Tag Archives: Buchanan Mall

MLK Day of Service 2019


This MLK Day, CommunityGrows joined the African-American Arts and Culture Complex (AAACC) to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the 2019 Day of Service. The event began at the AAACC with opening remarks from co-Executive Directors Melonie and Melorra Green, speakers Mayor Breed and District 5 Supervisor Vallie Brown, a spoken word performance by Arvaughn Williams, and AAACC’s very own Bushmama Africa, who called on “the ancestors to create a cover of protection on us and reverence for our ancestors” (AAACC website). The morning set the tone for the rest of the day as volunteers split off into groups to work on service projects in the neighborhood. Our BEETS led two volunteer groups on the Mall and at the AAACC.


This year, over 40 volunteers came out to work on maintenance and beautification projects at Buchanan Mall, the Fillmore mini-park, and the AAACC parking lot and garden plots. Volunteers also were involved with a letter writing campaign to political prisoners and some joined artist Kristine Mays on a community art project (see her art installation, Brutally Soft, at AAACC Jan 17-March 24). Everyone did an amazing job and we are so grateful to all of the volunteers.


Following the volunteer portion of the day was a (well deserved) community lunch. For the afternoon portion of the day, the AAACC had two film screenings for volunteers to learn more about political prisoners Mumia Abu-Jamal and Assata Shakur. Thank you to the presenters who started and facilitated the discussion.


A huge shout-out to Pearci and the staff at AAACC for hosting this event, and thank you to all the volunteers who took time to come out and work with us. We appreciate your support and commitment to community.

Morgan Stanley Brings Sunshine to Our Gardens

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Summer is now upon us! As educators have come to know, the warm weather signals not only some well deserved vacation time, but also an opportunity to catch up with projects that were put on the back burner during the busy school year. Last week, two teams from Morgan Stanley volunteered with CommunityGrows staff to help us out with our summer projects in the gardens at Rosa Parks and Buchanan Mall.


The day, which started out chilly and overcast, brightened up just in time for the start of the workday! During introductions, the two teams got to know each other with a creative icebreaker that tested both a person’s observations and descriptive skills as well as their artistic ability. In pairs of two, each person was asked to describe an object in nature to their partner who, in turn, was asked to draw the object being described to them. This exercise, one we also use in garden classes to help students focus and sharpen their own observation skills, often produces some interesting — and in some cases, entertaining — pieces of artwork.


Following introductions, the large crew was broken down into two task forces. The first team headed over to the gardens at Rosa Parks Elementary School, where in-school garden lessons are taught. During the course of the day this team harvested vegetables, weeded the garden beds, turned the compost bins, and helped with general maintenance and planting projects. And they did an awesome job!


The other team remained at Buchanan Mall working on beautification projects. In addition to planting, weeding, watering, and picking up trash, this team also created journals for the students who will be joining us for the summer session. Students use these journals to draw and label plants and to reflect on their time in the garden. The volunteers even added their own creative flair to the journals, taking clippings from the nearby plants to make the journals special for the students. Everything looked beautiful!


In addition to their time and energy in the garden, Morgan Stanley also raised funds for our BEETS (Band of Environmentally Educated and Employable Teens) program. As a group, their donation will go to support and cover the stipend of one BEETS member during the upcoming fall session.

On behalf of the staff at CommunityGrows, we want to thank Morgan Stanley for their support and engagement in both our programs and this workday! The gardens look wonderful, and their actions have set the stage for another great year with our students.

