Descriptive Title: San Francisco Unified School District schools with a school garden

Geographic Unit of Analysis: Point

Percent of public schools with a school garden (2011)
Neighborhood# of schools# ofschools with school garden% of schools with school garden
Bayview/Hunter's Point 8 2 25%
Bernal Heights 3 1 33%
Castro/Upper Market 5 3 60%
Chinatown 1 0 0%
Excelsior 6 5 83%
Financial District/South Beach 1 0 0%
Glen Park
Golden Gate Park NA NA NA
Haight Ashbury 2 2 100%
Hayes Valley
Inner Richmond 5 2 40%
Inner Sunset 4 3 75%
Lakeshore 2 2 100%
Lincoln Park
Lone Mountain/USF
Marina 3 2 67%
McLaren Park
Mission 7 3 43%
Mission Bay
Nob Hill 2 0 0%
Noe Valley 3 3 100%
North Beach 3 0 0%
Outer Mission 5 2 40%
Outer Richmond 4 2 50%
Pacific Heights 0 0 0%
Potrero Hill 4 3 75%
Presidio 0 0 0%
Presidio Heights 1 0 0%
Russian Hill 3 0 0%
San Francisco 112 58 52%
Seacliff 0 0 0%
South of Market 3 0 0%
Treasure Island 0 0 0%
Twin Peaks 2 1 50%
Visitacion Valley 6 4 67%
West of Twin Peaks 5 4 80%
Western Addition 8 4 50%

Why Is This An Indicator Of Health and Sustainability?

According to the San Francisco Food Alliance, school gardens are outdoor learning environments which support students' performance and greater community involvement in our schools. School gardens offer opportunities for culturally and linguistically diverse learning, for infusing lessons with nutrition, science concepts, environmental awareness, and healthy behaviors. School gardens also provide opportunities for students to become caretakers of small ecosystems and build a culture of ownership and stewardship at their school.

Research shows that living in proximity to green space is associated with reduced self-reported health symptoms, better self-rated health, and higher scores on general health questionnaires.a Furthermore, the presence of views and access to natural vegetation in the urban environment reduces socially unacceptable behavior and crime and increases concentration and fewer behavior problems among children.b,c

Interpretation and Geographic Equity Analysis

As of September 2011, 58 elementary, middle and high schools in San Francisco had current garden programs at their schools. The following schools have school gardens but were not included in this list because they are county/alternative schools or child development centers (CDCs), but not an elementary, middle, or high schools: Civic Center Secondary School, Junipero Serra CDC, Las Americas CDC, Log Cabin Ranch, Principal’s Center Collaborative School, San Miguel CDC, Sarah B. Cooper CDC, and Tule Elk-Park CDC. School gardens may be presented at other non-public and private schools within the city. Additionally, since time of data collection, more schools may have started and/or opened school gardens.

Schools in San Francisco’s dense urban neighborhoods, like Downtown/Civic Center, Chinatown, Financial District, Nob Hill, Russian Hill, North Beach, and South of Market currently have no schools with school gardens. Only two of the eight schools in the Bayview neighborhood have school gardens. Eighty percent or more of the schools in the Noe Valley, Diamond Heights/Glen Park, Haight Ashbury, Lakeshore, Excelsior, and West of Twin Peaks neighborhoods have school gardens.

Thus far, a total of $12 million for schoolyard greening has been secured through San Francisco Proposition A voter-approved school bonds.  With these funds, all elementary schools and 10 middle and high schools will receive $100,000-$150,000 to green their school yards. The San Francisco Green Schoolyard Alliance (SFGSA) provides professional development training for teachers, parents, and community members to give teachers the training and resources necessary to help them sustain their outdoor classroom programs.  SFGSA also provides curricula and horticulture supplies like compost, plants, seeds, and soil. For more information, visit the SFGSA website (


School addresses were obtained from the San Francisco Unified School District. School addresses were geocoded and mapped as points. The color of each point was coded to represent whether or not the school had a garden.

The number of schools with gardens in each neighborhood was divided by the total number of schools in each neighborhood to calculate the proportion of public schools with a school garden for the neighborhood table.


Although every school garden is represented on the same map, the size, type, management, and upkeep differ. Since every school's resources and capacity vary, it is not possible to set a standard on size, type and management of the school garden. Only SFUSD schools are included.

John Muir and Jose Ortega Elementary Schools have their edible gardens at nearby parks rather than on the school campus.

Data Source

List of gardens obtained from San Francisco Green Schoolyard Alliance (SFGSA). September 2011:

List of 2010-2011 schools obtained from San Francisco Unified School District. Accessed online on August 29, 2011:

Map and table prepared by City and County of San Francisco, Department of Public Health, Environmental Health Section using ArcGIS software.

Table data is presented by planning neighborhood. Detailed information regarding geographic units of analysis, their definitions, and their boundaries can be found in the SCI at the following links:

  1. Vries S, de Verheij RA, Groenewegen PP, Spreeuwenberg P. Natural environments - healthy environments? An exploratory analysis of the relationship between green space and health. Environment and Planning A. 2003;35(10):1717-1731.
  2. Kuo FE, Sullivan WC. Environment and crime in the inner city: does vegetation reduce crime? Environment and Behavior. 2001;33(3):343-367.
  3. Taylor AF, Kuo FE, Sullivan WC. Coping With ADD: The Surprising Connection to Green Play Settings. Environment and Behavior. 2001;33(1):54-77.