Tag Archives: announcement

We’re hiring BEETs!

BEETs Program 2020 (1)

The BEETs Program is now accepting applications for the 2020-2021 school year! The BEETs Program is a paid internship for teens ages 14-19, which focuses on environmental justice, gardening, and job skills. This year, the program will take place virtually, as well as in-person in various outdoor locations throughout the city.


This is a PAID opportunity! Spread the word!

Applications are still being accepted! Click below to apply online; you can also email info@communitygrows.org or call 415-795-3855 for more information.

A New Chapter at CommunityGrows


Dear CommunityGrows family,


With a grateful but bittersweet heart, I am officially announcing that I am leaving my position as Director of CommunityGrows this summer.  I am headed over to the East Bay to continue to  support equitable opportunities for health and wellness and connections to the Earth like we do at CG, but in my very own neighborhood. It was a difficult decision- I love the Western Addition/Fillmore community, the staff, the board, the young people, more than I will ever be able to express.   While there have been challenges, as there are with all nonprofits, there have been innumerable joys and gifts in the last six years. I will forever be thankful for this wonderful opportunity to lead, learn, love and grow.


But where there is change, there is opening. And I am so very excited to announce that our new Executive Director, Nolizwe Nondabula, will be joining the CG family in June. We have worked with them in various endeavors in the Western Addition over the last three years, from participating in Mind, Body and Soul Pop-Ups, to collaborating for Mo’Magics Annual Health and Wellness retreat each winter. They are an inspirational leader and community builder dedicated to “moving at the speed of trust.” Nolizwe was who I dreamed about for this role, and I am so excited to see not only how they shine, but how they support all those around them to live their lives in the sun.


In addition to having a fantastic new leader, the CG team is the strongest it has ever been. It has been my pleasure and honor to work with these amazing educators- their skills, creativity, innovation, dedication, and heart are what gave me the confidence to make my next move. Each one has unique skills and talents that have only gotten stronger as they collaborate together. 


This next phase of CommunityGrows will be something to see. Whether it’s pivoting to providing online classes, joining zoom calls with teachers to teach kids how to make healthy snacks, or creating brand new curriculum that engages youth around the connections between pandemics, environmental injustice and racism while still focusing on hope and change… the CommunityGrows team will continue work towards our vision. A vision of a world in which all youth are able to benefit from the joy and healing of nature-based outdoor education and develop the tools, confidence and resources to navigate and challenge structural injustices.


I hope you will join me in celebrating this exciting next phase of CommunityGrows!




Supporting Educators and Students — #GivingTuesdayNow


Goal $3,000

Raised $900

Supporting Our Educators and Students

Today for #GivingTuesdayNow, CommunityGrows is raising money to support two very important groups in our community – our students and our educators. During the shelter in place order, our educators remain committed to connecting youth with the gardens and kitchens and continue to work hard to create and share lesson plans with our students and partner schools. Please donate today so that our students and garden sites can continue to grow and thrive with all of their combined knowledge and thoughtfulness – both now as they facilitate distance learning and when we’re all able to be back in the gardens with the kids!  

Supporting Nonprofits Worldwide

#GivingTuesdayNow is a worldwide movement to support nonprofits, charities, businesses, and communities that are being affected by COVID-19.

“#GivingTuesdayNow is a new global day of giving and unity” — from the GTN page, see for more ideas on ways to engage.

GivingTuesdayNow Art

Koshland and COVID-19

20200220_111745 (3)

To our Neighbors and Friends,

We hope you are all doing well during this difficult time, and that you and your loved ones are safe and healthy.

At this time, following the shelter in place order, SF Rec and Park discourages us from visiting community gardens. We know that for some of you, the garden may be part of your essential functions. If you do choose to visit the garden, please take every precaution possible to protect yourself and other members of the community by adhering to the following guidelines:

1) Note that locks, gate and shed handles, hoses/spigots, and shared tools, as well as other garden items and resources that multiple people touch could be vectors for COVID-19 and other diseases.

2) CommunityGrows is not able provide sanitizer at this time, so please bring your own sanitizing solution and sanitize any locks, water keys, spigots, communal tools, etc. (here’s a list of effective sanitizers from the CDC website).