Pumpkin Carving in Buchanan Mall

On Friday, October 20, 2017, youth and adults from nearby housing complexes came out to enjoy the fall weather and carve pumpkins to decorate Buchanan Mall.10.20.17-Pumpkins-at-Buchanan-Mall_IMG_2202Citizen Film planned the event and built a scarecrow and laid straw bales. 10.20.17-Pumpkins-at-Buchanan-Mall_IMG_2168With the help of CommunityGrows staff, Melissa Tang (Director of Programs) and Osceola Ward (BEETS Program Manager)…10.20.17-Pumpkins-at-Buchanan-Mall_IMG_2132…and BEETS (Band of Environmentally Educated and Employable Teens) Michele and Elius…10.20.17-Pumpkins-at-Buchanan-Mall_IMG_214310.20.17-Pumpkins-at-Buchanan-Mall_IMG_215610.20.17-Pumpkins-at-Buchanan-Mall_IMG_2172…youth chose their pumpkins, drew faces and commenced cleaning out the seeds and carving. 10.20.17-Pumpkins-at-Buchanan-Mall_IMG_2160Lots of slimy work…10.20.17-Pumpkins-at-Buchanan-Mall_IMG_2178…but the results paid off!10.20.17-Pumpkins-at-Buchanan-Mall_IMG_2174Pumpkin pie was another highlight.10.20.17-Pumpkins-at-Buchanan-Mall_IMG_2139Everyone got to take their creations home to remember a great afternoon celebrating the fall season! 10.20.17-Pumpkins-at-Buchanan-Mall_IMG_2161For more photos, check out our Flickr Photostream here.

GAP Workday in Buchanan Mall


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.




Choose Peace-Stop the Violence

IMG_1678On Saturday, August 26th there were a lot of rallies going on in San Francisco. In fact, two blocks away from our office and Buchanan Mall, thousands of people mobilized around Alamo Square to show their disdain for white supremacy. Months before these rallies developed, our Western Addition community came together to present a Peace Festival in Buchanan Mall. IMG_1665It was a day of motivational speakers, live performances, kid activities, arts and crafts. This event honor Ms. Alice Rowena Jamerson Lane, community mother of Virgo’s store (she and her husband were both Virgos). 1990s_Alice_Lane_Virgos_CMYK-SFWMs. Lane lived in the community for over 70 years. She opened the store “Virgo’s Deli and Liquor Store”. She had 5 children and a husband who helped run the business. Ms. Alice took care of the community and the community did the same towards her. Ms. Lane passed away July 8, 2017 at the age of 79.
The Peace Festival sponsors included Terry Taylor, Mattie Scott (the Healing Circle), Citizen Film, Xpress Ministry, Success Center, Brothers for Changhe, United Playaz, SFPD, SFFD 798, Eli Crawford, Band Funk Star, Big Rich (Project Level), Ella Hill Hutch Center and Positive People for Positive Change. IMG_1669IMG_1631I love SF Skate Club also participated and was a highlight for all the skateboarders in the neighborhood! IMG_1687CommunityGrows Vista employee Karen Lally and Barbara Wenger, ED, presided over a table passing out information about our upcoming BEETS (Band of Environmentally Educated and Employable Teens) Program, volunteer opportunities, information on our Joey the Cat fundraiser, as well as seed packets, peace envelopes and postcards. IMG_1563IMG_1706David Lazar, Commander of the San Francisco Police Department, was on hand, as well as a few other police officers. Commander David Lazar_IMG_1607Most other police officers were busy with protests and rallies in other parts of the neighborhood. One officer said she would much rather be at this Peace Festival.IMG_1653 Nursing students from the University of San Francisco were a big hit offering blood pressure readings and other health resources. IMG_1599Big Rich and Danielle Banks from Project Level came by.IMG_1735 Sophie Constantous and son Milo captured the afternoon for CitizenFilm.IMG_1645The music from Band Funk Star was awesome IMG_1636and the BBQ and food from Bi-Rite Grocery was delicious!IMG_1632The kids had a great time doing arts and crafts, skateboarding and playing games. IMG_1613With such a busy day in San Francisco, it was also a pleasant surprise to have the President of our San Francisco Board of Supervisors, London Breed, come out and revel in the good work of the community and share the afternoon. London is second from the right, next to Mattie Scott from the Healing Circle on the far right. IMG_1762It was a wonderful afternoon that brought out the neighborhood in Buchanan Mall to celebrate peace and stop the violence. For more wonderful photos from the day, check out our Flickr Photostream here.

