Urban Sprouts

Urban Sprouts

The mission of Urban Spouts is to ...

Education | United States of America | Access to Education | Natural Resources Conservation



Urban Sprouts works at the nexus of food, environment, community, health, and poverty—utilizing food and food gardens as relatable and relevant platforms for program participants to achieve greater access to fresh and healthy food, share learning, gain employment opportunities in the urban agriculture sector, and effect positive change in their homes and communities. Urban Sprouts educators create a context—in classrooms, in after school and summer youth programs, and in community settings—for program participants to understand the importance of fruits and vegetables in a healthy diet, to recognize health disparities that are linked to issues of food access, and to partner with Urban Sprouts to bring healthier food choices to their neighborhoods. Our programming reaches youth and adults from low-opportunity neighborhoods in San Francisco, racial and ethnic minority groups, English language learners, and youth in the juvenile justice system.

The organization grew out of a doctoral dissertation project (Michelle Ratcliffe, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University) carried out during the 2003-04 school year at Luther Burbank Middle School in San Francisco—now June Jordan School for Equity. Dr. Ratcliffe and her collaborators developed and tested the poly-theoretical, behaviorally based, interdisciplinary framework—the Garden-Based Education Model—developed at the school. Teachers and administrators from the school invited the research team to stay on to transform the garden into a sustained program at the core of the school’s curriculum. Since our founding, Urban Sprouts has partnered with over 6,750 San Francisco students.

Urban Sprouts delivers garden-based education to 500 middle and high school students at four San Francisco Unified School District schools—Aptos Middle School, International Studies Academy, June Jordan School for Equity, Log Cabin Ranch (the San Francisco Juvenile Probation Department's post-adjudication facility for male juveniles, which La Honda, CA [San Mateo County])—and during the summer.

Urban Sprouts also reaches over 1,000 individuals and families annually through bilingual (English and Spanish language) programming that includes nutrition education, culturally appropriate cooking classes, exploration of healthy lifestyles, and support for individuals and families to improve food access and environmental justice in their communities. The programming addresses the linkages between food insecurity and purchasing decisions influenced by the unequal distribution of healthy food in San Francisco; the growing cost differential of healthy versus energy-dense foods that are high in added fat, refined carbohydrates, and sugar; and San Francisco’s growing economic divide.

Urban Sprouts began a partnership in 2014 with Mercy Housing California, an organization that develops and manages affordable housing sites. We are working with members of the Mercy staff and with the residents of Sunnydale in San Francisco’s Visitacion Valley and residents of Bayview Hill Gardens in the Bayview neighborhood to develop hands-on programming utilizing food gardens at these two sites to support community wellness, resiliency, and create job opportunities. The partnership with Mercy further strengthens community linkages and incorporates gardens into Urban Sprouts community programming.

Urban Sprouts is fiscally sponsored by the San Francisco Parks Alliance (Federal Tax ID: 23-7131784).


Legal Structure

Operating Status


Education Project Operating 2 - 10 employees

Funding and Financing Rounds



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1663 Mission Street
Suite 320
San Francisco, California 94103
United States of America


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