On September 29, 2017 volunteers from Bain and Co and Gateway High School joined CommunityGrows for a workday in Koshland Garden. Melissa Tang, our new CommunityGrows Director of Programs, working with Adrian Almquist, Garden Programs Manager, led the day and assigned tasks. These great crews turned the compost, prepped beds in the lower garden, weeded, moved concrete blocks, pruned ivy near the stage and above the shed, chopped down fennel, touched up the mural, aerated roots on trees, gleaned the nasturtiums, weeded grass out of the blackberries, sweep steps and the stage, weeded along outer edge of garden, organized the gloves, checked tool shed, and watered.
During the workday we had a visit from the new Recreation and Park Department’s Urban Agriculture and Community Gardens Program Manager, Mei Ling Hui.She was able to identify one of the mysteries of the garden: a citrus tree that seemed to grow gigantic limes. It turned out that this was a grapefruit tree, and Mei Ling suggested we prune it back and give it lots of nitrogen. We are very excited to discover the identity of this gem in our orchard.
Both Bain & Company and Gateway High School worked very well together, accomplishing so many tasks to get our garden in shape for the fall environmental education classes. Thank you so much for your great work! For more photos, check out our Flickr Photostream here.
On Friday, September 8th, volunteers from GAP joined CommunityGrows in Buchanan Mall and the AAACC to help us get the gardens in shape for the Fall season.
We started our afternoon with a visit from two Citizen Film representatives. They shared the story of how the community came together to create, and now maintain, the Buchanan Mall street gardens.
For the first part of the workday, we divided and conquered. One group assembled student journals for the Rosa Parks garden classes, while the other group began working in Buchanan Mall.
The gardens looked healthier after some weeding and trash pickup.
And the water and deadheading went a long way towards beautifying the plots.
Not to mention how welcoming the area looked after the leaves had been swept and collected!
There was also some heavy lifting involved, not that it stopped Colleen! (full disclosure: the bag is filled with leaves).
Thank you so much to the GAP volunteers for taking part of their Friday to help us clean up and give the gardens a fresh new look for Fall! Check out our Flickr page for more photos.
On Wednesday August 16, 2017 a large group of Morgan Stanley volunteers came out to help us get Koshland Garden in good shape for the upcoming school year. After welcomes and introductions by the CommunityGrows staff, Melissa Tang, Director of Programs led everyone on a tour of the garden. The memorial planting garden was under renovation and expansion thanks to a Community Challenge grant from the City of San Francisco.Walking through the rows of beds volunteers learned about and tasted various plants that were growing. In the fruit orchard they got to see apples, lemons, prunes, persimmons, raspberries, blackberries and figs growing for fall harvest. Then volunteers were assigned different tasks that keep them busy for the afternoon. They got to clean up the memorial circle, prune ivy, rake paths, sweep stairs, weed berry bushes and community beds, as well as sweep the stage, turn over the compost and prune along the fence line. When all this was done, everyone enjoyed watering. At the end of the day the group reconvened to talk about their experiences and what they enjoyed and learned from their visit. Thank you so much Morgan Stanley for providing this volunteer opportunity for us. We are extremely grateful for your support and hard work! For more photos, please check out our Flickr Photostream here. Thank you again!
Koshland Garden got a spiffing up on Saturday, June 10, 2017 with the help of a great crew from Starbucks. Thanks to CommunityGrows Advisory Board member Jaromy Schmidt, who manages a Starbucks stores in San Francisco, many of his team came out to support us and brought delicious coffee. Adrian Almquist, Garden Programs Manager led the morning, and got people weeding the pathways, composting, and pruning back blackberries, ivy and mock orange plants.Long time neighborhood volunteer Richard Johnson trimmed the ivy along the ramp of the peace wall. CommunityGrows ED joined the day to meet and greet, take photos and organize the garden gloves, finding 23 lonely right handers! At 1:00 PM some of the community gardeners came by to check out the upcoming plans for garden renovations. A couple new gardeners were thrilled to finally get a plot and get off the three year wait list. Thank you everyone for a great day. The garden looks terrific!
On Monday January 16, 2017 CommunityGrows joined the African American Arts and Culture Complex (AAACC) to honor Martin Luther King Jr with a presentation and workday in various sites in the Western Addition. Great volunteers joined us from all over the Bay Area, with an especially large contingent from Lick-Wilmerding High School in San Francisco. Volunteers met at the AAACC to sign in and enjoy a light breakfast. Then they were treated to a short presentation by John William Templeton, who spoke of the impact Dr. King had on the African American community in San Francisco. Mr. Templeton is well known for curating a brochure entitled The African American Freedom Trail, and authoring books such as Come to the Water: Sharing the Rich Black Experience in San Francisco, and Our Roots Run Deep: The Black Experience in California. 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 highlight the African American history and culture of San Francisco. After the presentation, volunteers divided into groups to work at three sites: Buchanan Mall, the AAACC, and Koshland Garden. They were able to clean a large parking lot adjacent to the AAACC, collecting trash and renewing the native plant garden along the periphery. In Buchanan Mall, a five-block greenway on Buchanan Street, volunteers were able to collect trash and spruce up the garden. A few blocks away at Koshland Garden, CommunityGrows staff Melissa Tang and Paul Bergkamp sent teams of volunteers with our BEETS (Band of Environmentally Educated and Employable Teens) to different areas of the garden to flip compost, lay wood chips, pick up trash, prune trees and vines, weed, mulch and harvest peas, broccoli and mustard greens. At lunch-time everyone met back at the AAACC to have a great lunch and receive thanks for the amazing work they did. Thank you everyone for a great day to uphold the values of giving back and volunteering for this important cause. A special thanks to Peter Merts for his beautiful photos! His photos can also be found on our CommunityGrows flickr photostream here.
A group of great volunteers from the San Francisco office of Bain & Company spent Friday, September 16, 21016 working with CommunityGrows. We met at the African American Arts and Culture Complex (AAACC) garden, where CommunityGrows’ headquarters is located. To start the day, Kelly ErnstFriedman, CG Deputy Director, Melissa Tang, BEETS Program Manager, and BEETS (Band of Environmentally Educated and Employable Teens) intern Ivan introduced the group to the history and current programs of CommunityGrows. Board members Jaromy Schmidt and Sarah Penny shared how and why they chose to get involved with CommunityGrows. Then the team got to work. We started with some pruning, weeding, and planting in the public beds located outside of the AAACC in Buchanan Mall. At lunch time, we walked a few blocks over to Koshland Park on Page and Buchanan Streets. Over lunch, Ivan shared some of his personal experience with the BEETS program with the participants. Then we got back to work. The volunteers spent the afternoon tackling a variety of tasks in the Koshland Park Community Learning Garden, including flipping compost, pruning raspberries, painting over graffiti on the storage shed, and of course lots of weeding and watering!It was a great day to celebrate all the good work we do at CommunityGrows and share it with Bain & Company. Thank you for volunteering! You guys are awesome!For more photos, check out our CommunityGrows Flickr Photostream here.
Please join us on Saturday, May 7th from 10-1 PM for a workday in Koshland Park.
5.7.16-Koshland Park Workday by blwenger
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.