On Saturday February 4, 2017 the BEETS visited Literacy for Environmental Justice (LEJ). LEJ promotes ecological health, environmental stewardship, and community development in Southeast San Francisco by creating urban greening, eco-literacy, community stewardship and workforce development opportunities that directly engage and support local residents in securing a healthier future. Their site is located at Candlestick Point State Recreation Area in Bayview Hunter’s Point in San Francisco. The BEETS and LEJ teens worked together in the Native Plant Nursery sharing their experience with growing vegetables and natives. After clearing out some beds, The BEETS talked about vegetables and how to plant them with the seasons.They worked with the LEJ teens to planted peas, cabbage, collard greens and lettuce. It was great to have everyones energy to clean up the nursery and help wash pots and equipment. The LEJ teen gave us a tour of the nursery and advised us on what plants might be good for our container gardens at Plaza East housing development. We ended the day with a yummy BBQ hosted by LEJ. Barry Tan, a BEET supplied the photos for this blog. Thank you LEJ and everyone for a great day!
On Saturday January 21, 2017 The BEETS (Band of Environmentally Educated and Employable Teens) spent the day at Alemany Farm in San Francisco helping out with their workday. They were able with CommunityGrows staff Melissa Tang and Jay Jordan, as well as other volunteers, to plant cabbage and collard greens, flip compost, wood chip muddy areas and harvested some winter veggies. Best of all everyone was done before it started raining! This day was a great way to celebrate our commitment to food justice–helping to increase access to healthy foods in our poorer neighborhoods.
On Monday January 16, 2017 CommunityGrows joined the African American Arts and Culture Complex (AAACC) to honor Martin Luther King Jr with a presentation and workday in various sites in the Western Addition. Great volunteers joined us from all over the Bay Area, with an especially large contingent from Lick-Wilmerding High School in San Francisco. Volunteers met at the AAACC to sign in and enjoy a light breakfast. Then they were treated to a short presentation by John William Templeton, who spoke of the impact Dr. King had on the African American community in San Francisco. Mr. Templeton is well known for curating a brochure entitled The African American Freedom Trail, and authoring books such as Come to the Water: Sharing the Rich Black Experience in San Francisco, and Our Roots Run Deep: The Black Experience in California. He is founder of ReUNION: Education Arts Heritage, an instructional video network designed to provide culturally responsive curriculum to schools globally. Templeton also operates SF Soul Shuttle tours which highlight the African American history and culture of San Francisco. After the presentation, volunteers divided into groups to work at three sites: Buchanan Mall, the AAACC, and Koshland Garden. They were able to clean a large parking lot adjacent to the AAACC, collecting trash and renewing the native plant garden along the periphery. In Buchanan Mall, a five-block greenway on Buchanan Street, volunteers were able to collect trash and spruce up the garden. A few blocks away at Koshland Garden, CommunityGrows staff Melissa Tang and Paul Bergkamp sent teams of volunteers with our BEETS (Band of Environmentally Educated and Employable Teens) to different areas of the garden to flip compost, lay wood chips, pick up trash, prune trees and vines, weed, mulch and harvest peas, broccoli and mustard greens. At lunch-time everyone met back at the AAACC to have a great lunch and receive thanks for the amazing work they did. Thank you everyone for a great day to uphold the values of giving back and volunteering for this important cause. A special thanks to Peter Merts for his beautiful photos! His photos can also be found on our CommunityGrows flickr photostream here.
On Saturday November 5, 2016 CommunityGrows held a workday in Koshland Garden to celebrate our partnership with Avila & Associates, and Friends of the Urban Forest (FUF). Avila and Associates provides provides civil engineering, environmental services, and water resources engineering services to public agencies at the federal, state and local level; private property owners; civil engineering professionals and other professional service firms. One of the many environmental services they provide is field surveys and regulatory reporting. Leanne Feely-Botanist, Sarah Flaherty-Wildlife Biologist, and Rachel Spadafore-Ecologist/Senior Project Manager, all participants in the workday, do this research. They talked with many of the BEETS about what they do and how they are working to save different endangered species. Here they are with volunteer Janine Kaiser. The morning started with introductions and welcomes from staff members Jay Jordan, Garden Educator, and Melissa Tang, BEETS Program Manager. Then people commenced to flipping compost, trellising peas, weeding the mustard and strawberry beds, collecting leek seeds, thinning radishes and preparing bed for the BEETS to plant starts. Lots of Jerusalem Artichokes, onions, collards, kale and herbs were also harvested. Sarah Penney-CommunityGrows Advisory Board member, Emily Danford-CommunityGrows office/communications volunteer, and three wonderful students from University High School (Judith Edwards, Joley Costa, and Nicole Cuthbert) also helped out in the garden. At 1:00 PM the volunteers were joined by a group of youth from Friends of the Urban Forest, who led a workshop in pruning trees. Alex Javier, Education Coordinator for FUF, talked about the essentials of pruning and tree care, the types of cuts to make, proper pruning techniques, and equipment safety. Then the youth went off to the orchard to trim back and prune the fruit trees. It was an amazing workday with lots of knowledge gained about the environmental field and how to care for the earth through the pruning of trees. Thank you Avila & Associate and Friends of the Urban Forest for a very engaging and worthwhile day. For more photos, check out our Flickr Photostream here.
