SAN FRANCISCO – Today, the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department, YP, Levi Strauss & Co., CBS EcoMedia and community members celebrated the grand opening of the new Golden Gate Park CommUNITY Garden. The garden, located at the east end of the park near Kezar Stadium, was created to meet the growing public demand for community garden plots in the city and to provide a valuable new city-wide resource for those interested in sustainable food production.
“The new Golden Gate Park Community Garden represents our City’s commitment to the urban agriculture movement and building stronger communities,” said Mayor Edwin M. Lee. “As we begin this first community garden within the boundaries of our world class park, we are investing in the transformation of vacant arable land into even more growing, sustainable communities.”
The community garden replaces the former Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council (HANC) industrial center, and helps meet a recreational need that positively impacts the community surrounding Golden Gate Park’s eastern end.
“It is an honor to be a Supervisor representing Golden Gate Park,” said Supervisor Eric Mar. “It is a major tourist attraction but also the backyard of many of the resident I represent and I am thrilled we have this community serving garden right here in our park system’s crown jewel.”
According to a recreation assessment report conducted by SF Rec & Park, almost half of all San Francisco households have expressed a need for more community gardens, while more than 1 in 5 households feel that community gardens are among the top five important recreation facilities.
With the addition of this new garden, the Recreation and Park Department now oversees 36 community gardens citywide with a waiting list of more than 500 people.
“This new garden is the latest and greatest of San Francisco’s community gardens,” said San Francisco Recreation and Parks General Manager Phil Ginsburg. “Rec & Park is pleased to bring a focus of urban agriculture to San Francisco neighborhoods and recreation programming.
The Golden Gate Park Community Garden will become a community garden resource center in San Francisco and offer the community a native plant nursery, gardening beds, a greenhouse, tool lending library, education pavilion and demonstration garden.
“This site has an important legacy of community activism and spirit that will continue to grow as the neighborhood gets involved in the garden,” said Andrea Jadwin, former President of the Inner Sunset Park Neighbors. “As a resident and community gardener, I am thrilled that we have this new place to grow plants, food and most importantly, community.”
Several elements within the park were donated by outside supporters. YP’s gift has funded the construction of the community garden’s vibrant vertical gardening space, which demonstrates the possibility of having a garden even in small spaces and dense urban environments where residents may not have a yard. YP was able to make this donation through an innovative partnership with CBS EcoMedia.
“Our mission is to help local businesses and communities grow – and we’re committed to doing this daily by partnering with our valued customers and through projects like this,” said Janine Lappin, General Manager of Sales in San Francisco for YP. “Our brand mantra is to help get things done and this project is a great opportunity to help get something great done for the San Francisco community.”
Levi Strauss & Co. also gave $20,000 to fund permeable paving within the garden, which contributes to the environmentally friendly nature of the garden by allowing rainwater to flow through the earth and recharge the city’s groundwater. Additionally, Levi Strauss & Co. has donated hundreds of volunteer hours throughout San Francisco parks.
“Levi Strauss & Co. is thrilled to support San Francisco parks through both volunteerism and financial support,” said Jason McBriarty, Director of Corporate Affairs at Levi Strauss & Co.
Another unique feature included in this space is the demonstration garden area. These beds allow community members to experiment on new gardening ideas or techniques, and are rotated between users on a monthly schedule.
“The new garden will become a hub of urban agriculture and offer the community a host of wellness, educational and environmental benefits,” said Paul Polizzotto, Founder and President, CBS EcoMedia. “Thanks to YP’s funding and volunteerism through our EcoAd program, the community will enjoy a vibrant vertical garden in a new urban oasis.”
The ribbon cutting ceremony was followed by a volunteer activity with YP employees and 25 local high school students in the community garden. Blogger and cookbook author Gabi Moskowitz then led a healthy cooking demonstration with 45 local elementary school students.