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Grow with us in 2021

Yesenia of the Samaritan House Medical Clinic with donations from GROW San Mateo gardeners

Welcome to GROW San Mateo!

The GROW San Mateo project started as a volunteer beautification project and has evolved into a local network of gardeners & backyard fruit foragers who generously donate produce to support the Samaritan House Food Pharmacy.

Prior to the COVID pandemic, Food Pharmacy clients were challenged with health issues linked to food consumption - like diabetes, obesity and hypertension.  As we've seen, the virus has been disproportionately brutal on people with these health conditions.  This goes beyond food insecurity to actual "nutrition" insecurity - a challenge to not only provide a sufficient quantity of food, but to change eating habits.  At the Food Pharmacy, nutritious food is a form of treatment.

As gardeners, we never grow just the right amount.  There's always something to share - maybe not a basketful - but a tomato, a couple of zucchini.  The GROW San Mateo project is designed to gather small produce donations from across San Mateo County - serving both as a food runner and packager/merchandiser .  When a small child in Beresford Park walks up to a front porch to put a single cherry tomato in a donation basket, another in San Mateo Park contributes a single jalapeno pepper.  Some zucchini, peppers and green beans from the community garden, persimmons from a backyard tree.  All fresh and locally grown and given to folks in the community who need them most.  We're simply carrying forward a centuries old, community sharing tradition.

Healthy soil has never been more important than it is today.  In it we can grow nutrient rich food that makes us healthier.  And as we're learning, it also sequesters carbon, which helps to reduce global warming. turning a patch of grass into a raised bed garden, or by potting herbs on an apartment balcony, you have the potential to impact both food insecurity & climate change.  And you get tomatoes.

Anyone can grow food.  Will your plants always thrive - no.  But throughout our community is a wealth of local growing knowledge that he hope to share to help you on your growing journey.  Our Winter Gardening Guide - which is tailored to the San Mateo microclimate - can give you some ideas of things to grow and how to plant and harvest them.  You can also find frequent "out-in-the-garden" posts on our Instagram feed (@growsanmateo) to give you an idea of the types of plants that are currently growing in our area.

As a project, we aren't set up to accept financial donations - but there are many ways that you can help us make a difference in 2021:

1) Plant a Garden
  • Herbs are a good place to start
  • Building a raised bed can help maximize small spaces
  • Now is a great time to plant bare-root fruit trees
  • "Grow bags" can transform a patio/balcony into a productive container garden
  • Use lots of compost - available for free at Recology or next door to them at Lyngso for additional options
  • Watch Charles Dowding's No Dig Gardening video for the latest garden methods
2) Join our Project
3) Feed your Soil  

  • Consider getting a worm bin to recycle vegetable waste from your kitchen
  • Start a backyard compost bin for yard waste to return valuable nutrients back to your landscape
  • Get a rain barrel and/or install a rain well in your landscape to minimize run-off and retain moisture in the soil
  • Watch "Kiss the Ground" and learn about the potential of regenerative farming

Thank you for your support.  

Please send any questions you may have about any of the above to

Wishing you a healthy 2021.

Bill S.

Founder, GROW San Mateo


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