A group of great volunteers from the San Francisco office of Bain & Company spent Friday, September 16, 21016 working with CommunityGrows. We met at the African American Arts and Culture Complex (AAACC) garden, where CommunityGrows’ headquarters is located. To start the day, Kelly ErnstFriedman, CG Deputy Director, Melissa Tang, BEETS Program Manager, and BEETS (Band of Environmentally Educated and Employable Teens) intern Ivan introduced the group to the history and current programs of CommunityGrows. Board members Jaromy Schmidt and Sarah Penny shared how and why they chose to get involved with CommunityGrows. Then the team got to work. We started with some pruning, weeding, and planting in the public beds located outside of the AAACC in Buchanan Mall. At lunch time, we walked a few blocks over to Koshland Park on Page and Buchanan Streets. Over lunch, Ivan shared some of his personal experience with the BEETS program with the participants. Then we got back to work. The volunteers spent the afternoon tackling a variety of tasks in the Koshland Park Community Learning Garden, including flipping compost, pruning raspberries, painting over graffiti on the storage shed, and of course lots of weeding and watering!It was a great day to celebrate all the good work we do at CommunityGrows and share it with Bain & Company. Thank you for volunteering! You guys are awesome!For more photos, check out our CommunityGrows Flickr Photostream here.
On Friday, September 30th, Gateway High School joined CommunityGrows staff Melissa Tang and BEETS intern Ivan Gladamez in Koshland Garden for a volunteer Day of Service. These 15 youth and their Humanities Teacher, Amanda LaBerge, did a lot of weeding, mulching, composting and getting the garden ready for the fall. Great job everyone and thank you so much for making the garden shine!
Saturday, September 10, 2016 was an exciting day at Rosa Parks Elementary. As usual, this workday was a blowout fantastic event with so many families and friends. It was also the exciting arrival of five new chickens for the coop in the upper garden! Scroll down to read more…The Green Team and other parents from the school laid out a delicious spread of snacks and goodies for everyone to munch on during the morning.A group of neighbors showed up and joined Principal Jacobsen as well as University High School student Ian, and our CommunityGrows staff and BEETS intern, Ivan Gladamez, and Advisory Board member Sarah Penny. Tasks for the day were split between the Upper Garden under Garden Educator, Jay Jordan’s supervision, the Lower Garden under Garden Assistant Cha’Shay Woldridge’s supervision, the Courtyard work under parent Wayne, East Gate, under Jocelyn and the Chicken Coop, under parent Debra’s supervision.Everyone pitched in and the youth went right to work exploring bugs and butterflies, as well as watering.In the lower garden, the teachers’ plots were gleaned and made ready for the new school year.In the upper garden, compost was rotated, tomatoes were staked, vines were attached to arches, weeds were pulled, sage cuttings were planted, and collard starts were prepared.The highlight of the day was the arrival of five new chickens to occupy the newly restored and renovated chicken coop. Everyone wanted to hold the chickens that were very accommodating. We hope they find their home a pleasant place. The students will love taking care of them! For more great photos from the day, check out our CommunityGrows Flickr Photostream here.
On July 29, 2016 The Civic Leadership Institute (CLI) youth made their second year visit to CommunityGrows as part of their summer site at UC Berkeley. The Civic Leadership Institute (CLI) is a three-week summer service-learning program for outstanding high school students throughout the world who are completing grades 9 through 12. The program combines hands-on education, meaningful service, powerful speakers and seminars, and an unforgettable residential experience for a summer that students describe as “life-changing.”
The Civic Leadership Institute is a collaboration between the Civic Education Project, based at Northwestern University’s Center for Talent Development, and Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth. These youth joined our Summer BEETS cohort to work at Rosa Parks Elementary School gardens. Some of the countries represented were South Korea, Germany, Jamaica and Thailand. We started the day off with an opening circle where each group talked about who they are and what they do. Then the BEETS led an icebreaker, “Biggest Fan”, which is a rock, paper, scissors tournament. We did a lot of weeding, mulching, clearing out the chicken coop, soil blocking and organized the shed. Then we ended the day with a closing circle of what we learned or will walk away with. A great time with youth from around the world. Thank you for joining us!
On Tuesday, June 28, 2016, eleven Oasis for Girls interns invited Morgan Stanley volunteers to a workday at Rosa Parks Elementary School with our CommunityGrows BEETS (Band of Environmentally Educated and Employable Teens).
Jessica Van Tuyl, Executive Director of Oasis for Girls, and Mallika Roy, ENVISION Coordinator brought the girls and divided them into groups for the Upper and Lower Gardens. Morgan Stanley volunteers joined them and the BEETS to help dig our bed, weed, compost and water. A lot was accomplished and it was a wonderful afternoon working to put our summer gardens in order. Thank you so much for all your great work!
We love the rain! Even when there’s a workday in Koshland Park and Garden. On Saturday, May 7th eighteen volunteers from the Yale Alumni group came out to help us spruce up the park and garden. Besides helping Freddie Ealom, our Recreation and Park Garden in the upper park, everyone took on the tasks of composting, weeding, moving mulch with wheelbarrows,removing debris,picking up trash, weeding strawberries, and pruning the Mock Orange and Black Knight Butterfly Bushes that grace the entrances to the garden.Everyone was in a jovial mood, and after an hour and a half, we got done early, just before the rain really started to come down. Thank you Yale Alumni for making the day a great success! For more photos see our Flicker Photostream here.