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.
On Saturday, November 7th Global Gourmet volunteers joined our BEETS (Band of Environmentally Educated and Employable Teens) and other volunteers for a workday in Koshland Garden. Global Gourmet Catering provides inspired menus with restaurant caliber cuisine, impeccable service and trend-setting design. Focused on organic and local ingredients, they are proud to be the first Bay Area Green Business certified full-service catering company in Northern California. We were honored to host them and glad to have their support!The large crew of volunteers, led by Adrian Almquist, our CommunityGrows Gardens Manager, kept busy for three hours weeding, mulching, planting, and picking up trash. When the morning was finished, the garden shone like a jewel. Thank you everyone for you great work. For more photos check out 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.
On Saturday, July 25, 2015 the CommunityGrows BEETS(Band of Environmentally Educated and Employable Teens) hosted a workday in Koshland Park and Garden. Two other teen groups from the BayView joined them, Literacy for Environmental Justice and Girls 2000. After a warm-up getting to know you activity, our BEETS let a tour through the garden, pointing out the memorial planting area, the herb garden and orchard. Then the teens broke up into groups through out the park and garden to plant natives, paint signs, do pruning, weeding of the paths and beds, sweep the stage area and collect trash. We harvested beets, carrots, potatoes and rose geranium. Recreation and Park Gardener, Freddie Ealom worked with 8-10 youth moving a ton of wood chips to the upper park area. LEJ teens, under the leadership of Anthony Khalil, and Girls 2000, under Brandi Mack’s leadership added a great culture exchange of youth environmentalist. Sharing knowledge among groups was awe inspiring. After a great lunch with macaroni and cheese, everyone made a commitment to come together again soon.
Thank you for an very productive and enlightening day.For more photos see our Flickr Photostream here.
Under a beautiful blue sky with billowing cumulus clouds, great volunteers came out to help with a workday at Dr. William L. Cobb Elementary School’s garden on Saturday, April 11, 2015. A wonderful group of teens from University High School, joined families and staff from the Western Addition Family Resource Center and the YMCA to help spruce up the Cobb Garden. Projects accomplished were weeding all the beds and paths, organizing the shed, removing trash, trimming the kale, harvesting sorrel, organizing clay pots and watering the beds.
This was a great help in keeping the garden in tip-top shape for our Wednesday after-school Garden Club taught by staff member Ezekiel McCarter. Youth attend a one hour Garden Class where they will learn hands-on science in the outdoor classroom of a garden. Curriculum is aligned with grade-level CA Science Standards. In addition they receive instruction on basic garden maintenance. Youth can harvest the fruits and vegetables they have grown throughout the program cycle to eat during class and/or take home with them.
A whiteboard in the garden had the title Garden Giants (which looked a little like Garden Grants) and had the quote: “We give this garden…” with answers written down: water, seeds, care, life, respect, time, love, health, and color and art. Thank you Western Addition Family Resource Center, the YMCA and University High School for coming out and making this such a great workday!
Join us on Saturday, March 14, 2015 for a workday in Koshland Park and Garden from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM. We will be weeding, planting, sweeping, pruning, picking up trash, and making the park and garden shine. See below for further information in English and Spanish. Hope to see you there!
Join us Saturday, November 8, 2014 from 11-2 PM in Koshland Garden for a garden workday. This event will be sponsored by Redwood Trust. Redwood Trust has been a partner of CommunityGrows for three years. They are a specialty finance company focused on investing in mortgage – and other real estate – related assets and engaging in residential and commercial mortgage banking activities. Please read flyer for more information on the workday.
On Saturday, September 13, 2014 a great workday was held at Rosa Parks Elementary School to prepare the two gardens for fall classes. Rosa Parks parents, Principal Paul Jacobsen, the PTA and the Green Team joined CommunityGrows staff Adrian Almquist, Kelly ErnstFriedman, Ezekiel McCarter, Barbara Wenger and Serena Padilla to do over fifteen projects around the school and in the gardens. Three CommunityGrows Advisory Board members also joined us: Meredith Pavia, Casey Johnson, and Barb Fujimoto!
The list of accomplishments were numerous: straightening planter beds, adding compost, moving mulch, planting in kindergarten planter boxes, doing a 5th grade project, painting signs on the schoolyard, assembling butterfly and flower wooden cutouts along the schoolyard fences, cleaning up shed area, removing dead artichokes, raking up straw, cleaning herb garden, weeding beds and paths, trimming hollyhock , lemon verbena bushes, transferring compost, and spruce up the entry courtyard.
It was a great workday and so much was accomplished. Thank you everyone for making Rosa Parks shine! For more photos, see our CommunityGrows Flickr Photostream here.