10 Tenets of CommunityGrows
♦ Every kid deserves to dig for worms.
♦ Healthy, local food is a human right. Our programs focus on youth of color and those who live in areas with little or no access to green spaces and grocery stores. We work side by side with our neighbors to build a just and equitable food system.*
♦ Plants heal. In addition to nurturing our bodies when we eat local, nutritious plants, gardening and the act of being outdoors can heal our minds and souls. The garden provides an environment where young people’s intuition and curiosity can be praised.
♦ Consistency is key. Youth thrive when they know that they can count on you.
♦ Kids are awesome. They’re naturally curious, creative and resourceful. Engaging them in hands-on activities helps make learning as immediate, tangible, and real as the challenges they face every day in their communities.
♦ You have to meet youth where they are. Literally. We work in ten gardens and three kitchens in the Western Addition, Bayview-Hunters Point and Outer Mission/Excelsior neighborhoods.
♦ It takes a village. Collaborative partnerships with other non-profits, schools, and neighbors is essential for a healthier community.
♦ The more opportunities kids have to practice healthy choices, the more likely they are to sustain a healthy lifestyle. We have 3 interconnected programs for youth ages 5-19 years old. Many of the kids we work with have literally grown up with us- learning about bugs in the garden at Rosa Parks Elementary, making potato-leek soup after school at Hayward Rec Connect, and honing their job skills while teaching younger kids about water conservation as part of the BEETS program.
♦ Cultivation takes time. We’ve been in the Western Addition for over 20 years and we know that building trust means continuing to show up, day after day, year after year in support and solidarity with our community. As we work with youth and families in other parts of San Francisco, like Bayview-Hunters Point and Outer Mission/Excelsior, we will continue to make relationships and trust the basis for our work.
♦ Teachers need tending, too. Staff self-care is a vital part of our organization.
co-powerment. restorative justice. social, food and environmental justice. equity. active listening. leadership building. love. compassion. respect. nature. community. resiliency. peace.
* An equitable food system is one that remediates injustices and creates a new paradigm in which all, including those most vulnerable and living in low-income neighborhoods and communities of color can fully participate, prosper, and benefit. It is a system that, from farm to table, from processing to disposal, ensures economic opportunity, high-quality jobs with living wages, safe working conditions, access to healthy, affordable, and culturally appropriate food, and environmental sustainability.
An equitable food system revitalizes communities by building upon the existing strengths, wisdom, and experiences of local residents and is critical to a thriving, healthy, and sustainable future for all. (thank you to PolicyLink for the great definition!)
We live the values we teach! Check out our organizations’ Health and Wellness Policy. Our policy was developed in consultation with and supported by Kaiser Permanente and the San Francisco Department of Public Health.
Help us raise funds to get 1,300 youth from low-income communities away from violence and into programs that make them healthy, smart, environmentally educated and create pathways to jobs.