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The Quesada Gardens Initiative (QGI) is creating a safe and beautiful oasis in one of the nation's most challenged neighborhoods: the Bayview Hunters Point District of San Francisco. Our primary mission is to increase social cohesion through community gardens, public art and events, and social entrepreneurship. As a complement to this priority, we also address a range of related issues that diminish health, safety and quality of life, isolate residents, and reduce the experience of "community" that QGI represents. QGI is an all-volunteer effort powered by an extraordinarily diverse group of residents who live near the gardens, and their nonprofit, governmental, and business allies.
Quesada Gardens Initiative is a needs- and asset-based project that has attracted unprecedented media attention region-wide and has done the impossible: reverse the trend of nuisance and violent crime in a portion of the Bayview.
QGI has broken through the isolation and fear that too often stands between community members and positive change.
QGI media attention has included a feature story on Channel 7 local news, two huge front page spreads in the San Francisco Chronicle, and a page one article and many subsequent mentions in the Bayview Newspaper. Other stories and videos have appeared in the San Jose Mercury News (page one) and on various websites.
QGI Founding Gardener, Annette Smith won a Jefferson Award for her work, as did Karl Paige who co-founded the first garden with Annette and who passed away recently
QGI just "unveiled" a massive new mural about community spirit and the magic of the garden on the 1700 block of Quesada at Third.
QGI has received many prestigious awards including: San Francisco Beautiful's Robert C. Friese Award for Neighborhood Conservation, the Crissy Field Center/Golden Gate Parks Conservancy 2007 Community Hero Award, and an award of recognition at the SF Clean and Green Summit.
QGI has forged alliances with other community organizations, city departments, and businesses that are dynamic and practical.
QGI is actively strengthening the existing diversity and cultural richness that makes the Bayview great.
- Jeffrey Betcher
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