Cultivating Community: Doug’s Impact with the Green Team at Rosa Parks Elementary

In the heart of San Francisco’s Western Addition neighborhood lies a vibrant hub of growth and learning—the Rosa Parks school garden. At the core of its flourishing existence stands the Green Team, a dedicated group of parents committed to nurturing this thriving oasis. Among these passionate individuals is Doug, whose journey with the Green Team over the past three years exemplifies the transformative power of parental involvement.

Doug’s personal journey, marked by a cross-country move to San Francisco, further fueled his desire to be actively involved in his new community. Eager to get involved, he heard about the Green Team’s workdays and the garden program. He quickly became a regular at the garden workdays and monthly meetings. Over time, he seamlessly transitioned into a co-leadership role, joining a team of seven dedicated parents. Among them were Sarah, overseeing chicken care, and Robin, spearheading communications. The Green Team is involved in diverse responsibilities, from garden maintenance and improvement projects to organizing workdays, fundraising initiatives, and collaborating closely with Oliv, the garden and nutrition educator at CommunityGrows. Motivated by the belief in the garden’s potential impact on students, Doug and the team recognized its role as a special educational platform. He saw it as an avenue to expose children to outdoor education while fostering community engagement.

The Green Team’s efforts have been instrumental in steering the garden’s growth. They tackled infrastructure challenges, such as flooding and drainage, and spearheaded projects like constructing a chicken coop. Beyond the tangible improvements, the garden’s impact on the students and the school community has been profound. It serves as a tranquil haven, evoking calmness and joy among students, particularly during interactions with the chickens. Moreover, it acts as a bridge, fostering engagement and connections among families new to the school.

However, sustaining this initiative has had its challenges. While engaging parents and children in garden activities came naturally, convincing them to assume leadership roles or commit to fundraising has been more  tough. Doug acknowledges the need to share responsibilities to ensure the initiative’s continuity and growth. Collaboration remains integral to the Green Team’s success. They actively involve teachers, students, and parents in garden maintenance and development, nurturing a sense of shared ownership. Through this engagement, students acquire practical skills, lessons in garden education, and a deeper appreciation for nature. Doug has observed a transformation in students’ attitudes and behaviors towards nature, food, and sustainability. The garden has instilled these values in their daily lives, sparking conversations and fostering a genuine appreciation for the environment.

Ultimately, the school garden, championed by the Green Team, is more than a mere space—it’s an educational canvas painting a vibrant picture of community involvement, sustainability, and growth. Doug’s journey underscores the profound impact of dedicated parental involvement, leaving a lasting impression on students and their learning environment. Through the unwavering dedication of the Green Team, the school garden stands as a testament to the power of collective action and the beauty of nurturing young minds amid nature’s embrace.

To support and learn more about the garden education program at Rosa Parks Elementary, visit or follow us on social media @communitygrows

(This blog post was written with the help of AI)