Tag Archives: CommunityGrows

Night of Fun and Games

9.6.17-Joey-the-Cat_IMG_1928Wednesday September 6, 2017, CommunityGrows held its second annual fundraiser at Joey the Cat, an event space and arcade game rental company in the Mission District. 9.6.17-Joey-the-Cat_IMG_1894 The event was sponsored by Kaiser-Permanente and it was a blast! 9.6.17-Joey-the-Cat_IMG_1899Our wonderful Advisory Board put tons of work into raffle prizes and invited many of their friends. We raised over $10K and made lots of new friends.9.6.17-Joey-the-Cat_IMG_1866 Our CommunityGrows Advisory Board did an amazing job reaching out to their networks for tickets and contacting organizations for raffle donations (we almost doubled our raffle tickets total from last year) and working the room to encourage support (special shout out to Abby Blodgett for doing a fabulous job at running the tournaments)!9.6.17-Joey-the-Cat_IMG_1858Some of our favorite moments were Will Newsom’s pop-a-shot challenge that fell to Christina in short order…9.6.17-Joey-the-Cat_IMG_1803…and the “Santa bag” of baguettes that got distributed to a lot of happy attendees and Mission residents on the walk home. Great job, everyone! 9.6.17-Joey-the-Cat_IMG_1824For more photos check out our Flickr Photostream here.

Staff Presents at ChangeScale

8.27.15-SFW_IMG_3117CommunityGrows staff Kelly ErnstFriedman, Melissa Tang and Cha’Shay Woldridge presented with Julia Hatton from Rising Sun Energy Center spoke at the ChangeScale August 2015 Convening: Creating a Culture of Equity and Inclusion. They reported on their work with other Bay Area organizations that made up a LEAPS (Leadership and Evaluation to Advance Program Success) cohort, funded for three years by the S.D. Bechtel Jr. Fund. The cohort of seventeen environmental literacy grantees was brought together in 2012 by LEAPS, a group founded by Learning for Action. Participating organizations share commitment to supporting high-school aged youth to develop as leaders and environmental stewards in their communities.
These seventeen LEAPS organizations were engaged in ongoing technical assistance to develop their evaluation capacity since October 2012.
During the first phase of this initiative, organization representatives attended trainings focused on foundational evaluation and learning concepts: theories of change, logic models, evaluation plans, tool development, data analysis techniques, and communicating effectiveness. They also engaged in a range of leadership capacity building activities.
In the phase that followed and with continued support from the S.D. Bechtel, Jr., Foundation, Learning for Action worked with clusters of organizations to develop shared measures around three cross-cutting areas of interest. The cluster study work arose out of an opportunity for the cohort to begin to document its collective story – which was further emerging after Phase I’s work – and the desire to advance organizations’ evaluation capacity through the hands-on, group learning experience this type of project would provide. Organizations worked together to define and form the clusters, collect data, and analyze the emerging stories.
8.27.15-SFW_IMG_3119Here is a little more about ChangeScale. ChangeScale is working to support and advance the cohesiveness, effectiveness, and prominence of the environmental education field. Funded by the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. and Pisces Foundations, ChangeScale’s mission is to ensure that every generation is inspired with the environmental know-how to create healthy communities and a healthy planet. Formed in 2010 and comprised of Bay Area practitioners, academics, and funders, the group will create a strategic plan and road map to strengthen and build the field of environmental education, while helping to create a unified voice for the field.
Congratulations everyone for a job well done!
Here are some documents from our three years of work with the LEAPS Cohort:

LEAPS Cluster Studies Lessons Learned_06 30 15 by blwenger

LEAPS Workforce Development Cluster Study by blwenger

LEAPS Safer Spaces Cluster Study by blwenger

LEAPS Meaningful Engagement Cluster Study by blwenger

Great Workday with Redwood Trust & Sherwood Design Engineers

11.12.14-RedwoodTrust-KEF-IMG_0070On Saturday, November 14th CommunityGrows hosted the Redwood Trust and Sherwood Design Engineers for a workday in Koshland Park.
It was a really fun, laid back event with volunteers from these companies and our BEETS and CommunityGrows staff. We weeded the gardens, harvested cilantro and sun chokes, cleaned along the fence perimeter and the sidewalk, caged a couple of fruit trees to help them grow, pruned berry bushes, moved the compost, and Adam, a volunteer from Redwood Trust, did an amazing job sweeping the stage and sidewalk! Thanks to all of our great volunteers, hard-working interns and community members for helping out on a beautiful Saturday.