3) If possible, bring and use your own garden tools and equipment (here’s a link to order your own water key).

4) Be mindful of the health and needs of others, and maintain a 6-foot distance from any other gardeners or community members.

5) Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after visiting the garden, and avoid touching your face while working in the garden.

Rec and Park has added Koshland to their rounds, and will be checking on it twice a week for litter abatement and new tree watering. If you do notice something that needs attention, please get in touch.

We want to note that at this time, there is no evidence to suggest that fresh produce is associated with the transmission of COVID-19, so it’s safe to continue to eat your veggies so long as you wash them!


Thank you for being a part of our community, and please stay safe and healthy.

As always, feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns–our contact info is below.


The CG team


Congratulations, BEETS class of 2018-19!


Jalyn McFarland-Kelley
Tiana Hubbard
Daniel Juarez
Ahlaya Martin
Hannah Lin

On Wednesday, May 15  our BEETS cohort culminated their 6-month internship with CommunityGrows with a graduation celebration! These teens were such an amazing team: they successfully planned and ran run three community-events in the Western Addition: Wreath and Card Making in partnership with Hayes Valley Art Works;  Neighborhood Love Day in partnership with the Rosa Parks Senior Center and Earth Day on the Mall, where they created fun and informative booths for children from Rosa Parks ExCEL and Booker T. Washington after-school programs, as well as our neighbors and community members. This year they also partnered with teens from Youth Art Exchange to create mobile meditation stations that they can use in the garden to teach mindfulness and meditation to children and families.

The BEETS learned how to plant and tend a garden and connected with the environment by helping maintain the Buchanan Mall and Koshland Park and Learning Garden.  They learned about environmental justice issues like lead in soil, access to safe green space and clean air.  They also learned about the importance of taking care of our groundwater supply and the dangers of flooding.  The BEETS learned about nutrition and food justice: they learned how to read nutrition labels, prepare nutritious snacks and meals, and how food deserts and racist food systems disadvantage low income communities and communities of color.

With special thanks to our funders


Impact Fund

San Francisco Arts Commission

San Francisco Public Utilities Commission

San Francisco Department of Health

This summer we’re partnering with Opportunities for All!

BEETS Build 4

We’re excited to announce that this summer our BEETS Program will be participating in Mayor Breed’s Opportunities for All initiative!

We’re partnering with Magic Zone to offer teens up to 80 hours  of job skills and training focused on gardening, environmentalism and healthy cooking this summer.  Through the exciting partnership we’ll be able to increase our stipend rate to $15 an hour!

Internships are from Jun 17th-August 1st with a special kick-off event on June 6th and orientation on June 10th.

Click the green button below to download the OFA timeline and application checklist list and the orange button to fill out an  online application (under “Employment Interests Other” please write CommunityGrows or BEETS Program).

Please email info@communitygrows.org with any questions.

Join the BEETS 2019 Summer Session! Apply Today!

BEETS Flyer 2018 Summer (Blog SM Card) (1)

Are you or someone you know 14–19 years old and looking to GET PAID to learn more about the environment, nutrition and gain valuable job skills?

We are now accepting applications for the 2019 summer session! In this paid program, teens will learn how to grow healthy food, meet new friends, teach kids about the environment, and make a difference in the community through field trips and community projects.

This summer BEETS will learn where their food comes from, how fresh fruit and vegetables can heal our bodies and communities, and how to grow their own food. They can gain valuable leadership and job skills, all while earning a stipend!

Summer Application Deadline: May 27th, 2019

Program Dates: June 24th – August 2, 2019

Click the buttons below to download and print an application OR fill out our online application. You may also email debbie@communitygrows.org or call our main office at (415) 795-3855 for more information.

Are you a partner or community member? Help us spread the word by clicking the button below to download and print out our full-size flyer, or scroll down to share this post on social media. We appreciate it!

Hello BEETS, Mobile Meditation Pavilions, and 2019!

BEETS at the Wreath and Card Making Event 12.16.18
BEETS at the Wreath and Card Making Event 12.16.18

In Case You Missed It… 

The BEETS (Band of Environmentally Educated & Employable Teens) is an opportunity for teens to earn a stipend as they learn about environmental stewardship, experience nature, discover issues of food equity and environmental justice, and increase their personal well-being and that of their own neighborhood and community.

