All posts by blwenger

National Night Out with CommunityGrows

On Tuesday August 5, 2015 CommunityGrows and the BEETS (Band of Environmentally Educated and Employable Teens) participated in the Western Addition National Night Out at Ella Hill Hutch Community Center.
The BEETS offered residents and the community opportunities to learn more about water and water conservation.
They also got the chance to talk with the Northern Police Station Captain, Captain Greg McEachern, and London Breed, Supervisor for District 5.
One of our BEETS, Kyle Patterson was able to talk with London about job opportunities in the City.
Everyone had a great time getting to know neighbors and the community organizations that make our district such a strong one.

Recruiting Teens 15-19 for Fall BEETS Program

CommunityGrows is recruiting twelve youth ages 15-19 years old to join our Fall BEETS (Band of Environmentally Educated and Employable Teens) Program, starting September 18th and running through December 11, 2014.
These youth gain experience developing job skills, learning garden maintenance and attending field trips throughout the Bay Area. Each intern earns approximately $800, depending on hours worked.
For more information see the flyer and application, which can both be downloaded below:

Fall 2014 Beets Flyer by Barbara Wenger

Beets Internship Application Fall 2014 by Barbara Wenger

Summer 2014 BEETS Graduate!

On Thursday, August 7, 2014 the Summer 2014 BEETS (Band of Environmentally Educated and Employable Teens) had a graduation ceremony at Hayes Valley Apartments Community Room in San Francisco. Parents, friends and former BEETS alumni came out to enjoy the festivities.
All summer long the BEETS explored the importance of water conservation by visiting farms, wastewater treatment facility, designing water-wise gardens and and touring the green LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Public Utilities Building in San Francisco. They took what they learned and designed activities to teach the community how to use water sustainably.
From new garden skills to teaching younger youth how to appreciate nature, our teens made a positive impact in the community.
Congratulations to the following teens:
Amanda Jack
Angie Lemus
Candy Williams
Deondre Walker
Ivan Galdamez
Jahnae Stanford
Jairo Villalta
Kyle Patterson
Maceo Mayorga
Monique Adams
Roderick Irby
Windy Pun​
The BEETS program is a paid green job training program for 15-19 year olds primarily living in the Western Addition neighborhood of San Francisco. Our interns learn how to maintain community gardens, assist teaching garden classes, and attend workforce development workshops.
Here is a short video of the day when we gave our awards and gift certificates to the youth and our wonderful volunteer, Melanie Chan. In this video we honored our longest running BEET, Candy Williams, who joined the BEETS in 2008, and finally completed three sessions with us this summer. She is a student at City College of San Francisco. Congratulations Candy and all the BEETS!

Great MLK Day in Koshland Garden

1.20.13-MLK-KP_IMG_4727On Monday, January 20, 2014 we had a great turnout of folks to work in Koshland Garden for Martin Luther King Jr Day of Service. 1.20.13-MLK-KP_IMG_4683
A group of twenty high school students came from International High School (of French American International School) with their Service Learning Coordinator, Elizabeth Cleere. This school, located in the neighborhood, has been partnering with CommunityGrows for many years and we love the great energy they bring. The African American Arts and Culture Center hosted the Martin Luther King event that day and also sent over a group of terrific folks to help in the garden, including four students from Lick-Wilmerding High School. There were also great neighbors who showed up to give their support.
We were honored with a visit from our District 5 Supervisor, London Breed and the Chief of Police, Greg Suhr. Chief Suhr loved what we had written on the white board for that day, rules that we instill in our youth: be safe, be kind, be respectful, and be responsible.
The volunteers did an amazing amount of work. They pruned perennials, weeded the strawberry patch, painted wooden signs, raked wood chips, swept the stage and stairs, raked paths, bagged up woody compost, turned the compost, pruned the fruit trees, weeded along the fence line and watered the garden.
Here are a few more photos from the day. More photos can be seen on our CommunityGrows Flickr Photostream.

Holiday Carnival at the AAACC

12.14.13-AAACC-Winter_Carnival_IMG_4219On Saturday, December 14th the African American Arts and Culture Complex (AAACC), where CommunityGrows office is located, hosted their annual Winter Carnival. Many groups performed and there were loads of carnival rides for the kids.

12.14.13-AAACC-Winter_Carnival_IMG_419512.14.13-AAACC-Winter_Carnival_IMG_4202There was even snow!
12.14.13-AAACC-Winter_Carnival_IMG_4212Honored guests were Mark Leno, State Senator, London Breed, District 5 Supervisor, and Trayvon Martin’s family. The family was honored with a mural that will grace the AAACC. 12.14.13-AAACC-Winter_Carnival_IMG_4312



12.14.13-AAACC-Winter_Carnival_IMG_4315For more photos visit our CommunityGrows Flickr Photostream.

Gingerbread and Whipped Cream!

12.9.13-Gingerbread_IMG_4052On Monday, December 9, 2013 the after-school youth at Hayward Rec Center on Laguna Street in San Francisco, got to make a holiday treat: Gingerbread! Gingerbread from scratch! It was a long process and everyone had faith that something good was going to come of all their efforts. Each youth got to add the ingredients, stir the batter, whip the cream and taste the goodies. Leaders Adrian Almquist and Frances Bradley passed around a ginger root and talked about its many benefits. For more photos from the afternoon, check out our flickr photostream here.
Here is the recipe!


2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1-1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup water
1 large egg
1 cub buttermilk
1/2 cup diced crystallized ginger

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 9″ pan.
2. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and spices.
3. Melt butter, add molasses. Add both to dry ingredients.
4. Add water. Whisk together egg and buttermilk and add to mixture. Add crystallized ginger.
5. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.