Growing Power Conference-Milwaukee

11.7-9.14-GrowingPowerConference-Almquist_13On November 7-9, 2014 Adrian Almquist, our CommunityGrows Garden Programs Manager, attended the Growing Power Conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The theme was Urban and Small Farms Conference:  Building a Fair Food Economy to Grow Healthy People. The intent of this national and international conference was to share ideas and inspire others to find ways to create sustainable jobs in their communities and help people live healthier lives. 11.7-9.14-GrowingPowerConference-Almquist_6As described on their website, “In 1993, Growing Power was an organization with teens who needed a place to work. Will Allen was a farmer with land. Will designed a program that offered teens an opportunity to work at his store and renovate the greenhouses to grow food for their community. What started as a simple partnership to change the landscape of the north side of Milwaukee has blossomed into a national and global commitment to sustainable food systems. Since its inception, Growing Power has served as a ”living museum” or “idea factory” for the young, the elderly, farmers, producers, and other professionals ranging from USDA personnel to urban planners. Training areas include the following: acid-digestion, anaerobic digestion for food waste, bio-phyto remediation and soil health, aquaculture closed-loop systems, vermiculture, small and large scale composting, urban agriculture, permaculture, food distribution, marketing, value-added product development, youth education, community engagement, participatory leadership development, and project planning.” 11.7-9.14-GrowingPowerConference-Almquist-1Here is Adrian’s synopsis: Will Allen’s organization stands as a prime example of the power and viability of urban agriculture, young farmer training, and the ability for communities to come together to overcome inequities.   In was truly inspiring to meet with people from across the country to talk about the future of urban agriculture and renewable energy.  In addition to touring their urban farms and greenhouses, I co-facilitated a workshop at the conference which highlighted youth farming programs, and spoke about CommunityGrows efforts to bring environmental education, food education, and job readiness skills to our San Francisco youth.  I also spoke to our recent inclusion of meditation in our classes and the importance of giving our youth the chance to be in silence, explore their imaginations, and check in with their feelings during the course of their busy days.   Across the country people are embracing local and urban food production to solve injustice within the food system and lack of fresh healthy food in their communities.  CommunityGrows and Growing Power have been at the forefront of this movement over the last 20 years, training urban youth in the basics of urban food production and healthy eating, and it was amazing to be at a conference where so many people were coming together to celebrate and plan for a healthier, more sustainable, and more just world for all.11.7-9.14-GrowingPowerConference-Almquist_9

Fun Evening at Greens Restaurant

11.5.14-Greens Fundraiser_IMG_3558On Wednesday night, November 5, 2014, CommunityGrows hosted their first fundraiser at Greens Restaurant in Ft Mason. Photos in this blog and on our CommunityGrows Flickr Photostream were taken by Judith Keenan, a long-time CommunityGrows supporter. Thank you Judith!
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11.5.14-Greens Fundraiser_IMG_3489Our CommunityGrows Advisory Board did a great job recruiting their friends and family to attend and purchase raffle tickets. A crowd of fifty strong, mingled in the back dinning room of Greens tasting delicious wines and chatting up friendships and CommunityGrows.
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11.5.14-Greens Fundraiser_IMG_3493Delicious food graced the evening for our sit-down dinner. On the menu was:
First Course: Green Gulch lettuce, little gems, and ancho cress with apples, pomegranates, walnuts, goat cheese, and cider vinaigrette.
Entree: Butternut squash and sweet potato gratin with poblano chilies, grilled onions, peppers, cheddar, marjoram, sage, and ancho fromage blanc custard, served with tomatillo sauce, grilled polenta, and broccoli di ciccio with pumpkin seeds.
Dessert: Assorted mini cookies, brownies, and bars (served family-style on platters).

During the course of the dinner guests were treated to a newly released video of CommunityGrows which was Directed by Sophie Constantinou with Executive Producer, Lora Hirchberg. Sophie is the director of CitizenFilms, and Lora is a two-times Academy Awards winner for sound mixing (for the Dark Knight and Inception). Here it is for your enjoyment!