As part of the program, BEETS maintain sustainable community gardens, teach garden-based environmental education classes to younger learners, plan community outreach events, and build green spaces for and with residents in low-income neighborhoods. During each session, BEETS go on 10 field trips on weekends to places like Alemany Farms, Pie Ranch, Farmers Market, the Giant’s Garden at AT&T, and other places around the Bay Area!

So What’s on the Docket?

In addition to their twice weekly group cohorts, the BEETS are looking forward this month to visiting the gardens of Alcatraz and enjoying a breakfast at the Ferry Building farmer’s market. Aside from field trips, students said they were interested in learning more about GMO’s, growing organic, working with younger students and seniors, and different models of community gardening.


New Program Manager Debbie says that she is excited “to see how their interests develop as they become more comfortable in the program” and to hopefully to take the group camping sometime this winter! We can’t wait to see where the semester takes them!

Successfully pulling out the root of a sunflower!

YAX Mobile Meditation Presentation

In November, the Youth Art Exchange (YAX) teens presented their current project to the new BEETS members. This fall session the primary focus of the Advanced Architecture Firm students has been to design and build an outdoor mobile meditation pavilion in collaboration with CommunityGrows. A design build project, the parameter for the students has been to act as a youth architecture firm and lead CommunityGrows,“the client,” in an exploration and analysis of the site, the users, and the desired use outcome: an outdoor, collapsible, and transportable pavilion that holds 5 – 10 people and can be used for quiet reflection, meditation and teaching opportunities to be built and installed in Koshland Community park.

YAX students presenting on the Mobile Meditation designs.

The remaining steps for the project are to meet with the high school youth from CommunityGrows and present the final 2 designs, work with them to gain input and feedback, and collectively select the final design concept. Once this is decided the students will complete the build out of the pavilion and install on site in 2019. Stay tuned for more details!

Spring Fundraisers

Help our youth flourish in the garden this spring!

Your spare change — and even part of your dinner bill — can add up to BIG change for kids in the Western Addition.

4505 Meats

Starting Monday, May 7th, CommunityGrows will be the featured partner in 4505 Meats’ “Feed the Pig” program!

Please stop by 4505 Burgers & BBQ on Mondays in May and June and they’ll donate a portion of sales to support our garden-based youth programming.

Canyon Market Logo

Put your spare change to good use and cultivate garden and nutrition education in your community!

Stop by Canyon Market anytime during the months of April and June and “round up” your grocery bill to support vital youth programming with CommunityGrows.

Patxi's Pizza Logo
52 Weeks of Giving Logo

Visit Patxi’s Pizza in Hayes Valley on Wednesday, April 25th and support local youth programs with CommunityGrows!

Patxi’s will donate 15% of dine-in and carry out sales on that day to our environmental and nutrition education and job training programs for youth in the neighborhood.

We hope to see you there!

CG is always grateful for contributions from our friends and neighbors, great or small.

Abundant thanks to 4505 Meats, Patxi’s Pizza, and Canyon Market for teaming up with us on our shared mission!

Looking Back on 2017

Annual Report Cover

It’s here! We are happy to share with you our 2017 Annual Report and new one-page infographic. Read on for some highlights, or click the buttons below to download digital copies.

“Positive engagement with the environment is proven to have lasting effects on children’s physical and mental health, and we want to ensure that all kids have the same chance at being healthy and pursuing their dreams.”

— Kelly ErnstFriedman, CommunityGrows Executive Director

Infographic Solutions

Consistent, free access to safe outdoor spaces and education

We’re curbing Nature Deficit Disorder — the idea that there are negative behavioral and emotional effects from spending less time in nature — one garden-based class at a time.

Lasting effects on physical and mental health

“What I really like is when we get to water the plants, eat some berries, and just walk around, get to know the place, and feel that nothing could harm me. I feel like I’m meant to be there.”

– 5th Grader

All youth can be healthy, eco-literate leaders

“The garden represents a place for growth and new beginnings. Like the garden, our lives are constantly changing. We don’t recognize change in ourselves, but it’s there. We just need to look back to see how much we’ve grown.” 

– 2017 BEETS Graduate

Annual Report Stats