Our Results: 2008-2009

“I do better in school now because my body is not being energized with Cheetos, it’s being energized with lettuce."
—Sixth grade student, Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School

Accomplishments in the Garden

external image 3630189058_91b48f16af_b.jpgDuring the 2008-2009 school year, Urban Sprouts planned to reach 700 students in the 6th – 12th grades at six San Francisco public schools serving the city’s most under-served neighborhoods.

Urban Sprouts met this goal; we reached a total of 742 students at six schools and reached 37 school family members this year. Urban Sprouts partnered with six schools: Aptos Middle School, International Studies Academy, Martin Luther King Jr. Academic Middle School, June Jordan School for Equity, San Francisco Community School, and Ida B. Wells Continuation High School.

These schools serve San Francisco neighborhoods including the OMI/Excelsior, Visitacion Valley, Portola, Bayview-Hunters Point, Potrero Hill, and Western Addition. Of students reached, 62% were low-income students, 95% were youth of color, and 60% were defined as educationally disadvantaged by the San Francisco Unified School District.

We provided the following activities during 2008-2009:

external image 3351865082_91dc0f9068_b.jpgNew and Expanded School Gardens. Urban Sprouts assisted four of our partner schools to expand their school gardens and add important educational elements. We engaged students in design planning and organized community volunteers for garden work days.

We built a brand new garden at International Studies Academy, installed a new section of the garden at SF Community School, and added new and redesigned beds plus a greenhouse at Martin Luther King Jr. Academic Middle School. Also, in June 2009 we started a brand new partnership with San Francisco’s Juvenile Probation Department to develop a school garden program at Log Cabin Ranch, a juvenile detention facility near La Honda, California.

external image 3098582366_83d632eac7_o.jpgIn class Garden-based Education. Over 716 students participated in Urban Sprouts’ core garden-based education program that takes place during science classes or gardening elective classes. The garden-based classes meet for at least one hour every other week throughout the school year for a total of 20 hours of participation for every student. Each session is led by a Garden Educator and includes interactive academic learning and garden work. Every student experienced the full process external image 3044572932_aab5df6009_o.jpgof planting, growing, harvesting and eating crops from the school garden at least three times during the school year.

Many classes also participated in field trips to nearby educational farms that raise animals, including Hidden Villa Ranch, Slide Ranch, and Pie Ranch. By participating in the complete process of growing food, students have changed their eating habits, eating more fruits and vegetables and less unhealthy foods, and they have increased their eco-literacy and environmental responsibility (see evaluation results below).

Youth Leadership. Urban Sprouts developed youth leadership by engaging 12 students as Garden Interns. Students from International Studies Academy and June Jordan School for Equity served as assistant garden managers and educators, taking the lead among their peers in caring for the garden independently outside of class time, in leading our Summer Program, and in representing the school garden at events.

external image 3683324684_dc1f967291_o.jpgSummer Program. Urban Sprouts partnered external image 3682511137_91f1c9ece3_o.jpgwith the Garden for the Environment(GFE) to host a two-week summer program for 26 youth, meeting for four hours each day at the GFE. Urban Sprouts trained and supervised 8 high school students who served as garden managers, educators, and group leaders for the 18 middle school-aged participants.

The Summer Program included: daily garden work; an intensive curriculum on gardening, waste diversion, nutrition and sustainable agriculture; daily harvest and preparation of a healthy lunch, and the creation of a culminating event in which youth shared their learning with their families and friends through presentations and take-home actions to apply their learning at home.

external image 3629632325_d62c20d6b1_b.jpgFamily Program: Farmers-in-Residence. Due to feedback from school parents during the previous school year, Urban Sprouts re-designed our family education program. In spring of 2009 we began a pilot of the new Farmers-in-Residence program, in which school family members grew their own food in plots within the school garden. Urban Sprouts provided training, all materials needed, and a modest stipend for each participating school family.

Four families participated in this pilot program at International Studies Academy (ISA) and June Jordan School for Equity. One participating mother and daughter pair attended Occidental Arts & Ecology Center’s school garden training as part of ISA’s team this summer. In addition, 33 parents have attended meetings or events highlighting the school garden at our partner schools.

Events. During the 2008-2009 school year, Urban Sprouts hosted these community-wide events to build involvement in the garden program:
• Salad Days: students at the middle schools harvested, prepared and served school-grown salads to the entire school at lunch;
• Garden Work Parties: students and staff at school sites hosted garden work days, including gardening, harvesting, eating, and other activities, attended by students, families, teachers and community members.

external image P1140383.JPGAmazing Volunteer Support

Urban Sprouts recruited community members to develop and maintain the gardens through work days, and to volunteer in teachers’ classrooms during garden-based lessons. Classroom volunteers lowered the youth-adult ratio from as high as 32:1 to as low as 5:1.