There were many illustrious speakers, including Supervisor London Breed who joined us for dinner and offered her support and kudos to CommunityGrows. Also speaking eloquently for CommunityGrows were Sheryl Davis from Mo’Magic and Ezekiel McCarter, who is on our staff as Garden Assistant at Rosa Parks Elementary School. Ezekiel, who is also a Bay Area musician, talked about his experience going through our BEETS (Band of Environmentally Educated and Employable Teens) programs and being inspired to create a song about the garden, which we were privileged to hear.
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A highlight of the evening was inspirational speaker, Wendy Johnson, master gardener and author of Gardening at the Dragon’s Gate. She spoke of the three gifts: the gift of food, the gift of teaching and the gift of no fear. She related this to the passion of CommunityGrows to cultivate healthy youth by growing and eating nutritious food. The gift of teaching was exemplified by the work CommunityGrows does in environmental education. The gift of no fear is manifest in CommunityGrows tenacity to not be afraid of hard work, to speak for environmental and food justice, and to face challenges that arise with compassion.
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CommunityGrows wants to thank all the sponsors who supported this fundraiser, including Bi-Rite Businesses, San Francisco Public Works, PG&E, and Greens Restaurant. Thank you to our Advisory Board and CommunityGrows staff for recruiting raffle items and making the dinner a success. Finally thank you to all the attendees, including the Koshland Family, Kaiser-Permanente, the Buchanan YMCA, and many others. Thank you also to everyone who purchased raffle tickets.

As you can see, it was a fun and successful night. A great time had by all! Thank you again!
For more great photos, check out our Flickr Photostream here.

Join our Raffle and/or Dinner at Greens

The concept of Restaurant menu.
Join CommunityGrows in celebrating 20 years of cultivating healthy youth through growing gardens in low-income, diverse communities! On Wednesday, November 5, 2014, we’ll host our 1st Annual Harvest Dinner – an exclusive, intimate meal at one of San Francisco’s iconic restaurants, Greens at Fort Mason.

Our Harvest Dinner kicks off our fall fundraising efforts – this is the perfect opportunity to enjoy a wonderful meal while showing your support of underserved San Francisco youth. Proceeds will fund our mission of helping high-need youth in the Western Addition acquire the necessary skills to live a healthy life through garden education, nutritious cooking and eating, and green jobs training.

Attendees will have the opportunity to learn more about CommunityGrows, including our beautiful gardens located throughout San Francisco and our work with local youth. There will be presentations by Executive Director Barbara Wenger, Wendy Johnson, and graduates of CommunityGrows’ BEETS (Band of Environmentally Educated & Employable Teens) program.

We will also be raffling off several gift certificates, wine baskets, and exclusive experiences, with details to be released soon. There is no need to be present to win, so if you are unable to attend, please consider purchasing a raffle ticket (or five!) through this site. A full list of items will be available shortly.

Welcome New CommunityGrows Staff!

We would like to welcome two great staff members to CommunityGrows. Serena Padilla, our new Garden Educator, works primarily at Rosa Parks Elementary School. She graduated in 2011 from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a BA in Latin American and Latino/a studies with a minor in Education. She won us over with her great rapport with K-5 students and her lesson plans. She also previously volunteered with OBUGS-Oakland Based Urban Gardens, delivering a science based garden curriculum and leading cooking classes. The Rosa Parks Green Team, teachers and students have fallen in love with her!

We are also excited to welcome Miya Yung, our first ever Americorp intern from Public Allies. Miya graduated this year from San Francisco State University with a BA in Child and Adolescent Development: Youth Work and Out of School Time. She is also a graduate of Lowell High School in San Francisco. Miya is working with our BEETS (Band of Environmentally Educated and Employable Teens) and assisting our BEETS Program Manager, Melissa Tang. Her previous work experience is with the Japanese Community Youth Council, the Stonestown YMCA, and the Mission YMCA Summer Daycamp.

We are thrilled to have you both on our CommunityGrows team!

Expanding our Advisory Board


CommunityGrows welcomes six new Advisory Board members to our program. They are Sherry Bijan, Leah Cerri, Arif Husain, Casey Johnson, Carmen Olmetti and Meredith Pavia.

They join our other Advisory Board members Rebekah Black, Jennie Carpenter, Barb Fujimoto, Will Newsom, Jaromy Schmidt and Shakirah Simley.

We had our first monthly meeting in the Board Room of the African American Arts and Culture Center where CommunityGrows has its office. One order of business after the welcomes was to plan our fall fundraiser at Greens Restaurant on Wednesday, November 5, 2014. More to follow about that soon.

Welcome everyone and thank you for your service to CommunityGrows!