of a project to create in-ground beds in this underused corner of the garden. Autodesk helped us with that process by collecting soil samples, a task which would have taken a single staff member 1-2 hours to complete on their own! We greatly appreciate your help!

Team 2: Compost Turners

At Koshland, there are three marked bins to help students understand the process of composting. One bin is ready to use compost, one is breaking down, and one is “fresh” material. In order for compost to break down, it has to be turned, which Autodesk did for CG on Friday! The fresh compost was then spread into the garden plots, setting the stage for the students to plant!

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Team 3: The Weeders

Fall is a time for harvesting, and the plants from the summer were bolting and ready to be pulled. This team help weed over half of the garden plots, clearing these beds for the students, who will be planting as part of the garden class. This has been on the to-do list for quite some time. Having multiple volunteers working together made the job go quickly and the garden looks beautiful!

On behalf of CommunityGrows, we want to thank all the volunteers for their hard work in the garden! Your work made a huge impact on the garden and set our students and staff up for a great semester!

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It was a great way to end the week, especially when students from John Muir Elementary school came to explore the garden towards the end of the workday!

Thank you Autodesk, we appreciate your support!

Morgan Stanley Brings Sunshine to Our Gardens

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Summer is now upon us! As educators have come to know, the warm weather signals not only some well deserved vacation time, but also an opportunity to catch up with projects that were put on the back burner during the busy school year. Last week, two teams from Morgan Stanley volunteered with CommunityGrows staff to help us out with our summer projects in the gardens at Rosa Parks and Buchanan Mall.

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The day, which started out chilly and overcast, brightened up just in time for the start of the workday! During introductions, the two teams got to know each other with a creative icebreaker that tested both a person’s observations and descriptive skills as well as their artistic ability. In pairs of two, each person was asked to describe an object in nature to their partner who, in turn, was asked to draw the object being described to them. This exercise, one we also use in garden classes to help students focus and sharpen their own observation skills, often produces some interesting — and in some cases, entertaining — pieces of artwork.

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Following introductions, the large crew was broken down into two task forces. The first team headed over to the gardens at Rosa Parks Elementary School, where in-school garden lessons are taught. During the course of the day this team harvested vegetables, weeded the garden beds, turned the compost bins, and helped with general maintenance and planting projects. And they did an awesome job!

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The other team remained at Buchanan Mall working on beautification projects. In addition to planting, weeding, watering, and picking up trash, this team also created journals for the students who will be joining us for the summer session. Students use these journals to draw and label plants and to reflect on their time in the garden. The volunteers even added their own creative flair to the journals, taking clippings from the nearby plants to make the journals special for the students. Everything looked beautiful!

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In addition to their time and energy in the garden, Morgan Stanley also raised funds for our BEETS (Band of Environmentally Educated and Employable Teens) program. As a group, their donation will go to support and cover the stipend of one BEETS member during the upcoming fall session.

On behalf of the staff at CommunityGrows, we want to thank Morgan Stanley for their support and engagement in both our programs and this workday! The gardens look wonderful, and their actions have set the stage for another great year with our students.

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.

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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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CommunityGrows gives three cheers for the Rosa Parks Green Team!

The BEETS: Not Just Gardeners

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In addition to their culinary, resume designing, gardening, and teaching skills, the BEETS added construction to their accomplishments this month!

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Our Rosa Parks Garden Educator Anna led the BEETS in the build, explaining about how ensure the wood was flush and how to properly use the drill.

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For many, this was a new experience — but for others, their skill at construction earned them the nickname Drill Sergeant (we appreciate the pun).

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Did you know that redwood is the best wood to use on raised garden boxes? It is less susceptible to rot and can last as long as 20 years.

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Though the planter was complete, the work was not done yet!

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The BEETS team then shoveled compost and soil and moved it into the newly finished planter box, in preparation for the following week’s community planting.

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All in all, it was another productive day outside for the BEETS!

We want to give a special thanks to Broadmoor Landscape Supply in South San Francisco for donating the compost, to Ashby Lumber for donating the lumber, and to U-Haul for donating a truck for the afternoon.