Sun and Fun in Buchanan Mall

6.9.17-Buchanan-Mall_IMG_0510What better way to be outside on a beautiful sunny day, than to give back to the community by spiffing up Buchanan Mall. Citizen Film, the Village Project and most of the CommunityGrows staff rolled up their sleeves to plant and mulch this wonderful space, making it even more inviting. 6.9.17-Buchanan-Mall_IMG_0487This five block area has been undergoing a transformation thanks to Citizen Films and many community partners. Today’s event got kids to put their hands in the dirt and do a lot of weeding and cleaning up of the site. 6.9.17-Buchanan-Mall_IMG_04336.9.17-Buchanan-Mall_IMG_0431They really got into having the responsibility of working with shovels, pitchforks and trowels, all under adult supervision.6.9.17-Buchanan-Mall_IMG_0526The space was truly transformed when the work was done. Thank you everyone for making the neighborhood more beautiful!
6.9.17-Buchanan-Mall_IMG_04766.9.17-Buchanan-Mall_IMG_0455For more photos see our CommunityGrows Flickr Photostream here.6.9.17-Buchanan-Mall_IMG_0546

Cooking at Rosa Parks Senior Center

On Thursday, May 11th CommunityGrows Seed-to-Mouth cooking instructor Crystal Leon led a cooking demonstration at Rosa Parks Senior Center in Buchanan Mall. SFW-Cooking-demo_051117JPG SFW-Cystal-Health-cooking_051117This was in partnership with CitizenFilms and took place during the lunch hour. IMG_0359Crystal made zucchini pasta with pesto sauce. Everyone marveled at the machine to crank out the zucchini into long strands for “pasta”. IMG_0366The event was well received and everyone enjoyed hanging out under the tent chatting about the beautiful Buchanan Mall. A wonderful afternoon. Here is the recipe!SFW-Guiltless-pasta_051117

Kale Pesto Zucchini Pasta

3 zucchini (use spiralizer to cut to resemble spaghetti)
1 1/2 cups of kale (packed)
1 cup fresh basil leaves (packed)
¾ cup freshly grated parmesan
½ cup olive oil
1 tablespoon of fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup of roasted pumpkin seeds
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon of crushed chillis
pepper to taste

1. Combine kale, basil, olive oil, cheese, garlic, pepper and seeds in a food processor/blender and process until smooth.
2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the Zucchini and toss to coat in oil.
3. Add a few tablespoons of kale pesto and toss with the zucchini. Once the Zucchini begins to take on color, transfer to a platter.
4. Top with cheese, herbs/bread crumbs. Serve warm. Enjoy!

*From the Seed to Mouth Cooking Class*
A program of CommunityGrows

Buchanan Mall with Rosa Parks Senior Center

4.28.16-RPSrCntr-BM_IMG_6592On Thursday, April 28, 2016 CommunityGrows joined Citizen Films, Green Streets, the Western Addition Neighborhood Access Point Career Center, Bayview Senior Services, the Recreation and Park Department, and other neighborhood partners for an afternoon on Buchanan Mall at the Rosa Parks Senior Center. There was planting of edibles led by Jay Jordan, our CommunityGrows Garden Educator,4.28.16-RPSrCntr-BM_IMG_6602and cooking demonstrations, led by Crystal Jones, our Seed-to-Mouth Cooking Coordinator. Jay worked with volunteers to harvest vegetables and fruit, and taught them how to re-plant starts.
Crystal made a spring vegetable stir fry and and a veggie loaded three bean chili. 4.28.16-RPSrCntr-BM_IMG_6617There were many dignitaries that joined the Buchanan Mall festivities and seniors from the neighborhood, including Board of Supervisors’ President, London Breed and her legislative aide Iris Wong; 4.28.16-RPSrCntr-BM_IMG_6633Cathy Davis, Executive Director of the Bayview Hunters Point Multipurpose Senior Services; Vallie Brown of the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development; Tamara Walker from Citizen Films; and Derick Brown, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services.4.28.16-RPSrCntr-BM_IMG_6606 Sophie Constantinou, Director of Citizen Films talked about the history of Buchanan Mall with Liz Ozol, Program Officer, Arts Education Community Investment of the SF Arts Commission. 4.28.16-RPSrCntr-BM_IMG_6652It was a beautiful afternoon to get out and see Buchanan Mall, meet neighbors and enjoy healthy food. More events like this are planned for the future.4.28.16-RPSrCntr-BM_IMG_6631 For more photos from the afternoon, check out our Flickr Photostream here.

