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2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit

California Native Garden Foundation

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Botanical, Horticultural & Landscape Services, Environment

Mission: Our mission is to demonstrate the beauty, garden worthiness, and ecological appropriateness of California native gardens and to advance knowledge of native plants and increase their availability.

Target demographics: students and surrounding communities

Geographic areas served: the Bay Area

Programs: educational programs that teach sustainable urban gardening, life sciences, and eco-literacy to for school children and the community.

Donor & Volunteer Advisory

This organization's nonprofit status may have been revoked or it may have merged with another organization or ceased operations.

Community Stories

10 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Nhat V.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started at CNGF a year ago. After my internship finished it returned as a volunteer, eventually becoming an employee. I've seen many aspects of the organization and I can say what they are doing is remarkable. I have seen asphalt yards grow into a beautiful garden that kids can play in. Every one here is so dedicated to the cause and is so open and willing to help. This is a great nonprofit to be a part of.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I'm a landscape architect volunteering at CNGF since February 2014. I love working there. Amazing people and amazing projects!!

Sharon135

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I currently am an intern here in CNGF, and I have to say that it has been a rewarding experience for me to be a part of CNGF. I have always believed that environmental education should be started at a young age. And so, Alrie is my role model. She had established the ELSEE program in Title 1 and ESL schools and performed workshops to students and parents on nutrition, gardening with California native plants, environmental sustainability and ecological stewardships. It is impressive on how much she had influenced on parents and children during the workshop. As that being said, CNGF is a great organization and will continue to be with the support from each and every one of you.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have been an engineer in high technology for more years than I care to reveal. I met Alrie Middlebrook, founder of CNGF about ten years ago and found my home – a physical place where I could connect to other people that share the same passion for our natural environment. My focus in the working world places value on the bottom line in order to compete and survive. This value does not take into account any regard for our natural environment. Being at CNGF, whether taking workshops, communicating with like-minded folks, working on volunteer projects through the foundation or just walking through the garden and connecting with the plants….the longing to connect with and value our natural world is met in a similar way that peace is achieved through meditation. This wonderful resource is available to the community at large and the programs through the foundation (i.e., ELSEE) make it possible for children to experience this connection as well. The founder’s energy and creativity continue to provide education relevant to the needs of today in a way that is experiential and fun (example: Saturday 10/18/2014 workshop on acorn harvesting with a cooking class to learn how to prepare foods using this abundant nutritious, protein rich sustainable food that requires no additional water to grow). I have learned so much through CNGF and continue to support its values, mission and goals wholeheartedly.

Jon_25

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The California Native Garden Foundation has created an amazing place in urban downtown San Jose. The Middlebrook Center is a California native garden, urban farm, teaching model and education center. It is an inspiration to us all and has bonded a community of like-minded people together. It teaches us how we can better take care of the planet and ourselves through the choices we make as individuals and as a society. This is potentially the most beneficial non-profit foundation with more direct positive influence on how we teach our children and how we structure our future communities to become more sustainable.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As a therapeutic chef, I look for ways to connect with my community. I found that the Middlebrook Center, home of the California Native Garden Foundation, aligns with my passion for a healthy diet, sustainable living and cultivating our local heritage. The founder/owner, Alrie Middlebrook, is full of energy, ideas and passion -- a great combination to be an effective leader in the "garden to table" movement. She has a perspective of the big picture with workable, doable steps to get us there.

Barry17

Volunteer

Rating: 5

CNGF is at the forefront of bringing together nature, education, and conservation into a successful venture. It operates out of The Middlebrook Center, a hive of energy, activity and committed people of all ages working together with the goal of showing our community how nature works, and how we can both protect it and use it. CNGF offers classes on diverse subjects from cooking with acorns, to growing and maintaining native gardens. With the help of young and committed interns, it is involved with setting up native gardens in schools that will serve as educational tools in science, ecology, and nutrition. This is a great and important organization.

Alrie M.

Board Member

Rating: 5

The California Native Garden Foundation is in a unique position to provide thousands of school children the opportunity to understand and protect the ecosystems services that Earth provides for free on a daily basis. In 2010, CNGF developed a teaching garden laboratory called ELSEE, The Environmental Laboratory for Sustainability and Ecological Education. In the ELSEE laboratory students learn common core, next generation science standards, STEAM education, food and nutrition, eco-literacy and sustainability. Since 2006, CNGF has awarded over 50 grants to schools and non-profits to create native gardens. Since 2013, CNGF has begun master planning school campuses to include up to 200 bench marks for sustainable urban land use. CNGF has also opened its flagship gardens to the community and holds weekly events, promoting sustainable solutions for daily life. Our half acre garden has native gardens, food gardens, an aquaponics farm, food towers, a living roof, a nursery, green house and propagating area, pallet gardens, a dino-coop, buildings that grow food, a PBL center and more.....
CNGF is able to accomplish its work with schools through its college internship program, the volunteer efforts of Middlebrook Gardens, a design/build garden company specializing in native gardens, volunteer members of cngf, our partners schools, and our community partners. Our goal is to continue to influence the conversion of 10,000 California schoolyards to outdoor teaching gardens; to convert these publicly owned lands to healthy land use. With the support of many people who agree that our children's future requires nurturing their love and understanding of Earth, can CNGF succeed on the level that the 21st century will demand.

John293

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have known Alrie Middlebrook, founder of CNGF since 2004. The expansion she has made has been phenomenal. She started as a native garden landscape designer, with a nonprofit to teach about natives, design school edible gardens, to now encompassing vertical gardening, hydroponics, gray water usage,
sustainable perennials, cooking classes, fundraising banquets. All of this has now been put into her biggest accomplishment yet- ELSEE-Environmental Labratory for Sustainable and Ecological Education. This educational program for school children and the community, teaches sustainable urban gardening, life sciences, and eco-literacy. ELSEE is a land use model and flagship program for other teaching gardens replicated throughout California public schools, thanks to grants, public and corporate support.

She has created weekly workshops on cutting-edge ecological topics, Run by top-rung teachers, volunteers. This lady is always doing something involving the community and school children. She now has a top rated program that needs your support.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I'm a five-year volunteer at CNGF. Founder Alrie Middlebrook is an inspiration to everyone who hears her speak about native plants, living a sustainable life, planting vegetables in an urban environment, and so much more. She imparts her knowledge in a fun way that engages children and adults alike. Weekly classes are held in the urban garden at 76 Race Street in San Jose. Teachers bring their students on field trips to the garden where they harvest food and create nutritious lunches. Alrie has brought hundreds of young people to the gardens and enriched the lives of college students who serve as interns. Their energy lets us accomplish so much! In this time of drought especially, learn how to be a part of the solution at Middlebrook Gardens/CNGF.