In total, 33 classroom volunteers provided over 220 hours of support to students in the school garden, while 74 volunteers including groups from the Public Policy Institute of California, Urban Service Project, the University of San Francisco, and Google contributed 328 hours helping to maintain the gardens, care for chickens, and build new garden beds, pathways, worm bins, and a new greenhouse.

2008-2009 Volunteers:

Abby Zapanta
Aileen Suzaiza
Aimee Shoemaker
Alyssa Koomas
Ann Speyer
Anna Hurst
Carter Filimon
Chunyu Liang
Dana Neufeld
Dylan Hamilton
Elaine Walker
Elissa Burke
Eric Minnichofer
Erica Lee
Erin Murray
Gordon Lee
Hong De Zhao
Hudson Soules
Hui Long Lin
Jen Woodard
Jessica Fong
Jessica Mordo
Juan and Maria Tuyub
Katey Chikasuye
Katie Gadsby
Kelli Brennan
Kevin Haas
Kevin O'Laughlin
Leela Greensberg
Lisa Chen
Lori Nelson
Lucy Marton
Madeleine Morley
Marianne O'Brien
Maya Nasution
Natalie Kilmer
Nathanael Hevelon
Rachel Vigil
Sanaz Ebriani
Stephanie Stillman
Steve Roderick
Tonia Sing Chi
Tracy Zhu
Vauhini Vara
Zoe Hitchner
San Francisco Urban Service Project
University of San Francisco
Public Policy Institute of California
Project Insight

Evaluation and Outcomes

external image 3718221523_6d4e05fa1f_o.jpg Urban Sprouts conducted surveys and focus groups to determine the degree of students’ new knowledge, attitudes and behaviors after participating in our programs. Urban Sprouts’ objectives included increases in students’ ecoliteracy, environmental awareness, and preferences for consuming fruits and vegetables.

This spring, Urban Sprouts implemented a survey questionnaire, student focus groups and key informant interviews. These results from the past two years are being compiled into a report that we will share in early fall 2009.

Here is a summary of evaluation results analyzed to date, from 24 focus groups of 6-8 students each, conducted in June 2008. After participating in Urban Sprouts’ programs:
  • Students liked being outdoors in nature more than they did before; 60% of responses indicated that students like being in the outdoors more than before.
  • Students cared more about environmental issues than they did before; 54% of responses indicated that the student cared more about the environment than previously.
  • Students said their preference for fruits and vegetables had increased; 69% of respondents reported liking fruits and vegetables more than before.
  • Students said that their fruit and vegetable consumption increased; 70% of responses indicated that students eat more fruits and vegetables than previously.

In their own words, during these focus groups students described the outcomes of Urban Sprouts’ programs in these ways:
  • “I learned that we should take more care of the environment.” “I’m worried about chemicals and stuff in the water, there’s only one earth, and it’s sad because we live here and I don’t want to be living on Mars.” (Students made 352 statements on this theme.)
  • “I didn’t used to, but now I help my parents,” in home gardens, recycling, or composting at home. (239 statements on this theme)
  • “I like fruits and vegetables more.” “Organic food actually tastes better and it’s more natural.” (233 statements on this theme)
  • “In the garden, I learned to grow up and be a successful person.” (105 statements on this theme)
  • “I do better in school now because my body is not being energized with Cheetos, it’s being energized with lettuce.” (143 statements on this theme)
  • Students said the garden helps them “do better in school” and they would rather go to garden class “instead of wanting to skip school.” (10 statements on this theme)

Generous Funding Support

This year, Urban Sprouts received an outpouring of love and support from our community even during these tough economic times. Every gift goes directly to the gardens and means so much to us! Thank you!

Garden Beneficials Circleexternal image 3098582394_03e9b78bb5_o.jpg
These generous friends made the highest level of commitment and investment in our work, through generous multiple gifts or multi-year pledges totaling $500 or more.

Claudia & Don Anderson
Martin Bournhonesque
Lena Brook
Jeff Hanak
Linda Joseph
Chris Moraes & Evan Reeves
Nopa Restaurant
Shannon Stewart
Will & Jeanne Thacher
Lisa Thompson

Major Grant Support
Grants from these foundations, local government agencies, and state agencies make our work possible.

Mitchell Kapor Foundation
Joseph R. McMicking Foundation
Network for a Healthy California
SF Department of Children, Youth and their Families
SF Environment
The San Francisco Foundation
San Francisco Unified School District
Morris Stulsaft Foundation