Buchanan Mall-Mayor’s Day of Service

IMG_5309On a rainy Saturday, January 9, 2016, CommunityGrows joined Buchanan Mall partners, Green Streets, Citizen Film and Mo’Magic to clean, green, serve and beautify San Francisco. Many volunteers throughout the City came to Ella Hill Hutch at 9:00 AM, donned yellow rain gear, and helped plant a tree in the front of Ella Hill Hutch Center and divided into teams to plant around the building and the mall. IMG_5336The event was sponsored by the Department of Public Works, the Recreation and Park Department and the Mayor’s Office.IMG_5289Mayor Lee joined Mo’Magic youth and director, Cheryl Davis to dedicate a tree in front of Ella Hill Hutch Community Center and to honor the good work in the community reactivating Buchanan Mall. IMG_5305Then Green Streets workers, Randolph Lee, Tyrone Mullins, Roger Blalark and Shannon Watts (also of CommunityGrows) lead the Mayor, Phil Ginsberg, Northern Police Station Captain Greg McEachern and other dignitaries on a walk through the mall. IMG_5332The Green Streets team talked about all the community effort that went into the Buchanan Mall project, with support from the Recreation and Park Department, the Trust for Public Land, and the Exploratorium. They talked about how this was just the beginning in reclaiming the Mall and bringing residents out to revitalize it.IMG_5286IMG_5313For more photos, see our CommunityGrows Flickr Photostream here.

Buchanan Mall Celebration

IMG_4465On a beautiful Saturday afternoon, November 7, 2015 the community came out to celebrate all their hard work on the Buchanan Mall. IMG_4362The Buchanan Mall Community worked closely with the partners—Green Streets and Citizen Film, The Trust for Public Land, S.F. Recreation and Parks Department, and Exploratorium—to imagine, design, and build new site improvements on Buchanan Mall. IMG_4454IMG_4431The gardens, signage, story audio-boxes, and gathering places reflect the community’s history, sustainability, beauty, and family connections. There were many speakers including London Breed, President of the Board of Supervisors; IMG_4397Mattie Scott, Director of Healing 4 Our Families & Our Nation; Tyrone Mullins from Green Streets; Gina Fromer, CA Director of the Trust for Public Land; and Shawn Lani from the Exploratorium. Devonta Bolden, one of the Design Task Force youth also spoke, as did Raymond Wade, a resident from Bannaker Homes and one of the Design Task Force elders.IMG_4390The mall was filled with residents enjoying the new structures, feasting on BBQ IMG_4473IMG_4468and listening to music by the Young Kings of Project Level and the DJ Marcus Bradley. IMG_4411IMG_4433IMG_4423Some of the buildings that border the mall are the African American Arts and Culture Center, Ella Hill Hutch Community Center, the Rosa Parks Senior Center, Bannaker Housing Development, Plaza East Housing Development and Ammel Park and Loren Miller Homes.IMG_4475IMG_4446IMG_4470For more photos, see our CommunityGrows Flickr Photostream here.