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U.S. EPA and SF Environment recognize Quesada Gardens Initiative for environmental work in San Francisco’s Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood

Release Date: 08/20/2014
Contact Information: Suzanne Skadowski, 415-972-3165, skadowski.suzanne@epa.gov

SAN FRANCISCO – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the San Francisco Department of the Environment (SF Environment) presented an Environmental Award to the Quesada Gardens Initiative in recognition of the grassroots organization’s decade of work to address environmental issues in the San Francisco Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood.

“The Quesada Gardens Initiative has transformed an ordinary neighborhood street into community food gardens and neighborhood gathering spaces,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “EPA’s Environmental Awards recognize people and groups like Jeffrey Betcher and Quesada Gardens who are committed to protecting public health and improving our communities.”

EPA and SF Environment presented the award to Jeffrey Betcher, co-founder of the Quesada Gardens community organization. Quesada Gardens began more than 10 years ago on the 1700 block of Quesada Avenue in San Francisco’s historically underserved and environmentally challenged Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood. Mr. Betcher, a neighborhood resident, worked with his neighbors to transform the street into a series of community food gardens, public art displays and gathering spaces.

“Thanks to the leadership of Jeffrey Betcher, and through the hard work and dedication of the Quesada Gardens Initiative community, Bayview families are enjoying the beauty and bounty of community gardens,” said Debbie Raphael, SF Environment’s Director. “Jeffrey is a leader who nurtures social connections and community relationships. His hard work is helping families thrive while building a vision of a greener Bayview.”

The Initiative has engaged several hundred volunteers in garden projects, involving thousands of volunteer work hours. These gardening and beautification efforts have not only improved the neighborhood, but have also helped build relationships among neighbors and strengthen the local community. This is evident in the Bayview Footprints online newsletter, which serves as an online community hub for the neighborhood.

“I am grateful that scrappy neighbors in the heart of Bayview are being acknowledged for joining together to change a place many had given up on,” said Jeffrey Betcher, Quesada Gardens Initiative’s Executive Director. “This award is evidence our friends in the environmental movement understand that the physical and social environments are fundamentally linked, and that improving one requires attention to the other.”

Quesada Gardens includes the Baybloom Backyard Gardens projects, the Bridgeview Teaching and Learning Garden, the “Bayview Is…” mural and Quesada Gardens Community Mural and Gathering Space. Mr. Betcher was nominated for the environmental award by Dr. Toye Moses, Executive Director of the Southeast Community Facility Commission.

Learn more about Quesada Gardens at: http://www.quesadagardens.org/

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EPA Region 9 in California: http://www2.epa.gov/aboutepa/epa-california
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Newsletter: http://www.epa.gov/region9/newsletter/index.html

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